Students Staff

26 October 2010

Go ahead for Edge Hotel School

Colchester Campus

Artist's impression of the new hotel extension

A new era for the hospitality industry has dawned with plans to transform the historic Wivenhoe House into a luxurious hotel and innovative hotel school being approved by Colchester Borough Council.

This unique £10 million development will be the first of its kind in the UK, combining a fully operational country house hotel, refurbished to the highest standards, with the home of the Edge Hotel School. Returning the house back to something of its Georgian and Victorian finery, the refurbishment will reinstate the grand staircase and put the rooms back to their original uses.

Led by the University of Essex, the development has been made possible through the support of Edge, the independent education foundation dedicated to raising the stature of practical and vocational learning, and Colchester Institute, the University’s academic partner.

The hotel, due to open in Spring 2012, will be the first working hotel in the UK to be run and staffed by students, supervised and mentored by industry professionals. Designed to prepare the future leaders of the hotel and hospitality industry, the hotel school is already attracting significant industry interest and support.

Dr Tony Rich, Registrar of the University, said: “The Edge Hotel School will fully integrate theory and practice and allow students to draw on real life commercial experience whilst gaining a degree level qualification. We are excited to be working with Edge and Colchester Institute on this important development both for the eastern region, which will gain a top quality hotel, and for the hospitality industry.” 

Sir Garry Hawkes, CBE, President of independent education foundation, Edge, commented: “This is one of the most exciting developments in hospitality education for well over a generation. To be able to operate a fully functioning hotel with real members of the public staying, as well as providing both quality practical and vocational learning for the next generation of hospitality students is a great move forward for the industry.”

Colchester Institute enjoys an exciting higher education partnership with the University of Essex. As 2008 winner of the national ‘College Restaurant of the Year’ and in 2009 receiving accreditation for excellence by the National Skills Academy for Hospitality, the College is enthusiastically embracing this innovative vocational opportunity for prospective students nationally and locally.

Colchester Borough Council granted planning permission and listed building consent for the development last week. The Wivenhoe House refurbishment will include 16 bedrooms, most of them being hotel suites, the dining room which will become the hotel’s signature restaurant, and public rooms. The existing extension, built in the early 1980s, will be demolished and be replaced by a new garden wing with 24 new rooms, a brasserie for up to 100 people and additional conference and meeting rooms. The design will take the theme of a Victorian garden wall to join the house with the new wing. The original sunken garden will also be restored. Building work is due to start in March next year.


Notes to Editors
1. An artist’s impression of the new Edge Hotel School is available from the University’s Communications Office on 01206 872400, or e-mail:

2. About Wivenhoe House: Situated in Wivenhoe Park on the Colchester Campus of the University of Essex, Wivenhoe House has a long history and tradition, from being the Georgian family home of the Rebow family, to acting as army camps during both World Wars, including providing a base for the SAS. It became the original headquarters of the University while the main campus was being built in the 1960s, and subsequently became a hotel and conference centre.

3. About The University of Essex: Founded in 1964, Essex is one of the UK’s leading academic institutions and the most internationally diverse campus-based university in Britain. It was ranked 9th in the UK in The Times research league tables following the last national research quality assessment, and 16th in England for student satisfaction, according to the National Student Survey for 2010. More than a quarter of Essex’s 10,000 students are postgraduates, and more than 3,500 are international students, drawn from more than 130 different countries. The University has three campuses in Essex, and partnerships with a number of other education institutions across the region.

4. About Edge: Edge is an independent education foundation. It is dedicated to raising the stature of practical and vocational learning, so that all young people have the opportunity to achieve their potential, and the UK's future workforce is equipped with the skills to be successful in the modern economy. Edge believes that 'learning by doing' is as important as academic learning, and that there are many paths to success. For more information visit

5. About Colchester Institute
Colchester Institute offers an abundance of course options within each of its ten Centres of Study. One of the key benefits of studying at the College is that it enables students to obtain work-related knowledge of particular industries, professions and trades, and gain qualifications that are recognised by business. Our courses are taught across the sites at our Colchester Campus, The College at Braintree and The College at Clacton. The College also boasts additional town centre locations for computer training and learndirect access, through The learning Shop@Dovercourt and The learning Centre (Colchester). For further information, please contact Emma Fazakerley, PR and Communications Officer on (01206) 712065 or

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