Hybrid hotel-club Birch Selsdon features a roster of family-friendly activities and co-working space in the countryside. Olivia Palamountain reports
Sister property to Birch Cheshunt, Birch Selsdon will open this spring, offering a blend of escapism, fun and productivity in a 19th-century mansion set within 200 acres of rolling hills and green space.
Designed for Millennials, the suburban retreat is located just 30 minutes from the centre of London and a short drive away from East Croydon mainline rail station (trains take 15 minutes from London Bridge, London Victoria and Gatwick airport).
Echoing the original property’s ethos of bringing like-minded people together to reconnect with themselves and each other, Birch Selsdon offers guests a space to rejuvenate, try new things and have some fun over a few hours or for a few days.
In addition to overnight stays for drop-in guests, Birch Selsdon will offer a membership programme comprising access to the entire estate.This will include regular networking events, plus discounts on stays and private room hire, access to a central London membership club and wellness clubs across the world, as well as priority booking for all ticketed events.
Individual membership for Birch Selsdon starts from £150 per month for 12 months, with a £300 joining fee. Options for joint access to both Birch sites are available too, along with under 30s membership, family membership, kids membership and company membership. The waiting list for membership is open now.
Ayo Akinsete, managing director of Birch, says: “In our post-pandemic world where boundaries have become even more blurred and it’s harder than ever to switch off, we need a reminder of the best things in life. Birch (Selsdon) is a place to pause, to try new things, to reconnect with yourself and others, and to have fun. We want guests and members to leave feeling inspired, upbeat, calm and nourished but also empowered to cope with the everyday juggling act of life.” The Gothic-style mansion was first developed into a hotel in the 1920s and has undergone an adaptation by architecture studio A-nrd, repurposing the original structure where possible and brought to life with the work of local makers and artists.
Birch Selsdon is now home to 181 bedrooms across five room categories, ranging from small (suitable for solo guests or couples) to multi-room suites perfect for large groups of friends or families.
All bedrooms feature sustainable or recycled fixtures, fittings and furniture (in line with Birch’s ethos to reuse and minimise waste and consumption) and there are no TVs.
Rooms at Birch Selsdon start from £180 per night. Guests can take advantage of the exclusive launch offer when they pre-book ahead of the hotel’s opening this spring, receiving £20 credit per person to spend on food and beverage during their stay.
Elsewhere are two restaurants, three bars, a lido, a premium wellness space, full-service co-working hub, studios and several communal spaces, from cosy snugs to an orangerie.
There’s even a unique Green Co-Working proposition that comprises sheltered outdoor desk spaces for anyone looking to immerse themselves in nature while getting on with tasks and to-do lists.
A glamorous transformation by interior design studio Sella Concept has added drama to the communal spaces – think “earthy glam” in the signature restaurant, velvet and Chinoiserie in the bar and dark, glossy walls in the speakeasy – all decked out in bespoke furniture by designer, maker and environmentalist Sebastian Cox.
Cox also masterminded the rewilding of the estate’s grounds, a project intended to (re)create a northern hemisphere scrubland savannah, free from human intervention, with self-sustaining herbivores including long-horned cattle and Exmoor ponies roaming free around the site.A dedicated family wing will allow children the opportunity to roam free too, while kids club, Birchlings, will take care of little ones with an enriching programme of activities and plenty of opportunities to learn about biodiversity.
Adults are also encouraged to let loose, with play a cornerstone of the Birch philosophy. This is reflected by the numerous on-site creative spaces, which will host an evolving programme of workshops and masterclasses.
A pottery studio, cookery studio and a screen-printing workshop joins a reading room and arcade, plus a wellness space with gym, studios and treatment rooms.
Outdoor activities include an Art-Deco-inspired lido (opening summer 2023), tennis courts, and running and cycling tracks.
Birch Selsdon’s restaurant menus are informed by the estate’s rewilding ethos, it’s kitchen garden, and a farm-to-fork, seasonal approach, with a focus on produce, provenance and exceptional quality.
Menus for both the signature restaurant, Elodie, and all-day dining affair Vervain, will be opened by Michelin Starred chef, Lee Westcott.