The Glorious Return of a Southsea Style Statement
Welcome to The Queens Hotel in Southsea, one of Hampshire Fare's new hospitality members, entering a glamorous new era. This fine example of Edwardian Baroque, overlooking Southsea Common and the waterfront, dates back to 1865 and is a splendid secret hidden in plain sight. The Queens Hotel was created to make a statement with no expense spared. Its designs were grand and lavish and still deliver impact with carved columns, engravings, and details such as marble pillars supporting an impressive painted-glass dome with maritime paintings below.
When The Queens Hotel’s current owners took over in 2017, they began a major scheme to rejuvenate the hotel. So far £4.5m has been spent refurbishing guest rooms with designs by London-based Studio Kinford, who have designed for The Corinthia and The Connaught. The inspiration was to create a ‘home away from home’ experience for guests. This encompasses a balance of traditional bespoke furniture and mid-century vintage items that complement the hotel’s Edwardian character. Studio Kinford have created the signature relaxed fine dining restaurant 1865, Dukes Bar, and the Royal Suite – a stylish conference/event space with its own private entrance. Future plans include the creation of more guest rooms to create a 104 bedroom hotel and a spa.
Catherine Austen, who joined The Queens Hotel as General Manager earlier in 2021, also ushers in a fresh approach. Catherine comments: "My management skills were honed in retail but have transferred well to hospitality. I would say to anyone contemplating working in hospitality that it's definitely worth it!"
Her enthusiasm for The Queens Hotel and her new role is evident. She continues: “The Queens Hotel are patron members of Shaping Portsmouth and we are passionate about the important role we have to play in our vibrant city as a major employer and as a magnet to bring visitors to Southsea.”
Known as a destination for foodies, The Queens Hotel has opened 1865 to deliver a new dining experience in Southsea. “We have focused on creating a relaxed fine dining experience with an emphasis on using the best possible local produce to make delicious food.
"The 1865 menu offers a tempting array of dishes with a particular focus on fish - being a coastal hotel, we thought it was important to reflect our location. We want 1865 to be the restaurant you choose because it offers the best food in wonderful surroundings, and we can’t wait for people to sample our exciting menu.
“We are just launching our Apres Ski Lodge and Bar which will run throughout December 2021. The Apres Ski Lodge and Bar is going to be the coolest place in Southsea to meet up with friends this winter. We are recreating the look and feel of an Alpine lodge in our garden, and it’s been such fun getting all the skiing paraphernalia together to make it feel like the sort of place you would gather after a day on the slopes.
"We also have lots of exciting plans for 2022 including hosting events with Hampshire Fare and championing our local producers. We see ourselves as the hotel at the heart of Southsea and we have strong links with our local community. Our live music events in the summer have raised thousands of pounds for good causes and brought a smile to many faces.
"We aim to be a good employer, looking after our team members - if they are happy and care about their work, then our guests will receive the best possible service. Green initiatives include encouraging more of our staff to jump on their bikes to get to work. We are in the process of getting lockable bicycle sheds and we are joining the government’s Bike2Work Scheme. We will also be encouraging our guests to use two wheels rather than four when they pop in for coffee or weekend brunch!"