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Tony Prior looks at the refurbishment of a former coaching house on the edge of the Brecon Beacons.

As I’ve previously stated here, I get a lot of really lovely examples of refurbishments in my role as editor of Refurb Projects and I want to use my posts here on The Hub to highlight excellent examples such as the one that’s just come across my desk at the Angel Hotel in Abergavenny.

Set on the edge of the Brecon Beacons, the Angel Hotel offers luxurious, award winning accommodation to visitors from around the world.

A former 19th-century coaching inn, the 35-room hotel has now been modernised and refurbished in order to offer guests a level of personal attention and comfort that exceeds their expectations.

Sympathetic restoration work and carefully considered upgrades have ensured that the Angel Hotel has been returned to its former glory.

Tony Prior Editor of Refurb Projjects

Since taking over the site in 2002, the management team at the Angel Hotel have made it their mission to become the regional hotel of choice and in 2016 they secured the AA Hotel of the Year, Wales.

The Angel has an impressive pedigree - former guests include Gregory Peck, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor – and after years of underinvestment, the historic building is now getting the care and attention it deserves.

As part of this commitment to excellence, the hotel management demanded the very best in air conditioning technology and recently selected contemporary Zen indoor units for the stylish bedrooms. 

Marketed as a high-quality boutique hotel with a unique but old fashioned room layout, it was imperative that no pipework was put on display and that the installed units should have aesthetic appeal and run quietly.

Restored to former glory

The former 19th-century coaching inn

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098 Angel Exterior

Stylish comfort

The air conditioning keeps guests warm in winter and cool in summer

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098 Angel bedroom 1

Advanced City Multi

The outdoor units are installed away from public areas

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098 Angel Outdoor

Complete control

Room control for guests, central control for the hotel

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098 Angel bedroom 2

Christmas at the Angel

The hotel aims to exceed guest expectations

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098 Angel Christmas

Complete professionals

Cardiff-based Airpro Systems Holdings installed the new units

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098 Angel van

The Zen Series of air conditioning units are a low profile, unobtrusive wall-mounted system that blends seamlessly with its surroundings and offers lower power consumption twinned with powerful performance. The sophisticated elegance of the units makes them an ideal choice for hotel environments.

Serving the Zen units is a City Multi R2 heat recovery system, which is able to offer simultaneous heat and cool different rooms throughout the building. The previous air conditioning was not able to achieve this in the way required by the owners.

Hotels regularly require cooling in some areas and heating in others and City Multi is the only VRF (Variable Refrigerant Flow) system able to offer simultaneous heating and cooling using only two pipes instead of the usual three.

The system’s two pipe technology also meant that disruption to guests and hotel staff was kept to an absolute minimum during the refurbishment. City Multi is also capable of delivering dramatic efficiency improvements and the Angel Hotel can now expect savings of up to 30 percent.

Sensitive installation 

In a building as old as the Angel Hotel it can be difficult to carry out work without causing structural or cosmetic damage. The building is made up of stone walls and contains a whole host of annexes and awkward spaces to work in.

Cardiff-based Airpro Systems Holdings was brought in to carry out the installation and was mindful not to disturb the historic building any more than necessary.

Mark Derbi of Airpro comments: “At times the Angel proved to be a testing installation. The rooms needed to be refurbished one at a time and we were very aware that the bulk of the air conditioning needed to be hidden from sight without risking damage to the fabric of the building.

“With the builder also on site high levels of cooperation were needed to ensure that we were able to stay on schedule and meet the timescale set out by the client.”

After 30 indoor units had been successfully installed, individual room controllers were wired in and temperature restrictions were set up. These enable guests to have control of their heating or cooling within a range controlled by the hotel to ensure absolute comfort combined with maximum efficiency.

With a user-friendly backlit screen and simple to use adjustment controls the room controllers provide both guests and hotel employees with the high levels of functionality expected in a state-of-the-art heating and ventilation installation.

Sympathetic restoration work and carefully considered upgrades have ensured that the Angel Hotel has been returned to its former glory.

The new energy efficient heating and ventilation system is a key part of the transformation, helping to provide a comfortable environment for guests and enhancing the hotel’s growing reputation as the place to stay in South Wales.

The air conditioning also has individual room controls whilst a centralised controller allows the hotel staff to monitor and control energy use throughout the building.

I don’t know about you but I know where I want to stay whenever I’m in the area!


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