A new brand hotel design concept for a key regeneration site

Leonardo Hotel

Location Glassfields, Bristol
Client Fatal Group
Awards Shortlisted in the CIBSE Building Performance Awards 2022

A brief history

This prominent city centre site has been derelict since the demolition of the Guardian Royal Exchange Building in 2010. Historically an industrial location, the site is next to a listed 18th century terrace to the east and a key vehicle artery to the west.

Project vision

We wanted to develop a bespoke city centre 197 bed hotel which would enhance the commercial development forming Glassfields. Addressing a new public space, the hotel will bring activity and vitality to this new commercial zone at Temple Quarter.

Project brief

The brief was to develop a Bristol-centric concept under the Leonardo’s brand. The design sensitively reflects the surrounding terraces and historic industrial character with reference to the distilling and the jewellery quarter. Botanicals feature as part of the concept. We are also working with an artist to develop jewellery illustration-inspired artwork to the façade at ground floor, facing the street.

Design delivery

The project coincided with a refresh of the Leonardo’s group to a more contemporary bedroom concept and we worked closely with the client in developing the new design. The ground floor is designed for flexible use, being all open plan with feature design joinery creating spaces for different uses alongside private and open areas. The city of Bristol features heavily in the interior design, a celebration of the hotel's location.


The project encourages the use of sustainable transport options with close links to Bristol Temple Meads and the public transport network, cycle parking provided for staff and guests, and very limited parking available on site. The scheme has been designed with high levels of insulation, solar shading and renewable energy generation via roof mounted air source heat pumps. Bird boxes and a diverse planting scheme enhance the ecology of this former brownfield site. Site-wide sustainable drainage captures water run off and the building levels are designed to withstand future climate change flooding events. The project is BREEAM Excellent rated.


The hotel is designed to provide both a restorative experience for guests and a modern workplace for staff. Large windows throughout provide views with high levels of acoustic control, minimising external noise. Guests can choose from a variety of room types, including interconnecting, accessible and ambulant, offering contemporary interior design and high specification shower rooms.

The layout of staff areas has been developed to provide convenient access and ease of maintenance and servicing. Cycle storage areas, staff changing rooms, bright offices and canteen spaces help to ensure an attractive and inclusive place to work.

Looking to the future

This is more than just a hotel: its location and attractive bar, dining and terrace spaces will attract local office workers and residents for lunchtime meals and evening drinks. Internally, flexible multi-purpose spaces have been developed for shared use with visitors and guests including a conference space, commercial kitchen and a statement bar and restaurant. The city of Bristol features heavily in the interior design, a celebration of the hotel's location.

The design incorporates flexibility for reuse and incorporation of new technologies to allow the building to adapt in the future.

Overcoming challenges

Two years into the project, there was a change in brand which necessitated a significant change in concept. During construction, we also faced the impact of the Covid pandemic. We have successfully negotiated these obstacles, working closely with the project team to ensure both the safety of all involved and the quality of the design, with construction continuing throughout this period.

Interior vision

Designed to bring an elegance and style that reflects Bristol’s heritage through a composition of colours, textures, and materials.

The exterior

The use of contrasting brick and natural zins provides a consistent palette of materials that complement the interior design.

Set in the dynamic hub of Bristol we have created a vibrant, modern space to drink, eat, entertain and sleep. The first of the Leonardo chain to arrive in the city we have delivered this bespoke design that refreshes the hotel’s brand and delivers an exciting contemporary concept. This was successfully achieved thanks to the partnership we built with the developer, Royal London Asset Management, and the Leonardo team and our experience in this sector. We are extremely pleased with the completed design that forms a new destination hotel that will attract visitors, both national and local to Bristol."

Mark Alker Stone, Practice Director

Glassfields masterplan

The Leonardo hotel forms part of the Glassfields masterplan, a new vibrant and regenerated part of Bristol’s Enterprise Zone.

Design details

Our design vision for the hotel extended through to the fixtures and fittings, all elements complementing and working together to form a unified design concept.