Nature is calling – Birch (Selsdon) – Opening Spring 2023
Polished, grown up, a little bit wild. Welcome to Birch (Selsdon). Set within 200 acres of rolling hills and green space and just 30 minutes from the centre of London, Birch (Selsdon) is an unashamed escape from the everyday.
A ‘sister’ hotel to the award-winning Birch (Cheshunt), Birch (Selsdon) is all about bringing like-minded people together and providing them with the space to reconnect – with themselves and each other. It’s a welcome respite from the noise and intensity of London’s concrete jungle where members and guests can find headspace, try new things and have some (a lot of ) fun.
A new opening from the award-winning Birch hotel group, located a short drive away from East Croydon mainline rail station – trains take 15 minutes from London Bridge, London Victoria and Gatwick Airport.
A 19th century mansion re-modelled by A-nrd and Sella Concept interior studios is home to 181 bedrooms of all shapes and sizes, two restaurants, three bars, a lido, a wellness space, co-working hub, creative studios and several communal spaces from cosy snugs to the light-bathed Orangerie.
Award-winning furniture designer, maker and environmentalist Sebastian Cox has masterminded the rewilding of the Selsdon estate’s 200 acres and designed bespoke furniture for the bedrooms, suites and communal spaces.
Guests familiar with Birch (Cheshunt), which launched to great acclaim and rave reviews in 2020, will recognise all the elements that make Birch, Birch: Nature to restore calm, menus designed to nourish, wellness to re-align body and soul, art to inspire, a programme of activities to feed creativity and music curated to soothe, re-energise and power those big night’s out.
At the heart of the estate sits a 19th century gothic-style mansion, added to over the centuries and first developed into a hotel in the 1920s. Birch has peeled back the property’s layers to reveal its true nature and bring out its best features, then added the usual Birch touch of craft and fun – this time with an extra splash of glamour.
Along with 181 bedrooms of all shapes and sizes, Birch (Selsdon) boasts a pottery studio, screen-printing workshop and an interactive kitchen to get creative in. There’s also a reading room, arcade, and screening room to switch off in. A lido (opening summer 2023), tennis courts (outside) and wellness space with gym, studios and treatment rooms (inside). Two restaurants and three bars for feasts and flavours. And communal areas for working hard, or hardly working.
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.”
Birch is an intervention from the judgements, expectations and constraints of daily life. Birch creates spaces that give people the time and freedom to pause, think, create and savour. All so they feel energised and inspired, with new ideas and stories to tell.
The rewilding of Birch (Selsdon)’s 200 acres of land has been masterminded by designer, maker and environmentalist, Sebastian Cox. What was once a golf course is now one of London’s largest rewilding projects with big ambitions for reviving the land and local biodiversity and actively contributing to the greening of London.
The intention is to (re)create a northern hemisphere scrubland savannah, free from human intervention. Self-sustaining herbivores including long-horned cattle and Exmoor Ponies will roam free (at a natural density for the site) and it’s hoped that, in time, endangered species native to this part of England such as nightingales, nightjars and dormice will return in abundance.
Celebrated interior design and architecture studio A-nrd, led by Alessio Nardi, has inserted a contemporary layer on top of the existing redbrick mansion. Respectful of the building’s history and architecture and mindful of minimising waste, the existing infrastructure has been adapted and repurposed where possible. With modernity and timelessness the keywords, a carefully curated palette of colours, materials and décor have been woven together and animated with the work of local makers and artists.
Sella Concept, founded by Tatjana Von Stein, has injected glamour and a little bit of drama to some of Birch (Selsdon)’s key spaces. Think earthy glam in the signature restaurant, velvet and Chinoiserie in the bar and dark, glossy walls in the speakeasy – these are adult spaces to feel fabulous in. Come summer, Sella Concept’s playful Art Deco-inspired makeover of the Lido, complete with yoga deck, will bring the 1930s pool back to life.
As at (Cheshunt), Birch (Selsdon)’s 181 rooms have been set up to remove the pressures of daily life. No noisy TVs or boring desks, just warm and well-crafted rooms of all shapes and sizes – and the biggest and best mattresses possible, from Simba and Naturalmat. Every room is furnished with bedside tables crafted by Sebastian Cox in his workshop using wood from the Selsdon estate, and carefully curated works by exciting names in contemporary British art adorn the walls.
Birch’s ethos to reuse and minimise waste and consumption where possible is reflected in the lampshades made from recycled glass and fabrics made from recycled textiles while Dodds & Shute, a design-led procurement company dedicated to sourcing the most sustainable furniture and lighting, has been tracking the carbon footprint of every item procured across the estate.
The five types of room range from small, suitable for solo guests or couples right through to multiroom suites perfect for large groups of friends or families who want to make the most of their time away together.
The guest bedrooms will feature bespoke, limited edition giclee prints by Weronika Marianna and Laurie Maun, which, like all the art on site, will be available to purchase.
ART & CULTURE
Culture and creativity are core to the Birch philosophy, as is providing guests with the space to enjoy new experiences. At Birch (Selsdon), dedicated pottery and screen-printing studios along with live music DJs will host an evolving programme of workshops and masterclasses.
Art to inspire, surprise and nourish will animate all corners of Birch (Selsdon), from the Olly Fathers sculptures that hang in the reception area made using birchwood off-cuts from the estate, to the Richard Woods ‘house’ installation on the back lawn and Dominic McHenry’s geometric totems in the signature restaurant.
Birch was created as an intervention from the judgements, expectations and constraints of daily life. It offers guests the chance to pause and reset, so that they leave inspired, reenergised, and with new ideas and stories to tell.
The first Birch space, Birch (Cheshunt) was launched in 2020 in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire. Set within 55 acres of nature sit 140 bedrooms, a growing farm, two restaurants and an interactive bakery, three bars, 20 event spaces, a co-working space, fitness studios, a lido, a pottery workshop and screening, music and art rooms. More Birch spaces are planned for the coming years.
AYO AKINSETE, Managing Director
Ayo Akinsete has spent the last 14 years overseeing the openings and operations of numerous properties for top global hospitality brands. Ayo’s professional career began in his teenage years, playing for West Ham United Football Club. As that career and chapter came to a close, Ayo was given a full Sports scholarship to play Division I Football in America at The University of South Carolina, where he studied Hospitality and Sports Management and subsequently completed a Masters of Science program in Hotel Management at The University of Las Vegas, Nevada. After meeting the founder of Gansevoort Hotel Group, Ayo moved to New York City to open the Gansevoort Park Avenue. This experience ignited his fire and passion for the industry.
Since that time, he has opened six hotels including the Dream Downtown & SLS Miami brands across the US in major markets including New York City, Miami, Los Angeles and Nashville. In 2018, he was appointed Vice President of Operations for Dream Hotel Group, where he oversaw operations for the group’s east and west coast assets. In 2019, Ayo relocated back to the UK to launch his 7th property, the first location of hospitality legend Barry Sternlicht’s new Treehouse Hotel brand in London. As Area Managing Director of UK and Europe for SH Hotels & Resorts, overseeing the region’s rollout of the Treehouse and 1 Hotel brands, Ayo has worked on the development of 1 Hotel Mayfair and Treehouse Manchester, scheduled to open early 2023, and oversaw the transition of the Skt Petri Hotel Copenhagen.