Historic automotive hub Bicester Heritage has sealed approval for a 344-room facility with restaurant, bar and pool. We have the low-down on the perfect resort for petrolheads
Having already built an unrivalled reputation for its devoted efforts towards historic automotive preservation, Bicester Heritage has received the green light from local authorities for a 344-room hotel on the former RAF Bicester site. Development of a handling circuit and other attractions is projected to attract over 250,000 visitors per year with the venture expected to create an estimated 180 full-time jobs.
The hotel has been designed by leading British visionary and car enthusiast Dexter Moren. It utilises materials inspired by RAF Bicester’s surviving pre-war buildings, and incorporates the dimensions and orientation of the site’s original 1936 C-type hangars.
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For those with a keen eye for detail, the hotel’s appearance will incorporate many subtle features. These include expanded steel mesh embedded in the building’s curve as homage to RAF Bicester’s military past as a camouflage training centre, and a roofline that follows that of the adjacent hangars. Amenities are set to include a top-tier restaurant, bar, courtyard, gym, swimming pool and sauna.
For petrolheads, a four-storey atrium had been conceived to showcase rotating automotive-themed exhibitions and displays. These will incorporate heritage vehicles, modern achievements in engineering and a vision of the future.
Further plans for the hotel grounds include a raised-earth bank complete with Mille Miglia-style start line. This will ensure that Bicester Heritage remains the ideal start point for rallies, by offering luxurious accommodation on the already-popular site.
Situated in the heart of ‘Motorsport Valley’, less than 20 minutes away from Silverstone Circuit and the bases of various Formula 1 teams, the proposed hotel would allow guests to experience local automotive offerings beyond Bicester Heritage’s boundary.
The hotel is the next stage in Bicester Heritage’s vision to become the world’s leading classic car resort, with further plans set to showcase motor lodges and luxury leisure residencies within the 425-acre site.
Designer Dexter Moren explained: ‘Hospitality specialist architect and interior designer Dexter Moren Associates is thrilled to have been selected to design a landmark hotel within a former RAF base, forming part of the Bicester Heritage masterplan vision focusing on motorcars and aeroplanes.’
He continued: ‘The design objective has been to respond in a contemporary manner to the site’s rich and unique story, drawing inspiration from its historic position at the forefront of aviation, engineering and innovation while complementing the existing period buildings.’
Dan Geoghegan, Managing Director of Bicester Heritage, commented 'The unanimous approval by the Planning Authority demonstrates the strength of local government support for our vision. It also reflects the high esteem in which Bicester Heritage is held alongside its national importance to the automotive sector.'