Aylott + Van Tromp draw inspiration from the 20s and 30s for a dramatic refresh of the Samuel Ryder Hotel in St. Albans.


International design studio Aylott + Van Tromp have reimagined the interior and created a full branding refresh of the historic Samuel Ryder Hotel in St. Albans, as it changes hands to become part of the Tapestry Collection by Hilton - the brand’s first in the UK.






Located in the former home of golf legend Samuel Ryder, the hotel is steeped in local heritage. For Aylott + Van Tromp, it was important to create a new era for the hotel that fostered a deep connection with the brand for its ideal, its character and its story. “From our initial research we discovered there was a pent-up demand for a characterful, and individually styled hotel in St Albans,” says co-founder Nathan Aylott. “We felt that the building had so much to give, but its former incarnation just wasn’t living up to its full potential. The narrative was already there, we simply had to create the platform from which to tell the story.”



The grade II listed landmark building was originally built in 1911 by Samuel Ryder, donor of golf’s prestigious Ryder Cup, to house the business of his successful seed company. To this day it retains many original features, including leaded light room screens, sweeping staircase and a magnificent mahogany and stained glass dome.

“We wanted our design to reflect the golden era of the original building,” says fellow co-founder James Van Tromp, “weaving subtle nods to the past with styling that is modern, creative and characterful, designed to bring joy to all that stay here. In its heyday, Ryders’ Seeds supplied millions of seeds across the British Empire, creating vegetables and blooms from St Albans to Sydney. These beautiful botanics are the driver for our scheme, as they literally blossomed from a simple beginning into something amazing - just like this hotel!”

Taking inspiration from the plants that blossomed from Ryder’s seeds, the hotel colour scheme features an abundance of green tones, accentuated by bright pops of colour. “Each area of the hotel takes on its own flavour, so to speak,” says Aylott, “which we felt helped build up the emotive side of design. Verdant and lush, the material palette harks back to the joyous era of the twenties and thirties, when Ryder’s seed business was at its peak.” In each area, a corresponding flora or botanical scent is used to reflect the tones of the room, tying the building even more tightly back to its original roots.




“The present building lent itself well to a deep and enticing scheme,” says Van Tromp. “With a high ceiling and large windows, we felt we could afford to be brave and characterful. We wanted the styling to be modern and vivacious - yet accessible to both younger and older demographics - honouring the past in ways that doesn’t feel staid and stuffy, but instead celebrates the building’s botanical past without being a slavish recreation of what has gone before.”

Client: Tapestry Collection by Hilton
Interior Design & Branding: Aylott + Van Tromp
Size: 60 bedrooms
Location: 27 Holywell Hill, St Albans
Year: 2022
Photography: Aylott + Van Tromp

Contractor: Abrahams and Carlisle
Furniture: Contract Chair Company, Gubi and Menu
Accessories: Bolia, Ferm Living and House Doctor
Lighting: Original BTC


About Aylott + Van Tromp

The experience of Aylott + Van Tromp’s founders is unique, with both Nathan and James’ backgrounds originating in the commercial sector, focusing on brand activation, retail, fashion, product launches, customer engagement, and even automotive design. In 2013 the Interior Design & Branding Studio was formed to harness this diverse skill-set and create a multi-disciplinary offering for the rapidly evolving and changing world of leisure and hospitality design.

Bringing something new to what was a traditional and fairly small marketplace, they have always seen buildings and hotels in particular, as perfectly packaged brand spaces. An extension of our lives – you stay in them, you eat in them, you exercise in them, you relax in them. They need to tend to your every whim, whilst always striving to exceed expectations or provide an appropriate emotion.

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