The Magdalen Chapter, Exeter

July 11, 2012

Chapter Hotels’ second property, The Magdalen Chapter has opened in the heart of Exeter, Devon, close to the city’s Norman cathedral and Gandy Street’s independent boutiques and historic quayside.

Previously the West England Eye Hospital, the 19th century building has been sympathetically restored by award winning architects Feilden Clegg Bradley to become a contemporary 59-bedroom hotel.

Design transformation

Original Victorian features have been maintained throughout the building and striking new extensions have been added to create bright public spaces. Contemporary interiors, furniture and lighting by Russell Pinch, state-of-the-art technology, as well as modern art complete the transformation of this iconic Exeter property.

Chapter Hotels’ signature artwork The Font takes pride of place near the entrance creating a focal point upon arrival. It is beside this large wooden sculpture by Alison Crowther that guests are checked-in through a fuss free paperless service.

New spaces

The Lounge, a new addition to the building, features floor-to-ceiling glass and surfaces which flow seamlessly to an external terrace. The furniture here reflects Devon’s rural landscape with ‘topiary’ lights, sculptural chairs, and a striking modern floral mural by Hugo Dalton.

Located in the heart of the building, The Bar is adorned with an installation by glass artist Kate Maestri and an open fire forms a central focus.

The Library has been finished in tones of silver and grey, and wide, south-facing bay windows add light. Literature-inspired art by Phil Shaw embellishes the walls and bookworms can kick back, cocktail in hand with everything from classic novels, to local history and design journals.

Classic dining with a buzz

In The Restaurant a high, circus-top ceiling creates space and large glass doors open onto a terrace for alfresco dining. For an intimate meal with all the buzz of the theatre kitchen, a semi-private alcove – The Circle – is set to the side of The Restaurant. A separate private dining and meeting room is also available for larger events and celebrations, while the potting shed – the oldest structure in the grounds – has been transformed into a welcoming space for meetings and private dinners, and comes complete with a wood-burning stove.

As with all Chapter Hotels, The Restaurant will be guided by bestselling author and BBC’s The Good Cook Simon Hopkinson. Working alongside Head Chef Ben Bulger, together they will create a menu of classic British favourites using the best ingredients, which are locally sourced wherever possible.

Sleeping sound

In the bedrooms, pale oak flooring and bold wall coverings in cool tones add a modern feel, while deep velvet drapes create warmth. To celebrate the property’s original features and layout every bedroom has a slightly different design. Twenty-first century comforts come as standard with iPad 2s in every room, a complimentary minibar, free Wi-Fi and luxurious REN products in the bathrooms.

Relax and reenergise

For outdoor enthusiasts, the new ‘inside out’ pool is open all year round. After a dip outside in the mild Devon breeze, guests can swim through indoors and sit back by an open fire.

To relax and restore body and mind, a garden pathway leads to The Spa with four treatment rooms offering facials, massages and mini-treatments by locally based skincare brand REN. To energise, the adjacent fitness room houses exercise equipment for a more active workout.

Rates start from £150 per night for a double room, including breakfast. Bookings are now available online. For more information visit

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