Monkbar Hotel rewards York garden designer with first commercial project

A York garden designer has landed her first commercial project with a city centre hotel undergoing a multi-million-pound transformation.

Amy Lilley has been commissioned by the Best Western Monkbar Hotel to create a Yorkshire-inspired walled garden within its popular, enclosed courtyard.

The project is the final element of a £3m scheme which, when completed later this summer, will see the city centre hotel’s bedroom stock rise from 99 to 125, the addition of seven “flexible” function rooms, the complete refurbishment of all its public and guest rooms.

It will also herald the launch of new food & beverage concept – The Yorkshire Bar & Grill.

The significant investment will also help boost the Monkbar’s Best Western rating from its current three stars to four star plus, and will lead to the creation of 20 new jobs.

Amy said: “Whilst I have undertaken numerous garden projects for private houses, this is my first commercial project. I am thoroughly enjoying working in collaboration with the hotel’s team.

“My idea for the courtyard – which is a focal point of the hotel and overlooked by numerous bedrooms – is for a Yorkshire-inspired walled garden to complement the new Yorkshire Bar & Grill dining experience.

“Working with the existing structural elements of the courtyard, I am creating new flower beds and introducing a wide variety of new plants.

“This will bring movement, seasonality and freshness to the space, in tune with the restaurant. We are also planning new festooned lighting and eye-catching new furniture.

“And, because it is a Yorkshire theme, it will be completed in time for Yorkshire Day, on Saturday, August 1.”

Graham Usher, Monkbar Hotel general manager, said: “We invited a number of local gardening experts to share their ideas with us, and Amy’s was the one that was totally in tune with our vision.

“Amy’s courtyard creation, which is taking shape beautifully, will be the final element of this incredibly exciting project.

“And, when finished in its entirety, it will mark the totally transform the Monkbar Hotel, and really put us up there with the best of the best.”

The Monkbar Hotel was purchased in 2007 by Shiva Hotels, which owns venues in London, Derby and Manchester, and recently opened two Hampton by Hilton hotels at Waterloo and Gatwick. 

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York garden designer Amy Lilley at work in the Monkbar Hotel’s courtyard

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