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First class repairs at luxury hotel

In an industry populated by big chains offering ubiquitous bedroom and bathroom ‘pods’ – identically fitted out and furnished wherever they are located across the country – the Malmaison Hotels brand is unique in taking old properties with quirky histories and turning them into top class venues with very different characters: none more so than the Malmaison Oxford which was formerly the city’s prison.

Malmaison hotelWhile the main corridor still features the steel staircase and landings which featured in Michael Caine’s original “Italian Job” movie, the guest rooms have been created by cleverly linking pairs of brick-vaulted cells together to make stylish en-suite bedrooms. There are still bars at the windows, but the décor is very modern with contemporary furniture and large format tiles in the luxury bathrooms.

Having opened its doors in 2006 and enjoyed high occupancy levels, however, the fixtures and fittings have been subject to heavy levels of wear and tear, prompting the new maintenance manager to call upon the services of Plastic Surgeon, the UK-wide specialist of whom he had had experience while working for another top hotel chain.

Consequentially, one of Plastic Surgeon’s most experienced Finishers was assigned to conduct a free-of-charge demonstration in conjunction with the Eastern Region Operations Manager, Colin Tommins. Together they tackled shower trays in two of the bathrooms which were showing signs of delamination and crazing or other damage, so typical of resin moulded material.

Colin Tommins takes up the account saying: “We have repaired baths and shower trays for a large number of clients in the past, both in hotels and for private householders as well as for providers of student accommodation and mobile home park operators. This was a very prestigious location where not only are the bathroom suites subject to high levels of usage, but the lighting conditions are unusual due to the high level prison windows, which makes colour matching difficult.

“Naturally we tackled the worst example that the hotel could find, where preliminary rubbing down and peeling off the cracked skin left us with a long narrow hole. We started the repair with the Finisher employing the special kits they carry that enable pieces of wood – the size of a lolly pop stick – to be inserted through the split and rotated so that  adhesive can hold them like a splint.

“Next he used our new two part gel repair material which is automatically mixed in the special gun and injected to build the repair up level. The gel is normally left for about 20 minutes before being tooled off and smoothed to match the original profile; and although it might have required some of our Ultra-Premium Filler to complete the job, the Finisher had got the surface so good that it was simply a matter of priming and then applying the appropriate shade of our System 20 – in this case a bluey-white shade.”

The Maintenance Manager for the Oxford Malmaison, Nigel Taylor, comments: “Having employed Plastic Surgeon in my previous position with another hotel chain I was aware of the company’s capabilities and knew the Finishers would be able to deal with the issues we have here regarding items like shower trays. The trial was so successful that I brought it to the attention of my group manager and we have now entered into an arrangement with Plastic Surgeon to carry out work like this to all 12 Malmaison hotels, as well as to the Hotel Du Vin destinations which are part of the same group here in the UK.”

Not only is Plastic Surgeon’s repair option more environmentally-friendly and cost effective than replacement, the fact that it can be accomplished in a few hours means the work can be completed without taking a guest room out of commission for one or more nights. In fact in the case of the damage done to some shower pods in student accommodation – including extensive smoke and heat damage where a lighted candle had been placed in the soap holder recess – replacement would have been impossible due to the way the study bedrooms are constructed around a one-piece moulding.

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