The UK’s first working hotel to be run and staffed by hospitality students is to open in Essex in spring 2012.
The Edge Hotel School, which is being developed within grade-II listed Wivenhoe House at a cost of £10 million, will provide practical and vocational learning for students, while also functioning as a commercially sustainable four-star hotel.
It will be run as a partnership between the principal funder, the Edge Foundation – an educational charity focused on raising the status of practical and vocational learning – and the University of Essex.
Sir Garry Hawkes, president of the Edge Foundation, described the hotel school as “one of the most exciting developments in hospitality education for well over a generation”.
“To be able to operate a fully functioning hotel with real members of the public staying, as well as providing both quality practical and vocational learning for the next generation of hospitality students is a great move forward for the industry,” he said.
Dr Tony Rich, registrar and secretary of the University of Essex, added: “The Edge Hotel School will fully integrate theory and practice and allow students to draw on real-life commercial experience whilst gaining a degree level qualification. We are very excited to be part of this important development both for the eastern region, which will gain a top quality hotel, and for the hospitality industry.”