Posted on December 03, 2018 by Gordon Smith

In any business there’s always one piece of work that really stands out, defines the business and becomes something to be really proud of.  At motive8, one such project is Dormy House Hotel.

We were approached by the Dormy House Hotel with a view to creating a multi-use gym. However, this wasn’t a straightforward gym install as they wanted the space to be used not only by hotel guests but also by external members.

In our initial conversations with Dormy House, the concept of opening a member’s club (let alone a boutique hotel gym) was relatively new. Fitness facilities were usually something only big hotel chains provided, which were mainly carpeted rooms with a TV and a treadmill. 

Dormy House wanted to change this perception.

It was clear we were working with forward-thinking people who wanted to transform a boutique hotel into a luxury gym and spa experience for the perfect weekend getaway or short break.  

The challenge

Dormy House wanted a state-of-the-art gym that reflected its high-end positioning. However, at that time, the gym was in the original part of the building, which is made up of a collection of converted barns, outhouses and farmhouses.  

As is the case with old buildings, space was an issue. This was certainly the case with the gym as it didn’t have the room or capacity to become a multipurpose workout space. 

Additionally, they wanted to provide personal training services, so the gym needed to have the right facilities for bespoke training sessions, but also equipment for people who were just having a daily workout.  

The other aspect of this project was working alongside other contractors on the project, such as leading spa designers, Howard Spa consulting. The most important element of any project with numerous partners is communication, which meant we all needed to have a joined-up approach to ensure successful outcomes.  

The space

The team at Dormy House quickly realised the challenges they faced. The desire to be a leading spa hotel, combined with concerns around space, led them to the conclusion that they needed to build a new spa and fitness facility.  

As a result, the hotel would have two gyms; one in the original building for personal training sessions, and an additional new, state-of-the-art facility to support members and guests alike. 

When it comes to installing a gym, it’s more usual to be brought in when a build is complete. However, the challenge with that is if there are any internal fixings or adjustments required, there is more upfront investment needed to get the space gym-ready. 

What was so innovative about the Dormy House project is that the team got us involved at the planning and development stage of the process. This meant we were able to outline our requirements – and map out the best gym design for the space – right from the start.  

Nick Sadler, MD, M8Group says:

‘Being involved in the Dormy build at such an early stage made all the difference. It meant we were able to get the best framework in place to create a gym worthy of its luxury status.’ 

Howard Spa Consulting were also brought in at the early planning stages so we were all able to collaborate from the get-go. This worked really well and helped with the smooth running of the project. 

Staffing and recruitment  

Not only were we involved in the gym design and installation, but we were also responsible for recruitment and staffing. 

As personal training was to be a key selling point to guests and members, we needed to find the best people with the right experience. We also had to find trained staff to run and maintain the gym space. 

A hotel gym takes a slightly different approach from mainstream or corporate gyms in that the facility is more likely to be used around the clock. As guests have more free time when on a break, they can work out at whatever time they choose. Unlike a local gym, which is more likely to be busy before and at the end of a working day.  

This meant that Dormy House had to have enough staff to ensure guest access 24/7. Not only that, but the Personal Trainers had to meet the standards and ethos of the gym. However, as the hotel is located in The Cotswolds, which is a rural area, finding the right staff with the necessary qualifications add a layer of complexity to the process.  

We supported the hotel throughout the recruitment process by holding interviews and managing the selection process. Not only that, but we also took care of staff training to ensure every employee was ready to offer the best possible service to guests and members. 

‘It’s testament to our strong relationship with Dormy House that they trusted us to recruit and select the right staff for their business. Even in a rural area, we could deliver what the client needed.’  


Dormy House has won numerous awards for its gym and spa facilities, including: 

  • Hotel of the Year, The AA 
  • Best Destination Hotel, Conde Nast  
  • Best Spa Hotel, Mr and Mrs Smith.  

We also continue to work with the hotel to ensure all equipment and gym facilities are up to the standards of its well-earned reputation. 

When it comes to hotels, being involved in the planning stages as early as possible means we can create the best gym for guests’ needs. An outstanding space is more than just a few pieces of cardio equipment, it’s about planning, light, flooring and functionality. 

Why not drop us a line and find out how we can help transform your hotel gym?