Absolutely Cornish collab creates the first ever socially distanced restaurant.
Whilst many in the hotel and hospitality industry grappled with the challenge of converting their facilities to accommodate complex social distancing requirements, Cornwall’s St Moritz Hotel & Spa briefed the creative collaboration of Absolute and Excess Energy Communications to create the ultimate hospitality COVID ‘bounceback.’ Working collectively across the brand, interior, graphic design, creative communications and PR needs, together, the agencies created and launched the UK’s first purpose-designed and built ‘socially distanced’ hotel restaurant in four weeks.
The brainchild of the hotel’s founders Hugh and Steve Ridgway, with the design and interior styling led by Absolute’s Creative Director Helen Stephens, the new summer restaurant not only surpasses the Government requirements on safe and socially distanced dining, it optimises them at every turn, providing a new and exclusive private dining experience for individuals, couples and groups at St Moritz Hotel & Spa, situated near Rock.
Nicknamed ‘The Anti-Social Club’, the new dining concept consists of 16 private dining rooms, with a maximum of 96 covers. Mixing the elements of private members clubs, private dining rooms, cool beach clubs and summer pop-up restaurants, The Anti-Social Club features multiple dining times, clear guidance and exacting operating procedures that ensure the 2 metre rule and new environmental health requirements are met at all times. All guests enter by their own private door, and shared platters are served from a series of central hatches ensuring the safety of both guests and the staff at the restaurant.
Multi-award-winning Cornish agency Absolute, who provided the original interior and graphic design for the area’s ultimate style hotel, also created the full brand experience for The Anti-Social Club. Taking its inspiration from the clean, white art deco architecture of the hotel, mixing in a modern and refreshing Miami colour-pop palette with classic coastal stripes, textures and flourishes, the pop-up restaurant achieves its aim of proving that ‘safe doesn’t need to mean boring.’ The Absolute interiors team have mixed palm-inspired pot plants on slick white or vintage dressers, hat stands sporting ribbon bedecked panamas, shell chandeliers and a mix of retro and art deco-inspired mirrors.
The brand identity and unique summer-inspired artwork, all designed to complement the eight differently coloured and named, ‘North’ and ‘South Shore’ situated private dining rooms, all works in concert, heeding the hotel’s contemporary art deco styling and Miami-infused attitude.
Excess Energy Communications, led by Founder and Director Rhona Gardiner, honed an appropriately irreverent brand copy style providing a set of straplines, house rules and marcomms that heeded all the important requirements of the ‘C-word’, infused with a sense of humour and holiday fun. This styling has been synergised across all platforms providing a direct marketing, social media and PR campaign and launch that has fired the interest of media across the globe, as well as inspired glowing reviews from key newspapers such as The Sunday Times whose headline proclaimed: “This restaurant is spectacularly anti‑social — and I love it.”
St Moritz Hotel & Spa Co-owner Hugh Ridgway says: “COVID-19 stopped the industry in its tracks. Like all hotels, bars and restaurants across the globe, the virus has hit our business like an unbelievable sledgehammer. However, as ever, we have dusted ourselves off, collaborated with our long-term creative partners Absolute and Excess Energy Communications, and have risen to this unpredictable challenge in our own creative, St Moritz way. We have been working with ‘Absolute Excess’ since the hotel was born and, as ever, they brought their collaborative creativity to our idea, and took it all to a whole new level.”
Hugh continues, “Our specially-designed summer ‘pop-up’ restaurant, overcomes all obstacles, adding to, rather than detracting from, our stylish, VIP guest experience, and the brand quirks, interior styling and creative attitude across the piece is drawing ongoing compliments from our guests who are so happy to be able to go ‘out-out’ once again. And our key objective of filling our hotel rooms across this crucial trading period has been swiftly met.”
Absolute’s Creative Director Helen Stephens says: “Working on this project during lockdown was obviously challenging and the four week timescale, from the birth of the idea, to full media launch and operation was tight to say the least. Thanks to numerous Zoom sessions, online presentations and our mutual dynamic and fast turnaround collaborative attitude with Excess Energy, we rose to the challenge, working quickly to ensure everything was in place to design the interiors, furnish it and complete the unique new experience. Working on a pioneering, positive, truly beautiful ‘bounceback’ project has been rewarding in every way possible, bringing the required ‘hard economic’ results as well as a whole new brand experience, and exciting refreshed proposition, for the invaluable guests at the St Moritz Hotel & Spa.”