Thorpe Park has applied for planning permission to install temporary on-site accommodation in time for the 2013 season, ahead of the construction of a permanent hotel.
In documents submitted to Runnymedge Borough Council, the park outlines a proposal to install container-style bedrooms provided by UK-based portable accommodation specialist Snoozebox.
If the plan is approved, then Snoozebox will install a total of 117 bedrooms on a site close to the park's entrance bridge, which will be highly visible to guests at the park. Each bedroom will be housed inside a recycled ISO shipping container, and will feature an en-suite wetroom. The containers will be arranged in two rows, with a central walkway between them, with each row featuring a maximum height of two containers (which are designed to be stacked on top of each other).
The temporary hotel will be very similar to those provided at this year's Diamond Jubilee Pageant in Windsor, as well as the Isle of Man TT races and the British Grand Prix. It will also feature two "motherships" (plant rooms) and a container that will act as the hotel's reception. Along with the rooms, these will be painted grey. A temporary boardwalk will link the site to the park's entrance bridge.
Each of the Snoozebox rooms will host a double bed and two bunks beds, along with a TV and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. Guests will be able to access the site and the rooms using a key card.
In June 2011, Thorpe Park received planning consent to install a much larger, 250-room permanent hotel on the site of a plant run by building materials firm CEMEX that was in place during the park's previous life as a quarry. The park submitted an adjusted plan in November 2011, and it cites delays in the approval of this as one reason for the move to install the temporary accommodation.
Thorpe Park also claims that installing the Snoozebox rooms will allow it to test demand for an on-site hotel before it begins full construction of the permanent hotel in late 2013 or early 2014. Sister parks Alton Towers, LEGOLAND Windsor and Chessington World of Adventures have all successfully opened hotels in recent years. If its revised plans are approved, the park hopes to open the hotel in 2015 or 2016, and to keep the Snoozebox rooms in place until then.
The site of the Snoozebox rooms is one of two identified as potential locations for a new roller coaster for the 2015 season. Thorpe Park's assertion that the temporary hotel will remain in place until 2016 suggests that the other site, on an island close to the recently-opened The Swarm coaster, is the park's preferred option for the coaster.
According to its planning documents, Thorpe Park hopes that the addition of a hotel will enable it to extend its operating season. While much of the park is likely to continue to close during the winter, the restaurants in the park's dome and other select attractions may switch to year-round operations in order to support the hotel.