Thorpe Park hopes to extend the lifespan of its temporary Crash Pad on-site hotel, keeping it in place until 2024 and rebuilding it with a new custom design.
The Crash Pad was installed by specialist firm Snoozebox for the 2013 season, and currently boasts a total of 58 rooms, each sleeping up to 4 guests. Each bedroom is housed inside a recycled ISO shopping container, and features an en-suite wet room.
In its application to Runnymede Borough Council, Thorpe Park reveals that it plans to add 50 new rooms to the existing Crash Pad imminently. However, it goes on to state that it plans to break ties with Snoozebox, and replace the current set-up with its own, newly-designed shipping container rooms in the longer term. It has asked the council to extend the temporary planning consent for the Crash Pad from its current end date of February 2016 until February 2024, as well as permitting an expansion to 184 bedrooms.
The park has previously applied for planning permission to install a 250-bedroom themed hotel with an associated health spa and conference centre, at a cost of £31-33 million. It has recently made some minor amendments to this application, but the bid to retain the Crash Pad indicates that the hotel is not likely to open for some years. Indeed, the park states that the Crash Pad will be retained to "test demand for the hotel", as well as in response to positive occupancy rates.
If and when construction does go ahead, Thorpe Park no longer plans to build all 250 rooms of the hotel in the first phase. Instead, it will initially install just 150 bedrooms and associated facilities, with the remainder being added subject to demand and economic viability.
Though its relationship with Snoozebox has clearly soured, Thorpe Park praises the impact of the Snoozebox in its latest application, stating: "The accommodation concept, using recycled containers, has proven to be popular with members of the public and has a novelty attraction given its proximity to the theme park rides and its room design and theming."
Of the design to go it alone with the next phase of development, the park says: "Given Thorpe Park's marketing and branding approach, and the staff they have employed on site, it has been agreed that the management of The Crash Pad, and the monitoring of room occupancy and customer feedback, can be more easily undertaken by Thorpe Park alone without the involvement of a third party."
"There have also been some operational issues which have arisen due to the design characteristics associated with the very temporary nature of Snoozebox. For example, it was designed to be on sites for weeks at a time rather than months/years and does not allow for interconnectivity between rooms due to the thick steel containers walls, or a variety of room layouts to cater to all types
of guests (hence why Thorpe Park is now proposing a modular building). Both of these issues have been raised in feedback from Thorpe Park’s customers."
The cost of installing the upgraded and expanded Crash Pad is expected to be up to £9 million. The park claims that this can only be justified if permission is granted to retain the accommodation for at least 10 years.