In conversation with Nicolas Roach
Nicolas James Group
Major new developments at Ocean Village are set to make it a destination of choice for city-dwellers and visitors alike.
Exiting plans for a 5 star hotel are set to come to life soon. Nicolas Roach, the Chairman of the operator and developer Nicolas Roach Group, revealed they will start on site, constructing an 85-bed hotel and luxury apartments complex - a total investment of £33m.
The hotel will become part of the group's Harbour Hotels and will be called The Southampton Harbour Hotel and it will have a rooftop version of The Jetty, the award-winning restaurant run by the group's top Michelin chef, Alex Aitken.
A graduate of the University of Southampton, Nicolas explained the city (and particularly Ocean Village) has a fond place in his heart.
"I started my career in Ocean Village at PwC, with an office overlooking the site where the Southampton Harbour Hotel is going to sit.
"Back then it was frustrating being there because it was a great marina but it had no life or vitality.
"Ever since my days of working n Ocean Village 20 years ago, I have hoped the city would have a top end hotel product complete with a world class spa, top quality gym and the city's tallest restaurant and that is what we are going to do," confided Nicolas.
The Nicolas James Group has made clear its ambitions for the hotel side of its business by welcoming Hotel du Vin's Brand Director, Mike Warren, as their new Managing Director.
"His brief is to expand the hotel group and enhance a strong food and beverage-led product," explained Nicolas.
As well as the hotel, 92 apartment will also be built. A proportion will be sold and the rest retained s serviced apartments and lets.
"As part of that complex we have firm agreements for restaurants and an upmarket supermarket store," added Nicolas.
The aim of the Harbour Hotel Group is to create the 10 best coastal hotels in the country.
"We have just opened a flagship property in Salcombe Devon and we are continuing to invest across the group from Christchurch Harbour Hotel to St Ives Harbour Hotel".
"The Southampton hotel will be managed and run by our brand, there will be 30 sq m rooms and a number of suites to provide the city with a really top end hotel product.
"The hotel will be shaped like a ship. I am a keen sailor and I wanted to place something relevant and a flagship in Ocean Village.
"We love creating development buildings and bringing in experts, like Alex Aitken and Mike Warren, to make the most of what I've built," confided Nicholas