The Wildes Group has announced plans to open the first-ever private members’ club in Chester, having taken out a long-term lease on the Grade I listed Booth Mansion building. Located in the city’s Watergate Street, the historic building will be transformed into ‘W’, an exclusive private members’ club, complete with a casino, cinema screening room, and a private meeting room.
If everything goes according to schedule, W is expected to open in late summer 2022.
Included in the English Heritage Archive, Booth Mansion dates back to 1700 and contains a section of Chester’s historic ‘Rows’. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a Grade I listed building and has housed many businesses over the years, including a Sotheby’s auction gallery. Other Northern cities such as Sheffield have led the way by giving a new lease of life to the historic Leah’s Yard, as creative business spaces, but a private members’ club is an unusual choice. Such establishments are usually the provision of London establishments. There are some private members clubs in the countryside, but few in small cities, particularly in the North. The plans would cement Chester’s reputation as a destination for high-end hospitality.
Paul Wildes, CEO of The Wildes Group, said: “I am very pleased to finally announce plans for W.
“We feel Chester is crying out for a premium venue for like-minded individuals to not only connect and share ideas but to relax, rewind and escape the city.
The move follows The Wildes Group 2020 announcement of plans to turn the Grade II listed building opposite Booth Mansion into ‘Wildes Chester’, a boutique hotel, luxury spa, fine-dining restaurant and casino. The establishment is set to open in July 2022.
Wildes continued: “Just opposite our 5* hotel, Wildes Chester, W is set to compliment the hotel offer and make a stay in the city one to remember, through excellent food and drinks, premium facilities, and unrivalled service, whatever the occasion.
“With Chester’s hospitality scene going from strength to strength, we can’t wait to add another facet to the city and put Chester truly on the map.”
So, how will Chester respond to W? The feeling is that W is likely to be well-received as the emphasis on exclusivity is already high on Chesterians’ priorities in terms of casino gaming. Many Chester residents enjoy the exclusivity of playing the best online slots, like Immortal Romance and Book of the Dead privately, at their convenience. Therefore, there is an expectation of a matched variety of games and to be available at any time, which the W may struggle to deliver on. However, members could still enjoy a great casino experience in the heart of their city. A cutting-edge gym and a cocktail bar are also included in the plans and are sure to please locals and visitors alike.
W’s interiors are set to be designed by multi-award-winning design consultancy SpaceInvader, with a brief of creating ‘modern luxury’ yet remaining ‘sensitive’ to the building’s historical status and features. The planning application will be submitted by Chester conservation architects Donald Insall Associates. The company was responsible for the reroofing of Bodley’s Court at King’s College Cambridge and restoring the interior of the Church of St Luke on Berry Street in Liverpool, which was destroyed during the Liverpool Blitz in 1941.