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As we prepare to celebrate 15 years of The Grove this month, we spoke to our designer Martin Hulbert, who individually-sourced most of the features you see around the hotel today. He reveals below five of his design secrets for you to keep an eye out for on your next visit:

Key artwork at The Grove hotel, Hertfordshire

1. Keys

There are over 300 keys hanging on the wall behind the main reception, which were sourced from three different countries; the UK, France and Italy. We visited a huge range of antique dealers as we were gathering pieces for the hotel, and asked each one if they had any old keys that we could take. Many of them were happy to give these to us, and we ended with a huge selection.

The Grove Hotel lobby

2. Horse Sculpture

The horse sculpture in the lobby was commissioned as a nod to the late George Stubbs. He was a celebrated English artist, best known for his paintings of horses, who loved to paint here at The Grove when it belonged to the first Earl of Clarendon in the 18th Century. It was created by Powderhall Bronze foundry in Edinburgh.

Chandalier at The Grove hotel, Hertfordshire

3. Chandelier

I designed the chandelier above the staircase in the Mansion, and the inspiration was taken from the design of an egg whisk – which I still have today. It is made of polished steel.

Artwork at The Grove hotel, Hertfordshire

4. Blue Crystal Wall Hanging

There is a blue crystal wall hanging outside the second Lounge, which was created by the inventor of the floating candles in the Harry Potter films. It was originally made as a prototype of a wizard’s cloak, and we requested that it became a feature within the Mansion house.

Giraffe feature at The Grove hotel, Hertfordshire

5. Giraffes

If you look carefully, there are seven giraffes of all different sizes dotted around the hotel – and this was inspired by my visit to South Africa in 2001. One of the most eye-catching features on the Mansion’s staircase wall. An image a London Zoo giraffe was superimposed onto an image of the interior of Richmond Observatory to create a striking five-metre wall hanging.

Click here to find out more about the design and history of The Grove.

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