A Ziggurat is an ancient stepped temple
Built by the Babylonians, Mayans and Aztecs - Ziggurats were sacred sites where the community came together to give gifts to their gods. The temples were characterised by the steps leading up to the shrine at the peak. The lengthy tower of steps were meant to link heaven and earth - and bring mortals physically closer to their deities.
Guernsey's historic Constitution steps
Ziggurat is situated half way up the historic Constitution Steps. Whilst renovating the hotel - which was previously a B&B called 'Sunnycroft' - we decided to rename it. In reference to the many steps leading up to the front door we chose to call the new hotel 'Ziggurat'. When you climb them yourself you will understand why...
We built Ziggurat with love
Ziggurat was a passion project, there is no doubt about that.
The hotel - bought as Sunnycroft 10 years ago - was and is owned by Derek Coates. Whilst in a dynamic and creative relationship with Genevieve Langford they jointly decided to close the hotel in order to give it a facelift. What started out as 'a lick of paint' gradually became a complete overhaul. The strip out itself was a mammoth task. Electricians thought their work would be easier if there were no walls - and plumbers thought their work would be easier if there were no ceilings....so....
In 2014 we started building
Once down to a shell, we set to work with a host of ideas and the incredibly talented Filipe leading the re-build. The design was a true team project - Derek leading on business skills and concept, Genevieve on colours and interiors, and Filipe using his 3D spatial brain and building skills to tell us how everything could actually be done. We even pulled in Derek's very talented first wife Jane - an artist - who sculpted our Goddess Ishtar from scratch, laid out on the ping pong table at the house whilst in creation.
In 2014 & 2015, in between travelling the world, we gradually built Ziggurat...
In late 2015 we opened
Throughout 2015 Genevieve project managed the renovation, making it a much more personal and low-cost process than it would have been had we used a professional build company. With a small team of skilled tradesmen led by Filipe - who still lives on site as our maintenance manager - the team worked with passion, music and laughter.
The location added an extra challenge, with all materials needing to be brought down the steps, through the neighbours garden and then down a scaffold staircase or slide we had constructed specifically for the process of bringing in materials.
At the very end of the year, after a whole year of construction - and the arrival and training of a new team -we tentatively opened the doors to our first guests.
In 2016 we worked hard
A whole different set of creative and logistical skills were required for the actual running of the hotel as we embarked on cementing the team, improving systems and building a restaurant offering. With Derek's background in running companies and Genevieve's phenomenal organising skills everything came together in an amazing way and we began trading in earnest at the beginning of 2016.
Since that day the whole experience has been a whirlwind of activity and learning. Not always easy, certainly lots of unforeseen challenges, but incredibly rewarding - and always with lots of laughter.
In 2017 we honed our offer
After all of the lessons learnt in 2016 we were able to really hone our offer, our team and our services - and to thoroughly enjoying giving a wonderful very personal service. With the hotel led by Genevieve and Paul Hanson - our young and energetic General Manager - the team have been trained, cajoled and whipped into shape. In between answering phones, welcoming guests, cooking tagines and decorating sheds we still made time for plenty of Ziggurat BBQs and parties. A very fun time.
We feel very proud of what has been achieved in a relatively short amount of time. We have established a successful new business, had a busy summer of 90% occupancy and hosted a lot of very happy visitors to the island who have promised to return.
Not bad for a brand new venture!