Skip to main content
17 Jun 2024

The Hotelier Edit: Chris Eigelaar, Resort Director, The Belfry

The Hotelier Edit: Chris Eigelaar, Resort Director, The Belfry

The Independent Hotel Show sits down with Chris Eigelaar, Resort Director at The Belfry Hotel & Resort, to learn more about the details of the hotel's ambitious development project and his ambitions as Chair of The Institute of Hospitality Midlands. 

Chris Belfry

What has prompted the launch of this development project?

Birmingham is now the biggest centre for business events outside of London. Last year, we turned away business due to capacity, so we know there is demand for a dynamic, large-scale events space in the Midlands. The Masters Suite addresses this need with ingenuity, creativity, and expertise, to support the regional economy and the billions of pounds business events bring to it each year, and to play an active role in levelling up so the Midlands receives the support, investment and recognition it deserves.

We are also always striving to ensure our guests have an experience like no other. This means consistently evaluating and enhancing our transient leisure offering to ensure it is second-to-none and that is exceeds guest expectations.

We are extremely proud of the leading role we play in serving the needs of the West Midlands and will continue to champion the region by investing in its economy, its people, and its future.

What are some of the key aims of the work?

This work is a passion project for the whole team – it is the culmination of years of careful planning, boundless ambition and relentless hard work, and we are beyond excited to see it finally coming to fruition.

Our aims start with our guests; they are the foundation of our business and at the heart of every decision we make.  Above all, their enjoyment is paramount to us.

Increasing our event space capacity is central to this. The Masters Suite will be our largest event venue at 852 sqm and, with a capacity for 648 guests for banqueting and 920 delegates in total, it will enable us to host events on a scale we haven’t previously been able to accommodate.

Located in the heart of England, with excellent transport links and more than 90% of the country’s population within a four-hour travel time, we are a draw for international event professionals too. Indeed, the West Midlands welcomed a record-breaking 141.2 million tourists last year and, with the region’s vibrant cultural mix and welcoming persona, it’s not hard to see why.  The Masters Suite, which includes 149 bedrooms, will further enhance the region’s dynamic meetings and events offering, and cement The Belfry’s status as one of the Midlands’ leading event venues.

Bedroom Belfry

Enhancing our leisure offering is also vital to the work. We don’t take our reputation for world-class service and exceptional facilities for granted – we know our guests come to us for an experience like no other and delivering on that is why, alongside the refurbishment of our bedrooms and the redesign of our award winning Brabazon Bar, both of which are already complete, our development plans include a state-of-the-art new Leisure Club with an extensive multiuse sports area, first-class gym facilities, premium studios, a spacious swimming pool and a café.

The development enables us to go above-and-beyond in many different aspects of the guest journey to ensure that, whether looking for an unrivalled fitness experience or an unforgettable culinary encounter, there is something for everyone.

What are some of the major changes/additions that will be included in the renovation?

2024 is an incredibly exciting year for us; it began with the refurbishment of our lobby, bedrooms and Brabazon Bar, and has now progressed to the construction of our flagship events space, The Masters Suite, and stylish new Leisure Club.

Spread across two levels, the ground floor of the Leisure Club will include a large swimming pool with an exhilarating family-friendly slide, a dedicated lap pool, indoor and outdoor hot tubs, and a vibrant café ideal for bringing people together for a post-swim treat, or to indulge in some much-deserved workout refreshments. There are also four premium, glass-fronted studios, perfect for group classes such as yoga, that overlook acres of stunning green space, along with an extensive gym area with cutting-edge facilities. A large, high-ceilinged, multipurpose sports area will also provide the freedom and space visitors need to enjoy expansive sports such as tennis, netball and badminton.

This year will also see the expansion of our 2AA Rosette restaurant, The Ryder Grill, which will increase our capacity by over 150 covers.

We pride ourselves on the unparallelled service we provide for our guests, and my team has been incredibly tenacious in ensuring every aspect of the development is being delivered with imagination, ambition and heart. This development is our commitment to our guests that The Belfry will always deliver an experience like no other, and we can’t wait to show them how the expansion will elevate their time with us.


What are you most looking forward to seeing or using once the work is complete?

I am looking forward to seeing how The Masters Suite is utilised to create events which push the boundaries of what is currently possible and which have the courage, confidence and creativity to bring imagination to life in this one-of-a-kind space.

Seeing the reaction of our guests will make all the hard work worth it and be an unforgettable highlight in what is an incredible future for the resort.

Will this work see a change in the guest demographics visiting the hotel?

With the launch of The Masters Suite, we can’t wait to welcome new guests from a plethora of sectors across the meetings and events industry. From the corporate market to the European market, the incentive market to the international market, and the mini expo market to the associations market, we look forward to working with guests to bring their visions to life and creating events which are truly unique and unforgettable. Taking advantage of the premium, inspiring and extraordinary meetings and events offering The Masters Suite can provide, especially given its abundant capacity for large-scale events such as banquets, we know our flagship events space will not just meet clients’ needs, but also exceed their expectations.

We also anticipate an increase in leisure guests with the unveiling of our new Leisure Club. Alongside the incentive market, we expect families, in particular, will be eager to enjoy new adventures and create fun-filled memories by making the most of the many free activities including the new thrilling family-friendly slide and large swimming pool.

Whether for business or leisure, the development work will further enhance the guest journey at The Belfry and we very much hope the changes demonstrate our commitment to always provide guests with an experience like no other.

Pre Function Belfry

Are there any sustainability aspects to this project that you’d like to share?

As one of the region’s foremost hospitality and events venues, we believe in leading by example. Sustainability is at the forefront of our mind for the long-term future of both our business and our planet as we adapt to its changing needs. The Leisure Club and The Masters Suite are being constructed with the aim of attaining a BREEAM Excellence* rating, a globally recognised building sustainability assessment.

We know a sustainable venue is also something which our guests value as they try to make choices for their lives which support the long-term health of the planet - something they have every right to expect from the businesses they choose to interact with. So, determined to minimise our environmental impact while also incorporating innovative solutions for long-term sustainability, our plans are taking into consideration the following factors:

  • Solar panels
  • Utilising sustainable materials and techniques
  • The overall energy efficiency of the buildings
  • PIR lighting controls
  • Accessibility factors
  • Biodiversity protection
  • BMS monitors for gas/ power/ water/ heating.   

Of course, as a resort, we’ve already adopted a zero waste to landfill policy, and we are committed to working with suppliers on The Masters Suite build who meet our sustainability requirements.

We all know this is a crucial decade for our planet, and I look forward to sharing more of our sustainability journey with you as the development progresses.

Are there any design partners or suppliers who will have a significant role in the project?

Construction experts, VINCI Building, are the masterminds behind the building of The Masters Suite. The national construction company is renowned for its new build, refurbishment and associated fit-out works, and we’re delighted to be working with them. The VINCI team is making fantastic progress and it’s wonderful to see The Masters Suite starting to take shape.

Building specialists, Elliot Group, are constructing the Leisure Club and doing so to the highest standards. Their experience and commitment make them a joy to work with and we couldn’t be happier that this exciting enhancement to our leisure offering is in their capable hands.

We’ve also partnered with Hilary Lancaster, an award-winning interior designer and CEO of Fusion Interiors Group. Hilary has designed the interior of The Masters Suite, and the additional bedrooms. Using nature as her inspiration, she’s endeavoured to bring the outside in and, drawing on the verdant colours of the resort’s surroundings, has utilised soft green tones in The Masters Suite and complemented this with gold accents.

What would you like to achieve in your role as Chair of The Institute of Hospitality Midlands?

I was delighted to be appointed Chair of The Institute of Hospitality Midlands. The IoH is an incredible platform for inspiring innovation and best practise, and I can’t wait to hit the ground running by supporting the committee and engaging with hospitality professionals across the region to further raise the profile of our incredible industry here in the Midlands.

The Independent Hotel Show takes place on 15-16 October at Olympia London. To keep up to date with all the latest news, interviews and industry trends, subscribe to our newsletter



View all News Hub