Plans for the development of a year-round entertainment and leisure destination at Manchester City's Etihad Stadium have been approved. Plans include a new 400-bedroom hotel, a new club shop and museum plus work space. The ambitious plans also feature a sky bar above the stadium’s upper tier with views overlooking the pitch plus a stadium roof walk experience. Main construction works are expected to start this November with the hotel and workspaces completed by late 2026.

The Grade-II listed Old War Office building in central London has been transformed into the UK’s first Raffles branded hotel and is now accepting reservations from 9th October this year. The hotel was originally scheduled to open in 2022. Raffles London at The OWO, operated by Accor, will have 120 bedrooms and suites, nine restaurants, three bars, a spa and health club. Events-wise the hotel will feature the Whitehall Ballroom with a capacity for up to 600 people plus pre-function space and six additional meeting and events suites.

Planning permission is being sought to upgrade the Old Bull Hotel on the High Street in the Cotswold village of Burford – and convert it into a luxury boutique hotel. Plans include 26 bedrooms and 10 suites over several floors. The current restaurant, bar and kitchen is set to be refurbished and the walled garden converted to outdoor dining space. A former boiler house at the rear of the hotel will become a new wellness area. We will monitor developments.

Plans have been submitted to convert a restaurant in Bournemouth into an events venue. If plans are approved the venue at 104 Commercial Road in the centre of town would be converted into workspace plus conference, seminar and meeting space. The ground floor would host business meetings with two workspaces and a general lounge with seminar space and workshops on the first floor. Plans are currently with Bournemouth City Council awaiting approval.

Hilton Hotels are bringing their Tapestry Collection by Hilton brand to Northern Ireland. A two year-long , £11million investment programme starting this September will result in The Marcus Hotel Portrush, Tapestry Collection by Hilton which is planned to open in 2025 in the seaside town of Portrush. It will open with 83 bedrooms plus a café, restaurant and bar.

Apex Hotels has acquired the Pine Trees Hotel in Pitlochry - its first countryside property to add to its eight city centre hotels. The group is planning further expansion into rural locations.

Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa is to undergo a multi-million-pound redevelopment over the next few years prior to becoming a member of Accor’s Fairmont Hotels & Resorts.

Other refurbishment news in brief:

Bovey Castle in Dartmoor has unveiled a new ‘super kitchen’ – The Great Western Grill - as part of a £1.2m investment

Bournemouth West Cliff Hotel has reopened after an £82,000 Bali-themed outdoor refurbishment. The newly renovated garden features an extended outdoor seating space featuring an Indonesian-inspired graffiti mural. This follows a £500,000 investment to refurbish 20 bedroom-suites.

The Holiday Inn Gloucester, has just completed its £3million refurbishment project which has included extensive renovation work on its 125 bedrooms, entrance, outdoor area plus meetings and events spaces. The hotel is situated just off the M5 and two miles from Gloucester city centre.

The Inn Collection has just reopened The Waterhead Inn at Ambleside in the Lake District following a multi-million pound refurbishment.

…and finally, ‘The Times’ is reporting three of London’s grandest hotels – Claridges, the Connaught and the Berkeley are selling more than 1500 fixtures and items at auction. They include bespoke chairs, sofas and tables by leading designers, table lamps and chinaware - some of the items have been in storage for a hundred years and are now surplus to requirements. “With most of the items having no reserve price, some beautiful lots could be sold for much less than they might cost in an antique shop”. Auctions continue next week through NCM Auctions.

A selection of the latest hotel and conference news items this week include:

Plans to extend the Principal York Hotel have been approved. Plans include construction of a new four-storey extension adding 41 bedrooms. A new reception would also be created to link the extension to the existing conference facilities. Conference facilities at the hotel include the main Events Centre seating 400 delegates theatre style with ten additional rooms seating between 20 and 160 delegates theatre style. Principal York Hotel is located in the centre of York opposite York station.

Plans to convert Denton Hall, a Grade I listed stately home near Ilkley in North Yorkshire into a hotel have been approved. Plans would see it become a 28-bedroom hotel, with a restaurant, bar, games room and gym with the former stables and coach house converted into four suites. We will monitor progress.

Apex Hotels have acquired the Pine Trees Hotel, a Scottish country house hotel in Pitlochry.  Set in a Victorian mansion, the Pine Trees Hotel has 29 bedrooms, a restaurant and bar. Apex currently has eight properties in its portfolio including three in Scotland.

1 Hotels, operated by Starwood Capital, is the group’s nature-inspired luxury lifestyle hotel brand. It has just opened its first hotel in London. 1 Hotel Mayfair includes 181 bedrooms and suites, a restaurant, bar and first floor wellness area.  It has been created from two existing buildings and has been designed to reduce CO2 emissions. The hotel features over 500 sq-mt of living green-trellised exterior walls, along with 1300 individual plants and shrubs. The hotel has six meeting and events suites seating between 8 and 80 guests. 1 Hotel Mayfair is located in Berkeley Street overlooking Green Park in central London.

Plans have been approved by Oxford City Council to convert the Odeon Cinema in the city centre into a 145 room aparthotel with community space on the ground floor and apartments on the upper five floors. A 2027 opening date is currently envisaged for the project.

Rochdale Borough Council and Hilton have signed an agreement to open a new Hampton by Hilton hotel in Rochdale’s revamped town centre. The seven-storey property will house 146 bedrooms, a restaurant and a fitness suite. The Hampton by Hilton will be next to the new Rochdale Riverside retail and leisure development.

Development work is expected to start this September at Portrush in Northern Ireland to transform a former hotel and artisan bakery on the site into The Marcus Hotel Portrush - Hilton Hotels’ first Tapestry Collection hotel in Northern Ireland. It will have 83 bedrooms, a café, restaurant and bar. Further details and opening dates to follow.

Plans to build a year-round entertainment and leisure destination at Manchester City Football Club’s Etihad Stadium have been recommended for approval. Plans include a 391-bedroom hotel with conference facilities plus a TV studio, a club shop and museum plus workspace units.

And finally, congratulations to Millennium Point here in Birmingham. The venue has just won ‘Most Versatile Venue’ of its size, for meetings of up to 1000 delegates, at the Conference & Events 2023 Awards.

The latest hotel and conference news this week - in no particular order - includes:

Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa in Bedfordshire is to join Accor's Fairmont brand in the UK but first it will undergo a multi-million-pound redevelopment over the next few years.

Construction work is set to begin on a new 5-star 162-bedroom hotel in Manchester city centre. The hotel will feature in Gary Neville's £400m St Michael's development which is set to transform an underused area of the city into a mixed-use development. The planned 41-storey tower is set to house the hotel together with 217 apartments and additional office space. Completion is not expected before 2027.

A £750k investment at the Holiday Inn London Sutton is now complete. The hotel has just opened its new Open Lobby space which combines reception, lobby, bar, lounge, restaurant and business centre. At the same time, it has converted its old function rooms into 23 new premium bedrooms and created a new meeting room on the ground floor.

Melford Capital Partners has just acquired three adjoining properties in Great Newport Street in London’s West End. The site has planning consent to create a 322 seat theatre plus a 66 bedroom luxury hotel with rooftop bar and pool, restaurant and gallery space. We will monitor developments.

Plans have been approved for Zorca Holdings to refurbish two Grade II-listed properties close to the British Museum in central London into a 74-bedroom hotel with a bar, restaurant and events space with an opening scheduled for late 2024. We will monitor progress.

New owners of Warwick's Wroxall Abbey Hotel have reopened the hotel following its recent closure. The newly refurbished hotel, once the country estate of architect Sir Christopher Wren, has 73 bedrooms, a restaurant and bar, six conference rooms and a patio garden overlooking 27-acre grounds. New plans include the addition of a spa and health club plus a renovation of the Courtyard Building to create an additional 24 bedrooms planned to open by the end of next year.

The Curious Group of Hotels has acquired Drakes Brighton Hotel. Drakes currently has 20 bedrooms, a restaurant and bar plus a meeting room seating up to 20 delegates theatre style. Plans are afoot for a small refurbishment. Curious also operate the Portobello Hotel in London plus hotels in Paris and Amsterdam.

Among all the new venue openings is one closure - Stock Exchange Hotel in Manchester have taken the decision to close their Stock Market Grill from the beginning of July. The hotel will continue to serve breakfast and plan to publish their new F&B concept in due course.

A refurbishment programme has added six new ground floor suites as well as upgrading the The Harrogate Inn’s hospitality space.

Hunday Manor Hotel, a country house hotel just off the A595 near Workington in Cumbria, has new owners with ambitious plans to refurbish the hotel. Currently the hotel has 27 bedrooms, a restaurant, bar plus conference and banqueting rooms for up to 250 delegates all set in four acres of grounds.

Plans have been published to refurbish The Met Hotel in Leeds. Work on the Grade II-listed hotel will include a full internal redecoration with new lighting and heating, creation of a new gym and five new bedrooms taking the total number of rooms to 125.

Staying in Leeds plans to refurbish the Cosmopolitan Hotel in the city centre have been approved. Plans will see the hotel modernised and refurbished with a further 19 bedrooms added bringing the total number of bedrooms to 108.

Finally, close to Leeds in Batley you will find The Crescent & Co. This is a Community Interest Company based in a Grade II-listed building in the centre of Batley. The Company seeks to help combat isolation and loneliness. They hold many events themselves but their range of meeting facilities are also available for hire. They have three meeting rooms including the Secret Room, their largest space, The Library and The Front Room – available for small and large events with a full catering back-up plus on-site parking.

Fresh plans have been submitted for a hotel at the former home of John Lewis in Liverpool city centre. The property comprises more than 153,000 sq ft of floorspace over nine floors. A 175- bedroom hotel under Accor's 'Mama Shelter' banner is planned. Facilities would include a restaurant and bar, leisure facilities plus a roof-level sky bar/restaurant. It would be the brand's first UK location outside London. We will monitor its progress through the planning stages.

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts have teamed up Roadchef, the UK motorway service area operators, to introduce Super 8 in the UK. Super 8 by Wyndham Chester East, located just off the M56 motorway, will have 41 bedrooms in a mix of room sizes plus a restaurant and bar and electric vehicle charging facilities. Super 8 by Wyndham Chester East is the first stage of a multi-million-pound investment by Roadchef to upgrade its roadside hotels across the UK.

Plans have been submitted for a new hotel in Hull. It would be a six-storey building with 116 bedrooms on the site of the former New York Hotel on Anlaby Road. Plans for the new hotel include a bar, lounge and restaurant plus a conference hall. We will monitor developments.

Burnley FC has become the latest football club to join Lime Venue portfolio. The club won promotion from the Championship to the Premier League last season. Burnley Football Club has eleven meeting and events suites at its Turf Moor Stadium with two suites seating up to 150 delegates theatre style. The stadium is located just off the M6/M65 motorways in Lancashire.

Burleigh Court Conference Centre and Hotel, located on Loughborough University’s campus is planning to transform its key business areas. These include a new-look F&B space which will have capacity to host up to 120 guests plus a new-look conference suite to accommodate up to 220 delegates theatre style in a room which can be subdivided into five smaller spaces. A new bar and ‘breakout’ area plus a new-look reception will complete the programme. Work is set to begin January 2024 with completion planned for late summer same year.

Vive Hotel in Hastings had a soft opening this spring and is now planning an official opening in October. The hotel is based in former University of Brighton buildings. It will open with 98 bedrooms, 49 of which are studio rooms for short or long stays and fully equipped with an en-suite shower room, modern kitchenette and desk area. Vive Hotel is located in Havelock Road between Hastings Station and the beach.

IHG is set to launch its first lifecycle net zero carbon hotel in partnership with Zeal Hotels. voco Zeal Exeter Science Park is scheduled to open in 2024. It will include 142 bedrooms and suites, a restaurant, bar, gym, gardens, meeting space and numerous car charging points. voco Zeal Exeter Science Park will be located in Exeter Science Park adjacent to J29 of the M5 motorway and a five-minute drive from Exeter Airport.

Holiday Inn Gloucester has just completed a £3million refurbishment project which has included extensive renovation work on its 125 bedrooms, entrance, outdoor area plus meetings and events spaces. The hotel is situated just off the M5 and two miles from Gloucester city centre.

New owners of Burford Lodge Hotel in Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds have submitted plans to upgrade the hotel from a nine-room guest house to a boutique hotel with a speakeasy bar and an Italian bistro restaurant. Burford Lodge Hotel is located on the A40 between Oxford and Cheltenham. Again we will monitor developments.

Park Regis Hotel located in Broad Street in the centre of Birmingham, has just opened a brand-new terrace, offering a new destination for al-fresco drinks and dining.

Finally, staying in Birmingham, the national tourism agency Visit Britain/Visit England is to relocate its headquarters from London to Birmingham in April 2024 on the basis the city offers "strong international and UK transport links" and a breadth of "local talent" – I wonder if they mean us?.

The latest hotel and conference news items this week, in no particular order, include:

 Mandarin Oriental Group has announced plans to open its third London hotel, on the South Bank, in 2028. Mandarin Oriental Bankside will launch with 171 bedrooms and 70 branded residences together meeting and events spaces, four restaurants, a fitness centre, a 25metre pool and outdoor terraces. Mandarin Oriental Bankside will be centred around the railway arches between the Tate Modern and Blackfriars Station in central London. Mandarin Oriental Bankside will join the five-AA-star Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, which opened in 2000, and the shortly to open Mandarin Oriental Mayfair also in central London.

Drumsheds is a new blank space meeting and events venue which has just opened in a disused industrial warehouse in Tottenham, North London. It is a venue which claims to ‘do things a little bit differently’ Drumsheds has four principal events suites - X Room, the main room, has a capacity of up to 15,000 people. It is a blank canvas space fully equipped with a stage, PA systems, power and rigging. Drumsheds is a ‘place without walls, where nothing is fixed’ and can be used for festivals, large-scale entertainment, private parties, fashion, exhibitions, set builds, filming, photography, product launches and brand activations.

New owners of the former Royal Angus Hotel site in central Birmingham are planning to open a new aparthotel on the site this autumn. Aparthotel Birmingham, located in Snowhill, will include 161 studios, 1 bedroom and 2 bedrooms apartments and suites across nine floors. The operators, Switch Hospitality, already manage the Park Regis Hotel Birmingham, Holiday Inn Express Birmingham South and Nite Nite hotel also in central Birmingham.

Wyboston Lakes Resort in Bedfordshire has just opened a new and very different meeting and events space – ‘Sandpiper Bay’. It is outdoors and beside a lake. Sandpiper Bay will seat up to 200 delegates and can be used for meetings, events or team building events. Sandpiper Bay features covered outdoor seating and five beach huts for meetings plus outside catering options which include an ice cream cart and a Volkswagen Camper serving station. Wyboston Lakes is located on a 380-acre site just off the A1 with good access to the M1 and M11 motorways.

The Glenridding Hotel on the shores of Ullswater in the Lake District will become The Ullswater Inn when it reopens this autumn. The hotel, lying in the shadow of Helvellyn, has been upgraded and improved with the total number of bedrooms increasing from 36 to 57. 

The Birch Selsdon Hotel has just opened in Croydon. It joins its sister hotel, Birch Cheshunt, which opened in Hertfordshire in 2020. The Birch Selsdon is housed in a 19th century mansion located on a 200-acre site, with 181 bedrooms, two restaurants, three bars, a lido, a wellness space, co-working hubs and creative studios offering a range of activities, including a pottery studio, a screen-printing workshop, an interactive kitchen and a screening room. A lido and tennis courts are set to open in the summer.

Singaporean investors, KOP Group, have just opened Montigo Resorts Somerset. Located in the market town of Shepton Mallet, the hotel is on the site of the former Charlton House Hotel and Spa which was a 28- bedroom country house hotel with a spa, three restaurants, and gardens. New owners have refurbished the property with final upgrades to the existing bedrooms expected to be completed by early 2024.

Chesford Grange Hotel in Kenilworth, is undergoing a multi-million pound refurbishment of its meeting and events facilities, due for completion this autumn. The hotel’s main Kenilworth Suite, which seats up to 700 delegates theatre-style, will have a new interior throughout. The majority of bedrooms at Chesford Grange Hotel have already been upgraded. Chesford Grange is set in 17 acres of grounds, minutes away from the Midland’s motorway network with easy access to Warwick, Coventry and Birmingham.

The Caer Rhun Hall Hotel in the Conwy Vally in North Wales is set to reopen, three years after it closed and following a major refurbishment programme. Caer Rhun Hall Hotel is a Grade II-listed three-storey, late-Victorian mansion. It will open with 32 bedrooms, a lounge bar, breakfast room and events space. Future plans will see the hotel grow to 76 bedrooms with a new restaurant and spa also planned.

The Ebrington Hotel & Spa is a new four-star hotel which has just opened overlooking the River Foyle in Derry, Northern Ireland. The hotel has transformed five buildings in a former military base, a site which includes a landmark clocktower. The Ebrington Hotel & Spa has opened with 91 bedrooms, but this is anticipated to rise to over 150 bedrooms. Facilities also include a Ballroom to seat up to 150 guests and a spa.

Wyndham Hotels and Resorts are opening the first Super 8 Hotel in the UK this month. Super 8 by Wyndham Chester East is opening with 41 bedrooms - the building just having undergone a major refurbishment programme. It is located just off junction 14 of the M56 motorway. Super 8 by Wyndham Chester East will offer a variety of room types all equipped with the latest in-room technology. The hotel includes a bar and restaurant, as well as on-site EV charging facilities.

and finally, The Jolly Good Fish & Chip Hotel is a boutique hotel has just opened in Blackpool. It is Britain’s first fish and chip themed hotel. The hotel has just one bedroom and it will not be possible to stay overnight. The hotel is a pop-up from the team at Gala Bingo where guests can enjoy a portion of fish, chips and peas, as well as a complimentary game of bingo – on 8th and 9th July for one weekend only. It is located on Blackpool’s promenade.

Starting in London, The Locke Hospitality group, have just opened Ember Locke in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It is the group’s sixth London hotel. The hotel, formerly NH Kensington Hotel has 121 apartments over eight floors, a restaurant and bar, a stage for live performances, co-working space, a gym and private gardens. It is located in Cromwell Road.

In the North-West, The Hilton Garden Inn at Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester is set to launch a new hotel extension and events space later this year. The hotel will expand its capacity to 250 bedrooms and see the addition of a new events space. Emirates Old Trafford already includes The Point, an event space – which is column-free and has a capacity of up to 1,200. We will advise completion dates when they are published.

A new rooftop terrace from Gino D'Acampo has opened at INNSiDE Liverpool. It is located on the south side of the hotel and running the full-length of the 18th floor with views of the Liverpool skyline and the River Mersey. It features a cocktail bar for 37 guests.

Plans have been submitted to convert the Gordon Way Business Centre on Gordon Street in Southport into a 27-bedroom boutique hotel. The property dates from around 1900 and is located within the Lord Street Conservation Area.  We will monitor developments.

Meanwhile, The Fragrance Group has unveiled plans to build a new four-star, £30 million hotel in Blackpool. The group plan to take over the site of the former St Chad’s Hotel on the Promenade which was demolished earlier this year and build a 184-bedroom hotel in its place. The new hotel will join The Imperial Hotel and Lyndene Hotel as fellow Blackpool hotels in the Fragrance Group portfolio.

Across the Pennines, a consultation has been launched to consider plans for a new hotel in Leeds' Kirkgate Market. The plan would see a row of vacant low-rise buildings on George Street replaced with a 143-bedroom hotel, gym and new commercial units. A full planning application is due for submission in the coming weeks. We will watch this space.

In Birmingham, a new Indo-Persian boutique hotel - The Baloci - is set to open in November, in the place of The Edgbaston which closed last year. The Baloci will have 20 bedrooms, The Zoroaster Bar and Red Bar and Restaurant offering a range of dishes from across the Middle East. It will also feature an Alexander the Great room, featuring the man, his era and his culture. The Baloci is located on the main Hagley Road around two miles from city centre Birmingham.

A restaurant group in Bristol is planning to open a new boutique hotel in the city. The Mary Le Port Hotel will open on the High Street, adjoining St Nick’s Market in a building that has remained empty for nearly ten years. Full details await publication. In the meantime, we are promised nine “opulent boutique hotel rooms” in a “beautifully restored building”.

Owners of the Nici Hotel in Bournemouth are planning to open a second hotel in Southampton reports Boutique Hotelier Magazine. The hotel would be located in Southampton’s Town Quay and would be part of a £200million regeneration plan of the Quay which would also include  new restaurants and a completely overhauled marina. A formal planning application is expected in August.

Luton Hoo Hotel, Golf & Spa in Bedfordshire is about to join Accor's Fairmont brand in the UK. The five-star hotel is set to undergo a multi-million-pound redevelopment over the next few years. The hotel currently has 228 bedrooms across the estate plus Warren Pier, a purpose-built conference venue with extensive grounds and leisure facilities for all manner of team building events.

Finally, THE PIG-at Combe hotel in Devon is launching what it calls ‘stream waggons’. They are ‘beds on wheels’ situated in the valley just under a mile away from the main house offering guests the chance to ‘relish the fresh air, birdsong, and views of this beautiful setting – while still enjoying all the cosiness and comforts of the PIG hospitality’. The wagons are a 15-minute walk to the main house or a pick-up and drop off can be arranged in a PIG Land Rover. They will be opening in mid-July.

If you have scrolled this far down the page you will have a good idea of the services we offer. We simply believe in finding the right venue for the right meeting at the right price - because the venue and the services provided are the most important component of a successful meeting. Ring us today 0121 749 7575