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Grand's rebirth is trip down memory lane for director

David Taylor reminisces about time with historic city centre hotel in 1990s as his company Principal signs deal to relaunch the venue

The resurrection of the Grand Hotel in Birmingham after almost two decades out of action will be a trip down memory lane for one company director.

David Taylor, from Stourbridge, started his life-long career in hotels at the city's Hyatt Regency in Broad Street shortly after it opened in the early 1990s.

He was then persuaded to work at the famous building in Colmore Row but admits the Grade II* site was starting to show its age at that time.

Mr Taylor is now chief operating officer of Principal, the company which specialises in developing and running hotels in landmark city centre buildings and which last week announced it had agreed to launch in The Grand.

He said: "I've always been in this business and my first job was as a bell boy and trainee at weekends at the Hyatt Regency.

"But then the manager at the Grand Hotel tempted me to join them so I worked there as a night manager however by the mid-1990s the building had seen better days.

A Principal hotel will open at The Grand in 2019
A Principal hotel will open at The Grand in 2019

"It was part of the Queens Moat House chain while I worked there but there's not much left of that group these days.

"As a company, we're delighted to be bringing The Grand back to life but selfishly it's great to be coming home."

The Grand was developed by the Horton Family between 1879 and 1895 and contained shops, offices and the Grand Hotel which the family ran until 1969.

The hotel was subsequently managed by a number of operators until it closed in 2002 since when it has lain untouched until Hortons' Estate embarked on a major programme of renovation eight years ago.

Rebranded as 'The Grand', it now sports new office space, retailers, cocktail bar The Alchemist and restaurant Gusto, making Principal hotel the final piece in the restoration jigsaw.

The new hotel will have 180 bedrooms, one of which will be a penthouse, banqueting hall and conference facilities, including the historic Grosvenor Suite, while its bar, restaurant, spa and roof-top infinity pool - a city first - will be open to non-guests as well.

It is due to open in early 2019.

David Taylor, chief operating officer of hotel company Principal
David Taylor, chief operating officer of hotel company Principal

Mr Taylor added: "What we're looking to do is create great hotels which are local at heart as the majority are developed in iconic buildings.

"We were looking at what was out there in Birmingham when we were introduced to Hortons' Estate.

"We're not after 'cookie cutter' buildings so The Grand had everything we were looking for when identifying a new hotel.

"Given the huge amount of regeneration taking place in Birmingham, it's always been a place we were looking at.

"This now allows us to work with Hortons' Estate to deliver what they want the property to be. We are really excited."

Mr Taylor said he expected "hundreds of jobs" to be created by the new venture and over the coming months Principal would work on the details of its restaurant and bar offer and whether to run them in house or bring in external operators.

Principal is part of the wider Principal Hotel Company, which also owns the De Vere brand, and has hotels in Manchester and London among others.

A series of new openings is planned over the coming year in a £250 million investment programme.

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