Hotel facilities in and around the NEC and Birmingham International Airport complex are being improved ahead of a proposed £90 million leisure development at the exhibition centre.
A £12 million upgrade is being carried out at the Hilton Metropole at the NEC, while new budget hotels have opened at the airport itself and Premier Inns has announced details of a new 123-bedroom motel in Solihull.
The NEC scheme, being developed by leisure group Genting Stanley, comprises a casino, a hotel and spa, bars and restaurants. Together with the improvements to the LG Arena, the development is expected to provide a much greater service.
The investment in the Metropole, the largest conference hotel outside of London, has seen more than 500 of its 790 bedrooms refurbished with its meetings and conference facilities also given a facelift.
Refurbishment work has also included a £1.75 million facelift to the hotel’s executive lounge and executive bedrooms.
The improvements have also seen the appointment of a new general manager, Patrick Stapleton, who was previously in charge at Hilton’s two Northern Ireland properties, Hilton Belfast and Hilton Templepatrick.
He said: “Since it first opened [in 1975] the hotel has been a vital element of Birmingham’s business and leisure offer – the refurbishment has ensured the hotel maintains a level of quality our guests have come to rely on.
“The region has recently enjoyed something of a renaissance and the investment in the hotel highlights our commitment.”
The improvements are warranted due to the increasing number of visitors now being attracted to Birmingham.
Figures released earlier this year by Marketing Birmingham showed that 31.9 million people visited Birmingham in 2007 for leisure,
At the opposite end of the spectrum from the Metropole, the Accor hotel group has opened an Ibis and Etap hotel at the airport.
Joining the already established Novotel, the new Ibis and Etap hotels are conveniently located opposite Terminals 1 and 2 and offer budget accommodation for business and leisure travellers.
All three hotels are linked to Birmingham International railway station and the NEC by a free Air Rail link.
The new Ibis Birmingham International Airport has 162 rooms and offers a full range of hotel services at affordable rates, including a 24-hour reception and an ‘Around the Clock’ snack menu.
Its sister hotel, the Etap Hotel Birmingham International Airport is designed as a low-cost no-frills facility.
BIA business development director Peter Vella, said: “Birmingham is a growing airport which serves the needs of a wide mix of travellers .
“By extending the partnership with Accor and developing the new Ibis and Etap hotels, we can provide comfortable and affordable accommodations.
“Having been partners with Accor since 1991 through the on-site Novotel brand, we are confident that the team will make this extended offer a success and continue to provide travellers with comfortable and welcoming accommodation at great value for money.”
Outside of the main complex but still within easy travelling distance, Premier is hoping that its £6 million investment in a new motel will pay dividends.
The facility, which is proposed for a site on Station Road, behind the shops next to Lode Lane car park, will create between 40-50 jobs.
Mark Rogers, acquisition surveyor for parent company Whitbread, said: “We see Solihull as a great location for us and a place where we can build a strong future.”
The new hotel is intended to cater for a growing number of visitors to Solihull, which has improved since the opening of the new Touchwood shopping centre three years ago.