The art deco Midland Hotel in Morecambe opened its doors to guests yesterday following an £11m refurbishment by developer Urban Splash.
Strong public interest in the redevelopment of the 44-bedroom hotel overlooking Morecambe Bay and the Lake District was reflected in advanced bookings which topped £500,000, the developer said.
Guests at the Midland Hotel can choose from eight different types of rooms, including six roof top suites, two of which have their own private terraces and with the executive penthouse containing an external hot tub.
Influential 20th Century sculptor, Eric Gill, produced several works of art for the hotel when it first opened in the 1930s. His famous seahorses have been restored and one of his largest surviving works, a Portland Stone relief featuring Odysseus and Naucsica symbolising hospitality, has been returned to its original position in the hotel lobby.
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"The Midland Hotel is a much loved building, it's been a joy to work with it," said Olivier Delaunoy, operations director of the Midland Hotel. "There's been a huge amount of anticipation locally, nationally and internationally for the hotel to reopen. We're thrilled to be able to meet that anticipation today and open her beautiful glass front doors once again."
The Grade II*-listed building was once a favourite haunt of icons like Coco Chanel, Wallace Simpson and Lawrence Olivier but the hotel eventually closed in 1998 and fell into dereliction.
Architects Union North and restorative architectural consultants Avanti Architects led the design team on the project. The redevelopment was supported by the North West Development Agency, Lancaster City Council, Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage.
"The Midland Hotel was long an icon of the Northwest coast and we are delighted to see it brought back to its former glory," added James Berresford, director of tourism at the NWDA. "The redevelopment of the Midland is a crucial part of the masterplan to breathe new life into Morecambe and we hope it will be a major catalyst for further investment in the area."
An application for a mixed-use development on the area adjacent to the Midland Hotel has been submitted by Urban Splash and is currently being finalised. It is anticipated the site will be delivered in four phases, completing in 2015.