Nestled in a nook off Colmore Row in the centre of Birmingham is the resplendent and historic Grand Hotel. Seeped in old school glamour this iconic Grade II listed building has been given a new lease of life. Originally built in 1879, the hotel has hosted glitterati and heads of state. In its heyday guests included King George VI, Charlie Chaplin, Malcom X and Winston Churchill. By 2002 it had lost its sparkle and closed its doors. Step in Robert Angell International, who for the past 18 years have been working behind the scenes to deliver a £50 million restoration and refurbishment. 45,000 man hours later and the results are astonishing. The Grand Birmingham is the city’s jewel in the crown.
The hotel has retained a mix of French Renaissance, Victorian and Art Deco features, while successfully juxtaposing modern artwork and design features. The magnificent grand staircase sweeps through the centre of the building while fabulous chandeliers and mosaic tiles add to the style and character.
The service is friendly, upon arrival I’m greeted by front of house and reception staff who show me to my room and give me the low down on the facilities. The team are passionate and knowledgeable about the hotel and its history.
Bedrooms are light and airy, styled in muted cream, brown and black with views overlooking St Phillips Cathedral. The vintage phone and mirrored headboard add a retro splash to what essentially feels like a contemporary space.
Madeleine is perfect for cocktails and pre-dinner drinks. Dark panelling flanks the walls, large arched windows and twinkly bauble chandeliers add to the intimate atmosphere. Soft, velvet sofas and chairs are scattered around the bar area. Punches of ruby red, pastel pink and navy accents give it a luxurious chic vibe. Across one side of the room is a full-length bar, serving small plates and an extensive choice of cocktails. I tried the Madeleine Martini, a raspberry and pineapple alternative to the classic. It comes with what looks like a bubble bath topping and is totally Instagramable.
Downstairs is basement brasserie, Isaacs, the hotel’s New York style eatery. Green and white tiled walls surround leather diner style booths and tables. There’s a buzzing atmosphere as guests tuck into classic American dishes. The menu features fresh seafood, steaks and Stateside staples like ribs, hot dogs, cod and grits. Breakfast is served here and there’s an extensive choice of buffet options, eggs or for the hungrier a full English.
The secret garden courtyard on the ground floor is a hidden gem. Cute fairy lights and climber plants give it a roof top bar feel and I can tell that this area will be a big hit with guests in the summer.
The hotel is in the heart of the city, just a short walk from New Street Station and the Bullring shopping centre making it a great base for anyone looking to explore the UK’s second city. Host of this summer’s Commonwealth Games and home to some fabulous bars and restaurants, Birmingham and The Grand are well worth a visit.
Rooms start at £129 per night, visit The Grand Birmingham