LIVERPOOL’S up-market Malmaison Hotel is to spend £200,000 on a bar refurbishment project as it reveals a rise in room occupancy and revenues.
And, in an interview with Post Business, Malmaison chief executive Gary Davis reassured customers that the group was trading normally, despite a major shareholder collapsing into administration last week.
On Friday, MWB Group called in administrators after its part-owned subsidiary, MWB Business Exchange, withdrew repayments on a £4.8m loan.
However, Mr Davis insists the Malmaison business, which also includes the Hotel Du Vin chain, was in good health and was trading normally.
The Liverpool Malmaison, which has 120 rooms, is located in Princes Dock, near the city’s waterfront.
It opened in 2007 but for the whole of last year it was covered in scaffolding after its £2.5m exterior stonework started to come loose.
The hotel remained open while work was carried out, but Mr Davis admitted it did hit trade.
He said: “To be honest, while the scaffolding was up, it did look a bit of an eyesore and did hold us back a bit.”
Work was completed at the end of last year and Mr Davis says this year so far the Malmaison has seen occupancy rise 5% year-on-year with revenues up 7%.
And he added that the company now planned to build on that recovery by investing £200,000 in a new bar area which will include a revamp of the existing Plum Bar and adding another bar on the outside terrace.
“At the moment, there isn’t an actual bar where people can get served – just a glass box,” he said.
“We are going to put a long bar in there – which I think many people prefer – and we will open it out onto the terrace and put another bar there.
“Liverpool is a great social place and the current bar design is restricting our business at the moment.
“We will be starting work on that in January.”
Mr Davis says the hotel is now seeing a good mix of people staying for both business and leisure.
He added: “It has become very popular midweek with business people.
“I think they like that the hotel doesn’t feel too corporate.
“Liverpool is one of the highest in the UK for occupancy.”
He also said event bookings for 2013 were already double those for this year.
The group currently comprises 12 Malmaisons and 14 Hotel Du Vins.