New Malmaison hotel could create 100 jobs

AROUND 100 jobs could be created at a new Malmaison hotel in York, which is due to open in 2014, it was confirmed yesterday.

Gary Davis, the chief executive of Malmaison and Hotel du Vin, also revealed that the company was on course to achieve profit and turnover growth, despite the uncertainty caused by the crisis in the eurozone.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that a company which is a shareholder in Malmaison and Hotel du Vin had appointed administrators after failing to secure a refinancing of the business.

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MWB Group said the 26 hotels across the two brands would continue to trade normally, and were not being placed into administration.

The Malmaison chain has boutique hotels in city centres across the country, including Leeds, Aberdeen, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle and Oxford.

Hotel du Vin, which was formed in 1994, has smaller hotels based mainly in cathedral or university towns.

York and Harrogate are both home to Hotel du Vin hotels, as are Cambridge, Brighton, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Deloitte, which had been reportedly drafted in to help MWB Group earlier this month, were appointed as administrators.

Mr Davis said yesterday: “MWB went into administration a week last Friday – although they are shareholders in us, we have got our own funding.

“It doesn’t really affect us, we carry on as before. We’ve got 14 Hotel Du Vins altogether. The York and Harrogate hotels are lovely and trading very well. There are 50 staff in each hotel.”

According to Mr Davis, the turnover for Hotel du Vin nationally is around £50m, which is an increase of three per cent on the previous year.

Profit has also risen by 12 per cent, year on year, Mr Davis said, although he didn’t reveal the figure.

“We’re finding more customers and we haven’t cut back on staff or the quality of the food,” he added.

“It’s not that people are looking to pay less. They are looking to get full value from what they are paying. We’ve been well known for the quality of our staff training and development.

“We make sure that the service is above and beyond what people expect. We find people respond to that.

“We are close to developing a Malmaison in York. We’ve got two locations – we’re trying to find out which is the best option. We like York.

“The city is calling out for a vibrant new hotel. One option is to refurbish an older building, and the other is to establish a new hotel.

“We would like to start work on the hotel in York early next year, and open in early 2014. It would be a 100-bed hotel in York, which would create around 100 jobs.

“I would hope to identify the site of the hotel in York early in the New Year.” He said the Malmaison hotel in Leeds had got a “great reputation”, and it was set to benefit from KPMG’s decision to establish a base nearby.

The Big Four accountancy firm has agreed terms to become anchor tenant of the Sovereign Square development, which promises to regenerate a key site linking the north and south of the city.

Mr Davis said: “Overall, the economy is pretty stagnant.

“You have to work twice as hard to stand still. We’re doing OK and moving forward.”

Before it went into administration, MWB had been developing its hotel business, named after Napoleon’s Chateau de Malmaison, with the intention of selling off the business and returning the proceeds to shareholders.

Earlier this month, MWB said that, despite ongoing talks, it was unable to secure other facilities from existing or new lenders.

A spokesman for Deloitte confirmed that MWB was still in administration yesterday.

Chains feel the benefit

In a statement issued earlier this month, Malmaison and Hotel Du Vin said they were “performing strongly” with both sales and profits up by 14 per cent over the last four months on a like-for-like basis.

The statement added: “Under the guidance of a new management team, the business has benefited from the strategic review implemented at the start of the year, which continues to deliver operational benefits and provide exciting opportunities going into 2013.”

Gary Davis, the Malmaison and Hotel Du Vin CEO, said that occupancy rates were continuing to improve, and management initiatives continues to deliver growth and margin improvements.

He added: “We look forward to the exciting Christmas season and a successful 2013.”