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Business News Now, nearly 20 years later, the


hotel where the Beatles and the Stones once slept has at last awoken from its long slumber, prolonged still further by Covid-19, following a £45m refurbishment over a period of several years– and is ready to rock again. The rebirth of the hotel has been


made possible by a joint initiative involving Hortons Estate, the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, Birmingham City Council, Finance Birmingham and a global private investment group. A grand new era beckons for the Grand, as Peter Kienast is keen to point out.


‘We are where we should be, at the heart of Birmingham’


“There has been a complete


overhaul. The original structure is still there but the investors have agreed to do a proper (renovation) job. The main contractors, Graham Construction, have done a superb job. You needed to take out the asbestos, all those things. It was in a state where it could not be repaired.” Peter said the Grand aimed to


reflect the culture of Birmingham and the surrounding area. “There is artwork featuring Mini Coopers, Led Zeppelin lyrics, ELO,


Black Sabbath. We really want to celebrate Birmingham in all its diversity. “This is not a stuffy hotel. It is


exclusive for everyone – it is not a case of ‘Oh, it is the Grand, we cannot go in there,’ that is not what we are about. We are confident about what we do, we are not arrogant. “The great thing about Birmingham city centre is that you can walk everywhere. Most of the bars and restaurants we have nearby are all different. You have the Ivy across the square, you have


Gaucho, you have Tattu – we do not compete, we complement each other.” Peter and his team are now


looking forward to a post-lockdown rebirth of the hotel which has already risen phoenix-like on several occasions over the past 140 years. “We are now up to 60 staff, by


the end of July we will be up to 100 and our aim is to have 150 staff, we would hope that we will reach that by the autumn. “But you need to have the


entertainment business back, music, concerts, international travel.


At the moment we cannot make any projections. Nobody can tell or foresee.” Covid and its aftermath


notwithstanding, the 54-year-old father of two is crystal clear about his ambitions for the Grand. “We are not saying we are the


best hotel but we are where we should be, at the heart of Birmingham. “We want to be the place where


people look for something special, something different. For me personally, I cannot imagine a better job.”


June 2021 CHAMBERLINK 21


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