Tuesday, June 03, 2008
The seaside town they forgot to close down
When property developers Urban Splash bought the Midland Hotel on Morecambe promenade I said at the time we would host the first business event there. We just have. We held a smashing lunch in the Marion Dorn function room attended by a few friends, local business people and the former owners of the hotel.
The hotel is a regional treasure. Built in 1933 it has spectacular views over Morecambe Bay to the Lake District in the distance. The building itself is art deco with a splendid collection of Eric Gill fascias. The modernisation in its current form is an absolute triumph; it's amazing what you can do with a bit of bravery, vision and £4m from the NWDA. Just joking. It's so beautiful.
But to really understand the appeal of the place you just have to sit, as I am right now, in the reception area and see the steady stream of visitors who are walking around mesmerised by the transformation. I've just spoken to a lady who used to work in the reception. There are people checking in who are telling tales about how they came here on their honeymoon 50 years ago. Truly, I never thought it would come back to life so beautifully and so successfully. I can't wait to come back.