Ken McCulloch, founder of the Malmaison brand, is to launch two luxury hotels in Glasgow and Leeds next year.
Dakota Deluxe will be “a higher level product” than the two Dakota hotels that McCulloch Unique Hotels already operates, in what he calls the secondary sites of South Queensferry, Edinburgh, and the Eurocentral industrial estate, on the outskirts of Glasgow.
The two new hotels – an 88-bedroom property in Glasgow and a 90-bedroom bedroom property in Leeds – will both be in prime, city centre locations.
“Dakota Deluxe will be a step up from the existing Dakota hotels,” said McCulloch. “They will be more confident and more polished, with larger bedrooms.”
The hotels are being developed in conjunction with Evans Property Group, which also has a stake in the two Dakota properties.
They will both feature a Jack’s bar (named after the New York venue on Madison Avenue of the same name) and a Downstairs at Jack’s restaurant serving “interesting, fresh, sophisticated, comfort food”.
Interiors – designed by McCulloch’s wife and long-time collaborator Amanda Rosa – are expected to be distinctive and offer great comfort levels.
General manager of the Dakota Deluxe in Glasgow will be Andrew Ovenstone, who has been appointed from the same role at the Dakota Edinburgh.
McCulloch – the 1993 Hotelier of the Year – said his passion for opening hotels is undiminished.
After launching his first hotel, the award-winning One Devonshire Gardens in Glasgow in 1986, he went on to create the Malmaison brand eight years later. He eventually opened five Malmaisons before selling to US company Patriot Group in 1998.
McCulloch opened the first Dakota brand of stylish, reasonably priced hotels in Nottingham in 2004, in partnership with former F1 racing driver David Coulthard. His ownership of this and the Columbus hotel in Monaco, partly funded by Coulthard and American property investor Peter Morris, subsequently ended following disagreements with both parties. While he has remained friends with Coulthard, McCulloch describes the time as a “very dark period” in what has otherwise been an inspiring and impressive career.
Other hotels launched by McCulloch include the Aviator hotel for TAG Aviation at Farnborough Airport and Brooklands Hotel in Weybridge, Surrey.
Dakota Deluxe will launch in Glasgow in spring 2016, with the Leeds hotel opening later in the year. McCulloch is currently looking for more city centre sites across the UK to expand the brand further.