David Orr, former chief executive of Mint Hotels, has been appointed to the same role at the four-strong Nadler Hotels group of “affordable boutique” properties.
He will replace Robert Nadler, who founded the brand in 2006 backed by real estate investment company Mactaggart Family & Partners with the launch of Base2Stay in Kensington, London.
Nadler left the business in January following a disagreement with shareholders over the future development of the company. Yvonne Jackson, who was appointed interim chief executive, will end her consultancy role as operations director later this month to return to her own business full-time.
Today the group, which was rebranded as Nadler Hotels in 2013, comprises three properties in London (Kensington, Victoria and Soho) and one in Liverpool. Two further hotels are due to open in London’s Covent Garden and Manchester.
Orr will head Nadler Hotels alongside continuing in what has been described as the “non-conflicting role” as chairman of Urbanist Hotels, which intends to redevelop the former Royal High School in Edinburgh into a “world-class” luxury hotel run by Rosewood.
The Royal High School project is currently on hold pending a public inquiry into the scheme. Urbanist Hotels and Duddingston House Properties’ had appealed against the decision taken by the City of Edinburgh’s planning committee in August 2017 to reject the plans to turn the historic A-listed property into a 127-bedroom hotel.
At Nadler Hotels, Orr will be returning to an operational role for the first time since 2011 when as chief executive of the eight-strong Mint Hotel group with 2,700 bedrooms, he headed the sale of the business to private equity company the Blackstone Group for more than £600m. The hotels, which were collectively carrying debt of £417m, were subsequently rebadged under various Hilton brands.
Mint Hotels originally started life as City Inn in 1995, with Orr, his father Sandy Orr and Donald MacDonald as the founders of the group.
Orr said that as a result of his experience in growing Mint, he related well to what he regarded as the “pioneering” nature of Nadler Hotels with its focus on select service, boutique properties.
“There is an opportunity to grow the brand further within micro locations in London as well as other cities with strong commercial, cultural and entertainment business.”
While the focus for the expansion of Nadler Hotels was in the UK, Orr suggested there could be an appetite from Mactaggart Family & Partners, which has offices in London and New York, to take the brand overseas.
With regards the forthcoming planning enquiry in Edinburgh, Orr said that the transformation of the Royal High School into a hotel was a genuine conversation project which would have “a very light touch” on the existing principle building, designed by Thomas Hamilton in 1826. “This has not previously been understood and a planning inquiry is the right forum to have this very complex and controversial debate.”
Robert Peto, chairman of Nadler Hotels, described Orr as “a highly regarded hotel industry executive and developer, with extensive industry and market experience and expertise”.
He added: “After 10 years in creating the successful platform, the board felt the timing was right to inject new ideas and fresh stimulus to accelerate our growth. David’s appointment heralds the beginning of a new and exciting phase for the group.”