A new brand of iconic urban, lifestyle hotels is to be created across the UK from the portfolio of properties acquired by the Starwood Capital Group over the past two years.
David Taylor, currently general manager of the London Edition hotel which was opened by Marriott International in partnership with Ian Schrager in September 2013, will head up the as-yet-unnamed brand as chief operating officer.
A capital investment of £100m has been put aside to fund the renovations and expansions that will be required to create "an overarching brand identity, positioning and promise" that will breathe new life into a number of "Grande Dame" hotels, which in recent years have been allowed to fade.
The brand will comprise the Hotel Russell, London; Royal York hotel, York; the Palace hotel, Manchester; the Blythswood, Glasgow; the Grand Central, Glasgow; the Bonham hotel, Edinburgh; the George hotel, Edinburgh; and the Roxburgh Hotel, Edinburgh.
A key focus is being put on the transformation of the public areas to create spaces which are stylish and relaxed, with vibrant bar and restaurant concepts, which will be created in conjunction with third-party partners.
Work has already begun on the renovation of the George hotel, Edinburgh and the Royal York in York, with the rest beginning later in 2015. The new brand will be launched in 2016, once all the renovations have been completed.
It has taken Starwood Capital, an American private investment firm based in Greenwich, Connecticut, two years to be ready to announce the new brand which is being created from the treasure trove of properties it began to build up in the UK in February 2013 with the acquisition of the Principal Hayley Group of 22 four-AA-star hotels in the UK and one near Paris, for £356m.
The group has since gone on to add De Vere Venues for £231m and Four Pillars Hotels for around £90m, with the Town House Collection, comprising Blythswood Square in Glasgow and the Bonham in Edinburgh, being amongst its most recent acquisitions.
Co-founded and led by Barry Sternlicht, who also created Starwood Hotels, Starwood Capital's assets also include the Louvre Hotel Group, the luxury Baccarat Hotel and Resorts brand and the lifestyle eco-brand 1 Hotels and Resorts. The company currently has some $42b (£28b) assets under management in more than 39 countries.
Earlier this year it was revealed that Starwood was intending to sell 19 of the hotels it had acquired during its recent spending spree.
Earlier in his career, Taylor, who was awarded a Master Innholders Scholarship in 2009, worked at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower, Sofitel St James and was a member of the opening management team at Sir Terence Conran's Great Easter hotel (now the Andaz Liverpool Street).