The new brand of urban, lifestyle hotels being created by Starwood Capital Group is to expand into Liverpool following the acquisition of a former bank property.
The Martins bank building on Water Street - occupied by Barclays until 2009 - will be the first non-hotel property to be converted to the brand, currently codenamed Project 1898.
It will join a collection of around 10 iconic hotels, which in recent years have been allowed to fade and are now being renovated at a cost of more than £100m to their former glory, with the introduction of new restaurant and bar concepts and bedrooms relevant to today's guests.
Improvement works are already underway at the George hotel in Edinburgh, the Royal York in York and the Palace in Manchester.
The portfolio also includes the 370-bedroom Russell hotel in London, which is expected to become the flagship property of the brand. Tara Bernerd & Partners has been appointed to oversee the interior architecture and design of the hotel, which will include "a reimagining" of the hotel's Palm Court terrace.
Starwood Capital is creating the brand from a collection of hotels it has bought over the past three years including Principal Hayley, De Vere Venues, Four Pillars Hotels and the Town House Collection.
The Grade II-listed Liverpool building, which is dominated by a 40,000 sq ft banking hall, has been acquired from Castlewood Property. Designed by Herbert Rowse, it opened in 1932 as the head office of Martins Bank, which was bought by Barclays Bank in 1969.
Liverpool City Council approved a planning application for a 138-bedroom hotel in June 2014. A new planning application for a 227-bedroom hotel with three bars, two restaurants and a spa, was submitted in July 2015.
The acquisition of the Martins bank building was confirmed in The Times today.
David Taylor to head up new brand of iconic city centre hotels with Starwood Capital >>
Sean Wheeler and Simon Willis to join Starwood Capital Group's new hotel brand >>
Des McDonald launches restaurants with new hotel brand from Starwood >>