With both myself and my hotel celebrating significant Birthdays this year, it got me thinking is new always better?
The Holiday Inn Birmingham Airport, originally built as the RAF Head Quarters, back in the days when the Elmdon building was the airport terminal, is celebrating it’s 80th this year. There is a lot of history and nostalgia about this art deco property and just recently at a networking event that we hosted, Richard Guy, Managing Director of Simkiss Guy Recruitment was telling me how he remembers back in the day accompanying his friend, a DJ at the time, to the Buccaneer, which was the nightclub on-site. Russell Jeans, CEO of Greater Birmingham Chamber once told me that his Mum and Dad had their wedding reception at the Holiday Inn Birmingham Airport or Excelsior as it was once called.
I will leave you to speculate which milestone Birthday I will be celebrating this year and I have spent much of my hotel career in a new and purpose built venue. My previous hotel was just weeks old when I joined the team back in 2002 and was modern, impressive with a newly formed (and trained) team who were keen to look after our guests. Fast forward to 2014 and I find myself at the Holiday Inn Birmingham Airport, an iconic building with an art deco façade and more than its far share of history. In this disposable age, where new is seen as better, I find myself reflecting on what I have found to be the most rewarding in my career so far and I have to say it is being part of the team who are restoring the Holiday Inn Birmingham Airport to its former glory.
A £1 million investment has seen the soulless restaurant transformed into a Marco’s New York Italian restaurant, a place where you can dine is affordable glamour. Most recently the lounge converted into a new Holiday Inn Open Lobby, featuring a To Go Café proudly serving Starbucks, IT bar and media lounge. What once was the Buccaneer is now a swimming pool and leisure facilities and the Lancaster suite (capacity for up to 450 for a dinner) nestles in what was previously a central courtyard. All of the transformations have been in keeping with the feel of the property and the investment is set to continue, with the next phase being the refurbishment the Aspire conference floor with work scheduled for the Easter period.
Perhaps my advancing years are a factor in my fondness for this historic building, but my wish is that the future custodians of the Holiday Inn Birmingham Airport will continue to care for this historic building in the same way that we have. May it continue to be a backdrop for family events, so that it remains in our hearts and memories, as the hub within the local community for many decades to come.
For more information or to book, visit the Holiday Inn Birmingham Airport website.