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HomeRegional NewsEuropePrincipal Hayley acquires the iconic New Connaught Rooms and The Glasgow Central hotel
Grows to 24 hotels with new acquisitions

Principal Hayley acquires the iconic New Connaught Rooms and The Glasgow Central hotel

Upscale hotel and conference venue group Principal Hayley, which includes the Hotel Russell in central London and Edinburgh Hotel of the Year, The George Hotel, Edinburgh, has announced the acquisition of the well known New Connaught Rooms in London and the historic Glasgow Central Hotel.

As part of the acquisition, Principal Hayley will be investing over £40 million in an extensive renovation and refurbishment programme across both the newly acquired properties.

Dating back to 1775 The New Connaught Rooms has a long history of hosting prestigious social and business events. In order to return it to its former glory Principal Hayley will be undertaking a major £7 million refurbishment programme during July and August to create a flagship dedicated conference, training and banqueting venue in the heart of London. With a capacity of up to 1,000 guests for banqueting and able to host in excess of 5,000 delegates every day, it is also one of London’s largest non-residential conference venues and an excellent strategic fit with the nearby Hotel Russell who are able to provide accommodation and additional conferencing and four-star hotel amenities. The refurbishment will be completed by September 2009 when The New Connaught Rooms will be re-launched with a sparkling new interior and under a brand new name –‘The Grand Connaught Rooms’.

The historic Glasgow Central Hotel, designed by Robert Rowand Andersen has seen many famous guests enter its doors but is perhaps best known for being the venue from which the world’s first long-distance television pictures were transmitted to on 24 May 1927 by John Logie Baird. It is fitting therefore that such a Grand Old Dame of hospitality undergoes a complete transformation to once again take its place as one of Glasgow’s leading four-star hotels.  Located in the heart of Glasgow City Centre, next to Central Station the hotel will remain closed whilst the extensive refurbishment programme, which includes a total overhaul of all the public areas and the addition of an extra 30 bedrooms, is completed.

The hotel will re-open in February 2010 as the newly re-named ‘The Grand Central Hotel’, once again firmly on the map as Glasgow’s leading 4-star conference and leisure hotel.

Commenting on the deal, Tony Troy, CEO of Principal Hayley said “We are very excited about the addition of The Grand Connaught Rooms and The Grand Central Hotel to our portfolio.  Strategically they are an excellent fit to the collection.  The Grand Connaught Rooms will work hand in hand with the Hotel Russell to offer some of the finest conference and banqueting that central London has to offer.  Glasgow is a thriving tourism and conference destination and the acquisition of The Grand Central Hotel is in keeping with our strategy of offering dedicated conference hotels in key city centre locations around the UK.”

Mr Troy continued “Even in today’s challenging economic climate we are confident that our unique model of offering an ‘a la carte selection of high quality city centre hotels and dedicated conference, event and training venues is one which will continue to appeal to both the corporate and leisure markets alike and this acquisition further enforces our commitment to grow.” 

This year has already seen some exciting and significant developments to the Principal Hayley group, which is a portfolio company of Permira, and this acquisition increases the collection to 24 unique properties across the UK and Europe.  It is the latest development in an ambitious and ongoing expansion strategy by the Group which has already seen it recently open two dedicated conference venues in Europe; enter into a joint venture agreement with The Oakley Court in Windsor; unveil a £9 million refurbishment and restoration of The White House and Chapel on the grounds of the Beaumont House in Old Windsor and complete a £2.5 million IT and online investment to further enhance the service delivered to its customers.

Martin Clarke, a partner of Permira who sits on the board of Principal Hayley commented “We are delighted to support Principal Hayley with further investment for the acquisition of the Grand Connaught Rooms and The Grand Central Hotel.  Both properties will strengthen an already excellent portfolio and we are extremely keen to develop even more opportunities for the Group across the UK and northern Europe.”