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Behind the opening: Hotel Indigo Manchester Victoria Station

Behind the opening: Hotel Indigo Manchester Victoria Station

February 19, 2020 | Community, News, Openings, Our Team, Signings

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Our Hotel Indigo Manchester Victoria Station, which opened in December 2018, offers 187 bedrooms and a two AA Rosette restaurant, Mamucium. With a laid-back Bohemian vibe, it is located at the gateway to the Northern quarter right in the beating heart of Manchester city centre. The hotel is an original Victorian building where many features have been retained whilst embracing contemporary design which perfectly blends the new with the city’s Victorian and Industrial past.

Here, in our latest ‘Behind the opening’ feature, Vice President of Operations, Matt Stray, reflects on the journey he’s been on overseeing the project from conception right through to opening.

How did Interstate add value to this project?

We have a wide-ranging and experienced team here at Interstate and that helps massively on a big project such as this. We were able to proactively contribute to all areas of the process from design and build to operations, IT and food and beverage.

Personally, I was proud to lead the pre-opening team who all displayed a very high level of skill and expertise which meant we were able to support the owner and work with them to deliver their vision for this hotel. As well as the owners, we are also used to liaising with the variety of brands across the hotel market, so we are well equipped to navigate those essential brand conversations in order to get the best possible outcome for all the parties involved.

I like to use the analogy of making a cocktail to demonstrate this. You need the right measures of all the different ingredients to make the drink taste amazing and that’s the same when it comes to opening a hotel with all the different elements involved. This coordinated, and measured, approach was key to the success of the opening.

How long did it take from the beginning of the project through to opening?

Work started on the build in January 2016 and keys were handed over to the hotel team in November 2018. We opened to guests on 6th December 2018 so the whole process took nearly three years. There were challenges along the way, but our fantastic team approach definitely got us through.

The hotel has been open for over 12 months now. We always strive to provide the best services and take care of the facilities to ensure we are providing our guests with the best possible experience.

What were the key milestones in this hotel’s creation?

There were various stages in the process that, on reflection, really stand out as pivotal moments.

Firstly, when I had sight of the final look books and plans. There was just this growing realisation that the hotel was going to be something very special!

Secondly, seeing how the food and beverage concept evolved throughout the development phase leading to the first cook-off, and seeing the quality of the finished product was incredibly exciting.

Thirdly, I know I keep mentioning the team, but the calibre of them as individuals and how they all worked together was instrumental. When we all raised a glass to the project on the day it opened, it was a really proud moment.

How many people does the hotel employ?

We have 60 staff employed directly by the hotel and a 20-strong housekeeping team who are outsourced so we provide 80 jobs to the local economy.

One thing I am particularly pleased with is how strong the whole hotel team is and the willingness and hunger they collectively have to succeed. I must mention Andrew Green, our executive head chef, whose creative talent in the kitchen is absolutely second to none. We also regularly receive fantastic reviews for delivering exceptional service and that is thanks to our operational team who do such a good job.

What makes this hotel stand out from the crowd?

The quality of our offering is very high, including all the finishing in the hotel and its overall look and feel. It also helps that the building is iconic and very cool so that speaks for itself! We’ve worked hard to keep the historical importance of the building but to also give it a modern twist.

Again, our passionate and dedicated team make a real difference and they work hard to deliver the best possible service to our guests.

And finally, I’d also say that Mamucium sets us out from the rest. The restaurant provides classic cuisine but with a hint of Mancunian blended in and it is a lovely place to dine. It exceeds the expectations that people tend to have of a restaurant attached to a hotel.

What were the key learnings from this project which can benefit future openings?

The opening of this hotel emphasised the need to be flexible at all times. You may have gone so far down one road you think there is no way back but if it doesn’t feel right you have to be brave and make bold decisions, re-evaluate and re-plan to get what you, and all the partners involved, want. Things do change and you have to adapt as you go. Mamucium is a fine example of having the spark of an idea and as it evolves, changing the approach and letting it grow to what we have now which is a very popular and respected restaurant.

In addition, it was great to have strong relationships with everyone involved in the project – the owners, builders, contractors, designers… the list goes on! Everyone was on the same page and did their utmost to get the hotel finished and open. That is an essential element for success.