The Dalata Hotel Group recently opened the Clayton Hotel Manchester City Centre, where general manager Filiz Smith talks to Hospitality Ireland about innovations and the post-Covid world.
This article was originally published in the Spring 2022 issue of Hospitality Ireland Magazine, in March of 2022.
Tell us about the new Clayton in Manchester’s city centre.
The luxury four-star Clayton Hotel Manchester City Centre, located on Portland Street, is right in the heart of the city. As it is just a five-minute walk from Piccadilly gardens and an eight-minute walk from Piccadilly train station, it really does open up the whole north-west region for guests, and we are very excited about this.
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The new hotel is the Dalata Hotel Group’s second in the area, alongside the Clayton Hotel Manchester airport. It has beautiful modern interiors, with a mezzanine overlooking the bar area on the ground floor and a spectacular feature staircase. There are 329 spacious bedrooms – perfect for relaxing after a busy day in the city.
Who is the target customer for this hotel?
Clayton Hotel Manchester City Centre is most definitely an ideal destination for both business and leisure.
All amenities, such as transport, shopping, art galleries, bars and restaurants, are just a short stroll away – convenient for those visiting Manchester for a city break with their friends and family. Alternatively, the hotel also hosts five state-of-the-art meeting rooms, making it the perfect venue for events, and to meet and do business in the city.
Describe the F&B offering of the hotel.
The restaurant, No. 55, prides itself on working with local suppliers and offers a range of modern British cuisine. It has a really exciting menu, full of fresh, seasonal recipes using sustainably sourced local ingredients. It is run by an extremely talented Mancunian chef, nathaniel Farrell.
We also have a bar, offering a wide range of beers, wine and spirits in a tranquil and stylish setting.
How did Covid affect the project?
As a whole, we have worked extremely efficiently to ensure we opened the hotel safely and have done the utmost preparation, to ensure that all of our guests are comfortable.
What changes has Covid brought that are likely to remain?
The pivot from office-based work to working from home will have long-lasting effects on business and society, particularly for those who used to work in offices.
Having had to adapt to the change in corporate travel, Clayton Hotel Manchester City Centre is fantastic, as we can offer leading technology, so we are the perfect destination for those considering hybrid events and meetings, and for those still working virtually.
What innovations has Dalata brought to its portfolio recently?
We are extremely thrilled to offer Clevertouch technology in our five state-of-the-art meeting rooms. The industry-leading technology can host up to 153 delegates and is a fantastic addition to our hotel.
Our Clevertouch 86-inch Pro Ultra Screen with annotation comes with an interactive whiteboard connected to a high-res camera, an array microphone, speakers, and a wireless keyboard and mouse, making sure that wherever you are joining a meeting from, we have the technology to ensure that it goes seamlessly.
What are the major challenges within the industry right now? What is the hardest part of your job?
At the moment, we recognise the current challenges in recruiting and retaining people in the hospitality industry as a result of Covid. We look to overcome these challenges by offering people opportunities to grow their careers in Clayton Hotel Manchester City Centre and across Dalata in general, within a culture of integrity, fairness and inclusion.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Every day is different, and i just love that. I have the opportunity to meet and interact with thousands of different people every year, and I thrive off that.
I am extremely fortunate to have the chance to work with upwards of 80 amazing staff, and we have grown so close. ot is definitely one of the most rewarding aspects of my job.
Any plans for the next six to twelve months?
It is important for us to continue to establish the hotel in Manchester city centre and build on creating an all-round experience for our guests, both returning and new.
What are your hobbies? How do you switch off?
I am a keen walker and find it is one of the best ways for me to unwind, relax and re-energise.
What else is new for Dalata?
Dalata has agreed contracts with Art-invest Real Estate to acquire a new operating leasehold interest in Hotel Nikko Düsseldorf. The hotel expects to open for guests on 15 February. This represents Dalata’s first step into the Continental European market, in line with the group’s ambition to establish a presence in large, commercially attractive European cities.
The four-star hotel is centrally located in Düsseldorf, in close proximity to the central business district, the retail quarter, and the city’s main train station. The property has 393 bedrooms, a bar, two restaurants, a spa, a swimming pool, a gym, and extensive conference and meeting facilities. The hotel has undergone extensive investment in the last number of years.
Düsseldorf is one of Germany’s ‘Big Seven’ cities and a hugely popular destination for international and domestic visitors travelling for leisure and business purposes. The rent, with a guaranteed minimum, is determined by the revenue performance of the hotel. The lease term is 20 years, with two five-year tenant extension options.
As Dermot Crowley, Dalata Hotel group CEO, commented: “This announcement represents our first step into Continental Europe and is a very exciting opportunity, as we work towards building our presence in selected European cities. Whilst retaining our focus on growth in the UK, we have also been exploring opportunities in Europe that are complementary to our portfolio in the UK and ireland.”
Dalata Hotel Group plc was founded in August 2007 and listed as a plc in March 2014. It has a strategy of owning or leasing its hotels, and it also has a small number of management contracts. The group’s portfolio now consists of 29 owned hotels, 13 leased hotels and three management contracts, with a total of 9,495 bedrooms. In addition to this, the group is currently developing ten new hotels and plans to extend three of its existing hotels, adding over 2,300 bedrooms. The new rooms will bring the total number of bedrooms in Dalata to over 11,800.
For the first six months of 2021, Dalata reported revenue of €39.6 million and a loss after tax of €30.4 million. It is listed on the Main Market of Euronext Dublin (DHG) and the London Stock Exchange (DAL).
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