The owners of Manchester's Midland Hotel have revealed plans for a grand new lobby bar as part of the building's £14m transformation.
The Peter Street landmark is midway through a major refurbishment programme that will see all of its bedrooms upgraded and several of its public spaces revamped.
The most striking change will be in the foyer, where a new bar will be built on the raised section opposite fine dining restaurant Adam Reid at The French.
CGIs show a new circular, art-deco style bar topped with marble and surrounded by rattan lounge furniture, with a tiered seating area stepping down towards the reception.
The hotel's more informal restaurant, Mr Cooper's, will be renamed and revamped with a more casual, British bistro offering - although images show it will look anything but low key, with black and white marble pillars and tables, leather button-back armchairs and buckets of champagne.
The transformation comes after The Midland was acquired last year by Swedish hotel investment company Pandox and Fattal Hotels Group, which now operates it under its Leonardo Hotels brand.
Jason Carruthers, managing director of Leonardo Hotels UK and Ireland, said: "The Midland has the luxury of having a very large ground floor footprint, particularly in the entrance hall area, and we've always been keen to do something with that space.
"There are two major projects we're doing downstairs.
"One is to enlarge the main bar, which is currently called The Octagon Bar, and pull that out into the main lobby of the hotel to create more of a large, all-day space that will be used for breakfast, lunch and dinner and have a slightly different use for each of those periods.
"Then we are converting the current Mr Cooper's restaurant into more of a casual bistro.
"It will be a very informal, bistro-style offering - something that will be appealing to guests and non-residents in the hotel.
"Mr Cooper's is more dinner-orientated.
"We want to have a menu that appeals at all times of day - that would be the key difference - and I want there to be a sense of where you are, in Manchester and the north of England, when you're looking at the menu."
No changes will be made to The French as part of the refurbishment, Jason said.
"It's a very well-known room and very well-established," he said.
"It works in its current form and we don't have any immediate plans to change anything in there."
The existing Octagon bar and afternoon Tea Room, both opened in 2017 ,will also be retained as part of the scheme.
It is hoped revamping the rest of the ground floor will make the hotel's food and drink offering more welcoming to non-guests as well as those staying there.
"The current Midland bar, certainly during the day, is full an awful lot of the time, so we know there's frustrated demand there," said Jason.
"We want the hotel to be completely accessible for the people of Manchester, and having additional capacity and having the ambience of that area, we are confident will achieve that."
Work will begin on the lobby bar and as-yet unnamed new restaurant in the New Year, and is expected to be completed around May or June.
The hotel's 312 bedrooms are also being refurbished, with around 120 already complete and the rest set to be finished at the same time as the ground floor.
"We have a fantastic quality of room in that property and the feedback has been brilliant," said Jason.
"I'm absolutely delighted with what we're doing. It's a hotel that needed some TLC from somebody with a long term view to want to make improvements."
The team have not ruled out further renovations in future, which could eventually include reopening the roof terrace.
Boasting spectacular views across Manchester, the terrace was the place to be seen when the historic hotel opened in 1903, hosting afternoon teas and orchestral performances for the city's high society.
Pictures from the early 1900s capture women in ballgowns and bonnets sipping tea under parasols, and men strolling about in suits and straw boaters, entertained by a string ensemble.
The reality was probably not quite so glamorous, thanks to the soot and smoke belching from the hotel's 360 chimneys and the trains passing in and out of the nearby Manchester Central station, and the terrace closed after seven years.
There have long been hopes to open it back up to the public again - although it would be a costly and complicated exercise to comply with both modern-day health and safety regulations and the restrictions that come with the building's grade II listed status.
"We're aware that it was there historically and we've had some very, very early stage conversations," said Jason.
"But we're increasing in size quite significantly the food and beverage offering on the ground floor and we want to be sure that that works and that we're getting the numbers of people into those particular areas before we consider whether we go up.
"I've been up there and the views are amazing, but as anyone in Manchester will appreciate, we would need to have quite a significant wet weather plan on the rooftop. It isn't a small job to do so we want to be convinced there is the demand there first."
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