Categories / Architecture, Travel

Art deco Midland Hotel in Morecambe re-opens – just don’t try to book a room

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This weekend sees the grand re-opening of one of the most impressive art deco buildings in Britain – the Midland Hotel in Morecambe.

Back in the 1930s, when Morecambe was one of our thriving seaside resorts, it was the place to be seen – the likes of Coco Chanel, Mrs Simpson and Noel Coward were some of well-heeled visitors seen in the lobby. But times changed and the hotel declined in tandem with the resort – leaving a derelict ruin on the front for many years.

That was until Urban Splash got its hands on it. The hotel was resurrected, with the facade and key architectural features given an overhaul, while the interior was developed to the kind of standard you would expect from a high-end hotel, with a cocktail bar, upmarket eaterie and penthouse suites thrown in for good measure.

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We had hoped to bring you a report and some images from the newly-opened hotel, but it seems the one thing Urban Splash has missed out on is basic customer service. We tried unsuccessfully to use the online booking form to get a room, then tried contacting the hotel on various occasions enquiring about availability and prices. But still no reply.

So as I write this, I’m presuming the hotel is fully booked for the rest of the year. If it’s not, Urban Splash might struggle to get its money back unless it actually sorts out its booking system. If you want to give it a try, you can find out more and make a forlorn attempt at getting a room via the link below. We might see you there if things change.

Midland Morecambe website

  • Dan

    “I’m presuming the hotel is fully booked for the rest of the year”
    I would be surprised if any hotel in Morecambe is fully booked for months ahead if ever at all. I live not too far away and Morecambe is one of those facinating run down seaside resort towns that smack of a dying era of England, closed down fun fairs, the last bucket and spade shop etc. It reminds me of that Pet Shop Boys film, “It couldn’t happen here”. Not to put the town down but the term “high-end hotel” and Morecambe don’t exacty sit well together in 2008.
    It has got a lovely massive old Victorianesque theatre called “The Winter Gardens”, the outside’s been partially restored but the inside is near collapsing, it’s seats about 2500 and the upper circle is so dangerously steep I got vertigo whilst being shown around. You can just feel the ghosts of past summertime variety and music-hall shows.

  • Brian Sheldon

    … 2 days to go
    http://www.camsak.com/v/outabout/080529/
    Taken thursday evening 29/05/08, due to open this sunday.

  • Nice photos!
    And Dan – yes, I know Morecambe very well from the odd day trip, which makes it all the more surprising that people would want to spend extensive time there right now. Although I suspect it’s on the way back – or at least has a chance of finding its feet with a bit of investment.
    I suspect the advertorial in the Sunday supplements has filled the booking for the first few weeks – be interesting to see how it goes when the wind and rain hits hard in October…!

  • Brian Sheldon

    I know this isn’t a forum but I have to reply to Dan’s comments. There’s a buzz around the town that the “new” hotel will drag the rest of Morecambe kicking and screaming into the 21st century. I also doubt any hotel is fully booked for the year, with the exception of the Midland. Urban Splash are good, really good. They’ve even had TV crews in most of this week getting as much publicity as they can, the BBC were there 2 full days.
    I’ve heard various rumours why it won’t open this weekend but none of them can’t be overcome if Urban Splash mean what they say, it’ll open June 1st. I’ve also heard from people that have had no response to enquiries about rooms and functions. Hopefully this is a glitch because the effort and money they’ve put into the hotel is more than this town has seen for a long long time.

  • Tom

    I spent many years going to Moracambe, my mums family is from Lancaster and both my Grandma and my aunt and cousins lived in Morcambe.
    I was often dragged there by my mum, when I would be rather out on my bike with mates! I have lots of memories of the fairground etc, but the best thing ever was the indoor fairground that opened in the winter. It had the most amazing things inside, hell slides, giant spinning disk things, moving walkways – it was brilliant, I often wonder when happened to it all when the knocked the funfair down? Probably just smashed up. Such a shame.

  • Brian Sheldon

    A few more pics from saturday afternoon, still looks like organised chaos! Grapevine says there are some paying guests tonight, £30/room. Training night?
    http://www.camsak.com/v/outabout/080529/

  • David Walker

    More great photos. Maybe the £30 rooms were to pay the builders’ overtime bill?
    Looking forward to trying it out when the cheap offers kick in with the bad weather – and the hotel starts to realise customer service is worth investing in.

  • Brian Sheldon

    Wandered past this afternoon but they were queuing in the rain to get in so kept on walking. Went back tonight for a drink in the rotunda. The rooms, bars & restaurant are open but not the function rooms today. A few more snaps added.
    I love the chairs and giant anglepoise lamps in reception as well as the rotunda lighting. Hopefully the start of a new era for the town.
    http://www.camsak.com/v/outabout/080529/

  • David Walker

    Interesting new photos – although I’m slightly disappointed with the interior. With so much deco-style design available, it seems strange that Urban Splash has gone with what they probably perceive as modern retro. Some of the items in the photos will probably date quite quickly, far quicker than some original or reproduction period pieces.

  • Lancastrian

    Is it any wonder that journos get a bad rap when you read the drivel in the article above? Morecambe is one of a number of towns in Great Britain which has seen decline in recent years owing to cheap foreign holidays with guaranteed sunshine, not to mention the numbers of DSS scroungers who decide that living by the sea is better than Bradford (no disrespect to Bradford). The fact of the matter is, Blackpool is still Britains favourite tourist resort, yet if you go inland a little bit, it’s full of filth. Doesn’t stop the punters going though. Morecambe is trying to regenerate itself and there are lots of things going on which are helping the town achieve this. The most notable is the rebirth of the Midland. Urban Splash have done a fantastic job with the Midland, and I’m sure one or two teething troubles at the outset won’t deter the vast majority who aren’t as narrow minded as your correspondent. Why can’t you journos show the positive side for once, instead of focussing on the negative. Oh I forgot, Morecambe isn’t in the South East is it?

  • David Walker

    “Why can’t you journos show the positive side for once, instead of focussing on the negative. Oh I forgot, Morecambe isn’t in the South East is it?”
    Actually, I am the writer and I am based in Lancashire, not the south east. I’m also aware of Morecambe as a town and would like to see the Midland bring some re-generation to the town.
    But time will tell whether that happens and if the Midland can keep its profile (and guest numbers) high after the initial publicity blast and through the inevitably lean winter months. If re-generation doesn’t happen for Morecambe, you do worry for the long term of the hotel.

  • A fan of the Midland

    I finally got to see the restored and reopened Midland yesterday. My partner had tried to book a room for my birthday but the hotel was full as it was a bank holiday weekend, so we just went in for a coffee. Like a previous poster I too was disappointed with the decor and the lack of deco style. (I was also disappointed with the chipped tea pot and dirty floor in the lounge – come on get your act together!)
    I really wanted to love it, but I was left feeling a little dissapointed. I will still try and get to stay when the initial rush dies down and the autumn weather kicks in. Hopefully the full Midland experience will restore my faith.

  • GRH

    I have booked for April 2009 to celebrate a wedding anniversary. For some reason the on line booking procedure allowed me to go so far and eventually gave up. I found staff efficient and curteous when I rang.
    We have followed the project from the beginning and wish Urban Splash, the hotel staff and Morecambe all the best!