The Grand Hotel
Occupying a prominent corner position in Granby Street the Grand Hotel serves to remind us of the scale of new hotels built at the end of the 19th Century. Built of red brick and stone in a grandiose style, it replaced the Blue Lion Coaching Inn, a Victorian public house, which was demolished along with the Carlton Hotel and the Conservative Club to make way for the Grand, one of Leicester’s premier hotels. The main part of the hotel was designed by Cecil Ogden in 1898 in a grand Franco-German Renaissance style reminiscent of the sixteenth century Two years later a corner addition was added by Amos Hall. The design here seems to have been influenced by the churches designed by Sir Christopher Wren.
A small hotel brochure from 1901 describes the hotel in glowing terms and it is clear which type of clientèle it attracted in its heyday: “Under its appropriate title ‘the Grand Hotel’ has formed the temporary home of the elite of English Society and of notabilities sojourning in Leicester. It is a favourite house with our Canadian and American cousins, and is generally admitted to be the finest hotel not only in Leicester, but in the Midlands’”
For its distinguished visitors it offered the best of amenities including a coffee room, drawing room and a Palm Court. One of the handsomest public rooms was the King’s Hall with walls and pillars decorated with Californian onyx and two large, carved, open, marble fire-places. Daily rates were from seven shillings and sixpence a day for sitting rooms and four shillings and sixpence a day for bedrooms. Visitors’ servants were charged five shillings a day for board and bedrooms were from two shillings and sixpence a day, according to position.
The hotel is now owned by Mercure Hotel Group and is called Mercure Leicester City Hotel. The hotel is now described as a place where ‘Victorian charm and elegance meets modern comfort’.
Banner, J. 1994 Out and About in Leicester, Leicester: Leicester City Council
Taylor, M. 1997 The Quality Of Leicester, Leicester: Leicester City Council.