Choosing a building with such a strong design pedigree for a hotel is certainly one way to make it stand out, but, as Ward, who was officially appointed Hotel Gotham's managing director in January, says, it is the attention to detail with this hotel that he is most proud of and will help differentiate it from others.
The building, designed by architect Edwin Lutyens in 1928 (finished in 1935) was used by the banking industry until 2008 and later as office space. Since the end of 2013, when planning was granted for a 60-bedroom hotel on the first floor up (Jamie's Italian, Manchester occupies the building's ground floor), teams from Marshall Construction Group, who co-own the building with Bespoke, and designers Squid-Inc have 'painstakingly restored and transformed' the Grade II listed building into a seven-storey boutique hotel which is already drawing interest from around the globe.
Now, you'll find much of the building's original Art Deco style influencing the decor with geometric patterned carpets throughout the corridors and bedrooms and walls featuring metal, wood, leather and ceramic finishes. The main staircase has also been restored with its brass handrail, balustrades, mouldings and terrazzo flooring kept in-tact.
"We wanted to pay tribute to a major building designed by ‘one of the greatest British architects’, Edwin Lutyens whilst injecting a distinct fresh personality," says Oliver Redfern, lead designer at Squid-Inc.
The hotel's 60 bedrooms, whose rates start at £150 per night, feature burnished metals, dark polished woods, leather, velvet and faux fur with cocktail cabinets and wardrobes styled like old travel trunks while five 'inner sanctum suites' feature leather-clad walls. But the decor is just one part of the plan, says Ward.
"We've really gone for lots of unusual details in the rooms," he says.
"Laundry bags have been printed with the word 'swag' as a nod to the building's banking past and we've had special coffee mugs made in black and pink with 100 kings on them to go with our coffee machines."
Mini-bars feature no less than 47-items, including unusual soft drinks, cocktail flavour pastilles, phone chargers and travel adapters. Binoculars are also included in rooms for guests to admire views of the city and the cocktail cabinet has 10 different style of glasses 'for every occasion'.
For guests not wanting to make up their own drinks, there is the Martini trolley, which staff bring to rooms and mix-up pre-dinner cocktails when ordered.
"It was about finding something different we could offer our guests and how we could make it really fun for them," says Ward who has also created the Gotham Bugle, an in-house newsletter laid out like an old newspaper.
Food and beverage
Which brings us to Gotham's drinking and dining spaces. The property houses Honey, its restaurant, on the sixth floor and private members' club Club Brass on the top floor, which is accessed by a metal staircase and old safe doors.
The restaurant, whose look is a further nod towards the building's banking past with old-fashioned filing cabinets as servery counters, 1900s banker style chairs and bowler hat displays, is being headed up by Paul Heathcote alumni Matt Taylor as executive chef.
Taylor plans to serve 'a modern twist' on brasserie classics at Honey with dishes such as Beetroot Gravadlax, Lamb Hotpot, Coq au Vin, Manchester Tart, Warm Rhubarb and Pistachio Bakewell and Gotham Kirsch cake while Club Brass's menu will offer all-day dining with Royal Oscietra Caviar, oyster po boy and a Brass seafood platter included.
"There's nothing like this in Manchester," says Ward who had started receiving membership enquiries in January. "It overlooks the city and is a really exciting space."
As well as overseeing the finish, Ward, who had been involved with the hotel as a consultant since last November, has been responsible for recruiting the hotel's 60 full and part-time members of staff.
Along with Taylor's appointment to oversee the hotel's kitchens, Ward has appointed Dulce Marques operations manager. Marques, who worked with Ward at Cannizaro House in Wimbledon, joins Hotel Gotham from Dormy House in Broadway and will be responsible for the daily running of the property.
Matt Miller, formerly sales director at Springbank Flowers, joins as sales manager.
Ward said he had assembled a 'formidable team' who would be responsible for supplying great service in a hotel which had considered every small detail and were 'all on track and ready to go'.
Ward says: “After two years of anticipation for Hotel Gotham, we are excited to be open for Spring 2015. New beginnings for this fabulous building. The service, special attention and twinkle in the eye will make a stay at Hotel Gotham a memorable experience."
"I do think it's the attention to detail that makes us stand out. We have focused a lot of the detail with so many elements and that's something I'm particularly pleased about," he adds.
Bespoke's Hotel Gotham opens on 7 April at 100 King Street, Manchester.