Owned and operated by Principal Hayley group as part of Starwood Capital, the 271-bedroom historic hotel is set for re-opening in September following a multi-million-pound investment.
This included all bedrooms, along with the restaurant The Refuge Public Bar & Dining Room, and 16 other private dining and event spaces including the site’s 300-capacity ballroom.
Steven Wilson will be new executive chef, and brings experience from working with formerly three-Michelin-starred Catalan chef Adrià, two-starred owner of Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons, Blanc; plus Danish star Redzepi; French legend Gagnaire; and Italian chef and owner of the 2016 World’s Best Restaurant, Massimo Bottura (of Osteria Francescana).
Set to be head chef of The Refuge, Alex Worrall has worked with fiery chef-turned-TV-star Marco Pierre White at his erstwhile London Piccadilly site The Oak Room; with Tetsuya Wakuda in Sydney Australia, and also worked at independent venues such as Reform in Manchester.
The hotel’s new banqueting head chef, Paul Speakman, has also previously worked with chef and television cook Simon Rimmer, and then cooked at The Lowry Hotel under Eyke Zimmer following years in London kitchens.
The Refuge site will also be run by local DJs-turned-restaurateurs, Luke Cowdrey and Justin Crawford.
The property – which was first built in stages between 1891 and 1930, and used to house the Refuge Assurance insurance company, hence the hotel restaurant’s name ‒ has also been chosen as the official hotel partner to the Manchester Food and Drink Festival 2016, and is set to host the event’s gala dinner and awards ceremony on 10 October.
Michael Purtill, general manager at The Palace Hotel, said: “These are exciting times for The Palace and exciting times for Manchester. There’s an incredible energy and creativity in the city right now, which is reflected in the world-class restaurant and bar scene that [it] has to offer.”