Finding out what Robin Ford, boss of the new Park Regis thinks of Birmingham
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
I am Robin Ford, general manager of the new Park Regis Birmingham and Europe’s first Park Regis Hotel. HOW DO YOU GET INTO TOWN? I commute by car. It’s German made… it’s very good on emissions!
HOW’S THE COMMUTE?
It’s fairly effortless really as long as I time it right. I live in a small village and it usually takes me around 35 minutes door-to-door. However, it can stretch well into 90 minutes if I leave at the wrong time.
IS BRUM A GOOD PLACE TO WORK IN?
It’s is a great place to work. Being born and bred in Birmingham I am delighted to be returning to my home city. It has an amazing history yet it’s also the youngest city in Europe with under-25s accounting for nearly 40 per cent of the population. Commercially there has been lots of progress made and the cityscape has changed so much – it’s a new vibrant Birmingham! It’s also an investable place and is a great location to establish the first Park Regis in Europe.
Being involved in a new hotel means lots of meetings both on-site and off-site. We are fortunate that we have a great on-site marketing suite with great coffee! Off-site it’s a quick call to Starbucks or Costa, they are consistent!
I rarely eat lunch but when I do it’s often on the move. I recently had lunch with a client at Opus on Cornwall Street – their food is always good and it’s a great environment too. Failing that we have a local sandwich shop called Sandwich Club which is also excellent.
Ah, yes… I need to do more of that. A brisk stroll down to Brindleyplace is often nice, but it’s not frequent enough however!
WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE CITY?
Every day you can see new improvements being made around our city, some of the areas that were previously less desirable are now quite quaint and appealing. I love seeing the improvements made to New Street and the Grand Central complex and the investment and reinvention that is going into Digbeth too.
You are spoilt for choice in the city. I tend to stick with the Mailbox, a great place in the summer to have a nice chilled drink.
HOW CAN THE CITY BE MADE BETTER?
There are many historic buildings that are crying out for restoration and improvements, many not even occupied. We are doing very well on the transformation of Birmingham but there still needs to be a joined-up approach to partnership and achieving the same goal, I feel it’s quite disjointed. The work completed at Grand Central is excellent and with proposed tram infrastructure and strategy on transport and reduction within the city centre I believe these are key priorities.