Up close and personal with Damian Goom, GM of Malmaison Birmingham
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
I’m Damian Goom, senior GM for Malmaison Hotels. I look after the Birmingham, Brighton, Cheltenham, Oxford and Reading hotels. I came to the city as the GM three-and-a half years ago, but I’ve been working in and around Birmingham for about 13 years. I’m an adopted Brummie and love it here. This is the third time I’ve actually lived in Birmingham during my career, and me and my family – including my two gorgeous Brummie daughters – are so settled here now.
HOW DO YOU GET INTO TOWN?
I live in Solihull so my journey into the Mailbox where I am based for most of the week is pretty simple – down the A45 into the city centre via Belgrave Middleway. I work quite unsociable hours because of events and travelling across the UK to other hotels, so it’s easier for me to drive.
IS BRUM A GOOD PLACE TO WORK IN?
Birmingham is a great city – we all know that – but since Brummies have started talking about how great it is, I think the public has really taken notice. The population is young and diverse and you get a sense that young people in particular have really made the place their own! From a professional point of view, I admire the work done by the likes of the Chambers of Commerce and Marketing Birmingham, and people like Andy Street, Paul Faulkner and Paul Kehoe who are tirelessly promoting the city. The city also has some amazing hotels, restaurants and unique bars.
Having an abundance of facilities in the hotel and wanting to showcase them to potential customers means it is usually in Chez Mal Bar and Brasserie or our on-site Starbucks. If I go off-site, it would be to one of the independent coffee shops like Faculty Coffee in Piccadilly Arcade or Yorks Espresso Bar, Great Western Arcade.
Sometimes I pop over and see my old friend Tony Elvin, GM at Hotel du Vin (our sister brand). He does a mean lunch and he’s generally on the wine come midday on a Friday! I also love Amantia on Bennetts Hill. It’s authentically Spanish and reminds me of holidays. I love the passion of the owners – it’s people like this who give Birmingham something to shout about.
I have this weird habit of only using my work mobile outside – not just because of the very dodgy signal in my office – so you’ll often find me having important conversations strolling through the Mailbox and out onto the canal.
WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE CITY?
This is like being asked which is my favourite daughter (I don’t have a favourite, before you ask!) If pressed, I love the green spaces in the city; Cannon Hill Park, nearer to me Elmdon Park and a bit further Sutton Park. I also like to go and see live music and comedy – the Hare & Hounds and Glee Club rarely disappoint.
I am an ale drinker, so my two favourites are Pure Bar and the Wellington on Bennetts Hill.
HOW CAN THE CITY BE MADE BETTER?
If I was being picky I would say the car parks at the rail stations need to be bigger to encourage more people to take the train to work. Otherwise, the city is getting it right on so many levels – from large scale events that bring tourism and media interest, through to enhancing our every day experience as residents. Birmingham really is on the up!