Here’s a little snippet of our interview with Staying Cool Apartments MD Tracey Stephenson. For the rest of the interview check out the latest edition of Scene Birmingham online or in hard copy in bars, hotels and restaurants throughout the city!
Staying Cool Apartments is not your usual hotelier – in fact they’re as far from normal as you could possibly be. Perched atop of the iconic The Rotunda building in the heart of Birmingham, they are a collection of 26 serviced apartments where chic design and stunning views come as standard.
Having recently received national and international attention after been referenced by the New York Times publication 36 Hours: 125 Weekends In Europe as the ‘place to stay’ in Birmingham we had to go see for ourselves what all the fuss was about and meet Tracey Stephenson, joint MD of Staying Cool, on the 19th floor to discuss boutique hotels, awards, Simon Cowell and…the Harlem Globetrotters?
Scene: When did you set up Staying Cool and what was the thinking behind the apartments?
Tracey: We set up Staying Cool in 2005 (me and my business partner Paul) having each worked in very different fields. Both of us have traveled a fair bit with mixed experiences and we noticed that there was a gap in the market for accommodation that combined the chic design of boutique hotels with the spacious, but often bland, design of serviced apartments, whilst incorporating a homely feel at the same time.
We started in apartments by buying two shell scheme apartments from Urban Splash in Manchester and furnished them chicly, creating modern living spaces. They were a great success and Urban Splash used them as a model to show others what could be done with the spaces.
Urban Splash told us that they had some apartments in The Rotunda available and we went along and had a look at the space – we thought it was so quirky with stunning views…it was great!
Scene: What were your thoughts of Birmingham when you first came and have they changed since?
Birmingham is great and one of the first things we noticed was how welcoming the people are. Whenever we go to a new place we look for four things; regional centre, conference and exhibition trade, strong sporting tradition and a media hub.
The Second City has all this and more and is going from strength to strength. With the number of significant changes planned for the landscape in the near future it will only get better.
That’s it for now folks but to find out more about Tracey and the Staying Cool Apartments in the Rotunda check out the online version of Scene Birmingham or grab a hard-copy which are dotted around our fair city! Or head to www.stayingcool.com/birmingham