Mickey Mouse stars in £4m rebirth of The Grand

Merseyside hospitality business Mikhail Hotel & Leisure Group unveils the latest phase of its £4m transformation of The Grand in Southport – with a starring role for Mickey Mouse. Andrew Brown reports

The Grand
The Princess Grace Suite at The Grand on Lord Street in Southport


This week sees the unveiling of the latest phase in the £4m transformation of The Grand in Southport which is being turned into a leisure venue and hotel.

Friday sees the official opening of the Princess Grace Suite on the first floor of the Grade II-listed art deco venue in Lord Street. Formerly home to The Grand Casino, the new venue opened in July featuring The Grand Brasserie and Chloe’s Piano Bar.

Now the second phase of the project, first announced in July 2021, sees the opening of the new function and events space. It seats 250 people and its huge windows provide views across Lord Street. Owner Mikhail Hotel & Leisure Group has restored the ‘Disney windows” as part of the refurbishment.

They were created in the 1930s following agreement from Walt Disney himself when the historic building was used as a cinema. The windows feature characters such as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

Andrew Mikhail, who heads Mikhail Hotel & Leisure Group, says Harry’s Bar and the Sky Bar on the top floor are scheduled to open in spring next year. Hotels and a spa will also be added to the venue.

Mikhail has already invested extensively in Southport, transforming Lord Street’s ‘Northern Quarter’ through The Bold Hotel, the Lord Street Hotel, the Lord Street Hotel Sports Bar and Punch Tarmey’s Irish themed bar. The firm also operates the feature bar in the centre of Southport Market.

The Princess Grace Suite has been named in honour of Grace, one of Andrew and wife Vicky children (Chloe and Harry have been similarly honoured), as well as Princess Grace of Monaco.

The Grand general manager Eimear McElroy said: “The Princess Grace Suite is a 250-seater function space that is perfect for weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties, surprise parties, conferences, events and other celebrations.

“We have had a lot of inquiries already! It is an absolutely beautiful space, the same quality upstairs as it is downstairs.  People will also get the chance to admire the room’s famous Disney windows. They are all back and fully restored. It took a long time to ensure they were perfect.


The Grand
One of the Disney windows at The Princess Grace Suite
The Grand
The Princess Grace Suite at The Grand on Lord Street in Southport


“This building is a blend of the old and the modern, offering our guests a real contemporary experience while respecting the heritage of this magnificent building.  During the day, the light floods into the room, it looks really good.

“It’s a fantastic view looking out onto Lord Street, both during the day and also at night, when the lights in the trees are sparkling.”

First opened in 1923, the building has entertained generations of Sandgrounders as a cinema, as a bingo hall, as an early car showroom, and as the former Grand Casino. It celebrates its 100th birthday next year.

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Eimear added: “We have lots more work to do over these next few months. This building is huge. It is like peeling an onion, with so many different layers to it. Once Christmas is out the way we will continue to work on opening our new Sky Bar and Harry’s Bar on the top floor, which will both be ready to enjoy for spring time.

The hotel aspect will take shape after that, it is a big project. It will take a good six months to completely refurbish the roof at the back of the building.”

This article first appeared in Stand Up For Southport

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