Sally O’Loughlin: Co-owner & Interior Designer of Eclectic Hotels Collection

King Street Townhouse, part of Eclectic Hotels Collection, is one of the Royal Exchange Theatre’s Hotel Partners. An impressive Italian renaissance building designed by local architect Edward Salomons, the owners, Sally & Eamonn O’Loughlin, set out with the intention to respectfully expand on the allure and unique qualities of this historic building with the ‘baby grand’ hotel. The hotel boasts 40 bedrooms, a restaurant and a rooftop infinity spa pool with views of the Town Hall.
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Tell us about your first visit to the Royal Exchange Theatre
I first visited the Royal Exchange about 25 years ago for an exhibition. The interior architecture, both old & new always impressed me and it still does.

How did you start out?
I started out in hair/wig & make-up departments in amateur dramatic theatres mainly working for free to gain experience. It led me to a job as a make-up artist for Granada TV, it was my dream job. When we bought our first project, Eleven Didsbury Park, my husband Eamonn gave me the job of interior design, I really had no idea where to start and learnt on the job - so I went from making up faces to making up hotel rooms over night!

My typical day is…
I don’t really have a typical day, I’m very lucky to have the freedom to take each day and week as it comes. I usually get up around 6.30am, start my day making a cup of tea for my husband, son and myself, we have a number of pets so they get fed next. Then follows the usual hullabaloo of getting ready for school and work. If I have a day off I like to go to a yoga class. I enjoy the school run in the morning and it signals the start of my working day too. Having four hotels to keep looking their best is like painting the Forth Bridge, it’s a constant renewal, replacement and I have a huge list which never ceases to end!
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What theatre production has made you give a standing ovation?
Pretty much everything that Maxine Peake appears in, I love her work.

If I wasn’t doing this I’d be…
A freelance T.V. make-up artist.

Why are the arts and culture important to you?
It’s very important to me, it’s something that has given me great pleasure both working within it and experiencing it.

The best bit of your job?
I’m lucky to have for the most part free reign of what I do and I enjoy the diversity it brings from one day to the next.

If you could programme one show what would it be?
Desert Island Discs, I’d like to see how it would be interpreted for the stage.

My most memorable work moment is…
When King Street Townhouse was announced as one of the ‘Best Hotels in the World’ on Condé Nast Traveller’s Hot List 2016, we were elated but also taken aback!
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Can you sum up your relationship with the Royal Exchange in 5 words?
Eclectic, enticing, exciting, evoking and esteemed.

What makes Manchester so special?
I’m proud to be Mancunian; with it’s rich industrial heritage and the evolving architectural landscape. It’s a place of opportunity with the support, spirit and friendliness of the people and the ability for a rich tapestry of cultures to knit together for the highs and the lows.

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