Retro: Most glamorous place to stay in city is now in sorry state

Hallam Tower Hotel. Picture Scott Merrylees
Hallam Tower Hotel. Picture Scott Merrylees
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It once welcomed Brazilian football legend Pele as a guest and was considered the most glamorous and desirable place to stay in the city.

Today Sheffield’s famed Hallam Tower Hotel is in a sorry state.

Pele, member of the Brazilian Santos team, arrived over 2 hours late at his hotel for the night, the Hallam Tower Hotel, Sheffield.  There was a large reception waiting for the visitors at the Omega Restaurant, but they had to wait further while Pele, complete with large grin, served out signatures to the many fans waiting at the Hallam Tower - 22nd February 1972

Pele, member of the Brazilian Santos team, arrived over 2 hours late at his hotel for the night, the Hallam Tower Hotel, Sheffield. There was a large reception waiting for the visitors at the Omega Restaurant, but they had to wait further while Pele, complete with large grin, served out signatures to the many fans waiting at the Hallam Tower - 22nd February 1972

But in its heyday star guests flocked there. Many regret the fact that it is now an abandoned eyesore and a magnet for graffiti artists and urban explorers.

The glory days of the once famous building were between 1965 and 2004, when the hotel was in full swing.

Construction on the towering Fulwood building began in 1963 and, for several decades, it welcomed a string of star guests, including the Brazilian ace, who stayed there in the early 1970s.

The hotel was one of the first such venues built since the end of the Second World War, constructed at a lofty price for the time of £1 million.

The Hallam Tower welcomed a string of showbiz guests over the years.

The Hallam Tower welcomed a string of showbiz guests over the years.

The grand edifice once boasted 136 bedrooms over 11 floors with more than 150 staff working across the hotel, which covered a three-and-a- half-acre site.

After its construction the city and the building’s owners were keen to capitalise on the hotel’s modern look and it appeared in an advertisement for the Ford Galaxie 500 and in the promotional film; Sheffield… City on the Move, which later resurfaced in the opening of The Full Monty.

Several times during the 1960s the hotel restaurant appeared in Egon Ronay’s Guide to British Eateries and achieved a four star rating from the AA. For the 1966 World Cup, Hillsborough Stadium was the ‘home’ ground of the Swiss team and their over night accommodation was the Hallam Tower Hotel.

One incident that was said to have happened at the time was when the Swiss national side fielded a team which left out two of their star players, against Germany, due to those players arriving back at the hotel an hour after curfew the night before.

The glamorous interior of the hotel is now just a wrecked shell.

The glamorous interior of the hotel is now just a wrecked shell.

In 1978 the Hallam aimed for a more prestigious market.

Hotels management decided it wanted a better dressed client and would only accept bookings from rock bands as long as they were dressed appropriately inside the hotel and didn’t swear while in the hotel restaurant.

By 1986, the building had changed to the Hallam Tower Post House Hotel, with a £750,000 refurbishment. Its new gym suite was opened in 1987 by Sheffield Wednesday manager Howard Wilkinson and boxer Herol Graham.

In various other guises, the hotel became Forte Crest Sheffield, Posthouse Sheffield and in 2001, Holiday Inn Sheffield West.

The hotel in its heyday.

The hotel in its heyday.

The hotel eventually closed, along with the attached Spirit Health Club, on April 18, 2004, and the building sold for more than £6 million. Since then, various redevelopment proposals to turn it into residential accommodation have been mooted, but none became a reality. In 2015, The Star reported the building would be demolished for a set of luxury apartments costing £300,000 each, as well as £495,000 homes you can design yourself.

As reported in the Star – The tower was damaged in a fire during the evening of January 10, 2016.

The report said: Firefighters dealt with a blaze at the derelict former Hallam Tower Hotel.

Three fire engines and a turntable ladder were called to the empty building on Manchester Road, Broomhill, at about 5pm. A fire involving a small amount of wood’ broke out on the seventh floor. Crews extinguished the fire and left at about 6.20pm.

Hallam Tower July 2015

Hallam Tower July 2015