The Macdonald Hotels chain has strong literary connections – Oxford’s fictional Inspector Morse visited its Randolph Hotel, while Agatha Christie famously sought solitude at the Old Swan in Harrogate. After floating the company in 1996, founder and chairman Donald Macdonald took it private in 2003, backed by Bank of Scotland Corporate, selling 24 hotels to reduce debt. The Scottish group is refurbishing and upgrading the remaining 53 hotels and has spent £48m on a new 338-bedroom property in Manchester. Sales reached £186.9m in 2006.
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