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Seven-figure refurb begins at City Quay Hotel, Dundee

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Seven-figure refurb begins at City Quay Hotel, Dundee

Work has commenced on a £1.4 million refurbishment programme at Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa in the heart of Dundee…

Over the coming months the Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa‘s public spaces – including the reception and conference areas, as well as the hotel’s Metro Bar & Brasserie and Yu Spa – will be transformed, bringing a spectacular new look and feel to the hotel. The significant investment comes less than one year after the completion of a £2.4 million bedroom refurbishment.

The full programme of improvements is set to be completed in the New Year, with the hotel operating business as usual throughout the period.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to see work starting on the latest round of refurbishment work at the hotel,” said Ronnie MacKay, the general manager at Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa. “The feedback from guests following the bedroom refurbishment has been exceptionally positive and, given that the plans in place for the public areas look absolutely fantastic, we’re confident our guests will be impressed with the finished result.

“The significant investment in the hotel over the past twelve months or so really underlines Apex’s commitment to constantly raising the bar and ensuring first-class standards for guests across the board. We’ll keep our guests informed of our plans every step of the way, but as the works continue over the coming months, we fully intend to operate business as usual until we unveil the finished product.”

Since late 2017, Apex Hotels has invested approximately £12 million in refurbishment works across its 10 UK hotels.

Main image credit: Apex Hotels

The Balmoral in Edinburgh reveals new suite

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
The Balmoral in Edinburgh reveals new suite

The Balmoral, a Rocco Forte hotel in Edinburgh, has revealed a new look for one of its signature suites, The Glamis…

One of Edinburgh’s most iconic hotels, The Balmoral, has unveiled the new design of one of its signiture suites, The Glamis. Designed by Olga Polizzi, Rocco Forte Hotels’ Director of Building & Design, the royal suite is set to become one of the city’s most impressive spaces thanks to an extensive refurbishment and the introduction of exclusive partnerships designed to elevate the guest experience.

The ultimate base for couples and families or an urban retreat for royalty, heads of state and VIPs, The Balmoral is now home to the finest suites in the city, setting the luxury standard of accommodation for Scotland. Named after one of the country’s most beautiful and historical royal abodes, Glamis Castle, childhood home of HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, the newly launched Glamis Suite is full of period charm and regal references, its ambience and offerings giving a hint of its namesake’s legacy of style, intrigue, rebels and revolution.

Stretching over 100 square metres, with a prime position overlooking the entrance to the hotel on Princes Street, the new suite can be booked with one, two or three bedrooms, making it perfect for couples, families and VIPs.

“Authenticity is at the heart of Rocco Forte Hotels and here original features are celebrated with book cases.”

A new entrance to the Glamis Suite offers discrete, private check-ins. Entering the generous space, patinated bronze screens open onto a Scottish baronial table set for four in the dining room. In the sitting room – with its working fireplace and antique chandelier – a lush colour palette of emerald and amethyst sets the tone for a scheme in which rich fabrics meet antiques selected personally by Polizzi from her travels throughout Europe.  Authenticity is at the heart of Rocco Forte Hotels and here original features are celebrated with book cases – set within the original Edinburgh presses – and art featuring Scottish botanicals. The showpiece Shinola record player and vinyl collection is a nod to the Rock ‘n Roll greats who have frequented the hotel. Available for guests to enjoy, the record menu offers an ever-growing collection tailored to guests’ music tastes.

Taking centre stage in the Master Bedroom is a full-height half-tester bed with a tapestried canopy adding to the romance of a by-gone era. Lewis & Wood Bosky wallpaper by artist Alexander Hamilton adds a fairy-tale quality to the scene whilst two stone lions referencing The Royal Banner of the Royal Arms of Scotland stand guard. A spacious Arabascato marble-clad bathroom, with its oversized freestanding bath sitting underneath a lustrous vintage Czechoslovakian glass chandelier, completes the suite.

Providing a unique suite experience is at the heart of Rocco Forte Hotels’ ongoing dedication to its guests. As part of this, Glamis Suite guests will be offered exclusive turndowns from luxury cashmere brand Johnstons of Elgin and fragrance house, Kingdom Scotland, both aimed at bringing the essence of Scotland to the suite.

Gleneagles to redesign its famous restaurant

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Gleneagles to redesign its famous restaurant

The redesign of The Strathearn restaurant at Gleneagles is being led by Ennismore Design Studio and was inspired by the golden age of railway travel…

With the aim to bring back the glamour and decadence of fine dining experiences of the 1920s and ’30s, Gleneagles will in May 2019 unveil the relaunch of its famous restaurant, The Strathearn following a design transformation by Ennismore Design Studio.

The space – which has welcomed a host of famous faces over the decades, from Vivien Leigh, Sir Laurence Olivier and Sir Sean Connery, to John Travolta, Bob Hope and Her Majesty The Queen – is to unveil a new look inspired by an era when glamorous socialites would travel in style from London to Gleneagles to enjoy summer seasons of country sports and decadent dining.

The new designs will celebrate that elegant spirit through a setting that evokes the theatre of the outdoors, the beautiful flora and fauna of Scotland. The creation of a stunning mosaic-floored orangery will offer beautiful views of the estate and the Ochil Hills across the seasons, while a new stage for musical performances will complement the elegance and drama of the rich décor – evocative of first-class carriage journeys in the early twentieth century.  A new kitchen-style breakfast servery will also double up as an occasional private dining space – breathing fresh life into the area that housed Gleneagles’ kitchen in the 1920s.

“After years of meticulous planning, 12 months of interior design work and four months of careful renovation, we can’t wait to unveil the beautiful new look in May.” – Sharan Pasricha, CEO of Gleneagles and Ennismore

Dinner at The Strathearn will be an even more decadent affair, with traditional gueridon service from bespoke dining trollies bringing excitement and energy to the room as a selection of classic dishes are finished at the table. Personally attending each table, the team will add a theatrical flair to the evening, as they effortlessly carve Scottish smoked salmon, prepare and dress a salad, or flambé a ‘Steak Strathearn’ on request.

“As one of the final strands of our three-year design transformation, the renovation of The Strathearn restaurant was always going to be one of the most important phases of all,” said Sharan Pasricha, CEO of Gleneagles and Ennismore. “After years of meticulous planning, 12 months of interior design work and four months of careful renovation, we can’t wait to unveil the beautiful new look in May.”

“Originally known simply as ‘the Dining Room’, the restaurant has been a destination for decadent dining and lively celebrations since Gleneagles first opened nearly 100 years ago. It’s been cherished by generations of guests, so we didn’t want to radically change the fabric of the space or the spirit of the experience. Instead, we wanted to take the essence of The Strathearn and turn up the volume. By amplifying all the elements that are so well loved – the elegant décor, the history, the lively atmosphere, the culinary theatre and the exceptional food – the team has brought back the vibrancy, energy, playfulness and glamour of fine dining experiences a century ago.”

The Strathearn will be overseen by Restaurant Manager, Daniel Greenock, who has moved home to Scotland having honed his craft at Marcus Wareing’s Michelin-starred restaurant at the Berkley Hotel and the world-renowned three Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park in New York.

Now under new owner Ennismore, Gleneagles has enlisted the skills and expertise of some of the UK’s most acclaimed designers including David Collins Studio, Timorous Beasties, Macaulay Sinclair, Goddard Littlefair and Ennismore’s own in-house design studio – with the aim to create designs and spaces that celebrate the rich, glamorous heritage and beautiful architecture for which the hotel is famed.

The latest redesign announcement follows Gleneagles’ Conor O’Leary winning Hotelier of the Year at The Brit List 2018 for his unmatched leadership style.

Main image credit: Gleneagles/Ennismore


Kimpton Hotels arrives in Scotland

768 502 Hamish Kilburn

Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel brings a new, approachable luxury hotel offering to historic Edinburgh…

IHG has announced the opening of the first Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants in Scotland, Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel, as it continues to invest in Scotland as a luxury destination.

Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel is in one of Edinburgh’s most beautiful squares in the Georgian New Town, a UNESCO world heritage site. With a view of Edinburgh Castle and historic hotspots just a short walk away, the hotel is at the perfect intersection between old and new. The 184 rooms and 15 suites are part of seven interconnecting Georgian townhouses which showcase Kimpton’s bold and playful design.

Last year IHG and Covivio entered an agreement to rebrand and operate 12 hotels (and one pipeline hotel) operating under the Principal and De Vere brands. The Principal Charlotte Square is the second of these properties to rebrand as a Kimpton, following the successful opening of Kimpton Fitzroy London in October 2018. The opening of Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel marks IHG’s return to the luxury market in Edinburgh, as the first branded luxury hotel in Scotland in over a decade. This year will see a continuation of this momentum with additional Kimpton hotel openings in Glasgow and Manchester and an InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts opening in Edinburgh.

Hotel guests will enjoy Kimpton’s signature perks such as in-room yoga mats and Kimpton’s ‘Forgot It, We’ve Got it’ service offering important guest essentials. Guests can also meet fellow travellers at Kimpton’s daily social hour in the hotel’s BABA Bar, take part in free fitness and wellness classes at the recently refurbished, state-of-the-art gym, or enjoy a relaxing treatment at The Spa.

“Kimpton has built its brand on the belief that heartfelt human connections make people’s lives better. We inspire curiosity and embrace people exactly as they are, creating truly meaningful guest experiences,” said Johan Scheepers, General Manager, Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel. “Each Kimpton hotel is an escape from the ordinary, and Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel will offer a vibrant Scottish service full of charm and personality, in one of the world’s most historic cities.”Karan Khanna, Managing Director, UK & Ireland, IHG commented: “We are very excited to build our presence in the luxury market in Scotland as we introduce the Kimpton brand. Edinburgh has a real demand for a lifestyle luxury brand and I’m confident that Kimpton’s relaxed approach to luxury will suit the market well.”

IHG currently has 345 hotels* operating under eight brands in the UK, including: InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, voco, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Staybridge Suites, with another 29 in the pipeline.

*Numbers as at 31 December 2018.

Main image credit: Kimpton Hotels/IHG

Scotland doubles hotel investment in 2018

800 534 Hamish Kilburn

Criton’s CEO & founder comments on how hoteliers must continue this momentum in Scotland…

Real estate advisor, Savills, has announced that in the first six months of 2018, hotel investment in Scotland reached £389.67 million, doubling the total investment volumes recorded in 2017 at £195 million. It indicated that UK buyers were the biggest buying group, accounting for 41 per cent of activity, while the rest were overseas investors. This news comes after Scotland invested in better overseas links, such as Hainan Airlines running direct return flights between Edinburgh and China from June 2018.  

“It’s fantastic that Scotland’s hotel investment in the last six months has already surpassed the annual investment figures for 2017 – it shows the strength of the visitor economy in Scotland which is currently worth around £6BN of GDP to the Scottish economy, five per cent of the total,” said Julie Grieve, CEO & founder of Criton. “Investors are clearly seeing the future potential in Scotland and what it has to offer the tourism industry, as well as the wider economy – and I am particularly delighted that Edinburgh, where my own company is based, is becoming a priority for investors in the UK and across the globe.

Put simply, it is the responsibility of Scotland’s hoteliers to welcome visitors with open arms

“While hotel investment in Scotland is strong, the impact of Brexit is already being felt as it becomes harder to recruit and retain good staff. Scottish hoteliers can counter this by investing in technology, allowing them to continue to deliver with less staff and therefore grow profits. Of course, improving the guest experience will be critical, and as we move forward in the digital era, it will be the hoteliers that offer guests hospitality how and where they want it using technology that will succeed. Put simply, it is the responsibility of Scotland’s hoteliers to welcome visitors with open arms – and those that are ahead of the game will be able to capitalise on the recent investment boost.”

soft interiors in luxury guestroom

Award-winning Edinburgh hotel reveals newly refurbished guestrooms

800 532 Hamish Kilburn

Interior designer Nigel Howard has transformed 49 guestrooms in Edinburgh..

The Bonham Hotel in Edinburgh has unveiled 49 individually styled and refurbished guestrooms and suites as part of a multi-million pound investment.

The interior design of each guestroom was led by leading London- and Dublin-based interior designer Nigel Howard, who has converted the areas sensitively to give an appropriate nod to the hotel’s Georgian architectural heritage.

The individually styled guestrooms, with soft textures and tones, blend traditional period elements with the very best of modern fabrics and finishes. High ceilings and the magnificent period detailing are further enhanced with a royal blue and deep plum colour palette interweaved with gold and silver threads.

Each room makes full use of the floor to ceiling windows which bathe the rooms in natural light and provide exquisite views across the city. “It’s always satisfying to work on a period property where you can breathe new life into its interiors through sophisticated design yet while maintaining all the elements of the building that should be celebrated,” said Nigel Howard. “Our brief was to design luxury guest rooms that complimented the history of the building yet provided for modern hotel living. Getting the balance between new and old was the key to achieving a successful outcome.

© Sandy young Photography

Douglas Campbell, general manager of The Bonham, said: “This is a new chapter for the hotel and one which we are all very excited to be part of.

“The Bonham has claimed the hearts of so many of our guests who return time and time again and this multi-million pound refurbishment has seen our already stunning hotel, transformed into a truly sophisticated property.

“We are committed to offering our guests a truly one-of-a-kind experience and look forward to welcoming our regular visitors and new guests near and far to experience a taste of elegance here at The Bonham.”

Elsewhere in the hotel, the restaurant will also undergo refurbishment as well as the popular Consulting Bar over the course of the year.

Nigel continued: “The team at Nigel Howard Creative are now looking forward to the redesign of the ground floor public spaces.  Incredible spaces that require meticulous design focus.”

The Bonham, set within a Victorian townhouse in a quiet, leafy crescent in the west end of Edinburgh, is considered as one of the city’s hidden gems.

The four-star luxury hotel – awarded Best Boutique Hotel by LateRooms.com ‘Simply the Guest’ awards – offers one of the best city centre venues without the usual hustle and bustle.

Scotland’s Green Tourism efforts applauded

1024 683 Katy Phillips

Sustainable tourism business in Scotland has saved 1 million tonnes of water and ¼ million tonnes of carbon according to an impacts report published by the sustainable accreditation organisation, Green Tourism.

The report, entitled ’20 years of making a difference’, addresses the positive impact Green Tourism accredited businesses have had on the environment over a period of twenty years.

Green Tourism sustainability assessments undertaken by the organisation spanning the last twenty years have revealed carbon and water savings, habitat and biodiversity creation, waste recovery, local procurement and business savings.

The detailed analysis was undertaken across tourism businesses including hoteliers, visitor attractions, tour operators and event and conference venues across Scotland.

The impact of a combined sustainable approach across 809 Scottish accredited businesses shows that 5 million ‘green’ bed nights were enjoyed in 2017, with 25 million visitors choosing sustainable destinations, attractions and venues in 2016.

Furthermore, 1.5 million trees have been planted by environmentally-aware tourism businesses over the last 20 years.

The report also shows that the ‘green movement’ is gaining traction, with 30% of tourism businesses now part of a local food initiative, an increase of 150% in 5 years.

In addition, 298 (84%) food service businesses have switched to sustainable sourcing with at least 60% of their menus coming from local producers in the last year.

Ongoing Process

Green Tourism Managing Director Andrea Nicholas (pictured above with Chairman Jon Proctor) said: “Green Tourism’s impact over the last 20 years has seen the growth of renewable energy sources, millions of tonnes of carbon and water saved and a stronger emphasis on local produce amongst participating businesses. Tourism is in a unique position to deliver sustainable goals as the industry connects people, places and our planet.”

Green Tourism Chairman Jon Proctor said: “By assessing the performance of businesses against over 150 sustainability indicators, we have access to in-depth data on what sustainable organisations are doing in order to meet their sustainability goals. This is an ongoing process highlighting where improvements can be made and it goes beyond cost savings; we encourage tourism businesses to invest in their local community by enabling guests to experience local cultural experiences or social projects. Our research has shown that Green Tourism accredited businesses are more efficient and offer better customer experiences.”

Impact On The Environment

Green Tourism says it is setting ambitious targets to broaden its reach and penetration.

Nicholas added: “Our ambitions are to support a wider range and number of businesses through digital technologies. By making assessments more accessible and productive and reporting easier we can support businesses on their green journey which, cumulatively is making a significant impact on the environment.”

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “The success of Scottish tourism rests not only on its economic competitiveness but also on protecting and enhancing the environment, society and culture, which are vital to the brand, the industry and our ability to continue to attract visitors from around the world time and time again.

“The fantastic work of Green Tourism over the past 20 years, and the businesses that have implemented a wide range of environmental and social practices, has made great strides in spearheading and showcasing sustainable tourism in Scotland.

“Scotland’s reputation as a quality destination relies on continued investment and innovation. As visitors become more socially and environmentally conscious – as identified by our 2017 Trend, ‘Hunt for Sustainability’ – going green has become increasingly important.”

BrewDog ‘realise their dreams’ as they finally launch Scottish craft beer hotel

560 322 Adam Bloodworth

Hipster ‘craft’ beer producers BrewDog are launching their own beer-themed hotel.

The new hotel, called the DogHouse, will make visiting the BrewDog brewery in rural, north-eastern Aberdeenshire far easier and more worthwhile for those traveling long distances.

The town of Ellon which hosts the brewery is 16 miles from Aberdeen. The idea behind the Doghouse is to allow guests to relax overnight and enjoy some beers, without needing to immediately drive back from the brewery.

The hotel will have a similar feel to the BrewDog bars, with exposed fixtures and fittings, including brickwork and air vents on the roof, and neon light statement features.

DogHouse will have a distinctive bar and restaurant, and will stand out from the local community’s selection of traditional pubs with its statement interior design. The brewers are planning on adding another brewhouse to the Ellon facility, with a capacity for 300 HL, hence the expansion plans for the hotel too.

26 bedrooms will overlook the brewhouse, and be immersed within the spirit (rather, the hops) of the company. The brewers have described how “brewday aromas” will mean “no alarm clock is required”.

The hotel “are going all out” on the rooms, which will each have their own PUNK IPA tap in-room (!) alongside a state-of-the-art shower fridge so guests are “never more than an arm’s reach from a chilled craft beer”.

Their statement went on: “We can’t wait to get this project started as we expand to the east side of our current brewhouse, creating more jobs for Aberdeenshire and ending up with a destination for the many people who travel to our part of the world to see how we do things. A brand new BrewDog hotel; two minutes’ walk from DogTap, a minute from our HQ offices. Introducing the DogHouse. You may never want to check-out.”

Doghouse is pegged to open early in 2019, alongside an American branch, DogHouse Columbus

Edinburgh’s boutique yacht hotel to open in 2018

850 473 Daniel Fountain

The opening of Scotland’s first luxury static floating hotel – being affectionately nicknamed a ‘boatique’ – is due for 2018.

The former Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) tender, MV Fingal, is being converted into a 23 bedroom hotel, berthed permanently at the Prince of Wales Dock in Edinburgh’s historic port of Leith.

Each of the 23 individually designed cabins will be named after Stevenson lighthouses, and have been inspired by Fingal’s maritime heritage.

The 237ft long ship will also be home to a double height ballroom, able to seat 80 guests and features a moveable skylight.

The development is being carried out by the Pedley Group, a new company formed by Alan Pedley and Stephen Flanagan. Pedley has been responsible for manufacturing and installing over 180,000 hotel rooms in 61 countries for hotel groups including; IHG, Hyatt, Hilton, and Marriott.


Kohler Spa at Old Course Hotel set to reopen following multi-million renovation

1000 554 Daniel Fountain

The Kohler Waters Spa at The Old Course Hotel in St Andrews will reopen in early 2018 following an extensive multi-million refurbishment. Opening up to the public for the first time, it will offer a luxury spa retreat in the heart of Scotland with a focus on hydrotherapy.

As the only Kohler Waters Spa outside the USA, the renovation will see the spa separated into two distinct areas; one dedicated to the guests’ spa journey and the other to leisure and fitness.

Designed by Sedley Place, the extension and refurbishment of the existing space will create a total of 25,000sqft, featuring 13 treatment rooms including two couple’s rooms, as well as two wet treatment rooms offering Kohler bathing experiences. There will also be a steam room providing deep muscular relaxation and detoxification, a Finnish sauna and a rooftop garden with hot tub.

The renovation will see the addition of a new 20m lap pool as part of the large health and fitness centre, as well as a gym area with cardio and resistance stations, a functional fitness space and a group exercise studio, with instructor led classes along with innovative virtual training.

Bordering the renowned 17th Road Hole of the Old Course, the Old Course Hotel is situated in a prime location overlooking the famous links courses, the West Sands Beach and the beautiful Scottish coastline. This prestigious AA five-star awarded hotel features 144 rooms designed by French designer Jacques Garcia, including 35 suites. The hotel has also recently undergone a complete refurbishment of its bedrooms.

trivago - best UK hotels

trivago Awards 2018: This year’s top-rated hotels in the UK

847 419 Guest Blog

trivago has reviewed the data and tallied the scores, and it’s time to reveal the hotels that travellers consider to be the very best — the winners of the trivago Awards 2018.

The trivago Awards give hoteliers the chance to receive recognition for their hard work and dedication to providing exemplary guest experiences, and to highlight and publicise this achievement to a world of travellers. In discussing the Awards, Johannes Thomas, Managing Director at trivago NV, said: “As an independent source of hotel information with data on over 175 million guest reviews, we are well-positioned to identify the top-rated hotels that excel at delivering exceptional guest experiences. The trivago Awards give us the chance to recognise and honour the hard-working hoteliers behind these exemplary hotels, and we are thrilled to do so again this year.”

All winning hotels receive exclusive award-indicators (certificates to put on display, widgets for their websites and social media pages, and more) that can increase their visibility and guest appeal online and offline. And the single top hotel in each category also gets to take home a coveted trivago Awards trophy along with a winner’s badge for their hotel profile.

trivago applauds all the winning hotels for offering top-notch, top-rated guest experiences. So, without further ado, let’s find out who the national winners in the United Kingdom are…

The top-rated hotels with the best value for money
This year, the best value for money in the UK can be found at St Michael’s Guest House in Scarborough.

Whatever the season or occasion, family-run Victorian guest house aims to make everyone’s stay enjoyable and relaxing by giving a traditional service. Owners Dee and Glyn had this to say about providing award-winning value: “As trivago is one of the best known and respected international websites that travellers turn to when planning a stay away from home it is a huge honour that we should be associated with them and even more amazing to win an award. We don’t feel that we do anything special here at St Michael’s just be ourselves. We offer clean and comfortable accommodation and a good locally sourced breakfast at reasonable prices. Our main aim is for our guests to feel relaxed in a happy atmosphere; as if they are visiting friends.”

Here are the top-10 recipients of the trivago Awards 2018 in the category of Best Value for Money in the UK:

The top-rated 3-star hotels
This year, the number one 3-star hotel in the UK is Cedar Manor in Windermere.

trivago - best UK hotelsSet in mature gardens with the beautiful cedar tree that the hotel takes its name from, Cedar Manor is renowned for its friendliness with a relaxed and informal feel.

On receiving the award-winning hotel, owners Caroline and Jonathan Kaye said: “We’re just a small hotel – ten rooms including a detached suite – but we’ve proved that small is beautiful. We’re lucky to be in the most beautiful part of the country and we’ve created a haven of tranquil luxury to match our landscape. We know that the trivago Awards recognise those hoteliers who deliver an exceptional experience to their guests, and that’s what we strive to achieve. Each year we invest in our hotel and in our staff to keep on getting better and better, talking to our guests, listening to our guests, paying attention to the tiny details.”

Here are the top-10 recipients of the trivago Awards 2018 in the category of Best 3-Star Hotels in the UK:

The top-rated 4-star hotels
This year, the number one 4-star hotel in the UK is The Clontarf Hotel in Llandudno.

trivago - best UK hotelsLocated on the peaceful West Shore at the foot of the Great Orme, the family-run hotel offers unique styled rooms with lovely views of the sea.

On receiving the award, owners Mark and Joni Stubbs said: “We are delighted to have been selected by trivago to have been the number one 4-star hotel in the UK. We take a relaxed and informal approach to hotel management and want all guests to feel comfortable but with all the modern comforts of today’s hotel environment. We look forward to welcoming many more trivago guests in the future.”

Here are the top-10 recipients of the trivago Awards 2018 in the category of Best 4-Star Hotels in the UK:

trivago - best UK hotelsThe top-rated 5-star hotels
Just like last year, the number one 5-star hotel in the UK is Hotel 41 in London.

trivago - best UK hotelsBoasting one of London’s prime locations, attentive staff and striking rooms, 41 offers an unforgettable hotel experience.

Digital Marketing Manager, Edward Boulton, acknowledged the team for providing an exceptional service to their guests: “At Hotel 41, ‘No request too large, no detail too small’ is our ethos, and our warm, thoughtful and personalised service is something we pride ourselves on. Our team go above and beyond to provide five-star service to each and every guest, ensuring that a stay at Hotel 41 is remembered for more than just the luxurious décor. We’re incredibly honoured to receive this trivago Award which recognises our commitment to our guests’ experience.”

Here are the top-10 recipients of the trivago Awards 2018 in the category of Best 5-Star Hotels in the UK:

trivago - best UK hotelsThe top-rated alternative accommodation
This year, the number one best alternative accommodation in the UK is The Arthington Guest House in Blackpool.

trivago - best UK hotelsKnown for their outstanding service, rich complimentary breakfast, and proximity to the promenade and attractions.

Owners Steve and Elaine pride themselves on providing the highest standards of comfort. They said: “We are over the moon that for the third year running we have been nominated for the trivago Awards. We have been running The Arthington in Blackpool since 2006 and its success has been down to hard work and not resting on our laurels. Trying to cater for the modern guest, whilst realising our limitations is our honest approach to the way we do our business. A big thank you to all the guests both old and new who have posted reviews about us, we would not be a success without them.”

Here are the top-10 recipients of the trivago Awards 2018 in the category of Best Alternative Accommodation in the UK:

trivago - best UK hotelsThe top-rated chain hotels
The hotel chains with the best collective ratings across the UK this year are The Montcalm Hotels, Principal Hotel Company and Corus Hotels. The number one hotel within The Montcalm Hotels in the UK is The Montcalm London Marble Arch.

Sitting grandly at the top of Park Lane, The Montcalm London Marble Arch promises the luxury lifestyle and individually tailored guest experience. Upon winning the award, Managing Director, Ramesh Arora had this to say: “At the Montcalm we consider hospitality an art form, and we’re always pioneering new ways to enjoy it. It’s how we not only keep standards consistently high but also keep the guest experience constantly fresh and rewarding. We’re thrilled to receive this award from trivago for the Montcalm London Marble Arch because it recognises the dedication of all our staff in perfecting their art.”

This year, the top-rated hotel of the Principal Hotel Company in the UK is The Principal York.
Tracy Harrison, General manager said: “It is a huge honour to be recognised by trivago – one of the world’s most trusted travel comparison websites – following the £20m refurbishment and revival of York’s historic grande-dame railway hotel.

trivago - best UK hotelsWhat’s more, to receive an accolade that has been based solely on ratings and reviews from trivago’s global network of savvy travellers, would only provide our team with a feeling of extra achievement. In order to deliver a unique guest experience, we combine unique local heritage with a modern take on traditional British hotel service that is intuitive to guest needs. Our people are key to our rebirth and so we introduced a new dedicated guest relations team who are empowered to surprise and delight each of our guests in some way during their stay, exceeding the expectations of our star-rating.“

Finally, the number one hotel within Corus Hotels in the UK is Laura Ashley The Manor in Elstree.
Situated in landscaped gardens within 10 acres of natural woodland and views overlooking the Hertfordshire countryside, Laura Ashley The Manor Hotel is known for charming Tudor style exterior and stylish contemporary interior décor.

trivago - best UK hotels

How does trivago determine the winning hotels?
Just as we aggregate hotel prices from across the web, we also aggregate guest reviews and ratings for a wide variety of amenities and services for all hotels that display prices on trivago. The reviews are then assigned an overall score by amenity or service category using an internally developed algorithm. The overall score is displayed on trivago, making it easy for travellers to compare amenities and services offered as they search for their ideal hotel. For the trivago Awards 2018, the hotel with the highest score in each awarded category is deemed the category winner. To ensure accuracy, a minimum of 20 reviews were required for award eligibility.

Lenka Trckova
Lenka is a member of trivago’s Industry Management team for English-speaking markets. She grew up in a family of entrepreneurs and studied marketing communication and business management in the Czech Republic. She joined trivago to pursue her passion for the hospitality industry and is focused on supporting hoteliers to reach their online potential through marketing and technology. READ THE ORIGINAL BLOG POST FROM TRIVAGO’S HOTEL MANAGER BLOG HERE


Glasgow’s Gleddoch Hotel Spa and Golf joins BW Premier Collection

998 559 Daniel Fountain

Gleddoch Hotel Spa and Golf just outside Glasgow is the latest upscale hotel to join Best Western Great Britain’s soft brand the BW Premier Collection.

Set in 360 acres the 75 bedroom Gleddoch Hotel Spa and Golf is the second BW Premier Collection property to join in Scotland, following the recruitment of Ten Hill Place in Edinburgh.

GleddochChris Davis, Head of Corporate Sales, Gleddoch, BW Premier Collection says: “We’re incredibly pleased to have joined BW Premier Collection. We see this as the ideal way to partner with a widely respected brand, to gain access to more corporate business while maintaining our hotel’s individuality. Since our refurbishment programme was complete our hotel business has performed extremely well and we look forward to taking that to the next level with BW Premier Collection.”

GleddochBest Western Great Britain’s Managing Director, Les Asplen comments: “We are delighted to welcome Gleddoch Hotel Spa and Golf to BW Premier Collection. It is a wonderful property with fantastic facilities making it a destination in its own right for leisure and corporate guests. Best Western is going from strength to strength, increasing and improving the variety of properties in its collection of independent hotels and we look forward to welcoming more hotels into brand in the next few months.”

GleddochGleddoch was purchased by the Johal family in late 2015, when they set in motion a full refurbishment programme, which was completed in May 2017. The hotel caters for both leisure and business guests, with conference facilities able to accommodate up to 150 delegates.

Conveniently located 15 minutes away from Glasgow International Airport and 20 minutes from Glasgow City Centre, the hotel features a championship 18-hole golf course and a luxurious spa, with facilities including a 17m heated indoor pool, eight tranquil treatments rooms, indoor and outdoor hot tubs, and a conservatory with heated day beds overlooking the River Clyde and the Renfrewshire hills.



Landmark £10m hotel investment for Hamilton Park Racecourse

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Hamilton Park Racecourse has unveiled plans for a multi-million pound hotel development on its grounds, with a formal planning application made to South Lanarkshire Council. The prestigious venue aims to open a hotel on the site on the town’s Bothwell Road for the first time in its 90-year history.

The 118-guestroom property, operating under Hilton’s fastest growing brand, Hampton by Hilton, is to be built on what is currently the main public car park of the racecourse grounds.

The £10 million project will bring up to 20 new jobs to the racecourse, doubling the current number of employees, with a variety of roles in managerial, professional, customer service and administrative positions.

The Hamilton Park executive team has undertaken extensive feasibility studies into the development and projects it will generate an additional £5.9million per year in additional visitor expenditure in the area, and add a gross value of £700,000 per year to the economy, with £400,000 of that directly in South Lanarkshire.

Vivien Currie - Hamilton Park RacecourseThe hotel, which has been designed by local practice, ICA Architects, is expected to double the size of the racecourse’s business within three years of opening. Vivien Currie, Chief Executive at Hamilton Park Racecourse, said: “We are delighted to unveil this landmark project for Hamilton Park Racecourse and are certain it will deliver substantial benefits to our business and the wider economy.

“The project has been driven by both public demand, largely from our local customer base, not only for racedays but for weddings and other events, and from our racing personnel. With an onsite hotel, Hamilton Park Racecourse will further enhance its reputation as a wide-ranging, world-class sporting and hospitality attraction, whilst also providing a fantastic facility for racing staff when they visit Hamilton Park for our 18 race meetings.

“We are constantly competing with racecourses further south to attract top trainers and jockeys. Having an onsite modern Hampton by Hilton hotel for them to stay in will add to the host of benefits and incentives we offer to racing connections to ensure we stage top quality racing here in Hamilton. Our prize money increased by 15per cent this past season and now it’s time to invest again in our facilities and attract new visitors.

A great deal of planning has been put into the design of the hotel, which will be constructed in a modular fashion, and proposals have been developed in such a way that the project will cause minimal disruption to the area.

Graham Dodd, Senior Director, Development, UK & Ireland, Hilton said: “Hampton by Hilton has grown rapidly since being introduced to Scotland last year. We will soon have six hotels operating under the brand in four key locations across Scotland and we look forward to welcoming guests to Hamilton and its racecourse in the coming years.”

Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh West End

Hampton by Hilton arrives in Edinburgh’s cultural hub

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Hilton has announced the opening of Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh West End, the first Hampton by Hilton property in the Scottish capital.

This new hotel is located in the heart of Edinburgh, close to all attractions, shopping and business facilities and within walking distance of Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

Paul Wood, general manager, Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh West End, said: “It is an honour to open the first Hampton by Hilton in Edinburgh. This is one of Hilton’s fastest growing brands and I cannot wait to see results this hotel will be bring.

Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh West End“Edinburgh is one of the busiest conference destinations in the UK and is second only to London for attracting international tourist visitors, so we look forward to providing a warm welcome and stay for guests as they explore the charms of Scotland’s capital city,” he added.

Key Features of the hotel:
• New build property offering easy access to the city centre
• Fully equipped 24-hour fitness centre and 24-hour snack zone
• 228 elegant and contemporary rooms with 34 interconnecting rooms

New Edinburgh hotel opening: The Wine House Hotel 1821

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Opening October 10th in the heart of Edinburgh at Picardy Place, The Wine House Hotel 1821 represents a truly innovative concept in hospitality brought to you by legendary Italian wine producer ZONIN1821, and Scottish restaurateur, Sep Marini.

Set in a stunning, multi-storied Georgian townhouse, this boutique hotel includes a cosy and elegant wine bar, a cocktail lounge, inviting library, attractive function space and four individually designed hotel rooms, each inspired by ZONIN1821’s iconic Italian estates.

Having spent the last decade establishing some Scotland’s most iconic Italian restaurants, Marini has enshrined in this venue his love of Italian hospitality and cuisine, realising the perfect blend of food, family, and gastronomic excellence. And to this auspicious partnership, ZONIN1821 adds its expertise, knowledge, and passion for Italian wines and hospitality – creating a dynamic destination for wine aficionados and connoisseurs.

At the heart of the Wine House Hotel is ZONIN1821’s newest conception, the Wine Library: a place of entertainment, knowledge and community designed by the world-renowned architect Claudio Silvestrin. Here, guests can experience the Cru wines of ZONIN1821’s Estates offered by the glass, in stylish surroundings resplendent with red marble from Verona, sleek lines and a warm wood. A truly unique location to experience, taste and enjoy a new side of wine, the Wine library will soon be replicated in Brazil, along the most prestigious avenue of San Paolo, and in other European countries starting from 2018.

As a family, the Zonins have been under the spell of wine for nearly two centuries. The family company’s nine different Estates make them one of the most important Italian wine producers and indeed one of the foremost worldwide.

trivago Reveals Autumn Traveller Trends for the UK

trivago reveals Autumn traveller trends for UK

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London, as expected, is the most popular destination this autumn with the greatest search volume coming from international travellers. Cardiff has overtaken London by the highest average clicked price among overseas visitors and Germans account for the largest group of travellers from off-shore countries.

This autumn, 64% of all search inquires to UK destinations have been made by domestic travellers. Based on search volume, German travellers make up the largest group of visitors coming from overseas followed by travellers from the US, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Australia, France, the Netherlands, Canada and Denmark.

London is the most searched destination in the UK, accounting for 67% of all UK searches from the top 10 visiting countries. Edinburgh takes the second place followed by Blackpool, the third most popular city for the UK residents. However, Blackpool ranks much lower (closing the top 30) for international travellers who prefer Liverpool.

Lenka Trckova, Industry Management UK & Ireland, Hotel Relations: “Our data shows that travellers from all around the world will pay the highest prices for hotels in London, Cardiff and Liverpool. Cardiff is for overseas visitors even more expensive than London, reaching the average level of £137 per night. We can see a significant difference in search behaviour between international and domestic travellers particularly in London and Edinburgh. For these longstanding popular destinations, UK residents pay roughly £20 more than international visitors.”

The average duration of stay reveals that travellers from the UK will mostly take short two-night trips this autumn. On the contrary, visitors from France, Italy and Denmark are likely to stay longest, as they search for stays of four nights on average.

For further insights and more detailed information about traveller behaviour and popular destinations in the UK, visit the trivago Hotel Manager Blog.

About the data
The 2017 autumn travel trends are based on data gathered from trivago.com searches between 1 June – 2 August 2017, for the period of 1 October – 30 November 2017 and includes searches for stay of three and more days. All prices shown are the average clicked prices selected by trivago users for a standard double room.

RPW Design - Fairmont St. Andrew's Bar

Fairmont St Andrews to reopen this month after multi-million pound upgrade

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Fairmont St Andrews is expected to reopen this month following a multi-million pound renovation.

The hotel has now completed its renovation project, which has seen a newly-designed atrium, Kittock’s Bar and restaurant created, as well as the hotel’s 220 bedrooms and 19 suites, including the Kingdom of Fife presidential suite given a makeover.

John Keating, General Manager at Fairmont St Andrews, said: “This renovation has been a huge undertaking across the hotel; I’m extremely proud and excited to see the public areas looking so resplendent, they’ve already made a huge difference in opening space and the feel has been well received.”

RPW Design - Fairmont St. Andrew's Reception
The focal point of the newly refurbished atrium is ‘Zephyr’, a light installation by London-based artist George Singer in collaboration with Onformative.

Singer said: “Zephyr is designed to reflect the crashing waves, the flocks of starlings, the long wind-blown grasses, the spring blossom, the shoals of fish, the rolling hills, the clouds and the sheer energy, beauty, and dynamism of the east coast of Scotland.”

Sleeperz Hotels, the innovative UK budget hotel operator, has completed a 43-room expansion of its Cityroomz Edinburgh hotel with a new wing accessible via Princes Street

Sleeperz unveils Princes Street expansion at Cityroomz Edinburgh Hotel

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Sleeperz Hotels, the innovative UK budget hotel operator, has completed a 43-room expansion of its Cityroomz Edinburgh hotel with a new wing accessible via Princes Street.

Sleeperz has converted Princes House, a former three storey office block, into a deluxe wing made up of superior double, family and cabin rooms; as well as ten suites with kitchenettes and lounges. David Myers, chief executive of Sleeperz Hotels, said: “Sleeperz is excited to unveil an additional 43 high quality hotel rooms, including our first-ever suites, right in the heart of Edinburgh.

Our guests can stay next door to one of the UK’s best shopping streets, in a world-famous Capital city, for a great-value price – a formula we’re confident will be successful – and deliver important growth in Edinburgh’s visitor economy.”

Cityroomz Edinburgh Suite Princes Street Wing (1000x666)
The Cityroomz suites are the first to be introduced across Sleeperz’ portfolio of affordable design-led hotels in Cardiff, Newcastle and Edinburgh and are aimed at attracting business travellers, families and couples seeking longer city breaks.

The suite bathrooms feature flooring printed with a city street map of Edinburgh, showing landmarks and locations including Shandwick Place. The expansion increases bed-stock to 115 rooms at Cityroomz Edinburgh, which is located on Shandwick Place between Waverley and Haymarket stations and close to Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

Cityroomz new superior double2017 (1000x666)
The development comes before Sleeperz Hotel open a new 120 room hotel above Dundee Railway Station, opposite the new V&A Museum, in 2018. The new hotel is part of a £1bn programme to regenerate Dundee waterfront.

Cityroomz Expansion – STATS
43 new rooms
10 Suites (including kitchenettes, dining area, sofas and living space)
22 Superior Double rooms
6 Family rooms
3 Accessible rooms (including 1 Family room)
2 Cabin Twin rooms

Edinburgh City Map bathroom flooring Cityroomz (1000x666)Suites you Edinburgh
Cityroomz suites are fitted with kitchenettes, Smeg appliances, en-suite bathrooms, dining space, living area, sofas, wall-mounted flat screen TV’s, super-king and king-size beds, bespoke custom made Sleepeezee mattresses, laptop safes and tea and coffee facilities. Glasgow architects Maith Design was appointed to transform the disused office block into stylish and affordable living spaces. The expansion was delivered in partnership with Town Centre Securities PLC, a leading UK property and investment company.

Family roomz at Cityroomz Princes Street Wing (1000x666)
Colin Steele, acting on behalf of Town Centre Securities, said: “We are delighted to have worked with Sleeperz on this exciting project, the development of Princes House completes the regeneration of this part of Shandwick Place and will bring further footfall into the West End of Edinburgh.” Cityroomz Edinburgh opened in May 2013 with 72 rooms and a rooms-based limited service philosophy. Guests enjoy stylish interior design, custom made pocket sprung beds, free and fast Wi-Fi and a continental breakfast available daily.

Sleeperz Hotels was advised by Jonathan Sutton of Lewis Sutton property consultants.

£8.5m Expansion for Edinburgh City Centre Hotel

£8.5m Expansion for Edinburgh city-centre charity hotel

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An Edinburgh hotel that puts profits back into advancing surgical standards worldwide to improve patient outcomes is to undergo a major £8.5m 52 room expansion.

Following record occupancy numbers, Ten Hill Place is increasing to 129 rooms – close to a 70 per cent increase on its current provision of 77 rooms.

The expansion will sensitively renovate neighbouring Hill Place buildings, also currently owned by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) and used primarily as offices and by academics.
Operated by the college’s commercial arm, the hotel posted record turnover of £2.69m (2015-2016) in its last full recorded financial year – thanks to an impressive 88 per cent occupancy rate fuelled in part by highly positive TripAdvisor reviews.

Scott Mitchell, Commercial Director of RCSEd, said: “The tireless and inspiring work of the team involved with Ten Hill Place has given us this great opportunity to grow.

£8.5m Expansion for Edinburgh City Centre Hotel
“In turn, our expansion will give us a greater platform to generate the profits that go directly towards improving lives for surgical patients all around the world – including those in areas of conflict and extreme poverty.

“As the number of visitors to Edinburgh has soared, we have been able to tap into the market and develop our reputation – meaning that the hotel is now busy all year round. Having initially targeted visiting academics, medical professionals and delegates to conferences; our customer base is now especially varied – especially during festival season and Hogmanay.”

RCSEd Commercial Enterprises – which started out as just three people and is now more than 140 strong – will also rebrand to ‘Surgeons Quarter’ to mark the expansion of the organisation – with the full destination branding expected to be complete by Summer of 2018 to coincide with the conclusion of work at the hotel.

Capacity of the successful restaurant and wine bar will also be increased, and the expansion will provide space for a gym. Scott added: “We are hopeful that the expansion will enable the hotel to deliver its full potential, furthering what we already currently provide, our food and drinks offerings, assisting our charitable aims and boosting tourism and hospitality jobs in Edinburgh.”

The Royal College is one of the most august institutions in Scotland. It provides education and assessment for medical students, surgical trainees and consultants and supports research to advance standards of care for the future. Surgeons trained and assessed through the College take their life-saving and life-changing skills all over the world.


A refurbished suite at Cameron House

Cameron House unveils final phase of £4m renovation

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Five-star Loch Lomond resort Cameron House has completed an extensive renovation programme.

The 12-month, £4 million project finished with a makeover of the hotel’s 136 bedrooms, including 26 suites. Inspiration has been taken from the property’s surroundings, with accents of tartan and layered paisleys throughout.

The hotel’s food and beverage offering has also been updated, along with public areas and the addition of the new Great Scots Bar Terrace.

Greyline Design headed up the renovation, with fabrics used from Osborne & Little, specially designed carpets from Gravity Flooring and upholstery from Zoffany. The main focal point in every room is a handmade leather sleigh bed designed by Paton Developments.

Resort Director Andy Roger says: “It’s fantastic to see the culmination of this multimillion-pound investment into the hotel. We hope guests will agree the new-look bedrooms complement the investment made throughout the resort, ensuring we continue to deliver a truly luxurious experience that offers guests only the best standards and showcases our hotel and its stunning location.”

Glasgow Pond Hotel Lounge and Reception © Leonardo Hotels

Leonardo Hotels purchases Scottish Portland Hotels

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Leonardo Hotels has reported it has acquired a strategically placed portfolio in Scotland increasing the company’s presence in Edinburgh and gaining a presence in Glasgow, Perth and Aberdeen.

Portland Hotels will add 536 additional bedrooms across Scotland and will take Leonardo’s presence in Edinburgh to 445 bedrooms joining the Leonardo Royal which was acquired in October last year.

The newly acquired portfolio will join the Leonardo Hotels family and will be integrated into the wider Leonardo portfolio, which will comprise over 80 hotels after the recent acquisition. Together with Leonardo Hotel London Heathrow Airport, Leonardo’s portfolio in the UK will grow to seven hotels with 1,048 bedrooms.

Edinburgh Capital Hotel Meetingroom © Leonardo Hotels
The Edinburgh City Hotel is a charming 52 bedroom boutique hotel located at the heart of the capital city of Scotland below Edinburgh Castle and minutes from Grassmarket night life, West End Shopping, Haymarket Station, the central business district and the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. The Edinburgh Capital is located strategically between Edinburgh city centre and Edinburgh Airport.

Glasgow Pond Hotel Hotelroom © Leonardo Hotels
In addition to its 111 rooms, the Edinburgh Capital hotel has seven meeting rooms available with a capacity of up to 320 persons and an excellent leisure club with a swimming pool. The Glasgow Pond Hotel with its 137 rooms and three meeting rooms for up to 130 persons is located in the prosperous West End of Glasgow in close proximity to the key cultural attractions including Kelvingrove Museum, Glasgow University and the area’s cafés, restaurants and boutiques. In Perth, the Huntingtower Hotel provides 34 bedrooms.

An extensive capacity for holding premium events as well as expansive gardens make it an ideal facility for meetings and private celebrations. The Speedbird Inn with 202 rooms is located immediately adjacent Aberdeen Airport and features a large parking facility with park, sleep and fly options as well as being a favourite with business travellers.

Daniel Roger, Managing Director of Leonardo Hotels Europe said: “When we entered the market in the UK two years ago, we made it our goal to further expand our portfolio and strengthen the name recognition of the Leonardo Hotels brand. The purchase of Portland Hotels underscores this. I am convinced that our guests will love and appreciate this expansion of our offerings in key destinations across Scotland”.

The Coach House Front Dining Area

Opening success at The Coach House, Ayrshire

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One of Scotland’s largest hospitality groups Buzzworks Holdings has officially opened the doors of its tenth venue and first outside of Ayrshire – The Coach House.

Offering simple dishes with big flavours, the eagerly anticipated Coach House in Bridge of Weir enjoyed a very successful opening weekend.

The former Archies lounge bar and kitchen on Main Street has seen significant investment and been transformed to a stylish bar and restaurant with an intimate private dining room. Providing an all-day dining experience with a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere, The Coach House offers the perfect backdrop for a range of celebrations and occasions.

The Coach House Private Dining room
Colin Blair, Buzzworks Holdings Chairman, said: “We’re delighted to launch our tenth venue and fifth restaurant under our House brand. It’s a fantastic addition to our portfolio and an exciting investment to branch out of Ayrshire and bring our modern take on a traditional bar and restaurant to the Renfrewshire community.

The Coach House Exterior“We’ve been overwhelmed with the positive response from local residents and guests during our opening weekend and we look forward to welcoming more new diners as well as Buzzworks regulars to our latest venture.”

The Renfrewshire venue will join Buzzworks’ collection of nine prestigious sites across Ayrshire including Scotts in Troon and Largs, Elliots, Lido venues in Prestwick and Troon, The Treehouse in Ayr, The Longhouse in Kilmarnock, The Mill House in Stewarton and The Corner House in Kilwinning.

Spas in the UK

Five to Watch: Best UK spa hotels

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We’re halfway through the summer months, and judging by the weather we’ve had so far we’re in for a good one this year. With this in mind, Hotel Designs profiles five of our favourite spa hotels across the UK…

G&V Royal Mile Hotel Edinburgh, Scotland
Situated at the intersection of some of Edinburgh’s most historic streets, The G&V Royal Mile Hotel invokes the city’s vibrant, creative and charismatic appeal – injecting new colour into a dramatic and storied backdrop.

G&VCotswold House Hotel & Spa, Gloucestershire
This award-winning luxury hotel and spa in the heart of Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, which has recently benefitted from a substantial refurbishment, will appeal to discerning travellers visiting the Cotswolds, looking for tranquility, sublime comfort, exceptional food and a stunning spa.

Cotswold HouseRudding Park, Harrogate – Yorkshire
The new Rudding Park Spa is one of the finest in the country and recaptures Harrogate’s spa heritage using natural waters from the grounds at Rudding Park. A privately owned luxury hotel, Rudding Park also has 90 bedrooms, two restaurants and a kitchen garden, private cinema, two golf courses and conference and events space. Set in 300 acres of landscaped gardens and woodland, Rudding Park is one of the most beautiful Harrogate hotels.

Rudding Park
Culloden Estate & Spa – Northern Ireland

Today the Culloden Estate and Spa is one of the finest and most distinguished 5 star hotels in the Province. The Culloden was built in 1876 by a Mr. William Auchinleck Robinson, JP and former MP. It took two and a half years to complete, and most of the stone came from Scotland by boat, arriving in the County Down fishing village of Portaferry and being brought to the site by horse and cart.

Culloden Estate
La Suite West – Hyde Park, London

Perfectly positioned on a quiet tree lined street on the edge of London’s magnificent Hyde Park and close to the West End and Paddington, this boutique hotel is the minimalist and state of focus creation by famed British designer Anouska Hempel.
La Suite West - Hyde Park

Bonham Hotel

Edinburgh’s Bonham Hotel enters the Bespoke Hotels fold

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Bespoke Hotels is delighted to welcome Edinburgh’s Bonham Hotel to its midst, which joins the rapidly-growing independent hotel group from its enviable position in the city’s stately West End.

A notable addition to Bespoke’s burgeoning Scottish portfolio, The Bonham boasts 49 bedrooms, alongside a stylish bar and restaurant, events space, and a superb location beside the renowned Princes Street in Edinburgh’s New Town district.

Bonham Hotel
Surrounded by bustling cafes and upmarket shopping destinations, The Bonham is also within easy reach of the city’s Old Town and St Giles’ Cathedral, the Royal Mile, as well as the world famous Edinburgh Castle. With its individually-decorated bedrooms and Victorian townhouse façade, the property offers elegance and privacy, alongside a wider range of dining options and superb views of the neighbouring Drumsheugh Gardens.

Bonham Hotel
“We are thrilled to be working alongside the new ownership of the Bonham Hotel”, commented Haydn Fentum, CEO of Bespoke Hotels. “We are fortunate to have come on board at a very exciting time in the property’s development, as we seek to consolidate its well-earned reputation and invite travellers to explore this beautiful city.”

Bonham Hotel
“Scotland has always held a special appeal to me, which began with my interest in the beautiful Art Nouveau works produced by artists including Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald,” added US-based businessman and philanthropist Richard H. Driehaus, who has recently acquired the Bonham Hotel. “I am proud to join the Edinburgh community.”



JK Rowling suite - The Balmoral, Edinburgh

Olga Polizzi leads redesign of JK Rowling suite at The Balmoral

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The suite in the Balmoral, Edinburgh where JK Rowling finished her book ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ has been renovated along with 36 other suites after a three-month refurbishment programme led by Olga Polizzi.

Fans of the wizarding series enter the room through a purple door adorned with an owl door knocker. Inside, whimsical woodland designs can be found, from owl and bird figurines to tree-themed wallpaper. Plush chairs, couches, and colourful orange and red pillows adorn the cozy suite, and the entire Harry Potter series lines a stately bookshelf, just in case you hadn’t read it yet.

The suite also contains a glass-encased bust of the Greek god Hermes, which Rowling triumphantly signed after finishing the fantasy fiction series: “JK Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in this room (552) on 11 Jan 2007.”

This summer, Rocco Forte Hotels is marking its 20th year with the refurbishment of The Balmoral in Edinburgh, the hotel that signifies the beginning of Sir Rocco’s portfolio in 1997.


Bespoke Hotels take over Roxburghe Hotel

Roxburghe Hotel acquired by Bespoke Hotels

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Roxburghe Estates and Bespoke Hotels have announced they have agreed terms for the transfer of ownership of the Roxburghe Hotel and Golf Course near Kelso in the Scottish Borders. Completion of sale is expected to take place at the end of July, 2017.

Bespoke Hotels is the largest independent hotel group in the UK, and the Roxburghe’s 22-bedroom luxury hotel and championship golf course is an attractive fit within a collection that includes the Chester Grosvenor, Storrs Hall in Cumbria, as well as a robust Scottish portfolio, featuring the Carnoustie Golf Hotel, Tulloch Castle, Dingwall, and Stonefield Castle, Tarbert.

The opportunity for expansion of the facilities at the Roxburghe, alongside the development of self-catering lodges, is actively being considered. In 2010, planning consent was granted for 60 holiday lodges, a new clubhouse and conversion of the existing clubhouse to a 10 bedroom dormy house, all of which stood as a key factor in Bespoke’s strong interest and decision to acquire the business. The creation of a luxury destination resort is the principal vision of the new owners, building on the outstanding facilities and reputation which the Roxburghe enjoys.

Roxburghe HotelThe Duke of Roxburghe commented: “I am delighted that we have reached agreement with Bespoke, knowing that they have exciting plans for the future and will invest significantly in the business. We look forward seeing the Roxburghe grow in the years ahead under new ownership and achieving our long-term vision of a high-quality resort destination. We strongly believe the Roxburghe has a secure and successful future under Bespoke Hotels’ management.”

“The business has been a particular interest and focus of mine since it first opened as a country house hotel in 1982, which subsequently expanded with the development of the first championship golf course in 1995. It has given me enormous pride and satisfaction to see it develop successfully over the years, but it became clear that a new investor needed to come aboard for the Roxburghe to move to the next level and become a world class destination. We are therefore extremely pleased to hand over the business to such an experienced and committed operator as Bespoke.”

“I know how much the quality of service is valued by our customers, together with the high standards maintained in the hotel and on the golf course. I am therefore pleased to be able to confirm that all the existing staff will be retained, and I would like to pay particular thanks to the team for ensuring the Roxburghe has achieved such high standards in all areas. Although ICMI will not be continuing as managers, I am confident the professionalism, high standards and attention to detail for which the estate has become known will long be maintained into the future.”

Haydn Fentum, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bespoke Hotels, added: “We are hugely excited by the potential of The Roxburghe and look forward to taking the business into a new era. We are keen to build on the excellent work done to date by both Roxburghe Estates and ICMI, which has given us an extremely sound platform on which to build.”

“We would like to extend our thanks to the outgoing management team, as well as to both the hotel and golf course staff, with whom we hope to build a fruitful relationship moving forward. We are particularly grateful to the support of the Duke of Roxburghe and Roddy Jackson, chief executive of Roxburghe Estates, alongside whom we are delighted to be working, and whose enthusiasm for the business is an ongoing source of inspiration.”


Leonardo Hotels - Edinburgh

Leonardo Hotels opens first ‘Royal Hotel’ in Edinburgh

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Euro-cool specialists Leonardo Hotels has chosen Edinburgh as the location for its first property opening in Scotland.

The Berlin-based company, one of Europe’s fastest growing hotel groups, has invested more than €7 million (£6.1 million) in the complete refurbishment of the former Premier Inn in Edinburgh’s Haymarket district.

Guests can look forward to bedrooms with iconic panorama images of the Edinburgh skyline, bathrooms with a giant mural of sheep as well as stylish Scottish-themed furnishings, while the lobby and bar/restaurant areas offer sophisticated and boutique-style glamour.

The design of the new hotel – which offers 4-star superior accommodation across its 282 renovated bedrooms – was created by acclaimed interior designer Andreas Neudahm and continues the Leonardo Hotels’ philosophy of developing non-standardised hotels that have their own distinct regional character.

Operations Manager Lucy Basnett said the decision to create the hotel under the premium Leonardo Royal brand underlines the group’s positioning of Edinburgh as a prime new location in its continued European expansion plans.

Leonardo Hotels - EdinburghShe said: “Our opening brings a new destination in stylish hotel living to Edinburgh. While we are a chain hotel, we are as far removed from a chain hotel as possible.

“Each hotel is designed to be individual, like our guests, and to reflect the surrounding area, using special local touches and features such as a breakfast range distinct to the region. So if you are staying at a Leonardo Hotel in Edinburgh, you will know for sure that you are in Edinburgh. We are very excited to be Edinburgh’s newest hotel and we are confident that our future guests will not be disappointed.”

Leonardo Hotels - EdinburghThe Leonardo Royal Hotel Edinburgh takes the Leonardo Hotels’ portfolio to more than 80 hotels in 40+ locations.

Leonardo Hotels - EdinburghThe hotel is aiming to appeal to both leisure guests, given its location near to tram and train stops, as well as Edinburgh’s ever-growing corporate and business tourism market – fuelled by its proximity to the Edinburgh International Conference Centre and the under-construction tHe Haymarket development. The hotel also offers more than 90 parking spaces.


Edinburgh St James aerial shot

Roomzzz aparthotel £1 billion expansion into Scotland

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Luxury aparthotel brand, Roomzzz, is set to expand into Scotland with a brand-new aparthotel confirmed within the £1bn Edinburgh St James development, scheduled to open in 2021.

The new Roomzzz Edinburgh aparthotel will take prime position within the 1.7 million-sq-ft Edinburgh St James development in the heart of the city. With 73 luxury apartments planned, from smart studios to luxury penthouses, Roomzzz Edinburgh will give guests the luxury of a boutique hotel with the convenience and home comforts of a serviced apartment.

The development will become Edinburgh’s most popular retail hub, with a line-up of 86 new shops over four floors, 20 restaurants and a flagship Everyman Cinema, guests to Roomzzz Edinburgh will benefit from unrivalled local amenities. The new aparthotel will be ideally situated within a close proximity of tram and bus transport links and just a short, three-minute walk from Waverley Station.

Featuring a rooftop terrace and balconies to every apartment, guests will appreciate breath-taking views of the city’s historical landscape, including Edinburgh’s highest peak, Arthur’s Seat. Each apartment is individually designed to create a comfortable and spacious living area to give a home-from-home experience. Catering for everyday living, Roomzzz’ apartments feature fitted kitchens, widescreen TV, complimentary Wi-Fi, free UK nationwide calls, ultimate comfort bed, 24-hour concierge, around the clock fresh coffee and grab and go breakfast.

Edinburgh St James aerial shotMark Walton, Chief Operating Officer of Roomzzz, adds: “We were the first in the UK to launch the aparthotel concept back in 2006 in Leeds and the Roomzzz Aparthotel brand has experienced phenomenal growth ever since. We have aspirations to expand our offering throughout the UK and internationally, developing our existing aparthotel brand. In addition to our expansion into Scotland, we look forward to opening our first aparthotel in London later this year, as well as three additional sites planned for Liverpool, Manchester Corn Exchange and York.”

Roomzzz Aparthotels are conveniently located in the UKʼs most vibrant city centres, including Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Chester, and appeal to both corporate and leisure travellers alike with guests staying for one night to a year.

Roomzzz Aparthotels has appointed Christie & Co to spearhead their expansion plans and grow their portfolio of Aparthotels across the UK, with national law firm, Shoosmiths, handling legal proceedings.


trivago UK traveller trends this summer

Brexit A Year On: trivago reveals UK traveller trends this summer

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trivago data shows that London is the most popular destination for international visitors, beach locations are popular with locals, travellers from Ireland, Italy and France are searching for the longest stays, and hotel guests from USA and Australia search for the highest prices-per-night on average.

These are just some of the insights from an analysis of summer travel trends in the United Kingdom, which reveals where international travellers are visiting from, and compares their search behaviour and destinations-of-choice with those of domestic travellers.

The top ten destinations in the UK account for more than 87% of searches from international travellers, to UK destinations. The most searches from off-shore countries to UK destinations are from Germany, USA, Italy, Spain, Australia, France, Ireland, Canada, the Netherlands and Sweden, are the top countries based on searches for UK hotels.
The most popular destinations for domestic and inbound travellers is London, followed by Edinburgh and Glasgow. Glasgow ranks much lower for UK residents, who prefer Blackpool, Bournemouth, other seaside locations and other cities.

The most popular destinations for domestic and inbound travellers is London, followed by Edinburgh and Glasgow. Glasgow ranks much lower for UK residents, who prefer Blackpool, Bournemouth, other seaside locations and other cities.

Traveller behaviour from the key markets, for searches to destinations around the globe, show that travellers from Australia are the biggest spenders, with an average clicked price per night of £161, followed by USA with £152 and the UK with £151.

Visitors from Ireland, Italy, and France are likely to stay the longest, searching for stays of eight nights on average, to destinations worldwide.

The most popular week to travel varies for each visiting country, but in terms of search volume from all markets the biggest influx of travellers is set to arrive in the UK in the week beginning 31 July.

For more detailed insights into popular destinations and traveller behaviour for the UK this summer, visit the trivago Hotel Manager blog.

Hampton by Hilton Aberdeen Westhill

Hampton by Hilton opens in Garden suburb of Aberdeen

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Hilton’s Hampton by Hilton brand has announced the opening of its second property in Aberdeen – the 173-room Hampton by Hilton Aberdeen Westhill.

Hampton by Hilton Aberdeen Westhill offers guests amenities such as complimentary Wi-Fi, work zone and 24/7 workout facility – sure to set any guest on the right track.

Hampton by Hilton Aberdeen Westhill is located in Scotland’s third most populous city, 14 minutes away by car from Aberdeen International Airport. With close proximity to Aberdeen city-centre, leisure and business guests alike can take advantage of His Majesties Theatre, Aberdeen Exhibition Centre and the Maritime Museum, all located eight miles away from the hotel. Guests can also delve into the culture and history of Aberdeen at the royal grounds of Balmoral Castle – the Scottish holiday home to the Royal Family.

Hampton by Hilton - Dundee City Centre

Hampton by Hilton opens third property in Scotland – Dundee City Centre

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Hampton by Hilton has announced the opening of its newest property, Hampton by Hilton Dundee City Centre.

Located within two miles of Dundee Airport, and nearby to Dundee Rail station, the 105-room hotel is easily accessible for guests travelling to the Scottish coastal city from across the UK.

Having been praised as one of Europe’s most creative cities, Dundee is the UK’s first UNESCO City of Design, which is soon to be complemented by the upcoming opening of the V&A Museum of Design Dundee, part of a wider £1bn regeneration project for the city.

“We are excited to open our third Hampton by Hilton property in Scotland and to introduce the brand to Dundee,” said Phil Cordell, global head, focused service and Hampton by Hilton brand management, Hilton. “We look forward to providing our guests with all of our signature brand services and amenities they will need for a comfortable stay in the city.”

Guests can host corporate or personal functions onsite at Hampton by Hilton Dundee City Centre in one of the four available meeting rooms. Each room is fully equipped with state of the art technology, and the largest meeting room can hold up to 65 people.

Hampton by Hilton Dundee City Centre offers guests the best that Hampton by Hilton has to offer, with the brand’s signature hot breakfast included with all rates, a complimentary fitness room open 24 hours a day, a 24-hour convenience hub with a selection of snacks and drinks, all backed by Hampton by Hilton’s Satisfaction Guarantee. Guest rooms also include a 40-inch HDTV and large work station.

Royal Yacht Britannia plans for Edinburgh luxury floating hotel

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Plans for Scotland’s first luxury static floating hotel were lodged this week with the City of Edinburgh Council. The former Northern Lighthouse Board (NLB) tender, MV Fingal, will be converted into a 23 bedroom hotel, berthed permanently at the Prince of Wales Dock in Edinburgh’s historic port of Leith.

The £3.5m investment by the Royal Yacht Britannia’s trading company, Royal Yacht Enterprises, will see this classically designed ship transformed to provide the ultimate in luxury, offering a wide range of bedroom suites, cabins with private balconies, duplex apartments, and a stunning Presidential Suite.

The ‘boatique’ hotel is expected to open in Easter 2018 and create at least 30 permanent new jobs in the hospitality industry, added to the 170 already employed directly at Britannia.

The hotel concept has been created by the Pedley Group and all the bedrooms will be named after Stevenson lighthouses nominated by the NLB. The interior design has been inspired by Fingal’s rich maritime history, blending the avant-garde expectations of discerning guests with the functional necessities of luxury retreats.

Royal Yacht Britannia - Plans unveiled for new luxury floating hotel

Developing Fingal represents natural organic growth for the award-winning team at Britannia and, as well as business synergies and operational efficiencies, the hotel will generate an income stream that is not reliant on visitors to the Royal Yacht but will nevertheless help secure its long term future.

The Royal Yacht Britannia, berthed at Ocean Terminal in Leith, attracted a record 350,000 visitors last year and is renowned for providing the very highest standards of customer experience: having been officially assessed as Scotland’s Best Attraction for the last 11 years running by national tourism agency, VisitScotland.

Britannia’s Chief Executive Bob Downie said, ‘Having excelled in the visitor attraction market for nearly 20 years, we are very much looking forward to the challenges of operating in the luxury hotel market and the benefits it will generate for Britannia over the years to come’.

One of the UK hospitality industry’s most eminent and respected figures, Peter Lederer, past UK Hotelier of the Year, and former Chairman of the Gleneagles Hotel said, “This new ‘boatique’ hotel has the potential to be the best hotel experience in Edinburgh and given the quality of the Britannia experience, I am really looking forward to seeing a new benchmark in Scotland.”

Chris Stewart & Tim Walton - SVP Marriott - Courtyard Edinburgh

Marriott SVP officially opens Courtyard Edinburgh

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A senior Marriott Vice President has travelled to Edinburgh to officially open a £30 million restoration project he initiated more than five years ago, remarking that Edinburgh is a world class destination for the international hotel business.

Tim Walton, Regional Vice President, Western Europe, International Development, opened city centre hotel, Courtyard by Marriott Edinburgh, which with 240 rooms is one of the largest in the capital, on February 23.

The four star Courtyard Edinburgh also represents a flagship property for Marriott International given its prime location and sensitive renovation, merging heritage and contemporary style, which was completed by Edinburgh-based property development and investment company Chris Stewart Group.

Courtyard Edinburgh extends through three adjoining Georgian townhouses and into a new building connected by glassed walkways to the rear, offering a variety of views of Calton Hill, Edinburgh’s New Town and across the Firth of Forth.

The renovation cleverly mixes efficient building and design techniques with contemporary interiors and facilities include the all-day bar and restaurant, The Lantern Room, The Stevenson Room which is a boardroom for up to 16 people, designated media pods, a 24/7 market and a fitness centre. There is also free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel as well as Courtyard by Marriott’s signature GoBoard touch-screen technology to helps guests get the most out of their stay.

It is, however, the property’s links to the past that make Courtyard Edinburgh so distinct. The hotel’s Baxter’s Place address was once home to Robert Stevenson, the famous Scottish lighthouse engineer and the grandfather of ‘Treasure Island’ author Robert Louis Stevenson. References to its heritage, carefully presented with the help of the Stevenson family and the Northern Lighthouse board, appear in the public areas and in every room, through images, technical drawings and maps.

Tim Walton, commenting on the opening, said: “It’s with immense pleasure that we are officially opening Courtyard Edinburgh after an exciting five years in the making.

“Edinburgh is a world class destination for the international hotel business and is renowned for attracting tourists from across the globe. To bring the modern aesthetic of Courtyard by Marriott to such a fantastic location in the city is superb and I believe that the hotel will be welcomed by both locals and tourists alike.

“The Chris Stewart Group has played an instrumental role in the success of the hotel’s transformation, using its extensive experience in working with heritage-rich properties to create a modern development whilst giving a nod to former resident and lighthouse engineer, Robert Stevenson.

“We are now all looking forward to welcoming business travellers, tourists and locals to enjoy this fantastic hotel.”

The hotel is owned and was developed by Edinburgh-based real estate company Chris Stewart Group, which specialises in complex urban regeneration and heritage projects, and is managed and operated by RedefineBDL Hotels, the UK’s leading independent hotel management company.

Chris Stewart of Chris Stewart Group said: “The opening of Courtyard Edinburgh signals a very exciting time in Edinburgh, as the property sector here continues to attract inward investment. Partnering with the likes of Marriott gave us a great opportunity to continue our work with complex urban regeneration and redevelopment, and turn the former Georgian home of Robert Stevenson into a modern hotel in the centre of Edinburgh.

“Our ambition was to create a modern development which brought the area back to life. We believe we have achieved this and are extremely proud of our work here at Courtyard Edinburgh.”

Pavilion Lounge - DoubleTree by Hilton

DoubleTree by Hilton increases UK presence with 12 hotels

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DoubleTree by Hilton has introduced an additional 12 properties to its UK portfolio in the past 12 months and now welcomes guests at more than 30 hotels throughout the country.

Eight of the 12 hotel openings were part of a £16 million conversion programme, providing unique, contemporary accommodations and full-service facilities to guests in Aberdeen Treetops, Bristol North, Coventry, Dartford Bridge, Edinburgh Airport, Newbury North, Southampton and Strathclyde.

Dianna Vaughan, senior vice president and global brand head, DoubleTree by Hilton, said: “The addition of 12 UK hotels in 2016 – from Aberdeen in Scotland to Southampton on the South Coast – took us past 30 properties and significantly strengthened our position in the market.”

Since launching in the UK in 2008, DoubleTree by Hilton has expanded rapidly across the country, opening an average of four new hotels each year. The brand offers a consistent, upscale standard of accommodation within a varied portfolio which has grown to incorporate many long-established hotels, such as DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London – Ealing and DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London – Hyde Park.

Each hotel in the conversion programme has been refurbished, now showcases individual design and F&B concepts, reflecting the location of each property and newly renovated meeting spaces, commencing with Strathclyde in October and completing with Edinburgh Airport in December.


Cameron House new outdoor terrace

New Loch-side terrace for 5-star resort Cameron House

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Scottish five-star resort, Cameron House, has revealed plans for phase two of their ongoing multi-million pound renovation, including an extensive new terrace overlooking Loch Lomond.

Phase two of the refurbishment, due to be completed in May 2017, has commenced at the loch-side retreat. A brand new outdoor terrace is being created to showcase the unique and stunning panoramic views from the hotel, across Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, and will offer guests a greater connection with the natural beauty of the area. A redesign of the hotel’s bedrooms is also underway.

Cameron House has appointed award-winning architecture firm, 3DReid to manage the design and build of the new terrace. It will act as both an alfresco bar area and an outdoor events space and has been designed with material choices and intricate detailing to enhance the existing building at the resort and make the most of the setting.

Frameless glass balustrading to the terrace will ensure views are maximised, with a covered timber deck creating a warmth to the space both from within and when viewed from the surrounding areas. The existing glazing will also be replaced, with doors opening out on the terrace and larger expanses of glass introduced, giving a minimal, contemporary feel.

Phase two of the refurbishment will see Cameron House invest a further £1 million into the resort. Cameron House invested £3 million earlier this year as part of phase one of their ongoing refurbishment, which focussed on revamping the food and beverage offering, including The Cameron Grill and new cocktail bar, along with the hotel’s other public spaces.

Andy Roger, Resort Director said: “We are continuing to invest in Cameron House and are committed to making it the ultimate luxury destination in Scotland. We are truly privileged to have a unique setting that boasts such an abundance of natural beauty. The terrace will bring an exciting new dimension to our offering, with guests able to relax outdoors and take in the stunning panorama.”

The new terrace will accommodate 60 seated or 120 standing and access will be through the Great Scots Bar or via a staircase at the front of the hotel. Jen Samuel, Associate Director at 3DReid said: “The Great Scots Bar has one of the finest views in Scotland, overlooking Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. The addition of the terrace allows a greater connection to the great outdoors while expanding the guests experience of the hotel, allowing anything from a Champagne reception in the sun to a warming whisky amongst the snow.”

Redefine|BDL Hotels expands its portfolio in Edinburgh

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Redefine|BDL Hotels (RBH) announced this month that Holiday Inn Express Edinburgh City Centre has joined its extensive portfolio of hotels.

The Georgian style property, which boasts excellent facilities and an ideal location within the heart of Edinburgh, will bring the number of open hotels managed by the company to 43.

RBH – the UK’s leading independent hotel management company – which already has a further three properties within its portfolio in Edinburgh including the recently refurbished Princes Street Suites, the Courtyard by Marriott Edinburgh and DoubleTree by Hilton Edinburgh, will take over operation of the established hotel with immediate effect.

Holiday Inn Express Edinburgh - Redefine|BDL
Marking further expansion into Edinburgh, Holiday Inn Express Edinburgh City Centre has 161 rooms within the UK’s most popular visitor destination outside of London.

With tourists attracted to the city for a wide range of world renowned festivals and a popular conference destination, both leisure and business travelers will continue to enjoy a relaxing stay in a prime Edinburgh location.

HIEX Edinburgh

John Stuart, RBH’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “This is an exciting addition for RBH and another fantastic addition to our portfolio. Edinburgh continues to be a key market that we know well, and the hotel will join our other three city based properties in providing guests with great service and access to all of the fantastic attractions that Edinburgh has to offer.”

RBH’s portfolio includes private label and branded properties, including IHG, Hilton, Accor, Marriott, Best Western and Wyndham hotels.


DoubleTree by Hilton - Edinburgh

Two new DoubleTree by Hilton hotels open across the UK

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DoubleTree by Hilton has opened two new properties, one in Swindon, England and another in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh Airport has opened just seven miles from the heart of the vibrant city centre. The hotel boasts many features, including newly refurbished guestrooms, an onsite LivingWell Leisure Club, restaurant serving Scottish dishes and meeting areas, all conveniently located for airport travellers.

Following the £2.5 million investment, the property boasts 150 newly refurbished guestrooms, as well as The Space Restaurant which offers an all-day dining menu serving traditional Scottish dishes. The hotel also features 22 meeting rooms all with natural daylight and modern décor. The onsite LivingWell Leisure Club has also benefited from considerable investment as part of the rebrand.

DoubleTree by Hilton Swindon is located on the edge of the town centre, offering visitors and business travellers perfect access to the city.

DoubleTree by Hilton - Swindon

The hotel boasts 171 spacious guestrooms with a selection of room types, from deluxe rooms to king one bedroom suites. The new onsite restaurant, 14Twelve Brasserie, offers breakfast and dinner daily, serving a range of modern British cuisine. Able to seat 120 people, 14Twelve Brasserie is ideal for large parties and hosting special events.

For those looking to stay active on the road, the newly renovated fitness centre, open 24 hours a day, offers upgraded Precor equipment. Guests can also enjoy the cycling and jogging paths around the hotel.

Since launching in the UK in 2008 the DoubleTree by Hilton portfolio includes 32 properties operating, with recent additions being DoubleTree by Hilton Strathclyde, DoubleTree by Hilton Bristol North, DoubleTree by Hilton Dartford Bridge, and DoubleTree by Hilton Southampton. Furthermore, more than 90 DoubleTree properties will be operating across Europe, Middle East and Africa by the end of 2016.

Aberdeen Altens Hotel joins Redefine|BDL Hotels portfolio

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A popular Aberdeen hotel has become the second city property to sign with the UK’s leading hotel management company in recent weeks.

The four star Aberdeen Altens Hotel joined Redefine|BDL Hotels’ (RBH) portfolio on 1st December 2016. The take-over follows the announcement that Hilton Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre – due to open its doors in 2019 – will also be operated by the hotel management experts.

The outfit’s 45-strong portfolio already includes private label and branded properties, including IHG, Hilton, Accor, Marriott, Best Western and Wyndham hotels.

Stewart Campbell, Managing Director of RBH – the UK’s leading hotel management company – said: “The Aberdeen market is a key area of interest for us at the moment, as we look to grow our presence in and around the city.

Altens Hotel

“A city landmark, Aberdeen Altens is much-loved by leisure and business travellers alike. It will sit well within our extensive portfolio, and we’re looking forward to getting down to business. What’s more our partnership with this, the largest trading hotel in Aberdeen, officially marks our entrance into the Aberdeen market.”

Just three miles from the city centre, the 216 bedroom Aberdeen Altens Hotel boasts a health and leisure club, indoor pool, spa pool, steam room and gym, as well as a Starbucks, free car parking and free WiFi.

Its 12 meeting rooms can accommodate up to 400 delegates and it is home to the popular Cairngorm bar and restaurant.


RPW Design unveils latest project - Fairmont St Andrews

RPW Design unveils latest project – Fairmont St Andrews

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RPW Design, one of the world’s leading hospitality interior design practices, is thrilled to showcase its extensive refurbishment of the five-star resort, Fairmont St Andrews. The highly anticipated refurbishment was revealed in early September and included a complete re-design of the hotel’s Atrium, incorporating a bespoke 60m long ceiling sculpture by award winning artist George Singer, a new restaurant and the Kittock’s Den Bar.

Elizabeth Lane, Director of Projects, said: “It is a wonderful opportunity to be part of the revival of this hotel property which simply has a breath-taking location which we have made a focal point in the renovation. We are extremely happy to be working with Kennedy Wilson and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts on this project.”

RPW Design unveils latest project - Fairmont St Andrews

RPW Design unveils latest project – Fairmont St Andrews

The creative process behind RPW Design’s renovation has been influenced by the history and landscapes of St Andrews, with upholstery and fabrics selected from revered Scottish companies such as Andrew Muirhead and Bute Fabrics. Bute, based on the Isle of Bute off west coast of Scotland provided a number of richly textured fabrics in the scheme influenced by the islands scenery. The company and the island share a unique family history as the 5th Marquess of Bute set up the company in 1947 to provide employment for returning servicemen and servicewomen.

RPW Design - Fairmont St. Andrews Restaurant

Observing the scale of the atrium, which is roughly 60m long and 15m high, with full height windows on one side overlooking the North Sea coast, RPW knew this would be the most challenging area in the hotel to re-design. To transform this voluminous space into a more inviting and human-scaled space, a mixture of natural hued finishes was introduced to the surfaces, including bespoke carpet, timber floors of different patterns and a rich earthy green wall colour and bespoke printed velvet wall drapes. The introduction of eclectic furniture styles and arched decorative lamps, created a softer more inviting atmosphere.

RPW Design - Fairmont St. Andrew's Atrium

Inspiration for the design concept was drawn from the rich and varied landscape surrounding the property. The surrounding fishing villages also created a great starting point for the textures, patterns and themes within the carpet designs and artworks.

Currently undergoing a multimillion pound renovation, St Andrews resort will benefit from a refreshed interior with a contemporary feel using materials that reflect the surrounding 520 acre area. The Atrium area features the magnificent lighting sculpture by renowned artist, George Singer, named Zephyr, which emulates shoals of fish in St Andrews Bay and the blowing reeds on the cliff tops. The resort also has a sumptuous spa complex which offers a range of treatments including locally-themed massages, facial and relaxation therapies and exclusive Ishga Skincare and Aromatherapy Associates treatments in 12 chic treatment rooms.


DoubleTree by Hilton Aberdeen Treetops

DoubleTree by Hilton Aberdeen Treetops opens after refurbishment

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The UK’s fastest growing upscale brand today announced the opening of DoubleTree by Hilton Aberdeen Treetops. A renovation programme overseen by Hilton and Westmont Hospitality has seen the hotel convert to a DoubleTree by Hilton property.

Located in the west end of Aberdeen, the DoubleTree brand’s kind and welcoming service can be seen throughout the property and its 120 guestrooms. DoubleTree by Hilton Aberdeen Treetops is nearby to the Gordon Highlanders Museum, Hazlehead Park and on the door step of Royal Deeside, making it a great location to explore the local area.

Following the refurbishment, the property boasts Springfield’s Restaurant which offers local and international cuisine. Along with this guests can take advantage of the 12 meeting rooms onsite, including the largest hotel conference and banqueting space in the North East of Scotland. The largest meeting room has the capacity to hold up to 800 people, whilst the other 11 rooms can hold a further 150. The conversion has also seen improvements made to the bedrooms and Livingwell Health Club.

DoubleTree by Hilton Aberdeen Treetops

“We are really excited about changing to the DoubleTree by Hilton brand as it is growing to be more and more popular and is widely recognised” said Jozef Sivak, the hotel’s Deputy General Manager. “The hotel is looking fantastic and has plenty to offer both our corporate and leisure guests.”

DoubleTree by Hilton Aberdeen Treetops

Since launching in the UK in 2008 the DoubleTree by Hilton portfolio includes 32 properties operating, with recent additions being DoubleTree by Hilton Strathclyde, DoubleTree by Hilton Bristol North, DoubleTree by Hilton Dartford Bridge, DoubleTree by Hilton Southampton, and DoubleTree by Hilton Edinburgh Airport. Furthermore, more than 90 DoubleTree properties will be operating across Europe, Middle East and Africa by the end of 2016.

Principal Hotels launches

New high-end urban lifestyle hotel group, Principal, launches

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New high-end urban lifestyle hotel group, Principal, launched today with the first three Principal hotels in Manchester, Edinburgh and York.

The launch follows a major investment of over £200 million from Starwood Capital in their UK portfolio and sees historic, grande-dame hotels sensitively restored, remodelled and redefined. Over the course of 2017, Principal will expand to include hotels in London, Glasgow and Cardiff in the hopes to establish luxury landmark hotels in each major UK city.

The investment includes meetings and events spaces across the portfolio, ensuring each and every venue leads the field in terms of the quality of meetings spaces, their accessibility and the technology offer for clients.

Each of these hotels has a story to tell—of its history, its design and architecture, its quirks and characters, and its role in shaping the city. Principal hotels are crafted to serve as revitalised neighbourhood destinations, ready to welcome a new generation of local, national and international guests.

The Principal Manchester occupies a listed Victorian Gothic Revival building originally designed in 1891 by Alfred Waterhouse, the architect behind London’s Natural History Museum, as the headquarters for The Refuge Assurance Company. Situated across the road from Manchester’s Oxford Road station and ten minutes from Manchester Piccadilly station, the hotel features 270 bedrooms and its own restaurant and bar. The Refuge by Volta is a palatial 10,000 square foot restaurant adjacent to the central lobby and comes complete with a 40ft granite bar and The Winter Garden, a beautiful interior glasshouse for afternoon tea served amongst leafy oak trees and trailing botanicals. Guests enter the hotel through a vast neoclassical lobby under a domed stained glass cupola, in which stands a 3m (10ft) 600kg (1300lb) bronze statue of a horse sculpted by Sophie Dickens. Many of the guestrooms contain listed period details, from wood panelling and fireplaces to tiled brickwork.

New high-end urban lifestyle hotel group, Principal, launches

All 17 conference, meeting and private dining rooms have been fully restored and upgraded to seamlessly combine modern technology with contemporary décor, highlighting the classic Edwardian features evident in the majority of the venue’s characterful function spaces. Housing the largest hotel ballroom in the north-west of England, which can accommodate up to 1,000 seated guests, the hotel’s largest event space features an ornate design that has been lovingly protected throughout its upgrade.

The Principal Edinburgh occupies five listed former private residences built in 1775 on George Street, and first opened as a hotel in 1881. The current hotel has been sensitively remodeled by Goddard Littlefair interior architects, complete with 240 bedrooms, eight meeting and event spaces, a restaurant, bar and coffee shop. Each of the guestrooms is decorated in a natural, earthy palette in keeping with the Craigleith stone surroundings. The hotel is dog friendly and canines are greeted with a dedicated dog-bed and treats in the room. The Printing Press Bar & Kitchen, the hotel’s bar and restaurant, serves seasonal Scottish fare under the direction of head chef Colin Fleming including house-cured salmon and Tweed Valley beef. Its late-night cocktail bar offers a collection of local spirits, from single malts to Edinburgh gin and Scottish vodka. The city’s rich literary heritage is referenced with details like vintage typewriters and classic Scottish novels. Burr & Co, the hotel’s coffee shop and delicatessen with its own George Street entrance, serves a selection of fresh pastries and hot drinks.

New high-end urban lifestyle hotel group, Principal, launches

Including the Forth View Suite, which boasts breathtaking city views, The Principal Edinburgh offers nine meeting and event spaces, including the iconic Kings Hall, a grand space for up to 400 guests.

The Principal York is located in an impressive Italianate building dating from 1878 and constructed under a façade of Scarborough brick and Tadcaster stone. Situated adjacent to York station, The Principal York can be accessed straight from the station and houses 155 bedrooms, its own restaurant, bar and separate garden room for afternoon tea. Accommodation in the main building has been carefully remodelled by Goddard Littlefair, some with views across three acres of manicured lawns to York Minster’s gothic towers. Downstairs, afternoon tea is served in the Garden Room while a wealth of local ingredients are on offer at The Refectory Kitchen & Terrace, a coolly industrial conservatory space that’s adjoined to the speakeasy style Chapter House Bar.

Principal Hotels launches

Voted 2016 Hotel of the Year and 2016 Conference Venue of the Year in the Visit York Tourism awards, the hotel has a dedicated events centre which can accommodate up to 410 delegates theatre-style, 300 for a banquet, 250 for a dinner and dance and 180 cabaret-style. An additional 11 meeting and event rooms include the Oak Room, which can accommodate up to 160 delegates theatre-style.

“At the heart of a great business is a unique and authentic story. Our people and our buildings have great stories to tell, and these stories differentiate you from the competition, giving your guests and your staff something to cheer about,” says Barry Sternlicht, Chairman and CEO of Starwood Capital Group. “Reviving these historic, grande-dame hotels is a truly great story—they are spectacular buildings in which we can create dynamic scenes. The story of each hotel, its amazing history and architecture is the opposite of the mass-produced chain hotel, and provides us with a canvas on which to curate a unique sense of place.”

Ury House

ICMI reveals plans for north-east Scotland boutique in 2020

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ICMI, the group behind Wimbledon champion Andy Murray’s Cromlix Hotel, has revealed plans to open a new boutique hotel and spa in north-eastern Scotland in 2020.

The group, which also runs Inverlochy Castle, Greywalls and Crossbasket, has announced it is transforming the B-listed Ury House into an exclusive retreat as part of a Jack Nicklaus golf complex. The firm revealed it will manage the hotel on behalf of developer FM group, and is aiming to make the resort one of the best in the UK.

Speaking to the Aberdeen Evening Express, Norbert Lieder, managing director of ICMI, said: “Our intention is to develop a location for people who live on the estate, golfers, the local community and visitors from around the world.

“As well as individually designed bedrooms and suites, there will be a clubhouse, restaurant and conference centre.

“I believe there is a real need for a resort of this quality in the north east.”

Kingsmills Hotel - Roca bathrooms

Project Spotlight: Roca bathrooms at Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness

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Kingsmills hotel has recently added 13 ensuite rooms with private gardens to its luxurious offering, with Roca products used throughout.

“Our aim was to bring five star luxury bathing to these wonderful lodges set in the landscape”, says hotel project manager James Story. “Roca’s stylish, compact and contemporary products with their clean lines and sense of style suit our architecturally striking garden rooms.”

Kingsmills Hotel - Roca bathrooms

Designed by Scottish architecture practice Keppie, the rooms are set into the gardens in a sculptural curve, so that each lodge has a unique view and total privacy. The units are constructed entirely from Scots timber and were manufactured and fully fitted out by eco firm Carbon Dynamic in less than three weeks, with installation taking less than two days.

Kingsmills Hotel - Roca bathrooms

The generous ensuite bathrooms have white vitreous china Gap wall hung toilets, double Bol basins, which sit elegantly on the granite vanity tops and the ultimate in bathing relaxation – 2m Roca Raindream showers, which can be adjusted by the user to rain, soft or pulse. Kingsmills’ relationship with Roca goes back some five years: the hotel upgraded 74 of its main house bedrooms with Roca ensuite bathrooms to create the luxury Kings Club rooms and specified Roca products for 100 hotel rooms in one of their Aberdeen properties.

Kingsmills Hotel - Roca bathrooms

Story says: “our guests have described the Roca bathroom experience as “a cocoon of comfort – like a private spa! That’s the best we could ever hope to offer.”

The Roca products specified in the garden rooms include:
– Thesis tall basin mixer with pop up waste
– Deck mounted single lever HN basin mixer L20 pop up waste
– Hall shower tray
– T1000 built in thermostat bath mixer

Courtyard by Marriott welcomes first hotel in Glasgow

Courtyard by Marriott welcomes first hotel in Glasgow

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Marriott International has announced the addition of Courtyard Glasgow Airport to its portfolio in Scotland.

Courtyard Glasgow Airport underwent a multi-million pound refurbishment before joining Courtyard by Marriott, marking the brand’s debut in the city. Formerly Ramada Glasgow Airport Hotel, the hotel is conveniently situated on Glasgow Airport’s doorstep, and a 15 minutes’ drive from the city centre.

All 114 guestrooms have undergone an extensive renovation, in addition to the public areas, leisure facilities and restaurant and bar venue, The Bistro. Carrying the latest Courtyard by Marriott design, the new spaces offer business and leisure travellers a refreshing hotel experience with contemporary and efficient design to ensure convenience and productivity throughout the entire stay.

Courtyard by Marriott welcomes first hotel in Glasgow

The lobby has been redesigned into a flexible space to promote engagement with guests. The GoBoard, a unique Courtyard by Marriott concept, offers touchscreen technology to allow users to view the latest airport information and research popular tourist attractions. Guests can also enjoy the use of complimentary WIFI.

New features of the property include a fully-equipped fitness centre, as well as a business centre with three meeting rooms. In addition, the hotel’s 24-hour market provides refreshments and travel accessories. The hotel also plans to add a further 56 rooms by mid-2017 taking the total to 170.

The transformation follows a significant investment by owner Cairn Group.

Courtyard Glasgow Airport is one of two additions for Courtyard by Marriott in Scotland this year, with Courtyard Edinburgh anticipated to open in December 2016. Courtyard by Marriott has one existing outpost in Scotland; Courtyard Aberdeen Airport, which opened in 2013.


YTL Hotels - Edinburgh's The Glasshouse

YTL Hotels expands luxury portfolio in UK

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YTL Hotels is delighted to announce the expansion of its luxury portfolio with the recent acquisition of three properties in Edinburgh, Berkshire and London, strengthening the company’s presence within the United Kingdom.

The company’s current portfolio in the United Kingdom encompasses The Gainsborough Bath Spa, the sole hotel to be part of the Leading Hotels of the World’s collection in Bath and offering the only natural thermal spa within a hotel in the United Kingdom, and Muse Bray Cottages, an exclusive collection of three bespoke private residences in Berkshire.

Dato’ Mark Yeoh, Executive Director of YTL Hotels commented: “I am delighted to welcome these new properties into the YTL Hotels fold. We will be undertaking exciting enhancements to each property and its offerings to elevate their value in line with our best of class standards. Last year, we opened The Gainsborough Bath Spa, our first classic hotel in the United Kingdom, and it has done us proud by exemplifying the same tradition of excellence known for in Pangkor Laut Resort – Malaysia and all the properties within our portfolio.

“Our core philosophy of not just building properties but crafting inspired experiences for guests will guide us in our enhancement and development plans for these newly acquired properties.”

YTL Hotels - Monkey Island, Berkshire

YTL Hotels – Monkey Island, Berkshire

The property acquisition in Edinburgh attests to YTL Hotels’ long standing relationship with Marriott International since 1995 through the ownership management of five luxurious properties around the world: Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel, Brisbane Marriott Hotel, Melbourne Marriott Hotel, The Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur and JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur, as well as the future development of The Ritz-Carlton Koh Samui – Thailand and the first Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Niseko Village – Japan.

Three new additions to the YTL Hotels’ portfolio will include the following: The Glasshouse Hotel, a part of Marriott International’s Autograph Collection, is already an award-winning 77-room luxury boutique hotel with a secret rooftop garden and was once the Lady Glenorchy Church built in the mid-19th century.

YTL Hotels - The Academy, West End London

YTL Hotels – The Academy, West End London

The second acquisition, Monkey Island, is a centuries old retreat in Bray-on-Thames, Berkshire that nestles on an island in the River Thames surrounded by stunning gardens and accessible only by a footbridge or boat. The stately retreat will be redesigned by the award-winning New York-based Champalimaud Design who orchestrated distinctive interior design projects for The Gainsborough Bath Spa, The Green Leaf Niseko Village, The Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur, The Carlyle in New York and the Dorchester in London, to name a few.

The Academy Hotel comprising of a collection of five restored Georgian townhouses combined into one charming hotel, is centrally located in London’s West End within a stone’s throw from The British Museum, surrounded by fine restaurants and world famous shopping streets. The boutique hotel will undergo a full refurbishment.

These latest acquisitions mark YTL Hotels’ global portfolio expansion to a total of 29 assets with a footprint across Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, China, France, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Multi-million pound refurbishment for Lochside retreat Cameron House

Multi-million pound refurbishment for Lochside’s Cameron House

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Scottish five-star resort, Cameron House, has revealed the results of a £3 million refurbishment in what the resort has announced is the first stage of a year-long multi-million pound renovation. This initial phase has focussed on revamping the food and beverage offering along with the hotel’s other public spaces.

Situated on the southern banks of Loch Lomond, Cameron House boasts five dining options. At the heart of the hotel, Cameron Grill – Cameron House’s fine dining establishment – has been refreshed with new interiors. Light, fresh neutral tones now help create a welcoming space that envelops but at the same time makes the most of its iconic views.

Multi-million pound refurbishment for Lochside retreat Cameron House

Whilst the creation of a new cocktail bar and menu adds another level of glamour to the restaurant, the Great Scots Bar also now makes the most of the hotel’s location with additional tables and new seating overlooking the loch.

Multi-million pound refurbishment for Lochside retreat Cameron House

Elsewhere, the public spaces – including the swimming pool and meeting rooms – have been upgraded most notably with four statement chandeliers giving the reception a brighter, lighter feel.

Multi-million pound refurbishment for Lochside retreat Cameron House

Overlooking the enhanced marina at the water’s edge meanwhile, the Boathouse restaurant has been updated with refreshes made to its signature New England style. With the light reflecting off the water lifting this bright, breezy space, it’s the perfect foil for a menu that celebrates the best of classic dishes and local seafood that can be enjoyed inside or outside on the deck.

Multi-million pound refurbishment for Lochside retreat Cameron House

“This work represents the start of an exciting multi-million pound investment,” says Resort Director, Andy Roger. “We feel the changes celebrate the resort’s setting and bring a new level of luxury to our offering. Our new-look interiors match the warmth of our hospitality, and with more spaces for visitors to sit, press pause and enjoy a taste of Scotland, the feedback from our guests has been overwhelmingly positive.”


DoubleTree Glasgow Central opens after £11m refurbishment

DoubleTree Glasgow Central opens after £11m refurbishment

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DoubleTree by Hilton has announced the opening of DoubleTree by Hilton Glasgow Central, located in the centre of the city. The property is owned and managed by Amaris Hospitality and is joining Hilton’s Scottish portfolio of 16 properties.

Having undergone a £11 million refurbishment, this new hotel in the centre of Glasgow is home to 300 modern guest rooms, including three fully equipped suites. DoubleTree by Hilton Glasgow Central also offers world-class conference facilities with Scotland’s largest hotel meeting space, The Grand Ballroom.

DoubleTree Glasgow Central opens after £11m refurbishment

The ballroom can accommodate up to 1,500 meeting or event attendees, making it the perfect space in Scotland for large events, conferences and weddings. A further 12 meeting spaces are also available on site, all with natural daylight and state-of-the-art equipment.

DoubleTree Glasgow Central opens after £11m refurbishment

Dianna Vaughan, senior vice president and global head, DoubleTree by Hilton said, “The sophisticated property offers close proximity to a number of top attractions, including the SSE Hydro arena, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and major nearby businesses. Beyond this, DoubleTree by Hilton Glasgow Central offers guests the welcoming comforts and hospitality that travellers can expect from DoubleTree by Hilton, starting with the presentation of a warm, Chocolate Chip Cookie at check-in, a symbol of the kindness that makes a stay with us so memorable.”

DoubleTree Glasgow Central opens after £11m refurbishment

Guests can unwind and refresh at the hotel’s heated pool, sauna and steam rooms. Additionally, the property’s restaurant, Brisket, offers another space for guests to relax.

John Brennan, CEO of Amaris Hospitality said, “We are extremely excited to be opening the new DoubleTree by Hilton Glasgow Central Hotel after an extensive £11 million investment and refurbishment. This wonderful, city-centre hotel is Amaris Hospitality’s second Hilton brand hotel in Scotland. We look for great hotels in world class locations and the DoubleTree by Hilton Glasgow Central Hotel is the perfect addition to the Amaris portfolio.”

Leonardo Hotels - Edinburgh

Leonardo Hotels opening second UK property in Edinburgh

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Leonardo Hotels is opening its second UK hotel in Edinburgh on October 7.

Following the launch of Leonardo Hotel London Heathrow Airport in March 2015, the brand is continuing with its European expansion, with the new 282-bed Edinburgh hotel up and running next month.

The centrally-located hotel is a former Premier Inn, of which there are currently six in Edinburgh alone. The Leonardo Hotel will now undergo a renovation process, overseen by interior designer Andreas Neudahm.

As well as the 282 bedrooms, the building is home to four function rooms and a conference centre.

Daniel Roger, Managing Director Europe, said: “We are delighted to add Edinburgh to our portfolio. The capital of Scotland is a fascinating and multifaceted city. It is second only to London as the largest economic and trade center in Great Britain. I am certain that we can expect a positive response from our guests at the new destination, as we are offering them another attractive addition to our existing hotels.”

Leonardo Hotels is the European division of Fattal Hotels Group, founded by David Fattal in Israel. Leonardo Hotels has been present with over 65 hotels in more than 35 destinations on the European market since 2007, including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Czech Republic, Hungary as well as Italy.

AECC Hilton Hotel Aberdeen

Aberdeen City Council and Hilton sign for hotel at new AECC

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Aberdeen City Council and Hilton Worldwide have signed a franchise licence agreement to open a 200-room Hilton Hotels & Resorts property at the new AECC, which will be managed by Redefine|BDL Hotels – the UK’s leading independent hotel management company.

Hilton Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre, set to be the fourth Hilton property in the city, will connect directly to the new AECC and is expected to create approximately 350 jobs.

The hotel, which is due to open in 2019, will include an executive lounge and up to 10 meeting rooms of variable size to complement the outstanding facilities of the adjoining conference centre. The hotel will also include a cocktail bar, speciality restaurant, fitness centre and wet leisure and spa facilities for guests and visitors to the exhibition centre to enjoy.

Hilton Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre is to be managed by Redefine|BDL Hotels. The Glasgow-based firm’s portfolio includes DoubleTree by Hilton Edinburgh City Centre and DoubleTree by Hilton Dundee.

Hilton is well established in Scotland with 20 properties currently trading in the country. Hilton Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre joins three Hilton hotels in Aberdeen – Hilton Aberdeen Treetops, DoubleTree by Hilton Aberdeen City Centre and Hilton Garden Inn Aberdeen City Centre.

The new hotel will be built in to the new AECC, which will provide four times the exhibition space available at the current venue, double the seated entertainment. The foremost conference and entertainment venue will be competing not just within Scotland but on a global stage.

The Edinburgh Grand

Sneak Peek: The Edinburgh Grand – Lateral City Apartments

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The Edinburgh Grand is the latest addition to Lateral City Apartments’ portfolio of beautifully appointed serviced accommodation. As with existing developments, Old Town Chambers and Merchiston Residence, The Edinburgh Grand has evolved from a building of unique historical merit with an illustrious heritage, to offer a luxurious and distinct place to stay, in the heart of Scotland’s capital by the summer of 2017.

A striking Neo-Classical building, it stands on the south-east corner of notable St Andrew Square, within Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site and just minutes away from key transport links. This prestigious area, known for its designer boutiques, is steps away from the renowned George Street with its reputation as a lively and vivacious hub.

Formerly the National Bank of Scotland, the building was constructed between 1936 and 1942 gaining inspiration from Modernist American architecture. The imposing sandstone exterior reveals a grand interior with vast atrium, original marble columns, bronze balustrades and dark wood detailing.

The Edinburgh Grand

Throughout the Edinburgh Grand’s transformation many of the building’s remarkable original features will be retained and incorporated into 50 luxury apartments. Clean lines and contemporary fixtures and fittings will integrate seamlessly with a decadent colour palette of olive greens and teal blues. Velvets, sheers and leather have been sourced to complement the unique wallcoverings and tailored furnishings to achieve an elegance that befits such exceptional architecture.

The Edinburgh Grand

Over the next 12 months The Edinburgh Grand will emerge as the one-time bank is thoughtfully renovated and genuine features are restored. This is particularly evident as the original plate steel bank vaults are transformed into a modern on-site gym, while throughout the contemporary bathrooms, homage is paid to the original geometric black and white flooring that characterised the banking hall. The building’s distinctive circular atrium, a constant hallmark that dominates the soaring vestibule, will be carefully preserved and continue to fill the space with light.

The Edinburgh Grand

Each apartment will retain a unique quality and layout, from the Grand Studio apartments, lined with rich Cognac timber panelled walls and furnished with striking authentic fireplaces, to the three-bedroom rooftop Penthouse, with its vast city view. Sleek kitchens, kitted out with the latest Siemens appliances and Nespresso coffee machines, offer guests independence whilst retaining that sense of aspirational luxury.

Apartments are suited to both short city breaks and longer business-focused stays, and can accommodate a range of group-sizes from six, down to the single traveller.

Alongside these stunning apartments, the building will also house a 200-cover bar and restaurant located in the former banking hall. Additionally, a coffeehouse and evening venue, will be run by Bon Vivant, offering late night entertainment and dining, while further retail outlets, to complement the site, are also planned and will be announced in due course. The apartment conversion is expected to be completed by summer 2017, adding The Edinburgh Grand to the remarkable portfolio of properties within the Lateral City Apartments group.


More and more people are opting for a 'staycation' in the post-Brexit era

Post-Brexit ‘staycation’ boom worth extra £1.4 billion to UK economy

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The positive impact of the UK’s Brexit decision on the domestic hotel market was revealed last week as official figures show billions of pounds staying in the United Kingdom.

While the surge in UK holidays after the 23 June vote had been predicted, the findings by the Tourism Alliance exclusive to the Mail on Sunday show a huge rise both in visitors from abroad and in Britons opting for a staycation – worth some £1.4 billion to the UK economy.

The extra takings in 2016 for staycations alone are set to be £2.4 billion, according to the findings, whose members include the British Hospitality Association, ABTA and regional tourist boards. While £1 billion of that was spent before June 23, the total additional staycation income for the whole year is expected to be £1.4 billion.

BHA calls for 'Seaside Tsar'
The falling pound since the Brexit vote has made holidays more expensive for Britons going abroad and cheaper for foreign tourists coming here – giving Britain’s tourism a double boost. It all means the industry is set for a record-breaking year, and factors believed to be adding to the boom include the recent good weather, low interest rates and fears of terrorism overseas.

The Tourism Alliance estimated that spending by Britons on UK holidays has been up by 17 per cent on 2015 so far this year. Alliance director Kurt Janson told the Mail the additional £2.4 billion has the potential to create around 40,000 new jobs in tourism and hospitality.

Top photo (Cary Arms): Patrick Goff

Hilton Hotels - Edinburgh

Hilton Hotels & Resorts arrives in heart of Scottish capital

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Hilton Hotels & Resorts has announced the official opening of Hilton Edinburgh Carlton, marking the 16th property in the Hilton Worldwide portfolio of brands in Scotland and the eighth Hilton Hotels & Resorts hotel in the country.

The hotel is owned and operated by Amaris Hospitality and is part of their 73-hotel portfolio across the UK and Ireland. Hilton Edinburgh Carlton showcases the rich history of Edinburgh and is within walking distance of myriad attractions, from the famous Royal Mile, which it overlookss, to the beautiful St. Giles’ Cathedral.

Andreas Lackner, vice president, area brand management, Hilton Worldwide, said, “Hilton Edinburgh Carlton offers a chic hotel experience in a prime Edinburgh locale with its sleek design, top-notch amenities and all the benefits and high-quality service expected from Hilton Hotels & Resorts. We are delighted to be extending our footprint in Scotland and to welcome guests from all over the world, especially with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival taking place this month, attracting thousands of visitors.”

The hotel offers 211 stylish and spacious guest rooms, including junior suites and executive rooms, all designed with comfort and convenience in mind to provide a place to relax and unwind or to catch up on work. All rooms are equipped with a desk, 40-inch TV and modern bathroom. Guests staying in executive rooms can enjoy complimentary snacks and drinks in the hotel’s Executive Lounge throughout the day. Hilton Edinburgh Carlton also boasts a Marco Pierre White Steakhouse and Grill, offering local produce and a classic dining menu, along with signature dishes and drinks for guests to sample.

With seven dedicated meeting spaces that can accommodate up to 200 people, Hilton Edinburgh Carlton is a superb venue for events and occasions. The main event room, the Highland Suite, offers panoramic views across the city and natural daylight with high arch windows and ceilings. The hotel also offers bespoke dining options for private events along with dedicated breakout spaces.

Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh

Sustainability focus: Balmoral Hotel buzzing for new concept

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News has emerged this week that a colony of honey bees have checked in on the rooftop of Edinburgh’s luxury hotel The Balmoral in a bid to produce home-grown honey for guests to enjoy at mealtimes in the luxury boutique.

It follows the work being carried out at London Hilton Bankside with jewellery designer Alex Monroe.

A similar concept is also taking off across the Atlantic at the Admiral Hotel in Mobile, Alabama. Under the leadership of General Manager Joe Langford, the idea to harvest honey in-house is proving a popular one with staff and guests.

According to local media, in addition to producing the honey, the bees help pollinate a small garden of produce, used for special recipes in the Admiral’s kitchen. Currently Spencer grows watermelon, peas, cabbage, okra, peas and tomatoes in the small patches of soil.

With the UK and further afield being hit by a decline in bee populations, these sort of concepts are vital. Bees pollinate a third of everything we eat and play a vital role in sustaining the planet’s ecosystems. More than 80% of crops grown for human consumption need bees to pollinate them to increase their yields.

Much kudos to The Balmoral and the Admiral for their campaigns. We love this sort of project here at Hotel Designs.

W Edinburgh

W to make Scottish debut with W Edinburgh in 2021

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Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has announced it will debut the iconic W Hotels brand in Scotland with W Edinburgh.

Opening in 2021 and set to reinvigorate the city’s traditional hospitality scene, the hotel will be part of TH Real Estate’s Edinburgh St James scheme, which is set to complete in 2020. Designed by award-winning architecture and interior design practice Jestico + Whiles, in conjunction with Allan Murray Architects, the 12-story building will feature a unique façade crafted from a winding steel ‘ribbon’.

W Edinburgh will form the centerpiece of the 1.7 million square-foot development, which will incorporate a vibrant blend of retail, entertainment, leisure and residential apartments, further reinforcing the city’s reputation as a booming cosmopolitan capital.

RELATED: Controversial ‘Ribbon Hotel’ in Edinburgh given go-ahead

“As an established business hub with a thriving global tourism industry, we are confident that there will be a huge appetite for our innovative lifestyle brand in the Scottish capital,” said Michael Wale, President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa and Middle East. “W Edinburgh’s location at the pulsing heart of the new Edinburgh St James development, combined with its innovative design, contemporary interiors and the W brand’s signature programming, will create the perfect setting for the second W hotel in the United Kingdom.”

W Edinburgh will redefine the city’s hospitality landscape with its modern design, signature amenities and a full calendar of W Happenings showcasing what’s new in design, fashion and music.

W Edinburgh
The hotel will offer 214 stylish guestrooms, including 20 suites and one Extreme Wow Suite (the W brand’s interpretation of the Presidential Suite). The rooftop will feature a buzzing destination bar and outdoor terrace, offering guests and locals 360-degree panoramic views of the historic skyline, along with a cutting-edge approach to cocktails and cuisine. Other areas will include W Lounge (the W brand’s energetic spin on the hotel lobby), a signature restaurant, FIT – the ultimate workout facility, and an AWAY Spa offering the W Hotels brand’s signature health and lifestyle experiences. An ideal venue for events, W Edinburgh will provide 2,450 square feet of ultra-modern event space.

Stephen Wicks, Director of Shopping Centres at TH Real Estate, said: “From the outset, our intention has been to secure a truly world class hotel operator for Edinburgh St James, complementing the rest of the development and forming an integral part of the scheme’s vibrant offer. We are delighted to have finalised this deal with Starwood Hotels and Resorts and to be welcoming such an iconic and established brand as W Hotels to Scotland for the very first time.”

Ten Hill Place

Ten Hill Place, Edinburgh joins BW Premier Collection

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BW Premier Collection has announced that Ten Hill Place, in central Edinburgh, will become the tenth member of Best Western Great Britain’s soft branded offering for high end hotels and the first in Scotland.

Operated by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh Commercial Enterprises, the profits of this hotel go back to the College, which provides education and assessment for medical professionals and trainees. This unique partnership is mirrored by the hotel’s aesthetic, which fuses the traditional Edinburgh Georgian terrace exterior with a modern and elegant interior. Thanks to its links with The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Ten Hill Place can offer both historical and purpose-built modern rooms for meetings, conferences, private functions and weddings, along with its fabulous range of bedrooms and suites.

Ten Hill Place
The unusual property is located right in the centre of Edinburgh, with the historic Old Town and Royal Mile just a stone’s throw away. In addition, the Festival Theatre and National Museums are around the corner and the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace are just down the road.

Rob Payne, CEO of Best Western GB comments: “We’re delighted to welcome Ten Hill Place into the BW Premier Collection, marking our ten-property milestone. We know our guests will love this city central location paired with the luxury this collection provides. BW Premier Collection is an exceptional proposition for great British hotels that want to retain and celebrate their independence in the knowledge that they have the security of Best Western behind them, particularly in such uncertain times.”

Ten Hill Place
Scott Mitchell, Commercial Director of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh Commercial Enterprises comments: “Joining BW Premier Collection is an exciting prospect for us, and enables us to reach Best Western’s sales and marketing platforms as well as a group of like-minded hoteliers, each with unique properties.”

BW Premier Collection is Best Western’s premium soft brand for hotels that are 4* and above. It launched in 2014 and Ten Hill Place marks the tenth addition to this exclusive group. Other properties in the group include Hazlewood Castle, Yorkshire and The Richmond, Liverpool.

Photos: www.tenhillplace.com

The Century Bar at Gleneagles

Project Spotlight: Dernier & Hamlyn’s lighting for the Gleneagles is ‘above par’

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As part of the extensive refurbishment of the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland, Dernier & Hamlyn has manufactured bespoke lighting for the main bar, which re-launched in May and is the central focus for the hotel’s public areas.

Realising the David Collins Studio design, Dernier & Hamlyn produced stunning octagonal feature pendants that were formed and finished by hand in its London factory. They incorporate LED technology and have also been configured to discreetly accommodate emergency lighting without detracting from the visual effect and maintaining an incandescent lighting effect. Each of the pendants features 24 opaque panes through which the light is subtly diffused.

The bespoke lighting specialist’s team was also commissioned to handcraft table lamps, bar lamps and floor lamps, all of which were hand bronzed and included the same high quality design, manufacture and finishing

Dernier & Hamlyn’s managing director Jeremy Quantrill says: “Our team has really enjoyed being involved in this project for such a beautiful venue with an illustrious past and exciting future. It has had testing elements such as settling on materials that achieved the right aesthetic feel while satisfying strict weight restrictions. However, it’s these sorts of challenges that our team relishes and ultimately we have stunning, statement fittings that we are sure will enhance the guest experience in the bar.”

Apple Apartments - Atrium Lounge - Royal Mile

Historic Royal Mile building to be converted into luxury boutique

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An historic former school building next to Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is to be converted into a boutique hotel and restaurant as part of the £150 million New Waverley development currently transforming the city’s Old Town.

The C-listed red sandstone Canongate Venture building, one of Edinburgh’s last remaining ‘School Board’ designs of the late-Victorian era, will become a 21-room luxury aparthotel, managed by Apple Apartments.

Plans for the two-storey building include the conversion of the original school rooms into 21 double-height serviced apartments, each with a mezzanine level providing separate sleeping and living areas. The rooms will overlook a light-filled glass atrium forming part of a spectacular central galleried hall, which has remained unchanged since the building was first designed in 1901 as an infant school by Edinburgh School Board architect Robert Wilson.

Apple Apartments - First Floor Atrium

Launched in 2013, London-based Apple Apartments is fast-becoming one of the UK’s most successful niche aparthotel operators, specialising in the conversion of small-scale period buildings into high-quality serviced apartments. The company is run by Scottish businessman Billy Cowe and his brother Peter, who have been involved in global property management and development for the past 15 years.

“We knew straight away that this historic building would be perfect for our next specialist conversion project,” says Billy Cowe. “As well as sitting alongside the Royal Mile, one of the world’s most iconic streets, it also has a range of striking features both inside and out, which make it genuinely stand out as a unique destination not just in Edinburgh but across the UK.

“There is a huge, growing demand for high-quality serviced apartments in good city-centre locations serving both corporate and leisure markets. The Canongate Venture is set to become a flagship aparthotel across our UK business, offering something a little different. As well as fully serviced rooms, we will also be incorporating 24-hour butler service, an exclusive customer lounge and a gourmet restaurant which will also provide room service for guests.”

Royal Mile project to turn old school building into boutique hotel
Discussions for the ‘in-house’ restaurant are currently underway with top London names including an internationally recognised successful chef. As well as serving main meals, the restaurant will also provide a full room service menu for all the apartments – including breakfast.

Inside, the new boutique hotel will keep many of the original features such as the glass atrium and original wood floors. New features such as bespoke wood panelling walls and specially designed Tweeds will be used to create a 5-star high quality environment inspired by other flagship Apple developments, including Marconi House on the Strand in London.

Project Spotlight: ‘Gallery of glamour in the glens’ – Muckrach Country House

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Muckrach Country House Hotel in the Scottish Highlands just north of Aviemore is an 11 bedroom Victorian Shooting Lodge set in 10 acres, surrounded by pastureland and a Scottish castle.

The historic shooting lodge has been totally refurbished from the bare bones of a soulless granite building into an opulent and lively hotel with a warm Highland welcome with quirky twists to the glamorous luxury and the latest technology.

After the initial meeting and taking of the design brief, listening to the hoteliers’ needs, Keith Clarke, Contract and Development Manager from Gallery Direct put together design layouts, mood boards and specifications to create the look and feel that was the clients vision. Subsequent meetings took place at the Gallery Direct Design Centre in High Wycombe and details were finalised.

Frank Hudson Maine Wing Bed with bespoke Vermont - Muckrach Country House
Once the order was confirmed production drawings were completed and the bespoke pieces produced to go with the standard production pieces from the Gallery Collections. The experienced installation team delivered the products over a 2-day period. Training on furniture care was also given to the housekeeping staff so that everything can be kept in the best condition to make sure that the individual guest experience is always at the highest standard.

Phil and Ed Cowap, the new owners, said: “It has been an absolute pleasure working with Keith from Gallery Direct. His attention to detail and vast knowledge of the industry has been invaluable in the refurbishment process. Keith has helped us to create stunning and fabulous bedroom sets which create an immediate impression of luxury and charm.”

Whisky Suite - Gleneagles

New-look Gleneagles unveiled

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Gleneagles is pleased to announce the completion of the first phase of redevelopment at the hotel, unveiling a new-look Century Bar, the addition of new bar, Auchterarder 70, and 35 renovated luxury bedrooms.

The Century Bar, one of Scotland’s most iconic bars, has been given a major makeover. Gleneagles’ main bar – which is famed for housing one of Scotland’s finest collections of old and rare whiskies and has served as the social hub of the hotel for almost 100 years – has relaunched as The Century Bar having undergone a complete redesign by eminent design house David Collins Studio.

The design team was tasked with creating an elegant and contemporary space that would enhance the guest experience, whilst celebrating Gleneagles’ heritage and Scottish identity. Restored original panelling, art deco-style lighting and a brighter colour palette better reflect the history of the hotel, while window spaces have been opened up to maximise the views of the Ochil Hills and provide a connection between the interior and exterior of the property.

An atmosphere of warmth and understated elegance has been created through traditional textiles and upholstery, including accent fabrics sourced from Johnstons of Elgin, accessories made by Scottish ceramicists and custom stained glass screens created by Dunblane-based firm Ramoyle Glass. Simon Rawlings, Creative Director at David Collins Studio said: “The hotel’s main bar is an important room within the property.

“Its transition to The Century Bar needed a respectful approach; one which references the art deco grandeur, whilst making a charming, light-filled room by day, and a cosy intimate room by night. My starting point was to anchor the room with dramatic red columns, and layer into the space Scottish textiles, comfy seats, subtle rich colours, and charming detailing.” He added: “Our design has resulted in a bar which is wonderful at any time, for any occasion; a bar that feels very Scottish, and extremely Gleneagles.”

The Century Bar’s new look is accompanied by a new food and drinks menu which reflects the country pursuits – such as hunting, shooting and fishing – which established Gleneagles as a key destination on the social calendar in the 1920s. An additional brand new bar, Auchterarder 70 – named after the hotel’s original telephone number – has been unveiled in the Dormy Clubhouse and is the creation of celebrated designers, Macaulay Sinclair. The atmospheric, 1920s-style space has striking views over the 18th hole of the King’s Course and serves an outstanding range of locally-sourced craft beer and snacks.

Attention to detail – including a 1920s-style oak-panelled bar, chesterfield sofas, vintage furnishings, and a wooden crank wall-mounted telephone from which guests can place table orders – has created a relaxed and fun social hub, ideal for golfers, families, couples and friends alike. Gleneagles worked with design house Goddard Littlefair to revamp 35 luxury bedrooms and suites and linking corridors. The new designs connect guests to the stories of Gleneagles’ past through antiques and art, but also reflect the highest standards of contemporary luxury.

Th eCentury Bar at Gleneagles
Sharan Pasricha said: “We’re delighted to launch these exceptional spaces which simultaneously acknowledge our rich heritage whilst marking a new chapter in the Gleneagles story.

“As part of the evolution of the brand, we wanted the designs to reflect all the unique Gleneagles elements – the stunning views, the art deco origins, the country pursuits – which have inspired generations of guests, but we also wanted them to breathe new life into the hotel.”

He added: “The bar launches have also created exciting new dining concepts and we look forward to introducing these experiences to our residents and guests.”

Travelodge Glasgow

Travelodge celebrates Scottish anniversary with Glasgow property

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Travelodge is celebrating its 30th anniversary in Scotland this year with the opening of its fifth and biggest hotel in Glasgow – the Queen Street Travelodge, a 171-room property with Bar Café.

The office conversion property is located on Queen Street close to the railway station. It represents a property investment of £12 million and has created 42 new jobs.

The hotel has been designed in the company’s new contemporary brand design which has been created with the help of Travelodge customers. Its features an upgraded product offering including a bespoke king size bed called ‘The Travelodge Dreamer’.

Travelodge Glasgow

The new Queen Street hotel is one of 19 planned by the chain for this year at a cost of around £140 million, creating a total of 450 jobs in the UK.

Click here for more information

Stonefield Castle - part of Bespoke Hotels collection

Award-winning Stonefield Castle blossoms following substantial refurb

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Stonefield Castle, part of the Bespoke Hotels collection and situated on the tranquil shores of Loch Fyne, has undergone substantial investment in recent months, with bedrooms refurbished to an extremely high standard, alongside the drawing room, library, lounge and restaurant.

Harris Tweed now abounds, fittingly enough, while prints from local artist Stuart Herd decorate both bedrooms and corridors. A selection of vintage parlour games, including an antique snooker table, also graces the games room. There’s even a fully operational telescope in the library, which will come in handy for any visiting astronomers wishing to sample some of Britain’s most unpolluted starry skies.

Refurbishments have been completed at an opportune time for the property, which was named Scottish Hotel Restaurant of the Year in 2015, as well as one of the top ten castle hotels by the Daily Telegraph earlier this month. It’s not hard to see why, given that both the hotel and restaurant boast spectacular views overlooking the Mull of Kintyre, while being surrounded on all sides by 60 acres of pristine woodland, including one of the largest rhododendron gardens in the UK, as well as wildlife including otters, seals, and even humpback whales in the neighbouring waters.

Built in 1837, Stonefield Castle is an outstanding example of Scottish baronial architecture, retaining many of its original furnishings, such as wood paneling, ornate ceilings and marble fireplaces, whilst also providing all the digital mod-cons a tech savvy guest could wish for, as well as the all-important bedside coffee machines!

For those who’ve built up an appetite after a day exploring the grounds, and perhaps even being gifted a private tour by the hotel’s octogenarian gardener, who was recently honoured by the Royal Horticultural Society, the Stonefield Restaurant offers outstanding food in a truly memorably setting.

Bedroom Cityroomz Edinburgh - Sleeperz

Sleeperz to expand Edinburgh hotel with Princes Street Wing

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Sleeperz Hotels, the innovative UK budget hotel operator, is expanding its sister hotel Cityroomz Edinburgh with a new Princes Street wing made up of 43 rooms and suites.

Sleeperz Hotels has been granted planning permission to develop Princes House, a listed building and three storey office block, next door to its current 72-bed Cityroomz hotel on Shandwick Place near Princes Street in Edinburgh’s West End. The development is being carried out in partnership with Town Centre Securities PLC, a leading UK property and investment company.

Opening – June 2017
The new rooms should be open by June 2017 and will increase occupancy to 115 rooms including new double, twin and family rooms as well as ten suites with kitchenettes and living space. David Myers, chief executive of Sleeperz Hotels, said: “Our brand of low cost high quality hotel stays has proven a winning formula nationally and we are confident that demand for stylish but affordable rooms in Edinburgh will keep growing.”

Cityroomz Edinburgh breakfast bar - Sleeperz

Colin Steele, associate director at Caledonia Management Ltd, acting for Town Centre Securities, said: ‘This development is great news for Princes House and the West End of Edinburgh. The area is the cultural heart of Edinburgh, with its World Heritage Site, theatres, arts venues and stunning architecture.
Cityroomz increased bed-stock is a welcome boost and provides affordable accommodation for tourists staying in this vibrant area.”

Ideally placed between Waverley and Haymarket stations and close to Edinburgh International Conference Centre, Sleeperz is confident the changes will attract business guests wanting longer stays in a suite environment and increase bookings from families and groups.

Edinburgh serviced apartments get refurbishment ‘fit for a Prince’
REVIEW: Radisson Blu, Edinburgh
Sneak Peek: G&V Royal Mile Hotel, Edinburgh

There will be ten new Cityroomz suitez featuring kitchenettes, en-suite bathrooms, dining space, living area, sofas, Freeview flat screen TV’s, bespoke custom made mattresses, laptop safes and tea and coffee facilities.

Glasgow architects Maith Design have been engaged to transform the space and deliver the ambitious expansion plans.

The Expansion
• 23 double rooms
• 6 Family rooms
• 10 suites (including kitchen, dining area, sofas and living space)
• 2 Cabin (Bunk) Twin rooms
• 1 accessible family room
• 2 accessible double rooms

Cityroomz Edinburgh opened in May 2013 with 72 rooms and a rooms-based limited service philosophy. Its location, next to Princes Street and within easy walking distance of The Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle, has made it a popular choice for city breakers and travellers on a budget. Guests enjoy stylish interior design, custom made pocket-sprung beds, free and fast Wi-Fi and a continental breakfast is available daily.

Occupancy at Cityroomz Edinburgh has consistently been above 85% with market leading RevPar performance (source STR). This investment in the Scottish capital follows an agreement for Sleeperz Hotels to open a new 120-bed hotel above Dundee Railway Station in 2017. Construction work started earlier this year.

Sleeperz are currently in discussions about further hotels in Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow.

Princes Street Suites ® ZAC and ZAC Photography

Edinburgh serviced apartments get refurbishment ‘fit for a Prince’

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Popular Edinburgh serviced apartment offering Princes Street Suites has unveiled the results of a £350,000 refurbishment.

The new-look Princes Street Suites, in the heart of the Scottish capital, have been transformed, with a modern Scottish aesthetic from Glasgow-based interior designer, Linda Reid running throughout.

Princes Street Suites, Edinburgh

®ZAC and ZAC Photography

All 37 one, two and three-bedroom apartments in the former Edinburgh Post Office building now feature bespoke furniture, furnishings and accessories, including a signature blue plaid.

Linda Reid, said: “The Princes Street Suites are a wonderful blend of old and new, with part of the building dating back to 1816 and another section very contemporary in feel. As such, I wanted to make sure the design reflected this and brought these two elements together.

Master Bedroom, Princes Street Suites - Edinburgh

® ZAC and ZAC Photography

“Another important aspect of the design was the introduction of our signature blue plaid, which really informed the modern Scottish aesthetic in the apartments. It’s wonderful to see this fantastic property with a brand new lease of life during its bicentenary year.”

RELATED: Major refurbishment for Edinburgh’s Princes Street Suites

Managed by the UK’s largest independent hotel management company, Redefine|BDL Hotels, the refurbishment is the first major project undertaken by Princes Street Suites’ new General Manager, Fiona Mackenzie, who took over the role last July.

® ZAC and ZAC Photography

® ZAC and ZAC Photography

Fiona said: “The Princes Street Suites have never looked more inviting and we can’t wait to welcome new and returning guests to enjoy our upgraded facilities. Coupled with the perfect city centre location, we are really offering visitors the full package.”

Situated in the heart of Edinburgh, the high-end apartments are perfectly located for exploring Edinburgh’s historic landmarks and attractions such as Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Mile and Princes Street.


G&V Royal Mile Hotel, Edinburgh

Sneak Peek: G&V Royal Mile Hotel, Edinburgh

1000 666 Daniel Fountain

Part of the Quorvus Collection, the 136-room G&V Royal Mile Hotel Edinburgh is a design-led, five-star lifestyle hotel located in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town.

The unique name of the G&V Royal Mile Hotel is derived from its prime location on the corner of George IV Bridge and Victoria Street. The hotel is just steps from Edinburgh Castle, Grass Market, The Royal Mile, The Museum of Scotland and The Scottish National Gallery as well as the famous Princes Street and upmarket George Street which both offer hours of shopping heaven. Edinburgh Waverly train station is only an eight minute walk and Edinburgh International Airport is located eight miles away, approximately a 25 minute drive.

G&V Royal Mile Hotel, Edinburgh

Beautiful and bold rooms and suites that balance style with comfort have been designed by leading Scottish artists and designers, part of G&V’s commitment to using and nurturing local talent.

The hotel’s nine suites evoke modern Scotland and have been individually designed by Scottish fashion designer Judy R Clark, artist Christine Clark, design duo Timorous Beasties, artist and textile designer Hatti Pattisson and furniture designer Holster.

G&V Royal Mile Hotel, Edinburgh

Local interior design studio Graven has also designed their own unique suite, as they work on their plans for a complete refurbishment of the lobby and bar areas. The interiors throughout the hotel are stylish and playful with a kaleidoscope of colourful rooms.

Exceptional dining is located in award-winning Italian restaurant Cucina which serves a sophisticated, metropolitan take on authentic Italian cuisine and is popular with guests and locals alike. A chic and vibrant bar provides a true taste of Scotland with a fantastic selection of whiskys and malts in addition to having some of the best mixologists in town shaking and stirring up the finest cocktails.

G&V Royal Mile Hotel, Edinburgh

G&V is also home to one of the city’s best spas with pampering Eve Lom and Aromatherapy Associates facials, massages, body scrubs and wraps, manicures and pedicures for both men and women on offer. The hotel also has an on-site fitness centre.

With thanks to GRIFCO, which has recently taken over PR for the hotel. . .

Boclair House - Wilton Carpets Commercial

Project Spotlight: Masterclass in luxury by Wilton at Boclair House

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With ambitions for an intimate and luxurious hotel and wedding venue, the interior of Glasgow’s Boclair House Hotel has been transformed with a masterclass in restorative interior design including bespoke carpets from Wilton Carpets Commercial.

Built in 1890 in the Gothic Tudor style, Boclair House had been stripped of its original interior features and converted to partitioned offices yet, under new ownership, is now resplendent as one of Scotland’s most luxurious destinations. Commissioned by owner, Manorview Hotels, interior and architecture practice Space I.D has without a doubt created a wonderfully bold sense of opulence and decadence, celebrating the building’s Art Nouveau heritage and stylish glamour of the latter Art Deco period.

Carpets from Wilton have been instrumental in creating the atmospheric interior, fitted right throughout the hotel in an array of truly stunning designs bringing individuality, glamour and wondrous comfort perfectly in keeping with the unapologetic luxury of Boclair House.

“The geometric carpet was a bold move but it works brilliantly with what has been created around it,” comments the team at Space I.D. “As we had a blank canvas, we decided that public areas should have an Art Deco feel as the grand scale and form of the style fitted the space. In more intimate settings such as the bar and restaurant we’ve looked towards the stylised naturalistic design typical of Art Nouveau for the carpet. An elegant and ultimately, incredibly luxurious look.”

Working closely with Wilton designer, Sam Dean, carpets have been created for the public areas, function rooms, bar, restaurant and bedrooms of the hotel. A hexagonal motif in hues of gold and black used in corridors and on stairways is joined by a radiant geometric in tones of charcoal and ruby in the bar and restaurant. In the function room a controlled and simplified damask is given a huge sense of scale, working as a feature on large area rugs throughout.

Boclair House - Wilton Carpets Commercial

“In the function room, we didn’t want a fully carpeted room with a dance floor in the middle, so designed the carpet in sections divided by timber panels. This allows the middle section to be rolled back to reveal the dance floor for the evening party.”

Area rugs can be found elsewhere in Boclair House as Space I.D has used herringbone parquet as borders to runner-style carpets in corridors and as frames within bedrooms. Not only looking incredibly elegant and as if an original feature, these borders and frames provide a visual break between the strong carpet designs. In bedrooms, a multitude of more relaxed style references have been used, a stone hued stria panel bordered with a simple triangular motif in contrasting tones creating a sense of individuality.

“The design experience was highly rewarding as we had total freedom and with Manorview Hotels long history with Wilton Carpets Commercial, we knew we were in good hands when it came to creating carpets that reflected the luxury, intimacy and individuality of this delightful building,” conclude the team at Space I.D.

Some 750 square metres of bespoke woven Axminster in a highly durable nine-row quality have been used throughout in a blend of 80% wool and 20% nylon. Made in Wiltshire with exquisite attention-to-detail, the carpets will provide Boclair House Hotel with a long serviceable life and lasting appearance.

For further information contact Wilton Carpets Commercial on 01722 746000 or sales@wiltoncarpets.com

Radisson Blu, Edinburgh

Radisson Blu, Edinburgh

772 500 Daniel Fountain

With all due respect to any of our readers who hail from the cities of Bath and Durham, I will tell anyone who will listen that I believe Edinburgh is the UK’s prettiest city. The breathtaking countryside to its south, its cobbled roads, its wonderfully archaic side-streets and UNESCO World Heritage-protected buildings – the Scottish capital is one of our country’s gems; always worth a visit and definitely worth celebrating.

As someone who takes notice of such things for a living, design and architecture play a big part in the city’s allure. From Holyrood Palace to the famous castle and back up again around the Royal Mile, there are so many fantastic examples of both. With such striking and beautiful architecture at every turn, it figures that more modern projects – namely a Radisson Blu hotel – have to incorporate these stunning surroundings into their external appearance.

This branch of the slick, business-minded brand ticks that box perfectly. Its neo-gothic, castle-esque exterior blends in with uniform ease to the rest of the street’s aesthetic. However, having paid homage to the city’s history on the outside, a reflection of a much more modern, corporate Edinburgh is revealed once inside. After a series of touch-ups and refurbishments since the turn of the century, the hotel’s interior looks very much ahead rather than to the past.

When I arrive after a picturesque, but very long drive, I do have to manoeuvre my way around a rather complex route from carpark to lobby via a service lift. It’s here I am reminded how important – but sometimes overlooked – well-appointed signage is for guests. It’s not an ideal first impression to begin with, but I needn’t have worried as the rest of the hotel more than made up for it.

Radisson Blu, Edinburgh lounge area (TripAdvisor)

My roundabout tour of the lower levels takes me via the hotel’s main conference space – which is currently in turn-around mode between events when I sneak a peek. The room is a wonderful burst of monochrome tones in both carpets and wallcoverings, a clash of prints and the first sight I get of the ubiquitous locally-inspired artwork; it forms part of the eight meeting rooms the hotel offers, hosting up to 240 people for a range of event styles.

Radisson Blu, Edinburgh Meeting space

I am greeted at a busy but well-staffed reception area which also serves as an anchoring point between the hotel lounge-cum-breakout area and the food and beverage option Itchycoo Bar and Kitchen. One quick, seamless check-in later and I’m in my Business Class room – a room of the same standard as I stayed in when reviewing the Radisson Blu in Leeds, but one with a very different decor. It’s always fascinating to see how amenities remain the same, but how varied and different interpretations of the same brief can be. While Leeds relied on a metallic-inspired, blue-grey palette, Edinburgh goes for a more muted colour scheme of greys and browns in the bedroom and bathroom; with a splash of colour added by brightly-upholstered cushions.

Radisson Blu, Edinburgh bedroom

The living area is slightly smaller than I would normally expect for the price-range, but can be forgiven due to the fact the designers have managed to include everything required – and more – through good use of space. The room is dominated by the sweeping corner sofa unit, the double bed with its striking metallic headboard as well as the beautiful black-and-white artwork wallcovering of Edinburgh’s cityscape – it’s one of the better examples of a technique very much in vogue at the moment. If this is a taster of where Radisson Blu is headed with its BluPrint interior design concept, I can’t wait to see it rolled out across its global portfolio.

Other pleasing touches are the wall-mounted TV set into the wall, a decent-sized dressing mirror and a modest desk unit with ample lighting and thoughtfully-placed sockets – this is a business-oriented hotel after all. The bathroom is tastefully fitted out, predominated by dark wooden finishes and simple but elegant bathroom fittings. So far, very good.

Radisson Blu, Edinburgh bathroom detail

I decide to take a look at the hotel’s brand new pool and health club – it had opened mere days before my stay – which on the way to the lower levels also gives me a chance to assess the marked difference between the newly refurbished corridors and the pictures I’d seen prior to them being redone. Of particular note were the carpets as I’d been warned by colleagues in the industry of the less-than-acceptable state of them beforehand, but was pleased to see a sterling job has been done in making sure of the quality during the refurb (see above).

EDIT: The carpets throughout the hotel were provided by Newhey Carpets, who have built up a strong working relationship with the Radisson brand. They worked with Herefordshire-based Trevillion Interiors on the rooms and suites as well as the meeting rooms and event spaces. The designs were all created using Newhey’s state-of-the-art Colortec+ technology. Find out more here.

And the good news continued when I took a look at the Melrose Spa and the Health Club. This is a fantastic example of leisure design – clean lines, soft finishes and brilliant use of lighting create the soothing and relaxed environment so required of such a space. While this is open to the public, considering a good number of the guests will be corporate only in town for a day or two – having this facility will give the Radisson Blu real pulling power in a competitive city market.

Itchycoo at Radisson Blu, Edinburgh

After a long day travelling up from Hertfordshire, I enjoy a cocktail or two and dinner in the Itchycoo Bar and Kitchen (FULL REVIEW HERE) – the décor of which further reflects the business orientation of the hotel. But much like the mixture of the clientele in the restaurant that evening, to say this Radisson Blu can, does or will solely cater for the corporate guest is to underestimate its appeal. Indeed, tourists contribute some £1.6 billion to the Edinburgh economy each year and this Radisson’s location will make it a popular choice for several of the 4 million+ annual visitors to the Scottish capital.

Believe me, this hotel won’t stir any great reactions for its design or décor – but its fantastic functionality, comfortable and practical finish and more-than-ample amenities will ensure it remains a reliable choice for guests – either corporate or leisure…

Based on a stay in April 2016
Photos: Daniel Fountain & Radisson Blu, Edinburgh TripAdvisor

RPW Design - Fairmont St. Andrews Restaurant

RPW Design unveils latest 2016 project: Fairmont St Andrews

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RPW Design has announced the extensive refurbishment of the five-star resort, Fairmont St Andrews, which has been designed over the last year. The highly anticipated refurbishment will feature a complete redesign of the Atrium, incorporating a bespoke 60m long ceiling sculpture by award winning artist George Singer, a new restaurant and a refurb of the Kittock’s Bar.

RPW Design will also extend their signature touch to the hotel’s suites and bedrooms, showcasing the deep rooted connection between the history of St Andrews and the exterior landscape, seamlessly relating the interiors to the surroundings. This sophisticated transformation will see all public areas completed by July 2016, while bedrooms and suites will be completed by May 2017.

Reception Lobby
A pair of contemporary velvet wall hangings, inspired by the varying landscape of St Andrews in a painterly manner have been developed and printed by Timorous Beasties, the avant-garde Scottish artistic fabric and textile designers. These have been installed in the double heighted reception space to give a sense of locality and authenticity as soon as guests enter the hotel.

RPW Design - Fairmont St. Andrews Reception

Upholstery fabrics and leathers have been selected from revered Scottish companies such as Andrew Muirhead and Bute Fabrics. Bute, based on the Isle of Bute off west coast of Scotland are providing a number of richly textured fabrics in the scheme influenced by the islands scenery. The company and the island share a unique family history as the 5th Marquess of Bute set up the company in 1947 to provide employment for returning servicemen and servicewomen. The Bute family has been inextricably linked with the island and its development ever since.

The Atrium
George Singer’s outstanding artwork ‘Zephyr’ is an organic, swirling ceiling sculpture sweeping through the atrium, imitating the movement of the water in the North Sea. The sculpture will create a focal point to the room and encourage an intimate atmosphere in this dramatic space.

According to George Singer: “Zephyr is designed to reflect the crashing waves, the flocks of starlings, the long wind-blown grasses, the spring blossom, the shoals of fish, the rolling hills, the clouds and the sheer energy, beauty, and dynamism of the east coast of Scotland.”

RPW Design - Fairmont St. Andrews Atrium

A natural colour palette, layered earthy textures and an eclectic furniture collection will create a relaxed, inviting atmosphere in the lounge as well as linking the interior with the views of the coastal landscape beyond the full height window at the north end of the Atrium.

Following through into the restaurant, dramatic lighting and refined materials with a colour scheme of pine and sage greens and hints of golds create a sense of quality throughout the space. Soft velvet wall drapes and bespoke screens reflecting the ripples in the sand dunes soften the architecture of the space and give a sense of intimacy.

The Bar
“RPW Design has drawn on a rich colour scheme with nautical elements that create a warm atmosphere for drinking and dining. A revised layout opens up the space to the lobby and a new copper coffee counter links the reception to the bar area”, explains Heather McLellan, Senior Designer for the project.

A carpet design based on the markings found in the nearby River Tay estuaries, along with the use of materials such as timber, copper and rope strengthen the connection between the interior design and history of St Andrews and its surrounding old fishing villages.

RPW Design - Fairmont St. Andrews Bar

The theme of Scottish suppliers follows through to the bar area where bespoke pendants from Edinburgh lighting manufacturers, RS Robertson create a feature to the space. Elizabeth Lane, Director of Projects RPW Design, said: “It is a wonderful opportunity to be part of the revival of this hotel property which simply has a breath-taking location which we have made a focal point in the renovation. We are extremely happy to be working with Kennedy Wilson and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts on this project.”

Edinburgh Market Street

Work begins on new boutique hotel in Edinburgh’s Old Town

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Work has begun on a new boutique, four-star hotel in Edinburgh’s Old Town at a cost of £20 million, which is set to open in 2018.

The eight-storey hotel on Market Street will have 98 bedrooms, as well as two roof terraces that will give guests, “spectacular panoramic views” over the heart of the city.

Once complete, the hotel will fill the last gap remaining on the northern boundary of the Old Town between Edinburgh Castle and North Bridge. The hotel has been designed by JM Architects and interior design company FG Stijl.

Alfred Bree, Managing Director of Carlton Hotel Collection, said: “We are proud to open the luxurious lifestyle hotel at this magnificent location in Edinburgh. The group’s long term strategy is to grow our portfolio of unique hotels in key cities, and Edinburgh has been on our wish list for a long time. Together with our international awarded interior designers we will create a new hotspot for the modern conscious traveller, inspired by the city’s cultural and historical elements”.

He added: “The interior design of this hotel will reflect the heritage of the location and will meet all demands of the international modern traveller. All at Carlton Hotel Collection are looking forward to the successful development of this historic site and to welcoming all in spring 2018.”

Hilton Hotels' property in Swindon

Six regional UK Hilton hotels sold off £40 million guide price

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Specialist property adviser Christie & Co has announced the final sale of a collection of six regional, managed Hilton hotels.

The six properties across the UK had a total asking price of £40 million, and have all been purchased by individual buyers. With the exception of Swindon, they have all been acquired free and clear of the current Hilton branding and management after the conclusion of their agreed notice periods. The hotels are:

Basingstoke (141 rooms)
Bromsgrove (146 rooms)
Dunkeld (98 rooms)
Newbury (109 rooms)
Newport (148 rooms)
Swindon (171 rooms)

Jeremy Jones, Head of Hotels Brokerage at Christie & Co, said: “The properties were offered on a whole, sub-group or individual sale basis and we were able to leverage our knowledge of the sector and the players within it to run a competitive sales process, culminating in all sites selling on an individual basis.

“All of the buyers have recognised the individual opportunities on offer which illustrates the shift in focus to single asset sales,” he added.

Gleneagles Hotel, Scotland

Gleneagles to undergo multi-million pound upgrade programme

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Five-star, 232-bedroom hotel Gleneagles in Perthshire, Scotland has announced it will begin carrying out a multi-million pound upgrade programme (artist’s impressions above).

New owners Ennismore took over Gleneagles last year and will be working with renowned designers including the David Collins Studio and Timorous Beasties on the project, which includes enhancements to bedrooms, the Dormy Clubhouse and the main bar.

Ennismore founder and CEO Sharan Pasricha said: “The Gleneagles Hotel is an incredible property and beloved brand. It is known the world over for its golf, but with 850 acres of beautiful Scottish countryside, there is the potential to do so much more with the hotel.

“It’s an organic progression – evolution, not revolution – and will ensure the iconic Gleneagles brand remains synonymous with luxury, and the hotel maintains its position among the leading hotels of the world,” he added.

The famous property opened its doors as a hotel in 1924 and now boasts three championship golf courses, a spa and four restaurants – one being the two Michelin-starred, eponymous eatery headed up by Andrew Fairlie.

Ennismore, which owns the London-based, design boutique brand Hoxton, bought Gleneagles in July last year from Diageo for a reported sum of £200 million.

Hotel Collection - Majestic, Harrogate

Hotel Collection ready to sell 10 properties for £130 million

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As predicted earlier in the year, the Hotel Collection has brought ten properties to market for a combined value of £130 million to be handled by Savills.

The hotels include some of the most well-known properties in their respective regions, and account for more than 1,400 bedrooms, 100 meeting rooms as well as several restaurants, gyms and spas, which produced a combined total revenue of £48 million in 2015.

Properties in England
The Majestic Hotel, Harrogate
The Old Ship Hotel, Brighton
The Redworth Hall Hotel, County Durham
The Imperial Hotel, Torquay
The Billesley Manor Hotel, Stratford-upon-Avon
The Imperial Hotel, Blackpool
The Shrigley Hall Hotel, Golf and Country Club, Macclesfield.

Hotel Collection sale

In Scotland and Wales
The Stirling Highland Hotel, Stirling
The Aberdeen Altens Hotel, Aberdeen
The Angel Hotel, Cardiff.

Martin Rogers, head of UK hotel transactions at Savills said: “We are pleased to be bringing this significant collection of hotels to market. The distinctive heritage and character of each property has been maintained while generating a robust collective income. The Hotel Collection portfolio also offers numerous value-add and asset management opportunities to further enhance the long term revenue.”

Angel Hotel Cardiff - Hotel Collection

Having been known as Puma Hotels, the portfolio was made up of more than 20 hotels at the time the group was acquired by Lone Star Funds in June 2014. Just 12 months later, Lone Star announced the creation of Amaris Hospitality – a company focused on properties operating under various international brands such as Hilton, Mercure and MGallery from AccorHotels – which meant it was likely to dispose of the individual properties that made up the Hotel Collection.

Hotel Collection

Cheltenham Park, Basingstoke Country, Palace hotel, Buxton and the Marine hotel in Troon have already been sold. Earlier this year, Lygon Arms in Broadway was sold to billionaires Ian and Richard Livingstone, who have added the hotel to sister hotels, Chewton Glen in Hampshire and Cliveden in Berkshire.

Boclair House

Boclair House Hotel ready to welcome wedding guests after £3 million transformation

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Manorview Hotels, an independent Scottish hotel group, is unveiling a new look for its Boclair House Hotel in Bearsden after a £3 million investment.

The Tudor mansion is opening its doors at the end of the month and already has bookings across the next 12 months. The two-storey listed building features a castellated tower and a series of arches to the front of the building, reminiscent of Romantic Italian cloisters.

It has 12 individually-styled suites, a restaurant and a grand ballroom which will host weddings, special occasion dining and private celebrations.

Steve Graham, managing director, Manorview Hotels & Leisure Group said: “We are delighted to be opening Boclair House Hotel. It is a stunning venue and we expect to host many happy occasions over the years. The fact that we already have bookings for 67 weddings and special occasions shows the level of interest in this stunning new venue.

Chester Residence Edinburgh

Luxury Edinburgh hotel The Chester Residence to undergo £1m refurbishment

1000 363 Daniel Fountain

Luxury, five-star Edinburgh hotel, The Chester Residence, is undergoing a £1 million refurbishment.

The refurbishment is being carried out by Aberdeen-based firms Ambiance Interior Design and Bentleys, a bespoke joinery manufacturer and interior fit out specialist, and is due to be completed in May 2016.

Many apartments will be newly decorated with chic, contemporary décor including accent patterns with geometric prints to complement the current more muted palette. A combination of Elitis and Armani Casa wallpapers have been specially chosen by leading interior designer Karen McKimmie, and key furnishings will be updated with luxury fabric from companies such as Mulberry Home. The technology upgrade includes faster Wi-Fi, and new 55-inch Smart TVs. Blu-ray DVD players will also be standard throughout. Aberdeen social enterprise company Glencraft are supplying new luxury beds throughout the hotel.

Owner of The Chester Residence, Graham Wood, said: “Maintaining a first class product and creating that ‘wow’ factor for guests when they arrive is key to ensuring an enjoyable stay. Great service needs to be complemented with impressive, yet comfortable surroundings if we are to maintain our number one position in Edinburgh, as voted by our guests on Tripadvisor.

“We use only the highest quality suppliers and try to source local products and tradespeople where possible.”

Designer Karen McKimmie, said: “The feedback we received from guests is that they really enjoy the essence of what The Chester Residence is, so we wanted to update the apartments without compromising that. We’ve added a range of on-trend patterns and geometric pieces to complement the timeless décor of the apartments.”

The refurbishment is due to finish at the end of May 2016 and the hotel remains open throughout.

Photo from www.chester-residence.com

Moxy Hotels to open 5 properties in Europe by end of 2016

Moxy Hotels to open 5 properties in key European cities by year-end

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Marriott International announced earlier this week that it plans to open an additional five Moxy Hotels in key European cities in 2016, including Munich, Eschborn and Berlin in Germany, Oslo in Norway and Aberdeen in the UK.

As previously reported by Hotel Designs, in addition to the five European openings there will be two new openings in the United States in Tempe, Arizona in March 2016 and New Orleans in April 2016. The brand expects to offer a portfolio of nearly 150 hotels around the world within the next ten years.

Moxy Hotels to open 5 properties in Europe by end of 2016
Amy McPherson, president and managing director of Marriott International, Europe, said: “This is an exciting and pivotal moment for the Moxy brand as we move into the second phase of development with five new hotel openings this year and nine more expected in 2017. In 2014, Moxy Milan hit the market with a bang, as the first budget-savvy hotel brand to shake up the industry with a fun, stylish, and unexpected hospitality experience.

“We are so pleased to be able to offer this game-changing experience to more travellers in more major cities. This is just the beginning of a sensational journey for Moxy in Europe.”

In partnership with Vastint Hospitality as the owner and developer and franchise partner, Nordic Hospitality, the following Moxy hotels are expected to open by year-end 2016:
Moxy Munich Airport, Germany — 252 rooms – located five minutes from the main terminal — March 2016
Moxy Eschborn, Germany — 176 rooms – located 10 minutes from downtown Frankfurt and 15 minutes from Frankfurt Airport — July 2016
Moxy Berlin Ostbahnhof, Germany — 210 rooms – located in Berlin city centre five minutes walk from Ostbahnhof train station — October 2016
Moxy Oslo Exporama, Norway — 276 rooms – located at the Exporama exhibition and conference centre — November 2016
Moxy Aberdeen Airport, UK — 200 rooms – located seven minutes from the main terminal — December 2016

Frank Hudson Maine Wing Bed with bespoke Vermont - Muckrach Country House

Gallery Direct partnership helps Muckrach Country House win TripAdvisor award

1000 666 Daniel Fountain

Gallery Direct delivered 12 rooms of furniture and mirrors to the Muckrach Country House Hotel in February 2015, as part of the hotel’s refurbishment. The Muckrach re-opened in April 2015 after their 14 month renovation project. Following on from this, it was recently announced that they have been ranked as 3rd best in the UK and 11th best in Europe in the Best Small Hotel category of the 2016 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards for hotels.

Keith Clarke, Contract Sales & Development Manager for Gallery, worked with the Muckrach to select and deliver the furniture and mirrors for the refurbishment, which included the stunning Alexandria, Maine and Spire bedsteads from Gallery’s Frank Hudson brand.

Frank Hudson Spire Collection - Muckrach Country House
As a luxury, boutique hotel, Muckrach Country House Hotel requires only the finest furniture and mirrors, and they recognise the quality of Gallery Direct’s products. Following the refurbishment, Phil and Ed Cowap, the owners of Muckrach, commented that it had been a pleasure to work with Keith from Gallery Direct, adding “His attention to detail and vast knowledge of the industry has been invaluable in the refurbishment process. Keith has helped us to create stunning and fabulous bedroom sets which create an immediate impression of luxury and charm.”

Keith has many years’ experience in the furniture industry, and has travelled extensively and designed products and projects all over the world, from individual bespoke heirloom pieces for the finest homes, to production collections of furniture, to total commercial interiors for some of the best known 5* and boutique hotels.

Gallery’s superb range of high quality furniture and furnishings and their ability to offer a bespoke service, combined with Keith’s skill and experience, means they are the perfect solution for hotel refurbishment projects.

For further information, please email Keith at Keith.Clarke@gallerydirect.co.uk

Princes Street Suites

Major refurbishment for Edinburgh’s Princes Street Suites

924 398 Daniel Fountain

A major refurbishment project will soon get underway at a serviced apartment complex in the heart of Scotland’s capital city.

Princes Street Suites will undergo a £350,000 makeover over the coming weeks, with each apartment given new décor and furniture.

Each of the building’s 37 apartments will be fitted with new furnishings. New bathrooms, carpets and artwork will also be installed across the apartments, which are managed by the UK’s largest independent hotel management company, Redefine|BDL Hotels.

The refurbishment will be the first major project undertaken by Princes Street Suites’ new General Manager, Fiona Mackenzie (pictured above), who took over the role last July. The work is expected to be completed by the end of March this year.

Fiona said: “This is an exciting project that will give Princes Street Suites a modern and refreshed look, meaning that the comfort and style our guests have always enjoyed will be enhanced.

“Our location is absolutely first class, and by investing in the property, we will continue to provide our guests with the perfect location for exploring Edinburgh.

“This, coupled with our dedication to maintaining high standards of service at the apartments, will ensure that we continue to provide an unforgettable stay for all of our guests.”

Situated in the heart of Edinburgh, the high-end apartments are perfectly located for exploring Edinburgh’s historic landmarks and attractions such as Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Mile and Princes Street.


Fife Arms

Major renovation for Braemar’s Fife Arms Hotel given go-ahead

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The historic Braemar’s Fife Arms Hotel will undergo a major renovation and upgrade after planning permissions was granted by the Cairngorms National Park Authority.

The refurbishment project on the B-listed building is expected to take around two years to complete and is scheduled to reopen in early 2018.

According to the planning application, major internal and external alterations to the property will be made, which will see the demolition of 20th century extensions. A heather roofed courtyard has also been included in the plans and will be added to the hotel.

The Fife Arms is currently a 78-bedroom property and contains a bar, lounge and restaurant, as well as a coffee shop. The lounge also houses the original coat of arms of the Duke of Fife above its open fire place.

Woolmanhill Hospital to become boutique hotel

50-room boutique hotel planned for 18th century Aberdeen hospital

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Plans to revitalise one of Aberdeen’s most historic buildings – the Woolmanhill Hospital – have been revealed.

Developers CAF Properties want to transform the 18th century Woolmanhill Hospital into a 50-room boutique hotel and residential complex. Aside from the hotel offering, initial plans for the Victorian site, which includes the A-listed Archibald Simpson building, include serviced apartments, residential apartments, and affordable housing.

Woolmanhill Hospital to become boutique hotel
The scheme will involve four of the buildings on the site, which was the location of the city’s first royal infirmary; opened in 1749 and which remains one of Aberdeen’s most distinctive granite buildings. Most of the hospital was shut down three years ago to help NHS Grampian cut a £160m repair bill backlog. A public consultation over the plans will be held at Aberdeen Central Library at Rosemount Viaduct on March 23.

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Hotel Missoni, Edinburgh (Patrick Goff)

1000 666 Daniel Fountain

Busy. Pink. Two words sum up first impressions of Hotel Missoni. The style is indeed Missoni and the styling has been done by Rosita Missoni of the eponymous Italian fashion house. However, in hotel terms style is not content.

Key to making disparate ingredients work in hotel design is the management of the contributing parties. The Rezidor/Missoni approach is similar in some ways to that of Olga Polizzi with the Rocco Forte hotels where this formidable lady manages design very well. Rezidor’s experience of working with Cerrutti on a previous abortive effort to create a lifestyle brand will have been of assistance to its management process this time around.

As with Rocco Forte Hotels the mix is a designer of the spaces, usually a good experienced interior designer, with a stylist who in this case is Rosita Missoni.The underlying functional design has been the responsibility of the Rezidor director of design Gordon Mckinnon, who has used a designer long familiar with Rezidor hotels, Matteo Thun & Partners for interior design, and Edinburgh’s Alan Murray Architects as architects.

The first impressions are reinforced by design qualities that are knowing and recognise location. As a granite city, black, white and silver have been chosen as the underlying colour schemes for Edinburgh and I was told the sunnier colours would modify the approach in Cape Town (Note added Jan 2012: The Cape Town Missoni has failed because the banking crisis led to a collapse of the funding plan).

Hotel Missoni, Edinburgh

However, the colour here is far from grey, with broad brush strokes of colours such as pink and orange being used. These reinforce a family link with the primary colours used in Park Inn (see Liége for example).Furniture references include acknowledgement of Scottish designers particularly Rennie Macintosh, while design is reinforced by the use of Missoni apparel for the staff ‘uniforms’.

The interior designer describes this hotel as a ‘sartorial work’ and as a business hotel. For Rezidor it seems to be more a lifestyle exercise, and pitched at a five star luxury level. Rezidor says it is “a true lifestyle hotel and by no means a dedicated business hotel brand” with the “Target audience: new consumerism. People who are well travelled, independent, design aware and share the brands passions about life, style and comfort. Style without show. Comfort with style.”

I believe that for an hotel to deserve a five star rating it needs to offer both a convincing level of luxury and a level of choice for the guest. It needs to surprise and enchant both with the luxury of its rooms and the quality of the service provided, as well as the quality of the design, including design detailing. Does Missoni measure up to this definition of five star luxury, the level Rezidor maintain it is aimed at?

It seems to me that here is a dichotomy – the hotel is certainly fashionable and enchants and surprises at that level, but at a more pragmatic level doesn’t seem to work as it should. The quality is perhaps not quite at the level it should be for a five star. Here baths are only available in suites, whilst the UK standards specify that, at four star even, half bathrooms should have a tub.I believe that for five star, the guest should have the choice within their room (a view confirmed by an informal survey I conducted recently).


In some five star hotels now the guest has his’n’her bathrooms offering these choices (see One & Only Cape Town), while some four stars have not only a walk-in shower but a whirlpool bath as the tub (see Hiltons Diagonal Mar, Barcelona), so here shower only standard bedrooms would seem to be inappropriate to the aspirations.

Although the bedroom desks are quite large, they are almost ruled out as working desks by the presence of the television on them. The style of specified TV’s may have given a high visual and audio quality, but in my view they are too small. In the large suites the size of the screen also seems smaller compared to the standard rooms because of the distance from which it is viewed. In the suite bedroom the floor mounted television is difficult to see from in bed without sitting upright.

There is a single small armchair in the standard bedroom but the operator would no doubt argue that as a lifestyle hotel it should be measured by different criteria to the criteria employed in other hotels, where two comfortable armchairs are the norm.

Unfortunately, I think lifestyle should be about having more, not less, than normal so I would expect normal minimum standards to apply with the Missoni fashion style shaping a super offer, not being used to disguise a poorer offering.

The most expressive use of the Missoni style appears to be in the break out areas for the meeting rooms, and in the bar area where functionality is not compromised and the Missoni brand adds excitement to the areas.

Hotel Missoni, Edinburgh

In bedrooms the driver appears to be the small floor footprint, and I would ask if the ultimate luxury is not space – other operators would agree with me with, for example, the smallest bedroom in a new One & Only being 63sqm. Certainly it is commonly thought that the bathroom is one of the major areas where a modern hotel can provide design drama that cannot be easily matched in the home, and providing shower only seems a retreat from the challenge.

Of course it may be that Rezidor thinks, like Intercontinental with the Indigo brand and its small 19sqm bedrooms, that having fashionable design is enough to overcome small size as a factor for guests. Bear in mind of course that all hotels seek the repeat visitor who may well take their vote elsewhere second time around, and for whom size may matter. For the discerning guest any inadequacies in design will also register as negatives.

Lighting design is interesting throughout, and while it appears to be handled well generally, in some areas it lacks finesse. Bathrooms are generally blasted with light, but in the suites there is a lack of controllability, and lighting is better thought through in the standard rooms.

Corridor lighting works well with spotlighting of each room door to the bedrooms. I was suprised there appear to be no motion sensors to help with energy saving which I find a curious ommission given the cost savings these simple devices can achieve.

The black, white and red used in the corridors is very dramatic (its use can also be seen successfully used in the competitor Andaz ‘lifestyle’ brand) but its impracticality is overloading the housekeeping team and it is already beginning to lose its sharpness as it accumulates dirty marks.


Similarly, paint finishes in bedrooms need attention already with stains, spills and knocks all taking their toll – in some hotels with paint finishes only, built into the maintenance budget is an allowance for repainting of a certain number of rooms every month.

Seeing paint pots on housekeepers trolleys, which I have observed on other lifestyle hotels, doesn’t work, as usually to avoid a piebald finish the whole wall has to be repainted. Differentiation in price is not just to make extra profit but also to fund the increased maintenance it takes to keep a lifestyle looking stylish (I know a Bentley owner who has the car resprayed every year to remove stone chips – style perfection comes at a price).

Despite the attractiveness of the large vases design wise and as a Missoni ‘trademark’, the lack of a street presence for the hotel bar fails to engage with the trendy ‘being seen to be trendy’ market effectively – and Friday Night Millionaires need to be seen.

The Rezidor house style comes through quite strongly. The use of primary colours in chairs outside the meeting rooms echoes that in Park Inn, whilst the island reception desks are a Radisson Blu hallmark.

For the brand to work as a five star luxury lifestyle brand I think it needs more luxury and more lifestyle. Everything needs to be more luxurious, softer, and with better designed seating everywhere. I was uncomfortable with the heights of seating in the relationship to tables. This could be solved easily by the use of cushions, and would also have enabled more of the signature Missoni fabrics to be used. It would also add more luxury whilst making banquette seating more functionally effective.

With an hotel that is not geared for the business traveller (not even a high fashion stylish business traveller) the reliance must be placed on Missoni becoming the hotel of choice for affluent leisure travellers of all age groups. Underlying my criticism is the disappointment that the basic five star standards for the operational installation and room layouts is failing to support the stylish Missoni interiors. The colour and pattern is generally strikingly new and admirable but if the basic operational criteria is wrong then the result will disappoint.

Hotel Missoni, Edinburgh

The hotel is in a sharp piece of contemporary architecture that stands apart from its neighbours stylistically, but which has a presence and a personality lacking in many hotels. For the brand to succeed in the increasingly competitive and well designed lifestyle market, Rezidor need to ensure their design management processes can also deliver a five star hotel experience to back up the promise of the building and the Missoni brand.

The tall pots in reception areas are spectacular and are a device that could be repeated elsewhere. If entrance is also intended from the courtyard too (accessed via the alley from the Royal Mile) then it needs more of a ‘come on’ and similar pots on the terrace would help create a presence here.

Whilst the position of the bar is good, the ‘W’s, that set the trend for chain lifestyle branding, used the street windows to allow ‘Friday night millionaires’ to show off in the window. From the outside at night the pots are coloured by the yellow sodium street lights and some corrective lighting from the inside would add considerably to the drama at street level.

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Words and images ©Patrick Goff
Scottish Highlander, Scotland

Scottish Highlander (Huw Kidwell, Tracey Kifford)

1000 750 Daniel Fountain

To look into the increasing popularity of small and personal luxury cruises in 2009 we headed to Scotland to sample a cruise along the Great Glen, from Inverness towards Fort William. The route took us through the eerie blackness of Loch Ness, along the rivers Ness, Spean and Lochy and the 29-lock Caledonian Canal on the luxury barge the ‘Scottish Highlander’.

The scenery in this area of Scotland is stunning and visits to historic sites such as Glencoe, Cawdor Castle (setting for Macbeth) and Ben Nevis were all included as part of the cruise. During the week long cruise the barge slowly traversed the Caledonian Canal stopping at Loch Ness, Fort Augustus, Laggan, Gairlochy and Fort William. At each of the stops a tour of the nearest attractions was arranged in conjunction with passenger preferences and the weather. The barge carries six mountain bikes onboard for guest use as well as a Zodiac-type boat for excursions, fishing tackle for fly-fishing opportunities and binoculars for wildlife study and bird-watching (golf was also possible).

The Scottish Highlander is a 200 tonne Luxe motor barge that was originally built in 1931 in Holland. The barge was renovated in 1991for use as a hotel cruiser and transferred to Inverness, Scotland (she began to carry passengers in April 1993). In 1999 the barge was acquired by European Waterways and again refurbished in 2006 to a luxury standard, rechristened as the Scottish Highlander and began a career as a luxury cruise barge. She is 117ft long with a beam of 16.5ft, a height of 11.5ft and a draft of 4.6ft and can carry eight passengers in three double/twin staterooms (115ft²) and one suite (150ft²) situated below deck. The upper deck has a forward sitting area for passenger use, while the aft area is occupied by crew cabins, the wheelhouse and the galley.

The barge operates with a crew of four including the captain, a chef, a tour guide and the front of house hostess with a leisurely cruising speed of 4 knots and a maximum speed of 10 knots. The social centre of the Scottish Highlander for the passengers is the main saloon which has a bar and the galley at one end with a polished walnut dining table set for eight (wooden chairs upholstered in blue velveteen). The other end of the saloon has red leather chesterfield style club chairs and sofas along with dark wood occasional tables, reproduction brass lamps, fresh flowers and coffee table. The salon has large windows all around providing natural lighting during the day and seven brass/frosted glass wall light fixtures for evening lighting.

Scottish Highlander, Scotland
The walls and ceiling of the salon are panelled in a light sapele, with a mahogany dado rail and coving. They are adorned with nautical displays as well as black and white prints of the Caledonian Canal and marine charts. One wall also had the great Scottish cliché — a print of ‘The Monarch of the Glen’ by Landseer. The floor is covered in a blue and green tartan plaid carpet but there is also light yew wooden flooring in some areas. The room always has several current newspapers laid out for guest perusal each day and a small library for guest use (books and CDs) along with some board games and a stereo system.

Scottish Highlander, Scotland
At the galley end of the salon a sideboard is laid with Scottish tea time treats and a selection of fruit. The bar is included in the price as well as unlimited fresh tea and coffee throughout the day with a coffee machine on standby as well as a full size water cooler. Guests arriving are met with a champagne reception and high tea is served every day accompanied with freshly baked scones and sandwiches made from homemade bread The food onboard was superbly prepared (using fresh Scottish produce) and accompanied by an excellent selection of wine and single malt whiskys.

The three double cabins were decorated to a high standard with a similar mahogany and sapele panelling effect to the saloon. Beds were made up in red/blue plaid tartan duvets and blankets. The cabins gave ample space for conversion from two singles to a double bed and there was plenty of closet space, with storage drawers under the beds as well. There were two portholes one of which could be opened. The dark mahogany bedside tables were equipped with reading lamps and gave a good spot to rest a glass of water and a book in the night. Fresh towels were provided each day along with mineral water, shortbread and miniature chocolates. Cabin walls were decorated with typical ‘knots and yachts’ pictures.

The bathroom facilities contained a shower, corner fitting white toilet cistern and were finished to an excellent standard. Antique style brass taps on the wash hand basin, cream ceramic tiles on the walls and brass fittings were functional and comfortable. In addition the bathroom had shelves for complimentary toiletries and a good sized mirror. The three cabins and the larger suite were named after famous Scottish clans with the Fraser, Macpherson,Cameron (suite) and Mackintosh coats of arms on each door along with the family tartan and motto.

This was a well appointed and comfortable barge with something for everyone, incredible food and a real compliment to Scotland showing just how much there is to see and do in that wonderful country.

Words and pictures by Huw Kidwell and Tracey Kifford