Historic Royal Mile School building to be transformed into 21-bed Apple aparthotel


An historic former school building next to Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is to be converted into a new aparthotel managed by Apple Apartments as part of a £150m development set designed to ‘transform’ 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-bedroom luxury aparthotel run by growing London-based operator, Apple Apartments.

Discussions are also underway for the potential of an in-house restaurant with top London names including an internationally renowned chef.

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The project will see the two-storey building converted, with the original school rooms becoming full-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 by architect Robert Wilson.

Launched in 2013, Apple Apartments specialises in the conversion of small-scale period buildings into serviced apartments. The company is run by Scottish businessman Billy Cowe and his brother Peter.

“We knew straight away that this historic building would be perfect for our next specialist conversion project,” says Billy Cowe.

“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.”

The restoration of the Canongate Venture forms part of the latest phase of the New Waverley development, which is transforming the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town.

Delivered by Artisan Real Estate Investors, the 7.5 acre site links Waverley Station to the Royal Mile and the creation of a new hotel marks another significant milestone in the evolution of New Waverley.

“Apple Apartments is yet another brilliant addition for a location which is now delivering on its promises,” says Clive Wilding, New Waverley’s project director. “Since the turn of the year, we have opened two hotels – a Premier Inn and a Hub by Premier Inn – on site and are shortly to complete another, the Adagio Aparthotel, connecting to the Royal Mile through an exciting new public square.”

The transformation of the Canongate Venture building will be carried out by Edinburgh-based Staran Architects. Subject to final planning consents, it is anticipated that building work will begin in autumn 2016, aiming for completion by the second half of 2017.


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