Gleneagles is gearing up to launch its first ever city outpost in early 2022 and the business says it has been blown away by the reception that the concept has received so far.
Gleneagles Townhouse, which is located at 37-39 St Andrew Square in Edinburgh — originally home to the British Linen Company and later the Bank of Scotland — is a 33-bedroom property that will also serve as a members club and restaurant venue.
It is aiming to sign up members who will have access to their own lounge, workspaces, rooftop bar and gym facilities in addition to hotel guests and locals who use it for eating, dining and meeting, according to Gleneagles managing director Conor O’Leary.
“One of the reasons this product here — Gleneagles — works so well is that we’ve got hotel guests, members, Glenmore owners and locals all using it. We very much see the same sort of ecosystem in Edinburgh with members, residents, locals all being part of the fabric of the business and giving it energy.”
O’Leary says Gleneagles Townhouse has ambitious room rate targets and high expectations in terms of attracting customers, but it has a clear idea of how it can deliver those.
“We want to have the most engaged members club that we can and that takes a lot of curation, a lot of thought and energy, and a lot of communication with the members to find out what they actually want. Our wellness programme and gym programme has to be the best in the city. We don’t have the biggest gym, we didn’t want the biggest gym, but we want the most thoughtful offering in the gym.
“It’s the same with the restaurant. Edinburgh is notorious for having very busy summers and actually quite quiet winters. Edinburgh residents don’t always eat out in the city centre but that is evolving and we would hope to lead that by having a great restaurant that people want to eat in. We want it to be a bright and intelligent restaurant concept befitting a modern contemporary brasserie, very foodie, very Scottish. We we want it to be Edinburgh’s great restaurant that you can drop in for a main course or you can go for a three-course meal, grab breakfast with your friends, take your mum for dinner — it’s everything to everyone.”
And what about longer term ambitions? While you could never recreate the original Gleneagles anywhere else, the Townhouse concept sounds like just the sort of thing that could be scaled to other cities. Is that the way the group is looking at it?
“We are focusing on getting Edinburgh right first, but. If there is something that we have learnt from Covid, it is the importance of a solid base, a solid footing, get things right, get it working and don’t look ahead too soon. But we would very much believe that Gleneagles is a brand that can be scaled into other locations in a similar model, with a townhouse offering, perhaps with a private members offering in those cities. I can’t imagine that there would ever be hundreds. But I think in a few gateway cities you could imagine it.”