New £55m luxury hotel plan for Scottish capital


One of Edinburgh’s most iconic buildings is set to be transformed into a £55m luxury hotel.

The old Royal High School, in the heart of the city and once earmarked as a home for the Scottish Parliament, will be developed into an ‘arts hotel’ and deliver a potential £27m boost to Edinburgh’s economy.

The building has been left largely unused since the former old boys that took up residence there since 1826, moved away in 1968.

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Now it’s been reported that three of the world’s leading luxury hotel chains, none of which currently operate in Scotland, have been shortlisted to run the venue, which could offer accommodation on par with Claridge’s and The Ritz.

The ambition is to target a new legion of luxury travellers, with the hotel demanding prices never before seen in the Scottish tourist market.

The A-listed building will remain publicly-owned with the city council having handed the developers a 125-year conditional lease following a competition in 2010. The hotel will be designed by the award-winning architect behind the renovation of the National Museum of Scotland, Gareth Hoskins, with the project being driven forward under the leadership of DHP chief executive Bruce Hare and hotelier David Orr of the Urbanist Group, the firm that helped bring Harvey Nichols to Edinburgh.

Speaking to Edinburgh News, Orr said: “What we are proposing to do is to add something truly special to the Edinburgh hotel market by bringing one of the best hotel operators in the world. This will not in any way diminish current hotel provision – indeed it will add another tier at the top, which can only benefit all of the city’s operators.

“By increasing the breadth of hotel offering, Scotland’s capital will be in a position to attract new visitors from the top end of the market as well as improve its ability to compete with other European cities for international diplomatic events and important global conferences.

“But importantly, one of Edinburgh’s architectural jewels in the crown will be sensitively restored and the public will have access to Hamilton’s superb building for the first time.”

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Zoe Monk

The author Zoe Monk

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