SCOTLAND’S “most expensive” hotel has closed just two years after the owners sank £5 million into the project.
The Atholl, in the West End, charged £1000 a night – a record for Scotland and around four times the rate charged by five-star Capital hotels such as the Caledonian and Balmoral.
It boasted fine dining by Albert Roux, wallpaper favoured by Victoria Beckham and a garden designed by a Chelsea Flower Show winner.
Despite opening in the middle of a recession, tourism experts were confident The Atholl could find plenty of well-heeled customers willing to pay for its suites, one of which boasted a grand piano.
A spokeswoman for the owner, businesswoman Alison Davies, today admitted the hotel had closed for good and that the building would be converted into flats.
She added: “The reason the hotel has closed is because the property market is just right.
“We’ve claimed it back and will be putting the property back on the market as four individual apartments.”
Wealthy travellers who wanted to enjoy a taste of The Atholl’s luxury discovered last week that the website was down and the phone number unavailable.
At the Georgian building in Atholl Crescent, a contractor told visitors he had been sent to refurbish the apartments before the property went back on the market.
Hopes were sky high in April 2012 when the hotel emerged as the first to break the £1000-a-night barrier.
Luciano Giubbilei, a Chelsea Flower Show award winner, designed the garden, and the menu was conceived by three-star Michelin chef Mr Roux, who runs the restaurant at the Greywalls Hotel in Muirfield, East Lothian.
There were rugs from the Turkish firm Stepevi and French fashion wallpaper from Hermes, bedding from Peter Reed – one of the UK’s longest standing textile firms – and items from Glasgow’s Cameron Interiors.
The suites featured 60-inch 3D televisions.
VisitScotland confidently predicted at the time that the hotel would “add another string to Edinburgh’s bow”.
Pete Irvine, author of national tourism guide Scotland the Best, warned in 2012 that The Atholl was “ambitious” but predicted it would be “hugely successful”.
He remained upbeat today, saying: “There are now many options in Edinburgh and elsewhere in Scotland for ‘luxurious accommodation’ – so no shortage of opportunities for the well-minted to spill their cash.”
The Atholl’s owner Ms Davies is the director of six companies, according to the website CompanyCheck, including Burger and Grantshouse Crematorium.
According to the website, her companies have combined assets valued at £12,719,989 and liabilities of £27,894,035.