Malaysian ‘no frills’ hotel chain snaps up station site

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A HOTEL firm that claims to offer “no frills” luxury with a “pay per use” concept for everything from televisions to towels has snapped up a prime site on the doorstep of Haymarket Station.

Malaysian firm Tune Hotels, which was founded by Queens Park Rangers owner Tony Fernandes, has bought the Haymarket House office block in a deal worth more than £5 million.

Rooms are available from as little as £9 per night to customers that book well in advance and the company’s slogan is that it offers “a five-star sleeping experience at a one-star price” by cutting out costly extras.

But guests can expect to have to pay a wide range of extra charges, including a daily £3 fee if they want to watch the television and £1.50 for a towel and soap.

Around 155 bedrooms will be created within the hotel, which is expected to open next year.

Cameron Stott, a director of property firm Jones Lang LaSalle, which acted for the seller, Telereal Trillium, said: “It is a bit of a coup because the company is based in Malaysia and has a hotel in London, but this will be the first one outside of London in the rest of Europe.

“It is through the Jones Lang LaSalle network and some international marketing that we were able to encourage a new operator and a new investor into the city.”

Telereal Trillium was awarded planning consent last year to turn the Clifton Terrace building, a former government office, into a hotel.

The company initially intended to lease the building to a hotel operator, with eight firms lodging bids to run it, but it agreed to sell the building to Tune after it agreed to pay in excess of £5m.

Keith McBain, an associate director in Jones Lang LaSalle’s hotels team, said: “It is great for Edinburgh to have a new name coming in and it will make the ears of Tune’s competitors prick up and say ‘Tune are in there, now let’s get in there too’.

“They tend to look for gateway cities and Edinburgh is one of these, with its profile.

“The site has easy reach of the airport and, when the tram gets there, it will be easier still, so the location was exactly what they were looking for.”

Tune already operates 12 hotels, with ten in Malaysia and one in Indonesia, as well as the one near Westminster.

The company is part of the Tune Group, which is the official sponsor of England’s professional football referees.

Owner Mr Fernandes also runs the low-cost airline Air Asia and is ‘team principal’ of the Lotus formula one racing team

Councillor Tom Buchanan, the city’s economic development leader, said: “I’m pleased to note ongoing interest in opportunities for additional hotel space in the city. This is further evidence of the popularity of Edinburgh as a top destination for business and tourism.”

mblackley@edinburghnews.com