Derelict townhouses to become luxury hotel

The Baxter's Place properties. Picture: Joey Kelly
The Baxter's Place properties. Picture: Joey Kelly
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A DERELICT site in the heart of the Capital is set to be transformed into the home of an exclusive global hotel brand.

Baxter’s Place at the top of Leith Walk will house a Marriott Courtyard Hotel, with an extension offering guests panoramic views of Calton Hill.

The Chris Stewart Group said a £20 million project to revamp the three dilapidated adjoining Georgian townhouses into a 240-bed hotel would begin “immediately”.

An extension will be built behind the terraced buildings, housing most of the rooms, as well as a restaurant, fitness centre and function room.

Baxter’s Place will join 850 other Marriott Courtyard Hotels in 35 countries around the world, including Bangkok, Seoul, Kuwait and Zurich. The brand aims to attract large parties booking through travel agencies, holding out the prospect of thousands of new visitors from the Americas in particular.

City tourism bosses hailed the announcement as “great news”.

The Chris Stewart Group was responsible for the redevelopment of Advocate’s Close, and is also working to transform the Register Streets east of St Andrew Square.

Chief executive Chris Stewart said it was a major coup for the city to ­attract the second Marriott Courtyard in Scotland and the third in the UK.

He said: “Baxter’s Place is a magnificent terrace and the perfect location for a high-calibre hotel. We have worked hard to ensure that this development not only safeguards the future of these historic buildings, but also provides a contemporary and innovative hotel that adds to the current provision.

“It is essential that Edinburgh continues to deliver standards of design and management that reflect its status as a world-class city to visit and do business.”

Robin Worsnop, founder of Rabbie’s Tours and chairman of the Edinburgh Tourism Action Group, said the Marriott brand would attract new groups of overseas visitors.

He said: “It’s great news, and it’s testament to Edinburgh that they want to invest in the city. As a global brand, it has the choice of investing anywhere in the world, but they have chosen to invest here.”

Amy McPherson, president and managing director for Marriott International in Europe, said: “We’re proud to have developed an innovative hotel design that meets the needs of today’s traveller and to bring this offering to this vibrant and thriving city.”

City economic development leader Councillor Frank Ross said: “This is further evidence that Edinburgh remains an internationally renowned location for investors looking for new opportunities.

“Today’s announcement is welcome news as the construction phase and long-term running of the hotel will bring hundreds of new jobs, which will boost Edinburgh’s economy.”

Is there Room for a second hub-style hotel?

Edinburgh’s tourism industry could be in for another boost after plans were submitted for a

150-room Premier Inn

near Haymarket.

A seven-storey office block on the Torphichen Street site is slated for demolition, to be replaced by a “hub-style” hotel where half the rooms are just big enough for a double bed and bathroom.

Developer Interserve is involved in building a £200 million hotel, office and retail development at Haymarket.

In its application, the firm states: “The area around Haymarket is currently undergoing a lot of redevelopment and improvement, and this application will enable Torphichen Street to be included within this regeneration.”

The hotel would be the city’s second Premier Inn Hub, after one was approved for Rose Street.