John Gibson: It’s the X Factor that got me

Franck Arnold
Franck Arnold
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It says Franck X Arnold on his business card. I’d never have guessed Xavier is his middle name.

But then I’d never have guessed that the latest boss of the Balmoral ran in the New York Marathon just a few weeks ago. Running and cycling are his big passions. He took over at No 1 Princes Street three months ago, direct from masterminding the total refurb in Washington DC of of the 100-room Jefferson.

Previously employed by the Intercontinental and Four Seasons chain, he worked in Chicago and New York. Says Franck: “The Balmoral’s the best place in this city to experience bling-free genuine hospitality. Despite the economic crisis, this hotel had its best ever, record breaking August and we’ve been building from there.”

Strasbourg-born Franck, above, 45 on December 7, is living “above the shop”. His Swiss wife is knocking the apartments above into shape for her husband and three children.

The long-distance runner? “I prepared for New York by running via Musselburgh and Portobello to Prestonpans – 21 miles there and back. Ideal for me. Also I’ve found Arthur’s Seat very handy. Been up to the top and round a few times and I can see it from the windows here.”

The X must stand for xceptional in the Edinburgh hotel industry.

Afterwords. . .

. . . Twiggy talking and it’s not twaddle: “I would never do botox. They say it disappears but where? A friend had too much put in in one side and looked like she had palsy. She went back and the doctor said ‘I’ll put some more in the other side.’ I said: ‘I hope you punched him into the next room.’”