Hyatt hotel with cigar bar given thumbs down for Edinburgh’s waterfront

AN international chain’s proposals to build its first hotel in Scotland are set to be refused for “damaging the character” of a waterfront development.

Wednesday, 24th April 2019, 8:42 am
Updated Wednesday, 24th April 2019, 8:49 am
The hotel and flats proposals for Granton Waterfront. Picture: TSPL

Planning officers have given nine reasons why two prominent plots of the £500m Granton Waterfront project should be rejected when the Edinburgh City Council’s development management sub-committee meets today.

A Hyatt hotel with 186 rooms and 98 serviced apartments is being proposed for a seven-storey building which would face directly onto the water of the marina.

The hotel would also include a spa and fitness suite, a bar and restaurant, a bistro, a cigar bar, a function suite and 108 sqm of retail space.

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If approved, the hotel would be the first Hyatt hotel to be built in Scotland. The company has more than 185 “regency urban and resort” locations in more than 30 countries around the world.

Speaking last year, Guido Fredrich, Hyatt’s regional vice president development, Europe, said: “I am thrilled that we will be opening our first hotel in Edinburgh, as part of the exciting new Edinburgh Marina development.

“The Edinburgh Marina is the perfect springboard for us to launch our brand in Scotland, opening a new era for the company and creating a great new tourism opportunity for Edinburgh.”

Plans for a eight-storey block containing 108 flats - made up of 19 one-bedroom, 82 two-bedroom and seven three-bedroom homes - would form plot 29 of the development, if approved. All proposals have won outline planning permission, but planners have recommended that detailed plans are refused.

No affordable homes will be provided as the 15 per cent of agreed social housing has already been me across other parts of the waterfront development.

In their report to councillors, planners say the hotel plans “fail to provide an attractive frontage to the Granton waterfront” and are “damaging to the character” of the waterfront location.

Concerns have also been raised that the car parking, providing in an underground car park, is above the maximum allowed, while the open space on the site “fails to provide safe and suitable connections to pedestrian and cycle routes”.

The report adds: “It has not been demonstrated how the height positioning and design of these buildings would protect or enhance local views which contribute to the sense of place, in this case at these Granton Harbour and waterside locations.

“The lack of active frontages at the proposed hotel development, raises significant concerns regarding opportunities for enlivening the streetscape and providing passive surveillance.

“It is acknowledged that the proposed hotel has been envisaged as a landmark building in this area. However, in the case of Edinburgh, landmark buildings are generally characterised by having a relatively slim, or more articulated profile, unlike this building.”

Edinburgh Marina Holdings, the developer of Edinburgh Marina, declined to comment on the proposals ahead of councillors determining the application today. The developers have won planning permission for a range of plots as part of the overall scheme over the last few months.