Edinburgh’s Balmoral Hotel slammed for hosting James Gillespie’s High School prom after cancelling Boroughmuir's

A Forte hotels insider said staff were 'shocked' that hotel bosses had let down Boroughmuir while 'going all out' to ensure the event for James Gillespie's goes ahead on Tuesday evening.

By Shona Elliott
Tuesday, 31st August 2021, 4:55 am

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Between 20 and 30 members of staff will be drafted in to make sure the James Gillespie’s High School leavers prom can go ahead while Boroughmuir High’s dance was cancelled with just 48 hours notice.

The Boroughmuir prom was due to take place on Friday, August 27, but was called off with just 48 hours notice due to staffing issues caused by a combination of Covid positive cases and self isolation rules.

City hotel slammed by staff for pulling out as hosts for Boroughmuir High due to staffing issues then bringing in extra staff to host James Gillespie’s prom the following week.

Similar staffing issues have presented themselves ahead of James Gillespie’s prom, due to be held in the Balmoral tonightbut dozens of extra staff have been drafted in by hotel bosses to make sure the event can go ahead.

A staff member has raised concern about the hotel's decision to draft in outside help for one prom after having cancelled another.

She suggested that more effort has been made by hotel chiefs to make sure James Gillespie's prom goes ahead due to the power and influence many parents of its students.

The staff member said: "They put the word around to anyone and everyone to see who was willing to work at the Balmoral on Tuesday - they've even offered to pay our travel expenses.”

"From what I've been told there will be up to 30 staff from another hotel in the group working out of the Balmoral for the night.

"It will take that number, or at least 20, because there's a sit down meal at 7pm and that takes while a few staff to serve up and clear away the dishes.

"The talk among the workers is that if they can go ahead and get things in place for James Gillespie's and their do then why could they not do it for Boroughmuir. One is a posh school with lots of influential parents so maybe that's been a factor.

"I know five of us on my team will be going to the Balmoral and am told that it is at least twenty, if not thirty, who will be providing extra cover. I do not see how that couldn't have been arranged for Friday which would have allowed Boroughmuir's kids to have their party."

The postponement was unfortunate, regrettable but unavoidable

Hotel chiefs refused to provide information on the decision to postpone one prom while going ahead with another just days later – claiming this would interfere with their client confidentiality.

Director of sales and marketing at the Balmoral, Stephen Walker said: “Client confidentiality prevents me from commenting on any specific upcoming event or guests at The Balmoral.”

The director went on to say that postponing Boroughmuir's prom was unfortunate but unavoidable due to difficulties in trading caused by the pandemic.

Mr Walker said: “The Boroughmuir postponement was unfortunate, regrettable but unavoidable and we have apologised unreservedly. We are still working with the school on alternative dates.

“Like all hospitality businesses we are mapping our way through these difficult trading circumstances with challenges thrown at us on a daily, sometimes hourly basis and every day is different.”

James Gillespie’s High School was contacted but did not provide comment.

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