Developers propose luxury Old Town boutique hotel

85-87 South Bridge could be reborn as a hotel
85-87 South Bridge could be reborn as a hotel
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A £1.5 million luxury boutique hotel in a rundown part of the Capital’s Old Town could be open by next summer.

Developers want to transform the historic dwelling on South Bridge into a series of opulent suites and a top class restaurant.

The ten apartment-style complexes would each boast a stylish lounge, kitchen, and en suite to give guests a “home from home” stay in the city.

Plans have been submitted to the council to change the site from offices into a hotel by Format Design, based in ­Duddingston.

Director Bob Tate said he hoped the proposed development, at 85-87 South Bridge, would help restore the area to its former glory.

He said: “We are going for a boutique hotel which I think would help to bring South Bridge back upmarket.

“I remember it used to be quite an interesting place and there were nice shops but the retail market is suffering at the minute which can be seen in the area. It has got a wee bit tacky. We are short of 
tourist facilities and bed spaces in Edinburgh so these ten suites will add a little bit and complement other leisure facilities on the other side of Cowgate.

“The South Bridge has been a bit downtrodden for a while so it would be nice to get it started with an upmarket project like this if we get the green light.

“I think there’s a willingness from the council to start making that part of the town a bit more tourist-friendly and this could help.”

The property is currently home to the Advice Centre, the council’s service for benefits and debt, which will move to council offices at the High Street next month.

There had been previous plans to convert the upper floors into 17 flats but these were withdrawn and the building was sold.

The new proposals would see the suites spread out over three levels with a restaurant on the ground floor and a bar and bistro on the lower ground level looking out on to Cowgate and Blair Street corner.

Mr Tate added: “Internally it would be completely refurbished with new rooms and new stairs.

“The roof and the floors will be upgraded and all that will be left will be the external walls. We are going back to the bare bones while maintaining its old appearance.”

Euan Leitch, assistant director of the Cockburn Association, said it was important the building was given the attention it needed.

Built between 1785-1788 by architect Robert Kay, it was one of four buildings that mirrored each other across the street.

He said: “The bridge and the buildings are of high significance to Edinburgh, so it’s good that the building is being reused and that the exterior is being somewhat restored. It’s a key point within the Old Town.”

More rooms at the top

A NUMBER of hotel developments could grace the Capital shortly.

Bosses of hotel chain De Vere want to create a 120-room Village Urban Resort at Crewe Toll Roundabout. Plans for the £20 million project were submitted to city planning leaders last month. French hotel chain the Accor group, which operates Ibis, is to open two new outlets along the tram line to cash in on airport passengers.

And proposals have been approved to create a £13m “tourism village” south of the City Bypass.