Scotland’s first sports hotel to be built on Heriot Watt Campus

Director of Sales Jennifer Campbell at the site of the new hotel. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Director of Sales Jennifer Campbell at the site of the new hotel. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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SCOTLAND’S first sports hotel featuring extra wide beds, specialist treatment rooms and even a secret entrance for stars to sneak in is being built in Edinburgh.

The hotel is located next to Oriam, Scotland’s Sports Performance Centre on Heriot-Watt University’s Riccarton campus. The centre is used by the likes of the Scottish national football team and the top floor of the four-storey building is aimed specifically at teams of sportsmen and women.

Redefine BDL Hotels, who will manage the Courtyard by Marriott Edinburgh West, worked closely with experts at the high performance centre, which celebrates its one year anniversary on Saturday, to create the hotel.

“The aim of Oriam is to provide our top sportsmen and women with the facilities, access and support services pivotal for successful performance on the international stage,” said Melissa Hutcheon of Oriam.

“We have worked extremely closely with the hotel management group to ensure their accommodation is suitable for performance sport groups.

“Specifically we have shaped the design and layout of the fourth floor accommodation which is custom built for squads including large twin rooms with double beds, an open plan, private dining-come-meeting space and specialised treatment rooms for athlete physio or rehab.

“These specific requirements have been extremely well received by the hotel and the outcome is excellent, tailor-made accommodation that compliments the performance facilities here at Oriam.”

The hotel has been constructed using an innovative technique, where the rooms are made in separate “modules” in Poland before being shipped over and slotted together like giant Lego.

Undertaken by Polish firm Polcom Developments the bedrooms for the hotel, due to open in autumn, were built and fully kitted out before being pieced together on site.

Courtyard by Marriott Edinburgh West director of sales Jennifer Campbell said: “The pods arrive as fully complete bedrooms – they are completely decorated and include everything from the mattress, the plugs, the hair dryer to the wardrobes, toilets and wall mirrors.

“To take an empty shell and transform it into two complete bedrooms is a build of only ten days. They do that 80 times at the factory in Poland before shipping the pods over.”

Until the modules arrived on site there was a manpower of only ten who constructed the traditional build ground floor, including a “marketplace” shop.

Ms Campbell added: “It is a Marriott standard to have a marketplace because there isn’t 24-hour room service available so we provide a shop which is open 24 hours to allow guests to come and get drinks and snacks and any necessities they may need.

“The ground floor also includes The Yard, an open plan restaurant, bar and lounge area which is a large very informal space and an outdoor seating area to the front.”

And paying attention to some of the particular demands of sporting heroes, the hotel has created the secret separate entrance allowing the cloak of anonymity to sports teams, should they wish it.

Coaches can pull up to the concealed door which leads straight into the back lift and on to the hotel’s upper floors – a feature requested by the sports bodies based at Oriam.

Home of the Scottish Football Association (SFA) where all of its national teams, coaching and refereeing programmes are based, Oriam also makes space for rugby where the SRU train the men’s, women’s and youth national squads, while there are facilities too for basketball, handball, netball, racketball, badminton and squash.

The centre includes synthetic pitches, 12-court sports hall, five outdoor grass football and two grass rugby pitches as well as eight squash courts, two exercise studios and a four-court sports hall.

“We are very excited about the opening of the new Marriott Courtyard Hotel,” said Melissa. “Oriam will be working very closely with the staff at the hotel to ensure we can offer the best possible experience for all guests, in particular the performance sport squads who will be basing themselves across the two sites.”