The iconic hotel is fast-becoming a premier meetings destination
With its rich history of chronicling Scottish life, it is only fitting that the former home to the Scotsman newspaper is now blazing a new trail – in the world of events.
The iconic building on North Bridge in Edinburgh may not be the first place you think of when it comes to conferences and meetings, but recent upgrades have changed all that.
The hotel was recently bought back into Scottish ownership for the first time in 10 years and the market has responded very positively to the change. Last month, the hotel won the regional Scottish Hotel awards for both City hotel of the year and Large Events hotel of the year for Edinburgh and the Lothians and will go through to the national finals for the two categories at the end of April.
The lavish Grand Café gives a foretaste of a considered multi-million pound redevelopment, which is being overseen by Jim Hamilton, an award-winning designer whose work on Tigerlilly, the Blytheswood Hotel and Corinthian Club has been widely acclaimed.
That attention to detail even goes down to the chandelier in the café, which acts as centrepiece for the space and provides a real sense of luxury, evocative of a bygone era.
The overall aim is to project the Scotsman Hotel not only as a leisure destination – the rooms are undergoing refurbishment – but also as a destination for business meetings.
To that effect, The Glenfiddich and Balvenie suites are now unrecognisable; from rather outmoded rooms they have been utterly transformed into modern events spaces.
The muted grey tones and retractable partition gives the larger Glenfiddich room the flexibility to accommodate meetings of 12-230 people.
Every design aesthetic has been created, crafted and executed by Hamilton and the carefully considered process has been calculated to allow pause for reflection.
“It’s not going to be a rushed process,” says Caroline Martin, Head of Sales Head of Sales – Edinburgh & North East. “This is a historic building and we want to ensure any changes we make are sympathetic to its rich cultural heritage. So far, the transformation of the Grand Café has definitely been the centrepiece of the redevelopment and we’ve been inundated with inquiries since the reopening; but we’re now reaching a point where we’re keen to showcase more of the work that has been carried out, and we’re confident The Glenfiddich and The Balvenie are events spaces that will appeal to that market.”
In addition to the comfort of a well-appointed function room, The Glenfiddich – which has a secreted bar area built into the side panels of the room – opens out to a Garden Suite – an outdoor space illuminated by atmospheric lighting, which is ideal for receptions. For more conventional meetings, remotely-controlled dropdown projectors interspersed around the room obviate the need to bring in expensive screens for presentations.
There is much still to do at the Scotsman Hotel (with 11 floors, including basement and penthouse), and clearly the future plans will ensure that all areas of the building will be utilised to create a truly extraordinary meetings, events and social space. If the results of the work carried out in the Grand Café, The Glenfiddich and Balvenie are a sign of things to come, the future for this resplendent Edinburgh venue looks to be very secure indeed.