At various times in its 116-year history it has been a department store, a hospital and, most recognisably in recent years, a hotel.
For any who have passed by over the course of the last year, they will have noticed the building swaddled in scaffolding, with an army of workers chipping away at its façade.
I’m talking of course about the iconic Carlton Hotel on North Bridge in Edinburgh, which has just undergone a £20m refit, rebrand and now relaunch.
After 15 years of neglect, the grand old building on one of the capital’s busiest streets has been given a much-needed makeover and now stands ready to compete once more as a top-end venue.
“This iconic building has been brought back to its original best,” says Frances Hope, Director of Sales at Hilton Edinburgh Carlton Hotel, as the hotel is now called.
“The hotel is completely unrecognisable from how it was. The bedrooms have been completely refitted and double glazed. We’ve got a new executive lounge, a new bar and Marco Pierre White steakhouse, as well as a 24-hour fitness suite. It’s absolutely incredible, in terms of what has been achieved since last November when the scaffolding went up.”
She adds: “But the rebrand has been a massive boost for us, to a Hilton franchise operation. It’s been a long time coming but this is a statement that we mean business – we’re excited about the hotel moving forward.”
The hotel also boasts a new lobby area, which is probably the most welcome (and welcoming) sign of change, from the old dark and claustrophobic foyer.
In terms of events, there are five dedicated meeting spaces and two event rooms. The main Highland Suite is the largest facility which can cater for up to 220 for a ‘theatre-style’ event or between 180-200 for dinner, with the Calton Suite the other main function room.
The Hilton Edinburgh Carlton is the 16th property in the Hilton Worldwide portfolio of brands in Scotland and the eighth Hilton Hotels & Resorts hotel in the country. The hotel is owned and operated by Amaris Hospitality and is part of their 73-hotel portfolio across the UK and Ireland.