By John O’Ceallaigh
The grande dame of Scotland’s countryside hotels, Gleneagles is coming to the capital: opening in spring 2022, Gleneagles Townhouse will stand in St Andrew Square in the New Town (it’s a three-minute walk from Rocco Forte Hotels’ The Balmoral, sure to be one of its main competitors). Just released, renderings of the forthcoming property seem to make good on rumours that the forthcoming property was aiming to be one of Britain’s grandest city hotels.
Housed in a historic, listed building that was originally home to the British Linen Company before housing the Bank of Scotland, the 33-key property is crammed with protected original features, including period bank vaults, ornate cornicing and soaring stone columns. Each bedroom and suite will be different, though the priciest, fanciest options will have the best views of St Andrew Square. Interiors will feature modern artworks produced and curated by local artists; per the press release, they’ll also incorporate “all of today’s necessities”.
The original Gleneagles was acquired by Ennismore (responsible for The Hoxton hotels, Mondrian, Mama Shelter and more) and this extension of the brand to the city has been on the cards for five years or so. The new property will also incorporate a members’ club, with a number of facilities shared between that community and overnight guests. They’ll include a gym and wellness facilities including a sauna, cryotherapy chamber; a members’ lounge will serve an all-day menu and incorporate a bar; the Members’ Snug is described as ‘an office away from the office’ and will be an informal meeting space with help-yourself pantry. A full events programme will run throughout the year; for nightcaps roof-terrace bar Lamplighters will look towards the Old Town on the left and the New Town on the right.
Edinburgh day-trippers or tourists staying elsewhere will be able to get a taste of the Townhouse at casual 120-cover all-day restaurant The Spence. It’s another architecturally impressive space, with its central bar set beneath an imposing glass-domed ceiling. The menu – “classics with a modern twist” – will be devised by “one of Scotland’s most exciting [but as yet unnamed] young chefs”.
With the original Gleneagles about an hour’s drive away, Ennismore will also be keen to push twin-stay packages incorporating city-and-country Gleneagles experiences. The brand’s arrival in the Scottish capital comes in the same year that Red Carnation Hotels (who oversee operations at my beloved Ashford Castle in the west of Ireland) opens a new hotel, 100 Princes Street, in Edinburgh.
Gleneagles Townhouse’s debut also follows the opening of Beaverbrook Town House in Chelsea in London, with that city-centre opening a sister property to the original Beaverbrook country hotel in Surrey. Also originally known for their plush countryside and beach resorts, Six Senses and Aman will also open urban properties in New York in 2022. While Soho House will be the obvious reference when considering businesses that fuse members’ clubs with hotel operations, London is home to a number of examples that are significantly more discreet. In terms of its scale, aesthetic, concept and setting, a more comparable example might be Home House members’ club on Portman Square, just behind Selfridges.
Rates for Gleneagles Townhouse have yet to be released.
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