City hotel is a grand example of authenticity
by Chris Stewart
Between the two World Wars, The National Bank of Scotland sought to elevate its institutional status in the financial world by commissioning award winning architects Mewes & Davis (working alongside Leslie Grahame Thomson), to design a new headquarters to be built on the site of 41-42 St Andrew Square, in Edinburgh’s city center.
Required to project the gravitas and opulence that would signify the commercially sound nature of the bank’s business, the result was an impressive building in the neo-classical style popular at the time, whose art deco interiors were fashioned with elaborate wood paneling, decorative glass panels and polished chrome door handles stamped with the bank’s insignia.
In June this year the building, re-imagined and beautifully refurbished, re-opens as The Edinburgh Grand. A hotel comprising 50 luxury apartments, it not only epitomizes the investment and innovation that exists in Scotland’s capital today, it also responds to one of the most talked about trends in the hospitality sector – authenticity.
Visitors to our cities are more ‘travelers’ than ‘tourists’ with the desire to absorb local culture. Heritage and iconic locations are key, and Edinburgh has this in abundance. As a developer and operator, we see that it is for us to create the buildings that energize that whole Edinburgh experience with products that are exhilarating in their originality.
The Edinburgh Grand is unique to its location. Its apartments owe their form and style to their historic environment and the features and idiosyncrasies of the building itself. Investment in ultra-modern technology, contemporary features and stylish design keeps it relevant for a traveler that wants independence and space to enjoy the city on their terms.
This is no stuffy renovation or museum piece: this will be an exciting place to stay. We have created an Edinburgh heritage experience that is present-day, relevant and breathtaking in its scale of quality and luxury. With jaw-dropping interiors, a Hawksmoor restaurant in the art deco surroundings of the former banking hall and an enviably exclusive club floor including lounge and cocktail bar, it will be a match for any of London’s – or the world’s – most celebrated hotels.
For us, giving modern travelers the chance to experience Edinburgh’s heritage is about identifying opportunity to open up previously neglected but still fascinating spaces and applying innovative thinking and local expertise. Edinburgh has a rich and enthralling heritage, but it is how we are responding to the custodianship of that history that makes it a city for today.
Chris Stewart is CEO of Chris Stewart Group and Lateral City