Bringing a World Class Hotel to the Old Royal High School, Edinburgh.

Scroll through to see how a world class Rosewood Hotel would transform the site of the Old Royal High School in Edinburgh.
Scroll through to see how a world class Rosewood Hotel would transform the site of the Old Royal High School in Edinburgh.
Scroll through to see how a world class Rosewood Hotel would transform the site of the Old Royal High School in Edinburgh.
Scroll through to see how a world class Rosewood Hotel would transform the site of the Old Royal High School in Edinburgh.
Scroll through to see how a world class Rosewood Hotel would transform the site of the Old Royal High School in Edinburgh.
Scroll through to see how a world class Rosewood Hotel would transform the site of the Old Royal High School in Edinburgh.

Thomas Hamilton’s magnificent centrepiece of the former Royal High School, Edinburgh is one of the nation’s most important buildings. It deserves a future which reflects the vision and aspiration of its past.

Duddingston House Properties and Urbanist Hotels, the co-investors and developers behind the plan to bring the Rosewood Hotel to the old Royal High School site, are committed to delivering what was promised when the OJEU notified concept competition was decided by the City of Edinburgh Council in 2010.

And that is to bring one of the world’s best hotels to the site, offering something that Edinburgh has simply never experienced before – benefiting our citizens and visitors and creating many long-term job opportunities for the city and for Scotland. Our proposals guarantee the future of Hamilton’s masterpiece – both architecturally and financially – without the need for any public funding.

This is a building which has never been publicly accessible despite being publicly owned for almost 190 years. Our Rosewood Hotel proposal will transform this contradiction, literally opening the doors to all. We want to create an exceptional new legacy for the Royal High School, one that can be experienced and enjoyed by all.

News Update

Post-Inquiry Report Published Supporting a World Class Hotel at the Old Royal High School, Edinburgh

A detailed report supporting the case for bringing the world class Rosewood Hotel to the site of the Old Royal High School in Edinburgh has been published today (Monday 17th December).

Produced on behalf of developers Duddingston House Properties and Urbanist Hotels, the 90-page closing submission follows the month-long Scottish Government public inquiry into the proposed development which concluded in October 2018.

The full report can be viewed here.

The developers are appealing the decision by the City of Edinburgh Council to refuse planning permission and listed building consent for revised proposals to bring the Rosewood to the Royal High site. The developers are also challenging the initial council decision in December 2015 to refuse their first planning application and listed building consent.

The closing submission states that the evidence presented in the inquiry “clearly confirms that the (hotel) proposals are in full accordance with the (council’s) Development Plan – and that all other material considerations further support the proposals.” Further conclusions support the case for the hotel development, underpinned by two key reasons:

  • Both the proposed schemes are of “exceptional architectural quality” that will enhance the current site’s sense of place as a “positive destination”, with the hotel’s materials and overall design both supported by most stakeholders including Architecture and Design Scotland (A&DS), the Government’s adviser of architecture and design.
  • The economic advantages for bringing a world-class hotel to Edinburgh – with latest research indicating that the development would support 840 jobs and increase the city’s economic output by £31.5 million each year – mean the proposals are in line with the council’s Development Plan and consistent with the Scottish Government’s national economic strategy.

Welcoming the publication of the closing submission, David Orr, co-founder of Urbanist Hotels said: “We are satisfied that the evidence presented to the public inquiry, summarised by our closing submission, builds a compelling and overwhelmingly positive case in support of our vision to bring a genuinely world class hotel to Edinburgh and to Scotland.

“This is a conservation-led flagship national project which will create an accessible world-class destination, bringing much-needed investment, jobs and new opportunities to Edinburgh and Scotland.  We are confident that this message came over very clearly throughout the course of the inquiry and we now look forward to delivering a positive solution for a magnificent building that has been tragically allowed to deteriorate by remaining unused and unoccupied for the last 50 years.”

The Scottish Government reporters anticipate that their findings will be published in spring 2019

Previous updates

The Case for a World Class Hotel at the Old Royal High School

We were first appointed by the City of Edinburgh of Council in 2010 to deliver a world-class privately funded solution for the Old Royal High School following the winning of the formal design competition. And it is now clearer than ever that Edinburgh and Scotland will benefit from our proposals.

Since our agreement was ratified by the relevant Council committees in 2014, we have continued to invest significant time, effort and resources into our proposals. We have listened to a wide range of stakeholders, local interests and heritage experts, and taken their views on board – with heritage and conservation central to our plans.

Our proposal not only protects and promotes the prominence Hamilton’s centrepiece building but is also underpinned by a viable, long-term investment plan to maintain it for the first time as an accessible part of the city’s living and breathing heritage, and bringing a truly world-class brand to Scotland.

Summary of Benefits

– Under our proposals, The Old Royal High School will be transformed into a spectacular and accessible entry point and central focus for the new privately-funded £75 million Rosewood Hotel. It will welcome guests and visitors alike with its renowned hospitality, food and drink – including cafes, restaurants and public art spaces.

– At its centre, will be the magnificent Hamilton Building, designed by celebrated architect Thomas Hamilton in 1826. The building, which has been in a state of disrepair for the last 40 years, will be restored to its former glory and be an accessible and largely unaltered centrepiece for the Rosewood Hotel.

– This is a building which has been publicly owned since 1829 but never publicly accessible. The Rosewood Hotel development plan will change this, and create a long-lasting visible legacy that exists on a world stage, to be enjoyed and experienced by everyone living in or visiting Edinburgh.

– The Rosewood Hotel will become a destination in its own right, regenerating the Calton Hill area of Edinburgh, acting as a landmark focal point for visitors and become an important part of the overall regeneration of Edinburgh’s Eastern Quadrant including the St James Quarter and the Waverley Valley.

– It is anticipated that 250 direct full-time jobs for the city will be created by the Rosewood hotel development, as well as supporting 590 additional jobs in the wider supply chain, particularly in the food & drink and tourism sectors.

– In total the project is expected to generate £35.1 million in gross domestic product annually for Scotland’s economy, sufficient to support 850 jobs on average throughout that period and to generate £13.3 million in taxation annually. (Source Oxford Economics, Economic Impact Assessment 2017).