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

Appeals Lodged – Public Inquiry Starts in September

Duddingston House Properties and Urbanist Hotels are appealing the decision by the City of Edinburgh Council in August 2017 to refuse planning permission and listed building consent for revised proposals to bring a Rosewood hotel to the site of the Old Royal High School, Edinburgh.

The co-developers are also appealing the initial council decision in December 2015 to refuse their first planning application and listed building consent.

David Orr, co-founder of Urbanist Hotels said: “We are progressing with the appeal because we are wholly committed to bringing a world-class hotel to the Old Royal High School site – in line with our contractual agreement with City of Edinburgh Council.

“We are confident that the appeals process will allow many of the complex technical issues raised with both previous planning applications to be considered thoroughly, with due consideration of the substance and detail of our proposals and the expertise of our teams. Put quite simply, it is the right forum to discuss such a complex and emotive issue.

“The appeal will provide the focus to present a large array of expert witnesses who agree with our scheme. We have chosen to bring these witnesses to the Inquiry because such an important building as the Old Royal High School deserves to have its destiny debated on the basis of solid facts and expertise rather than conjecture and emotion-fueled soundbites.

“Our legal team has represented a wide variety of public and private clients on a range of major infrastructure and development projects. They are a well-respected firm used by government, private businesses and counsel and we’re confident they have the expertise to guide us through this process.

He added: “Our proposals guarantee the future of the Old Royal High School both architecturally and financially, bringing much needed investment to Edinburgh and Scotland. A 2017 Economic Impact Assessment report by Oxford Economics published stated that in total the Rosewood Hotel project is predicted to generate £35.1 million in gross domestic product annually for Scotland’s economy, sufficient to support 850 jobs on average and to generate £13.3 million in taxation annually.

“This includes 250 direct jobs which would be created by the new hotel development, as well as 590 additional jobs in the wider supply-chain – particularly the food & drink and tourism sector.

“Our design proposals will enhance the setting of the main Hamilton building and Edinburgh’s world heritage site without relying on the public purse. During the appeal, we will prove that on balance our scheme is the only comprehensive solution for a building that has, in the main, remained unused and unoccupied for the last 50 years.

“This conservation-led flagship project will create an accessible world-class destination, bringing much-needed investment, jobs and new opportunities to Edinburgh and Scotland whilst respecting the original Hamilton building and its unique setting.”

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).