Edinburgh’s latest hotel has opened for business, and brings one of the biggest boutique brands in the UK back home to where it all began.
Development company S Harrison has transformed 18th century Buchan House in St Andrew Square into the latest outlet for Malmaison.
The chain was launched in Leith in 1994 by Ken McCulloch and lawyer Michael Walker who went on to attract investment from Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall before selling up.
Its current owner is Frasers Hospitality, which now has four outlets in the city: the others being its eponymous apartments at the top of The Mound and the Hotel du Vin near the National Museum.
A-listed Buchan House, on the north-west corner of St Andrew Square, has been converted into a 72-bedroom hotel, with Chez Mal Bar and Brasserie over 44,000 sq ft. It has created approximately 50 jobs.
Work began in May 2018 and York-based S Harrison appointed Edinburgh contractor Sharkey with finance provided via a forward funding agreement from a FTSE 100 pension fund, with an end value in excess of £25 million.
David Clancy, from S Harrison, said: “This development has brought a prominent building back to life, along with all its rich architectural heritage and Georgian period splendour.
“It’s in a fantastic location, on one of Edinburgh’s most prestigious and important squares, and it complements all the other work taking place in the surrounding area, including the new £1bn Edinburgh St James development.”
Guus Bakker, CEO EMEA at Frasers Hospitality, said: “Returning to the heart of where Malmaison started is a real milestone for us and we are looking forward to offering a fourth offering in the city.”
The main part of Buchan House was built in 1775 as five houses by renowned architect and builder John Young, who was the first tradesman to build in Edinburgh’s New Town and became a hugely influential figure within the city’s construction industry. A wide range of eminent Edinburgh individuals, ranging from politicians, Lords and business leaders, lived in Buchan House during its time as a residential address.
More recently it was used as offices by computer giant IBM, which took occupation in 1974. The building stood empty in recent years and it now forms part of Edinburgh’s New Town Conservation Area and also the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh World Heritage Site.
This project is S Harrison’s second development for the Malmaison Hotel du Vin Group, after it completed work on a luxurious Hotel du Vin in Stratford-upon-Avon last year. The work saw two Grade II listed Georgian townhouses transformed into a beautiful 46-bedroom hotel, close to the centre of Shakespeare’s hometown.
During the Buchan House development, S Harrison made two substantial donations of baby equipment and furniture to Pregnancy Counselling & Care (Scotland), in line with the company’s commitment of supporting charities in the areas where it works.
The longstanding Edinburgh charity offers support to anyone struggling due to pregnancy or childbirth. This includes providing counselling on pregnancy-related issues and supporting mothers living in hardship with clothes and equipment to help care for their babies and small children.
S Harrison has made a significant investment in Edinburgh in recent years and is now exploring further opportunities across Scotland’s central belt. In Edinburgh, the company recently secured planning permission to create another stunning new hotel on Osborne Terrace.
The scheme will see Osborne House, an old 1970s office building within the Wester Coates area, just West of Edinburgh’s city centre, converted into a new 157-bedroom hotel, with a restaurant and bar on the ground floor.
In October, the company was granted planning permission to develop a 394-bedroom student accommodation scheme, on the corner of Westfield Road and Westfield Avenue, close to Murrayfield Stadium.
The developer is also exploring opportunities for a 0.6 hectare site on Ocean Drive in Leith and a site on Gorgie Road next to the Water of Leith.