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W Hotels Worldwide to make Scottish debut

Edinburgh St James

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) today announced it will debut its W Hotels brand in Scotland with W Edinburgh. Opening in 2021 and set to reinvigorate the city’s traditional hospitality scene, the hotel will be part of TH Real Estate’s Edinburgh St James scheme, which is set to complete in 2020. Forming the centrepiece of the 1.7 million sq ft development, W Edinburgh will reinforce the city’s reputation as a cosmopolitan capital and further strengthen the city’s booming tourist industry which is second only to London in the UK.

Edinburgh St James is one of the UK’s largest and most significant regeneration projects currently underway and will incorporate a distinct blend of retail, entertainment, leisure and residential apartments to create an exciting new destination in the heart of the Scottish capital.


Designed by award-winning architecture and interior design practice Jestico + Whiles, in conjunction with Allan Murray Architects, the 12-storey W Edinburgh will feature a striking exterior façade, evoking the festival spirit of Edinburgh and creating an outstanding landmark building at the heart of the city. Crafted from a winding steel ‘ribbon’, the design has been likened to spirals of paper, a reference to the many printing presses which used to pepper the surrounding area in times past.


With its lively annual programme of renowned cultural festivals and events, Edinburgh is ideally suited for a large scale regeneration project like Edinburgh St James and is a prime location for a new upmarket hotel entrant. Boasting a sophisticated transport and communications network linking it with the rest of the UK, Europe and beyond, the city has a clear and pressing need for a flagship hotel to serve tourists and business visitors alike.


“As an established business hub with a thriving global tourism industry, we are confident that there will be a huge appetite for our innovative lifestyle brand in the Scottish capital,” said Michael Wale, President, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe, Africa and Middle East. “W Edinburgh’s location at the pulsing heart of the new Edinburgh St James development, combined with its innovative design, contemporary interiors and W Hotels’ signature programming, makes the perfect setting for the second W Hotel in the United Kingdom.”


With its modern design, signature amenities and a full calendar of W Happenings showcasing what’s new and next in design, fashion and music, W Edinburgh will redefine the city’s hospitality scene. The hotel will offer 214 stylish guestrooms, including 20 suites and one Extreme Wow Suite (the W brand’s interpretation of the Presidential Suite). The rooftop will feature a buzzing destination bar and outdoor terrace offering guests and locals 360-degree panoramic views of the historic skyline, along with a cutting-edge approach to cocktails and cuisine. Other areas include W Lounge (the W brand’s energetic spin on the hotel lobby), a signature restaurant, FIT® - the ultimate workout facility - and an AWAY® Spa offering W Hotels’ signature health and lifestyle experiences. Guests will also be treated to the brand’s iconic Whatever/Whenever® service philosophy that promises whatever they want, whenever they want it.


An ideal venue for meetings and events, W Edinburgh will provide 2,450 sq ft of ultra-modern meeting and event space, including five meeting rooms along with WIRED, a 24-hour business centre. The hotel will benefit from a total of 1,600 car spaces as part of the wider Edinburgh St James development.


Stephen Wicks, Director of Shopping Centres at TH Real Estate, said: “From the outset, our intention has been to secure a truly world class hotel operator for Edinburgh St James, complementing the rest of the development and forming an integral part of the scheme’s vibrant offer. We are delighted to have finalised this deal with Starwood Hotels & Resorts and to be welcoming such an iconic and established brand as W Hotels to Scotland for the very first time.”


The announcement follows a number of important milestones for Edinburgh St James. Last July, the City of Edinburgh Council approved Primary Reserved Matters, Secondary Reserved Matters and a detailed application for a John Lewis store within the scheme, whilst the design for the scheme’s luxury hotel was approved in August. Construction work is expected to begin onsite later this year, with completion anticipated for 2020.


A leading example of city-enhancing place making, Edinburgh St James will see the 1970’s shopping centre currently on site replaced with 850,000 sq ft of retail space, a multi-screen cinema, and up to 250 new homes, in addition to the hotel element. Designed by Allan Murray Architects, the scheme will help move Edinburgh further up the UK retail rankings, from 13th to eighth and will support the city’s tourist industry which contributes an estimated £260m to Edinburgh’s economy each year. Edinburgh St James will also create up to 3,000 permanent jobs.


The addition of W Edinburgh to Starwood’s UK portfolio complements the iconic W London - Leicester Square, which opened to great fanfare in 2011 and continues to wow jetsetters from around the world. W loyalists will revel in being able to experience two energetic and unique UK cities within a few hours of travel.


“The fact that W continues to drive growth across the EAME region is testament to the exceptional appeal of the brand to owners and developers. This standout location in the heart of Edinburgh will be a fantastic additional to the W portfolio.” said Karl Bieberach, Vice President Development, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Europe. 


Following the successful debuts of W Hotels in Istanbul, Barcelona, St. Petersburg, London, Paris and Verbier, W Amsterdam became the seventh W Hotel in Europe when it opened in October 2015. The company has also recently revealed plans to add a new W Hotel in Madrid in 2018, and is set to debut its second alpine escape - and first in North America - W Aspen and The Sky Residences at W Aspen, which is slated to open for the 2017 winter ski season. W Hotels now boasts a worldwide portfolio of 46 properties around the globe and is on track to reach 75 hotels by 2020.


JLL advised TH Real Estate on the deal.

Disclaimer Issued by Henderson Real Estate Asset Management Limited, 201 Bishopsgate, EC2M 3BN. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. TH Real Estate is a name under which Henderson Real Estate Asset Management Limited provides investment products and services. The value of investments and any income will fluctuate (this may be partly be the result of exchange rate fluctuation) and investors may not get back the full amount invested. Where opinions have been expressed, they are based on current market conditions and are subject to change without notice.

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