Apex Hotels Group has relaunched Edinburgh’s first purpose-built hotel. Opened as a hotel 190 years ago, the property was used as offices from the 1880s but has now reopened as the four-star Apex Waterloo Place.
The 187-bedroom hotel has five meeting rooms, a health suite with a swimming pool, gym, sauna and steam room, plus Elliot’s bar and restaurant which also offers private dining.
Originally opened in 1819, the Grade A listed property has been renovated and refurbished, retaining the original Georgian architecture and grand reception rooms.
During the renovation, Apex Hotels Group commissioned research into the history of the building. Originally called Waterloo Hotel, it was designed by Scottish architect Archibald Elliott and has had some notable guests: author Charles Dickens stayed at the hotel in 1861; and former Prime Minister Charles Grey, 2nd Earl Grey, was awarded the freedom of the city at Waterloo Hotel in 1834.
The story of 13-year-old Alexander Smith was also revealed, who in 1831 was found guilty of the theft of a silk handkerchief from the foyer of the Waterloo Hotel and sentenced to seven years in the colonies.
Alan Harbisher, general manager at the hotel, said: “This has been a fantastic project to be a part of, and it has been great working with the architects and builders to help breathe life back into this stunning building.”
Angela Vickers, managing director of Apex Hotels Group, added: “The opening of our new premises at the Waterloo Place is not only another big step forward for the Apex Group, it is also of great historical significance for the city of Edinburgh. We have invested £30m in this landmark building which will undoubtedly add great value to Apex’s portfolio and it will also help revitalise this key area of the city centre.”
The Apex Waterloo Place Hotel joins Apex’s existing portfolio of four-star hotels in Edinburgh, London and Dundee.
The hotel group also plans to launch two new properties in London: Apex Temple Court Hotel, situated just off Fleet Street, will have 170 bedrooms, a restaurant, bar and conference facilities and is due to open in winter 2010; Apex London Wall Hotel, with 89 bedrooms and a restaurant is due to open this summer.
Report by Sara Turner