Starwood Hotels & Resorts to Bring Iconic W Hotels Brand to Edinburgh in 2021
EDINBURGH – 19 July 2016 – 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.
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About W Hotels Worldwide
W Hotels is a contemporary, design-led lifestyle brand and the industry innovator with 49 hotels, including 18 W-branded residences, in the most vibrant cities and exotic destinations around the world. Inspiring, iconic, innovative and influential, W Hotels provides the ultimate in insider access, offering a unique mix of cutting-edge design and passions around fashion, music and entertainment. With over 15 years of proven success, W Hotels is on track to reach 75 hotels by 2020. W Hotels have been announced for Shanghai, Tel Aviv, Goa, Abu Dhabi, Phuket, Dubai, Amman, Jakarta, Panama, Riviera Maya, Muscat, Hainan Island, Suzhou, Changsha, Chengdu, New Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, Shenyang, Marrakech, Brisbane, Aspen and Madrid. For more information, visit whotels.com/theangle or follow Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
About TH Real Estate
TH Real Estate is an established investment management company, specialising in real estate equity and debt investment worldwide. As one of the largest real estate managers in the world, TH Real Estate has the scale, capital resources and knowledge to provide creative and effective real estate investment solutions for clients. With a focus on the retail, office, logistics, debt and multifamily residential sectors, TH Real Estate emphasises sustainable practices to protect assets and maximise their value.
The company is owned by TIAA, the leading provider of financial services in the academic, research, medical, cultural and government fields. TIAA has c.£577bn assets under management* and offers a wide range of financial solutions, including investing, banking, advice and guidance, and retirement services.
Launched in April 2014, TH Real Estate has a dedicated global presence with offices across America, Asia and Europe, representing c.£19.7bn* of real estate assets across c.50 funds and mandates. Together with TIAA’s US real estate assets, the global real estate platform of £61.9bn* represents one of the largest real estate investment management enterprises in the world.
Its products are managed by specialist teams, which apply their own experience to the management and style of their portfolios. Each team is supported by an experienced senior management team and integrated investment platform, including finance, debt and currency management, performance analytics, client service, fund and transaction structuring, development, sustainability and research.
*As at 31 December 2015