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Conversion of Edinburgh’s Royal High School into luxury hotel ‘scaled down’

Revised plans to transform the former Royal High School in Edinburgh into a luxury hotel to be operated by Rosewood Hotels and Resorts brand has been submitted to the city’s planning committee.

The developers of the £75m hotel, Urbanist Hotels and Duddingston House Properties (DHP), hope that the City of Edinburgh Council will give the go-ahead to the new “significantly scaled down” plans for a 127-bedroom hotel. A previous planning application for a 147-bedroom property was rejected by the council in December 2015.

The revised plans retain the key elements of the original scheme designed by Hoskins Architects, but substantially reduces the size of the new bedroom wings and the alterations to the listed centrepiece building, designed by Thomas Hamilton in 1826.

David Orr, co-founder of Urbanist Hotels, said the revised proposals will maintain the historic centrepiece of the original building, making it publicly accessible for the first time since 1829.

“Our design will conserve founding architect Thomas Hamilton’s original building and vision, restoring and regenerating this national treasure with a new use as a world-class hotel for the people of Edinburgh and beyond.”

Radha Arora, president of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, added that the intention is “to create a beautiful and truly unique hotel that reflects Edinburgh’s distinctive character, respects the city’s rich heritage and looks forward to the future”. He continued: “Rosewood firmly believes that a hotel should celebrate the history, culture and architecture of its location, both in its design and its services.”

A rival scheme to turn the iconic building into a new home for St Mary’s Music School has been approved, but cannot proceed until 2022, when an agreement between the City of Edinburgh Council and the hotel developers expires. DHP and Urbanist Hotels won a competition to develop the site by 2022, seven years ago.