Despite an uncertain global economy, several hotels debuted and others are in the works in Scotland's two main cities -- Glasgow and Edinburgh. Moreover, last November work began on Donald Trump's controversial golf resort in Aberdeenshire, in the country's northeast. The $1 billion project, which includes two championship golf courses, a 450-room hotel, 36 golf villas and 500 private homes -- is on an ecologically sensitive section of the North Sea Coast and was greenlighted despite opposition by the local council and environmentalists.
Glasgow Visitors to this stylish city have a chic new spot to stay: The Blythswood Square hotel opened last September in the converted former headquarters of the Royal Scottish Automobile Club. The luxury property has 100 guest rooms, a meeting room that seats 52 and a private screening room that accommodates 50.
The 25-story, 160-room Jumeirah Glasgow Hotel is slated to open in 2011 in the International Financial Services District. The property will feature a spa, a gym, a rooftop lounge and extensive meeting facilities, including a ballroom seating up to 630.
Also to open in 2011 is the 320-room Bothwell Plaza, which will have meeting facilities and will be part of a new development in the city center that includes office and retail space.
The Hamilton, Glasgow, a five-star 120-room luxury hotel and spa, will be built on the site of the former BBC Scotland Headquarters in city's West End.
The Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre is moving ahead with plans for the 12,000-seat Scottish National Arena. The design, by architects Foster and Partners, includes a performance area with a combination of fixed, tiered seats and flexible seating systems to accommodate a wide range of meetings and events. The facility already is tapped to host sports events during the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Edinburgh The Scottish capital also has a trendy new entry in its stable of hotels: Hotel Missoni Edinburgh. The property, the first being launched by Italian luxury design house Missoni and the Rezidor Hotel Group under the Hotel Missoni brand, has 136 guest rooms, a restaurant, a bar, a fitness suite, three meeting rooms and a 1,076-square-foot breakout area.
The 187-room Apex Waterloo Place Hotel opened last March. The property offers a fitness center, a restaurant and six meeting rooms, the largest of which can hold 220 people theater-style.
The elegant George Hotel has completed an expansion following the acquisition of an adjacent building, which takes its guest room count from 200 to 250 and includes a gym with treatment rooms, a sauna and steam rooms, and an executive club lounge with outside terraces. The property has eight meeting rooms.
At press time, plans for the Caltongate Development in Old Town had been put on hold. The project was to include a new five-star 205-room Sofitel Hotel.
Another planned hotel and redevelopment project hit a wall when Scottish Ministers rejected Tiger Developments' proposal to build a 17-floor, 192-room InterContinental hotel, as well as retail space, offices and restaurants, as part of an effort regenerate the city's Haymarket area. The hotel had been slated to open in 2013. The government is opposed to the plan because of the potential impact on the Edinburgh skyline.
The Royal Museum of Scotland, part of the National Museum of Scotland, closed last year to undergo a three-year, $92 million refurbishment and expansion. The project will add 16 galleries, doubling the venue's capacity for exhibits. In addition, new event space will enable the museum to host seated gatherings of up to 900.