AN international hotel chain is to open two new outlets along the tram line to capitalise on airport passengers travelling into central Edinburgh.
The Accor group will open the sites at Edinburgh Park and St Andrew Square next year as part a major expansion into the Capital.
The French firm – which operates the Ibis group – will also run the 257-bed hotel already planned for the rebuilt Cowgate which is due for completion in early 2014.
City leaders and the hotel trade said the move would bring new jobs to the city and suggested the investment would not have been made were it not for the launch of the tram scheme in 18 months’ time.
In St Andrew Square, the facility will open at number 19-20 in the second half of 2013, with 103 rooms.
The stylish building was home to Scottish Life until around 2009 and will be run under the Ibis Styles brand following a £15m investment. It follows the collapse of several previous schemes to transform the building into a boutique hotel during the banking crisis.
At Edinburgh Park, the hotel will be located close to the rail/tram interchange, allowing rail passengers from the west to head into the airport without entering the city centre.
Colin Paton, chairman of the Edinburgh Hotels Association, said: “It’s very interesting that Accor are opening in Edinburgh Park. You have to ask whether they ever would have gone there had it not been for the tram, as once completed it will be a major interchange.”
The arrival of more relatively low-cost facilities is expected to be controversial in the hotel industry, with others including Motel One on Princes Street and Cockburn Street opening shortly. It is, however, expected to bring several hundred jobs and offer visitors greater choice.
The Ibis Styles at St Andrew Square is scheduled to open in the second half of 2013, while the Ibis standard brand will open at Edinburgh Park at some stage next year.
And last week the Evening News reported that the construction of a multi-million-pound luxury hotel is progressing well, with De Vere intending to create a 120-room Village Urban Resort at Crewe Toll Roundabout in North Edinburgh, creating 130 jobs.
They said proposals for the £20 million hotel were submitted to city planning leaders last week and claimed they had been backed by the overwhelming majority of local residents.
De Vere’s hotel complex will boast a Velocity health and fitness centre with state-of-the art gym equipment, as well as cardio, resistance training and studio classes.
Councillor Frank Ross, the city’s economy leader, said: “This is fantastic news and demonstrates confidence in the city’s economic prosperity and potential for future growth. Edinburgh was recently ranked as the Best Large City in Europe for foreign direct investment and today’s announcement cements this reputation. The creation of local jobs is also extremely welcome.”
Thomas Dubaere, managing director of Accor in UK & Ireland, said that the three sites in Edinburgh and a fourth in London demonstrated its investment in the tourism sector.
He said: “Our investment in these four new hotels is another step in our strategy to build on our leadership position and further grow Accor’s presence in the UK..”
Accor currently operates 188 hotels in the UK.