Scotland’s ‘largest hotel’ set for record year of visitors after multi-million-pound revamp

An Edinburgh student campus is bidding for its busiest year on record following a £10.7 million refurbishment.

Pollock Halls sits at the foot of Edinburgh's Holyrood Park and Arthurs Seat. Picture: Contributed
Pollock Halls sits at the foot of Edinburgh's Holyrood Park and Arthurs Seat. Picture: Contributed

Pollock Halls, at the foot of the capital’s Arthur’s Seat, is a university accommodation which becomes the largest hotel in Scotland over the summer break.

The campus has a maximum capacity of more than 1,880 guests and is forecasting its busiest year yet thanks to growing popularity with tourists throughout June, July and August.

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This comes on the back of a multi-million-pound revamp of Holland House, a campus building that offers en-suite bedrooms and sleeps up to 350 people.

The site’s Residences @ Pollock Halls accommodation has shared bathrooms and rooms for 890 people, while the three-star Chancellor’s Court and John Burnett House feature en-suite bedrooms and hold an additional 640 guests.

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Pollock Halls is owned by the University of Edinburgh and operated by the accommodation catering and events division under its commercial brand Edinburgh First.

'An enormous operation'

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Lyndsay Wilkie, director of business development at Edinburgh First, said the campus “offers affordable and quality accommodation options to people from all over the world. Most people would expect our campus to be quiet over the summer months when our students have left, however in June, July and August it takes on a totally different atmosphere as we welcome thousands of guests visiting our wonderful city.

“Our campus, once again, really comes to life, and this is particularly evident in August when festival goers and performers alike come together to celebrate the incredible culture and arts scene in Edinburgh.”

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Around 150 housekeepers, maintenance workers and front of house staff work over a period of several weeks to convert the campus from student housing to guest-ready accommodation at the end of May.

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Its commercial offering is available to book from 25 May until 10 September, with prices starting from £37 per person per night, before preparations to return the campus into student halls begin. On-site amenities include free parking, laundry facilities, a self-service restaurant and a bar. It also has a bistro and lounge in its four-star Salisbury Green Hotel & Bistro.

Wilkie added: “Each year we take on the enormous operation to give our accommodation an entire change of purpose. The size of the campus creates a truly unique buzz, almost like its very own small community.

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“The variety of rooms available at Pollock Halls means that we are able to accommodate a diverse range of guests with varying budgets, from school groups and festival performers to couples who are looking for something slightly different and more affordable.

“We’re continually investing in our student accommodation to ensure we meet high quality standards. This not only benefits the students but also our summer guests.”

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Edinburgh First operates capital hotel KM Central as well as self-catering apartments on Richmond Place. It also supplies event and catering services for more than 70 meeting spaces across the University of Edinburgh estate.