Donald Trump cuts cost of Menie golf resort hotel

DONALD Trump has dramatically cut the cost of his planned investment in the luxury hotel he is proposing to build at his controversial golf resort in Aberdeenshire.

• The cost of the project was originally around £280m. It has been now been cut to £99.4m

• The news comes as Trump has released the first images of his amended plans for the hotel

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• The latest designs for the hotel have been developed by Acanthus Architects

• Gregor Small of Acanthus said that the new hotel has been designed to maximise views

Eighteen months ago the American tycoon said he expected to spend up to £280 million on developing a 450-bedroomed five-star hotel which will be major landmark at the Menie estate golf resort.

But the initial cost of the project has now been cut to $150 million - £99.4 million - and the number of bedrooms to 140 in what is being described as the “first phase” of the Menie hotel project

The revised cost of the scheme was revealed as Trump released the first images of his amended plans for the exclusive hotel being proposed for his £750 million golf resort development.

Three years ago, when early design sketches of the hotel planned for the Menie estate were first released, critics condemned the imposing Gothic-style hotel as “Hollywood comes to Aberdeenshire” and a “bad version of Disneyland.”

And Scotland’s design watchdog, Architecture and Design Scotland, warned the design team spearheading the tycoon’s massive golf resort development against turning the iconic luxury hotel planned for the site into a “historical pastiche.”

The new design for the hotel, unveiled today, is markedly different from the original design concept - replacing the Victorian-inspired six storey structure with a three storey building to be sited on a prominent hill overlooking the two championship courses at the Menie estate.

The billionaire businessmen, who in September 2011 spoke of spending up to $400 million on a 450 bedroomed hotel, has now revised the cost of the project down to only $150 million. And he has again warned that he will not lay a single brick on the project unless controversial plans for an offshore wind farm proposed off the Aberdeen coast are abandoned or rejected by the Scottish Government.

Scottish Ministers have still to rule on the proposals for the £ 230million pound European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) in Aberdeen Bay.

Mr Trump said: “This $150 million project will be among the finest hotels in Europe, with breath-taking direct views of the North Sea and the Great Dunes of Scotland. This project will provide additional construction work and employment opportunities, but most importantly, will establish the North east as the premiere global golf destination.

“When completed, the hotel will be a tremendous asset for the entire region. However, if plans for the ugly industrial wind turbines proceed, we would obviously not build this hotel. The EOWDC application, if constructed where it is currently sited, would ruin the beauty of Aberdeen Bay, the surrounding coastline and would forever destroy tourism in the area. “

Questioned about the revised cost of the proposed hotel development, Sarah Malone, executive vice-president for Trump International Golf Links Scotland, said: “This is a 140 bedroom hotel and is the first phase of hotel accommodation planned for the site. Palsn for additional accommodation are currently being designed and developed.

“This first phase of new hotel accommodation will not, however, proceed if the government consents to the industrial plant proposed directly off the shoreline. “

The latest designs for the hotel have been developed by Acanthus Architects, the Huntly-based firm responsible for the design of the clubhouse at the hotel, granted planning permission last January.

The firm’s clubhouse design was condemned by critics as an “ugly monstrosity” which looked like a Victorian asylum and won the Zit Award for Scotland’s worst building by Urban Realm Magazine.

John Glenday, the editor of Urban Realm magazine, condemned the new design for the hotel.

He said: “Trump’s clubhouse was already in the dog house for its mausoleum style aesthetic so it is disheartening to see that theme stretched to breaking point and beyond for this elongated sub-par hotel.”

He continued: “The cliff-like fortress is a brooding monster as likely to tempt guests to take a leap as enjoy a good night’s sleep and if it is not to end up the biggest hole on the course an urgent re-think is needed.

“In scaling up MacLeod House to such an obscene degree Acanthus DF have created a Frankenstein’s monster of architectural body parts - far from being alive however this scheme is as dead as the Victorian style it hopes to recreate.”

‘Gregor Small, of Acanthus, said today that the new hotel had been designed to maximise the views across the dunes, golf courses and beach and had been sited to work with the existing topography and aligned with the crest of the coastal escarpment.

He explained: “This pivotal geographic feature represents the point where the two distinct halves of the resort meet, the beauty of the great dunes encapsulating the golf courses, and the higher wooded pastoral land making up the majority of the original sporting estate. The hotel’s location provides a landmark which addresses and unites both distinct elements in a form that references the great history of Victorian coastal hotels that blossomed across Scotland when golf became a passion for tourists.”

Mr Small continued: “With the desire to promote a coherent feel for the whole estate, the hotel, like the main clubhouse has taken its design cues from MacLeod House. There is a carefully considered balance between the desire to provide extensive glass overlooking the dunes and the offer of solidity, warmth and protection to guests.

Like MacLeod House, the hotel’s value will be in its detail and integrity. Traditional materials and forms combined within a clearly legible composition will exude the highest levels of quality, an insight into what can be expected by guests within. Its compact linear disposition gives impact and gravitas without resorting to outlandish height, something that would be out of keeping with its built heritage. Deliberately keeping the building low, with a composition that can work within the same architectural language, pays handsome dividends by generating a striking backdrop to one of the greatest golfing experiences.