Tycoon selling the two hotels that launched his empire

One of Scotland's leading hoteliers has put up for sale the first properties he bought when he founded the boutique Town House chain, The Scotsman can reval.

Both Channings and The Howard in Edinburgh have gone on the market just months after Peter Taylor finished work on a troubled five-star hotel in Glasgow.

The asking price for the two Town House hotels has not been disclosed, although they are expected to command several million pounds each. They are being marketed privately, and Mr Taylor has revealed they have already attracted significant interest.

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A former director of the Scottish Tourism Forum, he will continue to run another Edinburgh hotel, The Bonham, which was named one of the coolest in the world by Cond Nast 11 years ago.

Mr Taylor admitted the need to concentrate on Glasgow's first five-star hotel, Blythswood Square, had been a major factor in deciding to put up for sale Channings, in Stockbridge, and The Howard, in the New Town. He has had Channings for 20 years and The Howard for 15.

The businessman admitted yesterday the 30 million transformation of the former Royal Scottish Automobile Club in Glasgow city centre had proved much more difficult than expected, mainly down to the collapse of a four-storey structural wall mid-way through the construction phase and financial problems at a building firm that had been working on the project.

The hotel, including its luxury spa facility, was only completed in August, nine months after it officially opened its doors in a blaze of publicity.

Mr Taylor said: "Channings and The Howard are both on the market at the moment, although we have been marketing them quietly for the last few months.

"We have realised that with the economies of scale these days that smaller hotels are not as worthwhile as larger ones, so we decided to focus on Blythswood Square and The Bonham in Edinburgh, which is a lot bigger than Channings and The Howard."

Mr Taylor revealed the full scale of his struggle to open Blythswood Square at a dinner organised by Glasgow Caledo-nian University last night. He said he had been warned by several industry figures about the risks involved in taking on the building, which dates back to 1823.

He said: "There were times when I thought they were right.

"However, I have absolutely no regrets about the decision to go ahead with Blythswood Square."