So, what is an ‘aparthotel’?
Well, according to the internet’s font of all knowledge, Wikipedia, an apartment hotel (also known as residential hotel, or extended-stay hotel) is a serviced apartment complex that uses a hotel-style booking system. It is similar to renting an apartment, but with no fixed contracts and occupants can "check-out" whenever they wish.
With their origins in the United States, ‘aparthotels’ have become a regular feature of the global businessman’s list of boltholes. A base from which they can live while working away from home or overseas on medium to long-term contract assignments.
Located in a relatively unloved corner of one of Edinburgh New Town’s finest streets, Kintore House had lain vacant for several years since the financial crisis. In 2016, Cromwell Property Group entered a joint venture with Gloag Investments, who had recently acquired the property as part of its plans to convert it into an ‘aparthotel’.
Using their in-depth knowledge of asset management and the planning system from having worked on major refurbishments around the UK, the team at Cromwell worked with Gloag to secure a change of use, enabling the conversion of the building.
Simon Marriott, Head of Investments and UK Real Estate at Cromwell Property Group, said that “the location of Kintore House in the heart of Edinburgh’s central business district, close to both commercial and leisure destinations, represented a superb opportunity for us to benefit from the ongoing strength of Scotland’s capital and the ability to generate attractive ongoing income and value once the refurbishment is complete”.
Soon after receiving the approval for a change of use and the refurbishment, work started on site in March 2017.
Once the refurbishment is complete in 2018, it will be operated by Bridget Street Global Hospitality, a leading provider of serviced apartments, under its new ‘Mode’ brand, becoming the third such aparthotel of its kind with 82 apartments arranged over four floors. Mode operates similar aparthotels in Washington and Paris.
Andy Richardson, Head of UK Development at Cromwell Property Group, added “As part of its global roll-out of the Mode brand, Bridgestreet is identifying quality buildings in key gateway cities to convert them into stylish apartment style accommodation.
“The regeneration of this functionally obsolete and derelict building will generate significant activity in the West End of Queen Street and will complement the commercial businesses located in Edinburgh City Centre”.
BridgeStreet CEO Sean Worker said: "Where we operate we aspire to be part of the community, work with local businesses and recommend the best establishments. Each Mode building will offer a bespoke, unparalleled experience to our guests by providing them with good design and comfort. This includes knowing the unique feel of Mode is backed by the world-class brand of BridgeStreet Global Hospitality to ensure consistent service standards”.
Ann Gloag of Gloag Investments, said: “We are delighted to be bringing Bridgestreet to the Capital in what will be their first bespoke building in Scotland. We are also looking forward to playing our part in helping to refurbish Kintore House and regenerate what until now has been a relatively unloved corner on one of the New Town’s finest streets”.
This is just one example of a situation where a creative solution, founded on local knowledge and many years of asset management expertise, has allowed the team at Cromwell to re-life a building, adding significant value to both the building and the surrounding area in the process.