Edinburgh's Royal High School to be transformed into arts hotel
Developer also behind Odeon cinema project
As one of Edinburgh’s A-listed buildings gets set for a transformation, what does the future hold for another of the capital’s forgotten gems?
Following months of speculation it has been revealed that the former Royal High School on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill will be transformed into an arts hotel. The £35m redevelopment, awarded by the city council to Duddingston House Properties, will see the space brought back into public use for the first time in forty years, as part of plans to house the space with a hotel, complete with restaurant, cafe and gallery.
The plans have been met with mixed response. While council heads are calling the move a success, some feel the idea simply doesn’t live up to the iconic building’s potential. Many were backing a campaign to transform the area into a national photography centre, while others are concerned that Duddingston House Properties will have their plans beset by delays, as they have their other high profile project, the former Odeon cinema in the city’s southside. Duddingston bought the cinema six years ago, but the B-listed building has been boarded up since 2003. The last year has seen a series of petitions to see the place re-opened as a public space.
One Odeon supporter spoke to the List of her disappointment over the decision to give this latest project to the same team: ‘I’m sorely disappointed to hear that Edinburgh’s former Royal High school has been leased to DHP. They are hoping to demolish the Odeon’s beautiful and unique auditorium in order to build a ‘boutique’ hotel. It’s nauseating that the Council is encouraging them to convert the Royal High, a uniquely iconic A-listed building, into yet another ‘art’ hotel, rather than supporting plans for the Hill Adamson Photography Centre, which would have been a national cultural centre of international significance.’ The debate continues.