The 180-room hotel on Freer Street has been designed by award-winning New York-based architect Grzywinski + Pons with Edinburgh-based Michael Laird Architects.
The champagne cladding and grey brick build is defined by faceted balcony spaces along its southern façade to maximise light. A particularly striking feature is a fine stainless steel mesh which is virtually invisible to guests but which creates a distinctive landmark in the form of a glistening façade for onlookers.
Architect Matthew Grzywinski said: “We are very excited that we now have permission to begin work on delivering this project that we were so pleased to have the opportunity to design in a setting with as rich of an architectural history as Edinburgh. We are confident that our vision will both respect and enhance the built fabric of this wonderful city”.
Urban Villa is a boutique all-suites hotel concept. Besides a bedroom and bathroom, suites include a kitchen and living room that can be transformed to accommodate either business travellers or families.
The Edinburgh hotel will contain 179 Executive Villas (Studios), 11 Master Villas (1 beds) and 4 RockStar Villa’s (2 bed penthouses overlooking the union canal basin with views over the castle), 24 hour reception/concierge, lounge and restaurant facilities, gym and other guest amenities. With considerable frontage on the canal, it will also offer al fresco dining.
Union Hanover managing director Eric Jafari said: “This hotel is a benchmark asset for us. Edinburgh is second only to London in potential for our Urban Villa brand with its mix of corporate and leisure travel.
Coupled with its myriad of excellent universities it lends itself to our millennial appeal of our concept. We anticipate that this hotel will be the Urban Villa that defines the brand and sets the standard for all future urban villas.
“Work is expected to commence by October. We look forward to its positive impact on the area in helping to create a new destination for Edinburgh by serving as a vibrant social and cultural hub for the local corporate and residential community”.
Hospitality director Andrew Fowler added: “Our Villas are specifically designed to alter their layouts whether providing for the corporate extended stays or the leisure/ family traveller, thus affording us the ability to enhance the guest experience. This is particularly important in Edinburgh where there is a huge swing in customer demographics throughout the year.”
Union Hanover’s first Urban Villa in West London was launched in January. The 100-suite Urban Villa GWQ is already trading well ahead of the group’s expectations and has been attracting exceptional online reviews.
Union Hanover is also set to bring the concept to a site in Aberdeen.
At the same planning meeting the City of Edinburgh Council also granted outline planning consent for a mixed-use masterplan containing residential, leisure and office uses in which the Urban Villa will sit and will be part of a larger regeneration of the Fountainbridge district. The £120m scheme is being led by Amco Developments..
Paul Heap, Managing Director, Amco Developments Group Ltd, said: “These consents are a great result after almost three years of hard work. We’ll now re-double our efforts to resolve the technical challenges of the site and look forward to starting building works on the site by the year’s end.”
Amco Developments is the development manager for both this and the Urban Villa which forms part of the larger regeneration. This includes 78 apartments, retail and leisure and 14,440 sqm of commercial office space.