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Hotel group Thistle invests £6.9 million in major refurbishment of two key Aberdeen venues

Hotel group Thistle has made a £6.9 million investment in its Aberdeen portfolio with a major refurbishment programme at two of its properties. The improvements at Thistle Aberdeen Airport and Thistle Aberdeen Altens are part of a planned programme of works taking place across the chain and will provide enhanced facilities for both leisure and business travellers.

A £4 million five-year refurbishment of bedrooms and public areas at the Altens venue is in its final phase. The last stage will cost £336,000 and involves a revamp of 36 rooms, including six which will be converted into studio apartments. The apartments will be fitted out with kitchen facilities to respond to the needs of a growing number of long-stay guests.

Hotel manager Kris Manship says the new-style rooms will appeal to business travellers working with energy-focused companies in the south of the city.

He adds, “We had one guest last year who stayed for a total of 265 nights, and there are many, many others who also spend a significant number of nights at the hotel. Altens is home to a large number of oil and gas operators and oil service companies, and in recent years we have seen a trend for personnel to stay at the hotel during the week and return home elsewhere in the country at weekends.

 “When guests are staying in a property for that length of time, they want it to be a home from home and by offering additional facilities such as mini-kitchens we will be better placed than ever before to respond to that need.”

The refurbishment at the four-star Thistle Aberdeen Altens is on schedule to be completed by the end of March.

Meanwhile, a five-year £2.9 million refurbishment programme focused on bedrooms and public areas at of the airport hotel, which is also rated as four-star, was completed in January. The final phase of the programme resulted in 37 bedrooms being redecorated.

General manager Alison Christie explains, “It’s essential that we continue to offer a very high standard of accommodation in an increasingly competitive market in Aberdeen. The investment that has been made represents a firm commitment from Thistle towards the city and towards the collective drive across the hotel industry in the north east to raise the bar on the customer experience.”

Both venues, along with the Thistle Caledonian in the city centre, are performing strongly. Ms Christie adds, “There have been major hotel developments in Aberdeen city centre and at the airport in the past two years, but that has not resulted in any kind of displacement issues. Demand continues to be exceptional and even with additional hotels due to open in 2015, we believe that occupancy levels will be sustained at current levels.

“The buoyant economy in the north east has enabled companies to undergo significant expansion and as a result their workforces are also growing. The knock-on impact is that office space is at a premium, so hotels such as those in the Thistle group that provide facilities for conferencing and training are also seeing an increase from that business stream.”

Thistle has three hotels in Aberdeen – The Caledonian, Aberdeen Airport and Aberdeen Altens. There are 446 bedrooms across the three venues, and each has conferencing and banqueting facilities. Aberdeen Altens also has an on-site leisure club and spa.

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