Experienced hotelier Douglas Winfield will be tasked with overseeing the launch of the city centre hotel, as well as ensuring its ongoing success.
The new hotel, located at the top of Leith Walk within the capital’s New Town conservation area, will occupy three category-A listed Georgian townhouses – once home to the Stevenson family, including Robert Stevenson, famed Scottish lighthouse engineer and grandfather of author Robert Louis Stevenson.
The 240-bedroom hotel will also include an all-day dining restaurant and bar, fitness centre and multi-functional meeting space. The hotel is owned and being developed by Edinburgh-based real estate company Chris Stewart Group (CSG), best known for its award-winning Advocate’s Close development in Edinburgh’s Old Town.
CSG has appointed the UK’s leading independent hotel management company, Redefine|BDL Hotels, to take full responsibility for the venue’s operations when it opens its doors later this year.
Douglas, who began his 29-year career in hospitality in Harrogate, boasts an impressive CV, having worked with some of the most reputable brands in the industry – most recently as general manager of Holiday Inn Almaty in Kazakhstan.
His latest role brings him back to Edinburgh, where he worked as general manager of Holiday Inn Edinburgh North for four years.
The new general manager is joined by the hotel’s second recruit, Sarah Reid, who takes on the role of director of sales.
A deputy general manager is being sought before a full recruitment drive kicks off, with the aim of finding various team members to undertake the mix of full and part time positions being created across front of house, housekeeping, waiting and maintenance departments.
The Edinburgh hotel has been designed in line with the brand’s latest concept, which launched in Aberdeen in 2013, and features a fresh, bold colour palette in the guest bedrooms and a muted, earthy palette in the public areas. Artwork in both the bedrooms and public areas has been inspired by the heritage of the original buildings and the legacy of the Stevenson family who occupied them.
Alongside the restoration and preservation of the listed townhouses, a new building is being constructed behind to accommodate many of the hotel bedrooms and facilities.
Douglas Winfield, general manager of Courtyard Edinburgh, said: “The new hotel is shaping up nicely and will be an exciting offering for the capital.
“The central location on Baxter’s Place and proximity to Waverley Station and the tram and bus links to Edinburgh Airport make the hotel ideal for business travellers as well as tourists. There is an array of attractions right on our doorstep, so perfect for those who want to soak up all the history and culture the capital has to offer.
“This is the first hotel opening I’ve had the opportunity to oversee and signals the start of a exciting and challenging journey. My first task will, of course, be to find the team that will offer our guests fantastic service, and I look forward to the recruitment drive getting under way soon.”
Stewart Campbell, managing director at Redefine|BDL Hotels, said: “It’s a landmark moment for Redefine|BDL Hotels as we embark on our first ever partnership with Marriott and add a fourth Edinburgh property to our growing portfolio.
“Douglas is an exceptionally experienced hotelier with a fantastic background, and I’m pleased that we’ve been able to tempt him back to the capital, and to the helm of what promises to be a fantastic new hotel. Sarah’s appointment to director of sales is also quite a coup.
“It’s a proud moment as we see the team grow, creating new jobs within the local area. I’m sure Douglas and Sarah will be joined by a number of talented individuals as the property gets ready to open later in the year.”