Edinburgh’s St James ‘ribbon’ hotel recommended for refusal

ribbon hotel Edinburgh St James1Planning officials have urged councillors to reject plans for the ‘ribbon’ hotel at the heart of Edinburgh’s St James Centre £850 million redevelopment, insisting the unusual building could “damage” the city’s skyline.

The Jestico + Whiles designed plan is due to go before the City of Edinburgh Council planning committee next week.

The striking design is seen as key to the wider success of the St James development in order to attract a five-star hotel operator and high-end retailers to neighbouring new shop units.

However, Edinburgh Evening News has reported that planners insisted the luxury hotel would have an adverse impact on the surrounding listed buildings and harm Edinburgh’s status as a World Heritage Site.

Designs for the 210-room, 12-storey project were submitted in April after London based architects Jestico + Whiles were appointed by TH Real Estate to create a ‘landmark’ build for the St James mall revamp.

The hotel is shown to have a bulbous building wrapped in ribbons of bronze cladding and would include a rooftop bar with panoramic views. Luxury apartments, 30 restaurants and a cinema are also proposed for the site, with completion expected in 2020.

Planning officials say the hotel will be wider and 20 metres taller than initially proposed, and will block key views of the city.

Doubts have also been raised about the bronze coloured, stainless steel coating, which it is feared could be “too shiny and reflective”.

Martin Perry of TH Real Estate expressed disappointment at the comments.

“We believe the elegant design fully responds to the original council brief to enhance the city’s skyline and create something never seen in Edinburgh before – unparalleled 360-degree views of the city,” he said.

The wider redevelopment of the St James Centre was approved in July, despite criticism over the use of limestone cladding rather than traditional New Town sandstone.

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