Focus Hotels expands portfolio in Scotland

Posted in Future, News on 19 July, 2017

Focus Hotels Management Ltd, in partnership with InterContinental Hotels Group and developers Percor Capital, has announced the development of two new hotels at a historic site in Dundee.

The impressive refurbishment project will see the Bell Mill and North Mill at the disused former Baxter Brothers jute mill complex off Constable Street transformed into two modern hotels.

Hotel Indigo® Dundee, comprising 102 guest rooms and the 85 guest room Staybridge Suites® Dundee will open in 2018.

Both hotels are only a short distance from the city centre, just a five-minute walk from the Wellgate Shopping Centre and Waterfront development, and offer easy access to the motorway network north or south via the A90 and A92.

The hotels will form a key part of the Dundee Waterfront regeneration initiative which is driving forward the city’s economic revival. Its flagship is the new V&A Museum of Design Dundee, the first design museum to be built in the UK outside London. Opening in 2018, the museum will showcase Scotland’s rich design heritage as well as bringing V&A exhibitions to Scotland.

The boutique Hotel Indigo will provide a mixture of standard and executive rooms and suites, with large beds, elegant colours, bathrooms with underfloor heating, smart TVs and fully air-conditioned rooms, making it a perfect choice for guests staying for business or leisure.

Designed to preserve the rich history of the site, many of the hotel’s public areas will highlight the site’s former use as a significant jute mill, while also paying homage to some other key themes Dundee is famed for; marmalade, games, fresh produce and the press. A games section will be available for guests to enjoy along with a cosy meeting area called ‘The Den’, a fully-equipped gym, a bar and a restaurant.

Staybridge Suites will offer a range of serviced studios and one-bedroom apartments with full kitchen facilities, including a fridge, oven, dishwasher and all necessary utensils. Like the Indigo, the fully air-conditioned rooms will be furnished to suit both business and leisure guests, with high-quality beds, large desks, strong Wi-Fi coverage and plenty of space to feel comfortable.

There will also be a breakfast area, a small retail complex, a spacious lounge, a laundry room and a meeting area.

The hotels are being created as part of an extensive redevelopment of the former home of one of Dundee’s largest linen dynasties, which began when William Baxter, in partnership with his eldest son Edward, built his first spinning mill on the Dens Burn in 1822. The company expanded to become one of the world’s largest linen manufacturers, employing as many as 5,000 people in the 1870s.

Baxter Brothers and Co was incorporated as a private limited company in 1892 and in 1924 became part of the Low & Bonar group, for whom the firm continued trading as a manufacturing unit until the site closed in 1978.

The architectural legacy of the area is being faithfully restored throughout the restoration project, with the developers working in close partnership with Historic Scotland. One of the bell towers is a listed building that was modelled on the beautiful Santa Maria della Salute in Venice.

Peter Cashman, Chief Executive Officer of Focus Hotels Management Ltd, said: “This exciting refurbishment project will bring much-needed investment into the east end of Dundee’s city centre, and we look forward to welcoming guests from all over the UK and Europe in 2018.

“Both hotels are in an excellent location and the high-quality design, facilities and standards set to be achieved will ensure that our guests have a memorable and comfortable stay.

“With other ongoing projects in the pipeline, we are looking forward to the prospect of growing the Focus Hotels Management portfolio in Scotland.”

Andrew Shaw, Associate Director, Development, UK & Ireland, from IHG®, said: ”The UK is our biggest market within Europe, with 320 hotels and a further 30 in the pipeline. It is great to be working again with our partners Focus Hotels Management as we continue to expand our portfolio of brands to offer guests the right brand in the right place in the country.”

Rob Corlett, Director of Percor Capital, added: “We started this process in November 2013 and it is extremely pleasing to see it now come to fruition. Our aim throughout, has been to ensure that the entire site became fully used for the first time in nearly 40 years whilst maintaining the historic internal and external features of the Mill. The Indigo franchise, in particular, will work extremely well with this objective whilst also creating significant new employment within the City. Dundee City Council have been exceptionally helpful and supportive of our plans as we all strived to preserve a Grade A listed building of historical significance within the local community.”

Focus Hotels Management is a leading independent hospitality company with a UK portfolio of 16 hotels, with more than 1,500 bedrooms.

As well as operating independent hotels, including Sketchley Grange Hotel and Spa and Oxford Witney Hotel, the company also operates hotels under franchise agreements with Hilton, Accor and IHG.

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