Proposals Submitted for Former Royal High School

We are delighted to have now formally submitted our design proposals for a new, world-class hotel to be built on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill at the former Royal High School. This follows a comprehensive pre-planning consultation process, carried out over the last 18 months, during which we have engaged with the public and a range of stakeholders, taken on-board comments received and, as a result, fundamentally altered our designs for the better.

The proposals focus on a careful restoration of the central Thomas Hamilton-designed building, repairing its decaying fabric and maintaining the strong sculptural presence of its frontage without intervention. The existing building will be entirely given over to the public areas of the new hotel allowing its spaces to be fully opened to the public for the first time in the building’s history. Set away from the original building are two new wings containing the hotel’s bedrooms. Their organic shape with landscaped terraces and undulating copper façade, inspired by the layered volcanic landscape of both Calton Hill and nearby Salisbury Crags, are a positive response to the unique topography of the area and provide the former school building with a setting befitting its heritage status. The proposals will not only restore and sustain the category A listed Hamilton building but, along with other initiatives such as Collective Gallery within the Observatory, should also be a catalyst for change that allows Calton Hill to once again become an active and vibrant destination within Scotland’s capital city.

The project’s developers, Duddingston House Properties and Urbanist Hotels have also announced that one of the world’s most respected hotel brands, Rosewood Hotels and Resorts®, has been selected to manage the Calton Hill property. The company currently manages 18 properties in 11 countries including historic hotels such as The Carlyle in New York and Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco in Tuscany as well as contemporary classics such as the award-winning Rosewood London. Rosewood has extensive experience of restoring and transforming historic buildings, many of which are listed or are located in World Heritage Sites.