£11.5m Boutique hotel for finance district

10 Dec 2009

By Gordon Thomson, The Evening Times

A new boutique hotel is planned for the site of Glasgow's first ever power station. Hotel Indigo will cost £11.5 million, employ 70 staff and be situated in a converted Victorian block in the heart of the city's financial services district. It is to be run by the man behind the La Bonne Auberge restaurant chain.

The listed property was originally owned by the Glasgow Corporation Electricity Company. In the 1890s, the city's first power plant was run from the building, which also had a giant chimney.

Latterly, it was used as the headquarters of Scots telecoms group Thus, which was bought over last year by rival Cable & Wireless.

Today workmen are busy converting the four-storey building in Waterloo Street into a swanky hotel with 96 bedrooms. Guests are expected to be mainly business travellers.

Other attractions include high-speed internet access in each room, and oversized beds and pillows. The hotel will be owned by the InterContinental Group, which already operates seven hotels across the city: the Crowne Plaza, three Holiday Inns and three Holiday Inn Express establishments. The group employs 2180 people throughout Scotland.

Hotel Indigo is the group's latest chain, and another is to open shortly on Merseyside.

Kirk Kinsell, InterContinental's president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: "All Hotel Indigo properties are unique and designed specifically to reflect their location. Glasgow and Liverpool are exciting, vibrant cities and thriving tourist and business destinations that are a great match for the Hotel Indigo brand. We look forward to signing more Hotel Indigo properties in cities across Europe."

Glasgow's new boutique hotel is scheduled to open next summer and will operate as a franchise. It will be run by city-based Chardon Management, which is one of the UK's leading independent hotel management contract companies and whose boss also runs the Bonne Auberge.

Chardon currently manages 16 hotels and chief executive Maurice Taylor commented: "The new Hotel Indigo Glasgow is set to be a fantastic property. The building will retain its original character while the design reflects the contemporary, individual style that guests expect from a boutique hotel."

He added: "The heart of the city's new financial district is the perfect location to build a Hotel Indigo Glasgow, which will particularly appeal to business travellers, whilst its proximity to the river will also attract leisure guests.

"The property in Glasgow is a beautiful and historic building with loads of original features. We will be preserving the original coat of arms and plasterwork that dates back to the late 1800s for guests to enjoy.

"Plans are still being finalised but I am keen to use the restaurant to expand my well known French restaurant chain La Bonne Auberge. I'm thinking about giving it a twist and calling it La Bonne Auberge Legere."

But the new hotel comes with a hefty price tag. ScottishPower agreed to sell the historic building for £3.5m, while another £11.5m was raised to meet the cost of the conversion.

Reproduced with the permission of the Herald & Times Group.

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  • Indigo Hotel