The first insight into the new brand of urban lifestyle hotels being created by the Starwood Capital Group has been provided with the opening of two food and beverage outlets at the George hotel in Edinburgh.
Burr & Co, a coffee shop, opened on Monday, followed by the launch yesterday of the Printing Press Bar & Kitchen. Both are being overseen by chef-restaurateur Des McDonald, who is also involved in the creation of three food and beverage outlets - due to open over the next two months - at the Royal York hotel in York.
The George and Royal York hotels are the first two of around 10 city centre properties which are being transformed by Starwood Capital at a cost of more than £100m to create an as-yet-un-named brand. Further hotels to join the group will include the Palace hotel, Manchester; Roxburgh, Edinburgh; and Russell hotel, London.
David Taylor, chief operating officer of the brand, said that the launches in Edinburgh and York, in conjunction with McDonald, will give hotel guests and local customers a sense of the character and design across the food and beverage offering within the group.
"We are trying to create destination bars and restaurants within iconic hotels across a number of great cities. This will not be a cookie cutty brand - all the hotels and the restaurants and bars within them will have their own design and identity, with menus reflecting local produce and dishes."
While Burr & Co features a house blend of coffee called George Street, created by Caravan of King's Cross; dishes on the all-day menu at the Printing Press includes a starter of Perthshire wood pigeon with heritage beetroot and hazelnut crowdie (£8), mince and tatties (£12) and marmalade steamed pudding with Drambuie custard (£5.50).
Head chef Colin Fleming, who has previously worked at the Old Court hotel in St Andrews and Restaurant Martin Wishart in Edinburgh, has worked alongside McDonald to create the dishes. The restaurant and coffee shop mark the first projects outside London for McDonald, who runs Holborn Dining Room, Vintage Salt and a pop-up restaurant on the rooftop of Selfridges in the capital.
"We set out with a clear vision to create a warm, distinctive restaurant and bar in the heart of Edinburgh's New Town that nods to the heritage of the building and the city itself," said McDonald. "We've worked with some of the most reputable suppliers in Scotland, as well as talented designers and contractors to bring this new restaurant experience to Edinburgh's dining scene."
Housed in a Georgian townhouse, the 180-seat Printing Press pays homage to Edinburgh's rich literary heritage with its interior, featuring vintage typewriters and classic Scottish novels, created by in-house design director Sara Cosgrove, architects Goddard Littlefair and McDonald.
The food and beverage outlets set to open at the Royal York hotel include the Chapter House bar and Refectory Kitchen & Terrace, both developed by McDonald, together with the all-day dining space the Garden Room, where afternoon tea is expected to become a speciality. Menus will include Yorkshire Dales lamb, Whitby cod, Yorkshire cheeses and stem ginger parkin.
Executive chef Nick Evans is heading the day-to-day kitchen team at the Royal York, where the 126-seat Refectory and Chapter House bar are being designed by Michaelis Boyd, whose clients include the Groucho Club and Soho House & Co.
The refurbishment of the all the public areas and bedrooms at the George and Royal York hotels will be completed next year. Extra suites are being created in both hotels, resulting in the bedroom count at the George dropping from 249 to 240 and at the Royal York from 167 to 159.