Peter Taylor is the founder and chairman of the Town House Collection, which operates luxury hotels in Scotland. The group launched Blythswood Square last month, its first hotel in Glasgow, and the epitome of green luxury. Taylor spoke to Janet Harmer
Caterer What are the chief attractions of Blythswood Square?
Peter Taylor Housed in an 1823 landmark building, which was once home to the Royal Scottish Automobile Club, the hotel plays homage to its original architectural features with some contemporary twists. The interior by local design agency Graven Images is understated, with every item of furniture bespoke. The 100 bedrooms include six spacious suites with a top floor penthouse. There is also a restaurant, bars, a private screening room and Glasgow's first destination spa, which will open in February.
Caterer Can Glasgow support a hotel like Blythswood Square, with its five-star ambitions?
PT Absolutely. The city is well served by large corporate hotels, but there is a big gap for individual, luxury properties at the top end of the market. Blythswood is in a fantastic location just off the city centre overlooking the only green space left in Glasgow. It is already proving to be a big draw for independently minded people and celebrities who don't want to stay within a corporate environment.
Caterer What are its chief green initiatives?
PT We have dug nine 100m boreholes underneath the hotel for ground source heat pumps to provide the bulk of hot and cold water, installed highly efficient micro double glazing, a water conservation system to harvest rainwater, and a very sophisticated building management system. As a result, we have been able to reduce the hotel's carbon emissions by more than 43%.
Caterer Why are the green credentials so important?
PT We are passionate about doing our bit for the environment and the financial savings in the long term are huge. There is also no question that for the discerning guest, looking after the world's resources is very much a conscious issue. Some people question whether there can be such a thing as green luxury, but we believe there can. We aim in a very subtle way to encourage guests to think about the environment when they select a fresh towel or a new bottle of shampoo.
Caterer What does the future hold for the Town House Collection?
PT We've always taken one step at a time and since opening our first hotel, Channings, in 1990, have always consolidated before moving. We have looked at Aberdeen, but have no concrete plans for going there at present. The most important thing is finding the right building.
Caterer Are you concerned about opening such a prestigious hotel in a recession?
PT No, I'm genuinely very confident and believe Glasgow will fly. Opening now is, in fact, a good time as business can only improve.