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Your Shout: Peter Tyrie, Eton Group

06 August 2004
Your Shout: Peter Tyrie, Eton Group

The hotel industry should be stepping in to save scores of the UK's dilapidated historical buildings.

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The BBC TV series Restoration is currently highlighting the plight of historic properties that have fallen into disrepair, many of which would make ideal upmarket hotels if they underwent sympathetic redevelopments. The winner of last year's Restoration series, the Victoria Baths in Manchester - a glorious Turkish-style swimming pool with many Victorian features still intact - would be an ideal candidate. There appear to be dozens of fascinating buildings that could become the most wonderful hotels. The most striking properties are always the most original ones, with history and heritage. Guests love to stay in buildings that have had a previous life, and hotel companies are missing a trick by ignoring so many of these interesting properties. Too many hotel groups like to follow a strict formula, with a predefined number of bedrooms and standard facilities. When you take on a historic building, you have to incorporate the existing features that will one day make the property attractive to guests. Bedrooms and facilities must be built around original features that have to be preserved - and that takes time, money and expertise. At Eton Group, four of our hotels are in buildings steeped with history and heritage. Our latest hotel, the Glasshouse in Edinburgh, has the Gothic fa‡ade of a church incorporated into its ultra-modern design. The beauty of hotel developments in historic buildings is that they give the buildings a new lease of life while ensuring they remain part of the local community by providing employment and attracting people to the area. It is much better than turning them into office blocks, apartments or museums. The hotel option can help keep the building alive. [www.theetongroup.com
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