The Eton Group launches its first hotel in Scotland next week when it opens the 65-bedroom Glasshouse in Edinburgh, but it's not without controversy.
The Glasshouse cost £7m to develop and is the company's fifth hotel. It forms part of the city's Omni leisure complex and is unique in its design. Guests enter the building through the gothic facade of the former Lady Glenorchy church, the rest of which has been demolished and the glass-walled complex built around it.
The hotel reception is on the ground floor and the bedrooms on the two top floors of the six-storey building, with the top-floor bedrooms looking across a two-acre rooftop garden. Rates start from £175 a night, without breakfast.
The Glasshouse marks a return to Edinburgh for Peter Tyrie, Eton Group's managing director, who redeveloped and managed the city's former North British hotel, now the Balmoral.
"Edinburgh is a large financial capital, and for American visitors it is the next stop after London, the Cotswolds and Bath. It is a beautiful city. The only negative is the Scottish weather."
Tyrie said that he would like to have one or two more hotels in London as well as Bristol, Oxford and Cambridge, and Barcelona and Madrid in Spain.
* The Glasshouse, 2 Greenside Place, Edinburgh EH1 3AA. Tel: 0131-525 8200.
Art - or 'saucy wallpaper'?
Peter Tyrie, managing director of the Eton Group, has taken a bold step in ensuring a stay at the Glasshouse in Edinburgh is a memorable experience.
He has adorned the walls of its 65 bedrooms with pictures of naked women, some as large as 2m tall.
The move has caused a stir among women politicians north of the border, such as Scottish Socialist Party MSP Rosie Kane, who described them as "saucy wallpaper".
In defence, Tyrie said: "These pictures are not about titillation. There is nothing explicit or risqué. It is real art, and they are really quite delightful."
The pictures are the work of Scottish photographer Trevor Yerbury. Guests of the hotel can buy copies of the pictures via brochures in each bedroom.
Eton Group hotels
Warrington Crescent, London
Opened: August 1999
Gower Street, London
Opened: September 2000
Quebec Street, Leeds
Opened: April 2002
Threadneedle Street, London
Opened: August 2002
Greenside Place, Edinburgh
Opens: June 2003
By Louise Bozec
Source: Caterer & Hotelkeeper magazine, 29 May - 4 June 2003