Apex Hotels is an Edinburgh –based company that operates a collection of contemporary four-star city-centre hotels, mostly in Edinburgh and London. The privately-owned company was founded by Edinburgh entrepreneur Norman Springford and other family members in 1996
The new-build or converted hotels offer conference, spa and fitness facilities to target both the corporate and the leisure market. Its brands include the Metro bar, brasserie or restaurant and the Yu Spa, an holistic Japanese-style programme of water treatments allied with Technogyms. The hotels are known for their relaxed but stylish settings, limited-edition artwork in the bedrooms, public areas and meeting rooms, and for their attention to detail and customer service.
Apex was originally conceived as a three-star economy chain catering for tour groups and the leisure market but Springford quickly perceived a niche in the Edinburgh market for design-led four-star hotels that would attract a more consistent year-round clientele from both the corporate and the short-break sectors. This led to a £1.2m redesign of its first hotel, the Apex International in Edinburgh, followed by a £750,000 revamp of the Apex European (also in Edinburgh) in 2001.
The group is credited with rejuvenating the Scottish hotel scene but a move into London was a long-cherished dream for Springford, who swept south with a property near Tower Bridge in 2005 as soon as falling prices opened up the market. “We have always fancied London but we could never afford it,” he told Caterer and Hotelkeeper in 2004.
All Apex properties were originally company owned except for the Apex Temple Court in London. To fund expansion, the group completed a £54m sale-and-leaseback deal on the Apex International and Apex City in Edinburgh during 2006. In 2013, the group entered ground rent lease transactions on four more properties - Apex Waterloo, Apex City of London, Apex European and Apex City Quay – that would allow it to operate the hotels for 150 years, with an option to buy each back for £1 after that time.
A former Inland Revenue employee and self-employed accountant from 1970, Springford built up a number of businesses in and around Edinburgh after buying his first pub in 1971. His Arrow Leisure business grew to a portfolio of 25 units (including a hotel, sports club and bingo business) which he sold in 1977. During the mid-1980s, Springford owned Britain’s largest theatre, the 3,124 seat Edinburgh Playhouse.
Total number of hotels 8
Total number of bedrooms More than 1,143
Employees More than 700
Apex City of London, Seething Lane near Tower Hill
Apex London Wall, Copthall Avenue near Moorgate
Apex Temple Inn, Serjeants’ Inn, Fleet Street
Apex International , Grassmarket
Apex City, Grassmarket
Apex European, Haymarket
Apex Waterloo Place, Princes Street
Apex City Quay
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