A NEW £350 million hotel that will also include a “hotel school” in Edinburgh has been approved.

Planners have backed the Edinburgh International Conference Centre’s pioneering development which is said to be one of the first of its kind in the UK.

M&G Real Estate is funding the Haymarket hotel which will be developed by QMile Group, with the completed premises being operated by EICC under a franchise agreement with Hyatt Hotels Corporation.

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The 365-bedroom, four-star hotel, described as the city’s biggest, will address demand issues for the EICC - which has hosted almost 1.5 million conference delegates at the centre since opening in 1995 - while it is claimed the hotel school will also help address recruitment challenges faced by the hospitality industry in Scotland.

The hotel would benefit from a significant number of rooms being channelled to it via the EICC, and the availability of a hotel under the control of the EICC will reduce the amount of business that has been historically lost because conference organisers cannot secure a sufficient number of rooms for their delegates.

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The hotel school would operate a number of programmes at different academic levels, with the EICC envisaging that through interacting with different academic institutions it could run courses from NVQ level through to undergraduate and postgraduate degree curriculums.

Marshall Dallas, chief executive of the EICC, said the move would help close the hospitality skills gap, and added: “The hotel and hotel school will take our fantastic venue to the next level on UK and international terms.”

Audrey Cumberford, of Edinburgh College which recently signed up as the college partner to the hotel school, said: “The hotel training academy creates a unique opportunity to lead on the delivery of future skills in the sector via a new model for industry-education collaboration and delivery.”