The chief executive of Ireland’s Dalata Hotel Group, which recently bought a building in St Andrew Square for its first property in Edinburgh, has highlighted an appetite to open further hotels in the Scottish capital.

Dermot Crowley drew a parallel with Manchester where Dalata will, following the opening of a fourth hotel next year, have around 1,200 bedrooms.

In an exclusive interview with The Herald, Mr Crowley said: “There is no reason in time we wouldn’t have similar in Edinburgh but we wouldn’t do it all in one go.”

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He signalled Dalata’s willingness to look at one further hotel opportunity in Edinburgh with immediate effect, should it arise.

Mr Crowley said: “If another opportunity came up tomorrow for a hotel in Edinburgh we would obviously look at it. [We] won’t look at three or four at [once].”



He added: “Edinburgh has been, in the UK, probably in the last two years now our number one target. We would still like to get more hotels in the city as well.”

The chief executive noted that, with the office market in the Scottish capital having “quietened down quite a bit”, Dalata was “definitely seeing more opportunities”.

Mr Crowley declared: “We like having a number of hotels in the bigger cities.”

He emphasised that Dalata’s interest remained in opportunities in Edinburgh city centre.

Asked if Dalata was in discussions about other opportunities in Edinburgh, he replied: “We are always actively looking in Edinburgh. The beauty of Edinburgh is that the city has been protected really well. There is far more heritage in Edinburgh than there is in most other cities. That makes it more difficult to secure opportunities in the city [compared with] others.”

He flagged greater opportunity to find suitable properties in Edinburgh with the move to hybrid and home working. Mr Crowley voiced his belief that it was likely that the building Dalata has bought in St Andrew Square would in the past have been used again for offices, rather than becoming available for a hotel development.

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Dalata has in recent times opened two hotels in Glasgow, under the Clayton and Maldron brands.

Mr Crowley signalled the possibility of opening a further hotel in Glasgow, although not immediately.

He said: “Again, in time, we could look at a third hotel there but not in the short term.”

Mr Crowley added that the group’s two hotels in Glasgow had “opened stronger than we thought they would”.

Dalata currently has a total workforce of 148 in Scotland, at its two Glasgow properties, comprising 91 staff at the Clayton Hotel and 57 employees at the Maldron Hotel.

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It expects to create between 60 and 80 jobs with the opening of its planned 153-bedroom Clayton Hotel in St Andrew Square, details of which it announced in early October.

Dalata acquired the development site at 28 St Andrew Square for £12.5 million from Aviva Life & Pensions UK Limited.

Mr Crowley said: “In St Andrew Square, what we are really excited about - first of all, it is really close to the railway station which we always like, it is easy access. It is close to the retail centre. It is in walking distance to the finance element of it.”

He observed that what had changed in looking for hotel sites in cities like Edinburgh in recent times was that buildings that were used for offices were “becoming available for alternative use”.

Mr Crowley added: “That has made it more attainable. Before Covid, before hybrid working and working from home, that [St Andrew Square property] would have been repurposed as an office building, in reality. That is an advantage for us.”

Dalata, which has been expanding its presence in the UK and continental Europe, put the overall investment in the St Andrew Square hotel project, including the site purchase, at around £48m. The new hotel is expected to be completed by mid-2026.

Mr Crowley had highlighted ambitions to expand into Edinburgh city centre in an exclusive interview with The Herald in November last year but at that time flagged great challenges in finding a site.

This interview coincided with the official launch of the 303-bedroom Clayton Hotel Glasgow City in the A-listed former Custom House building on the River Clyde.

This launch followed the opening of the 300-bedroom Maldron Hotel Glasgow City, on Renfrew Street, in 2021.

Commenting on the trading performance of the two Glasgow hotels in 2023, Mr Crowley cited “issues with the train lines and work on the network” at the start of the year.

He added: “The first two months [of the year] in Glasgow were challenging but the rest of the year has been really strong.”

Mr Crowley cited a boost from the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships held in Glasgow in August.

He said: “Glasgow has traded really well for us as a city.”