Project background

The Balmoral Hotel is a prestigious Category B listed building, originally opened in 1902 and located between Waverley Station and Princes Street in Edinburgh’s city centre. Acies, appointed by Rocco Forte Hotels in 2016, provided structural engineering services for upgrading and refurbishing several bedrooms and public areas. Our contract involved conducting work in three phases over three consecutive years. As part of the phase 2 scope, an extensive refurbishment project upgraded the ground floor restaurant.

Acies projects - Balmoral Hotel - featured

Our involvement

Structural works included initial investigations to confirm original structural arrangements in lieu of any archive information, given the age of the building. Design work included several large openings in load-bearing masonry walls to create open spaces in the restaurant, as well as new access routes to the area. Support structures to support kitchen equipment were designed and openings in external walls were created for new service routes as required. We also reviewed and approved propping schemes as required for the removal of load-bearing masonry walls.

How did we do it?

The new interiors within the restaurant were designed by Martin Brudnizki with Olga Polizzi, Rocco Forte Hotels’ director of building and design, incorporating materials synonymous with Scotland, such as timber, soft leather and wool, and including a variety of seating options to further add to a feeling of warmth and comfort for diners. We collaborated with the design team to facilitate the desired layout for the restaurant within the confines of the historic structure.

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What challenges did we face or help to resolve?

Limited record drawings meant that there were no detailed drawings for large portions of the structure of the hotel, and the only access to the site was via the busy North Bridge, which forms part of a main north–south route through the city. While these both presented challenges, the biggest challenge was that the hotel was required to remain open and operational throughout the works, meaning noise and access during the construction works had to be strictly controlled.

How did we resolve those challenges?

We worked on the Balmoral Hotel for a number of years, and during that time we built up a detailed knowledge of the structure. This knowledge combined with our close working relationship with both the hotel’s facilities management team and the contractor meant that we were able to develop design approaches that minimised noise and disruption and utilised materials and components that could be delivered through the double doors from North Bridge.

What impact did the work we did give our client?

Our work on the restaurant and the other upgrade works to the hotel have helped maintain the Balmoral Hotel as one of Edinburgh’s premier five-star luxury hotels.

Acies projects - Balmoral Hotel - Image 2 - pool