It is always a pleasure to meet Gavin MacLennan of Lateral City Apartments, but of course part of that is just being able to soak up the view from Old Town Apartments in Advocates Close where he is based and which looks down over Princes Street (and admire the inside of the lovely self catering penthouse where we had coffee!)
Not content with running the fifty luxury self-catering apartments there and The Merchiston Residence where there are another eight, he is about take on fifty more at The Edinburgh Grand. The Former bank on St Andrew Square that is to become The Edinburgh Grand is almost ready.
Gavin would not be drawn on an exact opening date cut confirmed : “It will be Spring, but we are not announcing the exact date just yet.”
So we will all just have to be patient for a little longer before the inside of this 1940s Art Deco building is open to the public. This has been a complex renovation even for the Chris Stewart Group with all their experience of other notable buildings in the capital including the development at Advocates Close and the Marriott Courtyard just down the hill from The Edinburgh Playhouse.
But what Gavin was keen to tell us about was the company’s new way of recruiting staff. Instead of using agencies, or getting would-be concierges or housekeepers to fill out lengthy forms, they only had to register for a glass of champagne with their prospective boss himself at a recruitment event held earlier this week.
Gavin was looking forward to meeting all the applicants and then getting started with the recruitment and training process. He explained :” We try to do things differently. We don’t just want to advertise the vacancies and go the traditional interview route.
“People will of course still be interviewed, but by giving them the chance to come here and see what we already do at The Old Town Apartments and meet with all of our team and stand in the balcony and be able to see the Edinburgh Grand along with a glass of fizz and actually do it differently is what we want.
“They will meet me, Jennifer and the rest of our management team and ask us anything and we can meet them face to face. We have all kinds of jobs available, front of house as well as housekeeping staff and waiting staff for the fourth floor bar and lounge.
“We are not actually recruiting any management for this because we are all in place here and will run both properties centrally.
“Including waiting staff we are looking for about 30-40 staff. This is not run like The Balmoral so we don’t have doormen or anything like that. These are self catering apartments offering independent living and so we don’t have all of the roles you would in a hotel.
“It is only fifty apartments even though it is a much bigger building than this one and we will have restaurants and bars.”
This is a very modern way of recruiting and having gathered some initial information about potential applicants Gavin was looking forward to socialising with the possible staff first and get to know them.
So many people had emailed to Lateral City which is the management company and rather than have everyone complete lengthy application forms Gavin is sure this will be a more effective way of finding the staff they need. Nobody has time for that kind of red tape these days it seems, although all applicants had to bring a CV. And Lateral City have been in email contact with applicants which they were going to follow up with more by email especially with those who are successful.
Gavin knows they are looking for special people for the new building. He said : “The kind of people who will not be put off by having to walk in here are the kind of people we want. This is Edinburgh’s newest five star luxury but done a bit differently so we want the people who work there to reflect that. “
The reception team and a couple of housekeeping staff were also on hand so the full range of posts would be covered and applicants would have someone to talk to about all of the jobs on offer.
And he concluded :”I’m a huge fan of having a glass of champagne in my hand so I thought why not do it this way!”
I was only disappointed that he didn’t have a bottle on ice when I called round…
There will be rather special spaces in the Edinburgh Grand open to non-residents including a bar and restaurant on the 4th floor but it will become at least a temporary home to some lucky visitors to Edinburgh later this year.
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