Travelodge’s welcome U-turn on Galashiels hotel bid

B&M Bargains in Stirling Street Galashiels.
B&M Bargains in Stirling Street Galashiels.

Hotel giant Travelodge revealed yesterday that it is looking for a site in Galashiels to open its first hotel in the Borders.

At the opening of a new hotel in Peterhead, the hotel chain announced that Scotland remains a key growth area and said it was looking for 21 new sites across the country.

Craig Bonnar, Travelodge’s chief operating officer, said: “The value hotel market continues to go from strength to strength in Scotland, boosted by ever more cost-conscious businesses looking to reduce travel costs and the growth in independent leisure travel.

“To meet this growing demand, we have started the search to find 21 suitable sites across Scotland, where we can build a new Travelodge hotel.

“This includes Galashiels, which is particularly exciting as we could make history by being the town’s first branded hotel.”

In 2014, when Premier Inn was mooted as a possible hotel to take over the empty Burgh Yard site, a Travelodge spokesman told us he could guarantee “100%” that the company was not interested in Galashiels.

But this latest turnaround has been welcomed by Scottish Borders Council.

A council spokesman said: “The announcement by Travelodge is a welcome one and is another indication of the economic opportunities being presented to the area by the Borders Railway.

“Travelodge’s plans follow a series of other positive job announcements for the Borders as well as the best tourism figures on mainland Scotland for the first six months of 2016.

“Subject to planning permission, this development would enhance the facilities in Galashiels for visitors and create jobs for the local community.”

Earlier this month, it was revealed that a proposal to create a hotel, restaurants and housing at the former Burgh Yard in Galashiels will now be taken forward after the site was sold to Ramoyle Developments Limited by SBC, with the Stirling-based firm expected to submit a planning application for the former Burgh Yard later this year.

Travelodge’s new breed of hotels feature the next generation of the company’s ‘Travelodgical’ contemporary room design.

Together with the Travelodge Dreamer bed, this now includes new bedside USB charging points, new softer LED ceiling lighting, giving the room a warmer feel and Samsung 32-inch digital televisions.

Other Travelodge target towns without a current branded hotel include Ardrossan, Aviemore, Kirkwall, Limerick and Pitlochry.