Edinburgh institution is ready to defend its turf against the newcomers
THE recent, £1 million refurbishment of Le Monde in Edinburgh signified a fresh start for more than just the venue itself.
The four-storey, 18-bedroom hotel first opened its doors in 2006. In 2015 it was bought by Glendola Leisure, owner of venues including Alston Bar & Beef and Shilling Brewing Co in Glasgow and Frankenstein in Edinburgh.
The George Street venue has three distinct propositions, operating simultaneously as a hotel, two bar and restaurant spaces and with the Shanghai nightclub in the basement.
All three are long-established in the city but with competition on George Street strong, and neighbouring St Andrew Square hosting a growing number of new venues, Glendola decided it was time for a refresh.
Le Monde closed for several months earlier in the year, while the ground floor bar and restaurant areas were extensively refurbished.
A new Champagne bar, developed in partnership with Champagne house Laurent Perrier, was installed, while the main bar area was redesigned as a bright, airy space that showcases the building’s Georgian architecture.
In addition to the interiors, the venue’s team of more than a hundred staff was also refreshed, starting with the recruitment of new general manager Darren Scott.
Scott, appointed at the beginning of the refurb, is a Glasgow trade veteran, having run venues including Metropolitan and wine bar Boudoir, which he founded and ran for several years before selling the business.
Most recently he worked in an operations role for G1 Group, where he oversaw several of the company’s units.
“I was looking for something a bit different and then I got a call about this,” said Scott.
“It seemed like a fresh challenge and a change of scene.”
One of his first tasks was working with the group’s development chef on the creation of Le Monde’s new menus, which revolve around the theme of small-plate dining.
Then it was on to the venue’s drinks offer.
“There was no point in having a certain style, an architectural design and then the menu not fitting it, or the drinks policy not fitting it,” said Scott.
A cocktail list developed with consultancy the Gorgeous Group takes inspiration from international travel, while on the wine side Scott drew on his Boudoir experience to create a list of more than 40 wines, in addition to the Laurent Perrier Champagnes. The draught selection includes Heineken, Birra Moretti and Camden Pale as well as local lager Paolozzi.
And with both the food and drinks offers it was important to cater to a broad church.
“The clientele doesn’t just vary through the week, it varies through the day,” said Scott.
“The hotel’s got a significant corporate market midweek, progressing to more weekend breaks and getaways.
“And then you look at the nightclub and mid-twenties to mid-thirties would be the core demographic down there.
“Our demographic in our Champagne bar and restaurant varies. It’s open from 8am till 1am, seven days a week. So we do a lot of breakfasts, and not just from our hotel. It’s an area we’ve tripled since the refurb. And then that progresses into coffees, meetings, more of a relaxing lounge feel.
“Then at midday we open up the main bar and restaurant.”
And this year’s redevelopment was just the beginning.
The new year will see the first of the hotel’s bedrooms refurbished – a rolling project which will see several rooms refurbed every year.
The club will also have its VIP rooms refreshed.
Scott said that, with so much competition in the area, the goal of the team at Le Monde is “reminding people who we are and what we can do”.