James Thomson’s Gothic conversion of this 16th-century building is as darkly mysterious and thrillingly exotic as Prestonfield House, his other hotel. At the top of Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile, it’s named after the hundreds of witches that were burned nearby. You enter through an ancient close into a flamboyantly theatrical world, where ceilings are richly gilded and painted, walls are hung with tapestries or panelled in oak, and rooms are decorated in jewel-like colours with swathes of velvet. Its nine suites are vast, sumptuous and wickedly romantic, furnished with four-posters or extravagantly curtained beds, antiques and oil paintings. A celebrity haunt, the Witchery restaurant not only looks magical, with its red leather seats, panelling and candlelight, but showcases the best produce Scotland has to offer. The Angus beef steak tartare is legendary. In summer, there’s al fresco dining on the private terrace of the hotel’s other restaurant, The Secret Garden. Doubles from £345.
Name to Know: Thomas Lowthian, the merchant for whom the building was built in 1595. You’ll still find his initials and motto above the entrance.
See: Go for a wander around Edinburgh’s historic Old Town.
Eat: Enjoy the classics at the Witchery restaurant. If you don’t fancy the legendary tartare, try the Dover sole.
Buy: Head to the rooftop Tower Restaurant for an afternoon tea with a view.
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