Best Hotels In Edinburgh
Let’s face it, they don’t make hotels like Prestonfield anymore. Not usually. It’s romantic, it’s opulent and it’s shamelessly seductive. The mansion, in a quiet location, gives no hint of what lies inside. Minimalism be damned. There are swags and columns, brocades and velvets, rich colours and intimate corners. Bedrooms are better described as boudoirs, where velvet, silk and antiques mix with high-tech playthings, and surfaces are scattered with flowers, fruit and candles. Suites are even more lavish: a Gothic day bed, a velvet-hung four-poster, silk toile wallpaper, a silver chariot bath. The two oval-shaped dining rooms become a candlelit Gothic fantasy at night, and the food and the hotel’s impressive wine cellar live up to the ambience. Staff are relaxed and friendly, and will track you down in whatever intimate sitting room (there are at least four) you are curled up in. And, once you manage to uncurl, Edinburgh awaits. Doubles from £355.
George Street was built in the 18th century as the showpiece street for New Town, and this grand city hotel certainly lives up to the road’s prestigious history. While the pillared entrance hall feels palatial, the rooms are anything but austere, with softly glowing glass pendants by the bedside, Bute blankets in tasteful grey at the foot of the bed and a soft colour palette taken from 19th-century Scottish landscape paintings. Downstairs is The Printing Press Bar & Kitchen, once home to novelist Susan Ferrier and John Oliphant, whose decendents founded one of Scotland’s most famous publishing houses. It is here you’ll find the finest Stornoway black pudding at breakfast and Tweed Valley Scotch beef cooked at night. This isn’t the sort of place you forget which city you are in once through the front door, this hotel has a true sense of itself – even the guest services team wear kilts. Doubles from £189.
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.
Walk the length of George Street in downtown Edinburgh from the recently renovated Principal Edinburgh George Street, and you will reach another grand hotel sporting a new look. The people behind this masterful revamp are new brand on the block, Principal, who pride themselves on reviving heritage hotels. Ultra-modern facilities lie behind The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square’s Georgian façade and all 199 bedrooms and suites have been given a chic new look. On the ground floor, the restaurant and bar have been completely refurbished. Some things never change, though, like the prestigious address. It is said that the story of Charlotte Square – a fundamental feature of Edinburgh’s New Town – is the story of the rebirth of the city. How apt then, that one of the city’s oldest hotels should be given a new lease of life. Doubles from £209.