All eyes are on the Scottish capital as the Festival comes to town this month. It is a destination with a thoroughly deserved reputation as one of the most beautiful and fascinating cities in the world, and when it comes to staying in style, you’re spoilt for choice
An Edinburgh landmark for over a century, this Rocco Forte hotel is considered to be one of the great railway hotels, and boasts an unparalleled address on Princes Street. Attentive yet discreet service, 187 contemporary rooms and opulent suites, an AA 4 Rosette restaurant and a lavish spa are all on offer here – little surprise that The Balmoral was named 2022-23 AA Hotel of The Year Scotland. It celebrated its 120th anniversary last autumn; first known as the North British Station Hotel, it opened its doors in 1902, attracting notable guests to the city such as Laurel and Hardy, Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor. And the influential guests keep coming. Don’t miss the irresistible – and award-winning – afternoon teas, served in the hotel’s striking Palm Court. Or, for a real taste of Scotland, whisky-lovers can choose from over 500 bottles in the atmospheric Scotch Bar. In Gaelic, the word “balmoral” translates to “majestic dwelling”, and it’s a moniker that couldn’t be more fitting.
The original Gleneagles, located in rural Perthshire, is the stuff of legend, so news that the iconic sporting and country estate was going to open its first ever city outpost on St Andrew Square in 2021 was met with great excitement. A luxurious haven in the city, Gleneagles Townhouse is located in the heart of Edinburgh, a stone’s throw from Waverley Station. Ostensibly an exclusive members’ club offering a host of brilliant benefits, it is also home to 33 boutique bedrooms open to non members. And they certainly match up to the standards set by its country cousin – each is uniquely designed to celebrate the heritage of the building (the former Bank of Scotland headquarters) while offering serious comfort. Think characterful wooden floors, luxurious fabrics, antique rugs and comfy king-sized beds. A vibrant all-day restaurant provides the perfect spot for breakfasts, long lazy lunches and spirited dinners, and there are two striking bars, including a rooftop terrace where guests can enjoy extraordinary views over the city. There’s even a chic gym and wellness studio, The Strong Rooms, housed in the original bank vault at the heart of the Townhouse.
Edinburgh’s most atmospheric dining destination also boasts nine theatrical and lavishly decorated suites, each unique, and fabulously original. Nestled in an enviable position by the castle gates in the heart of medieval Edinburgh, The Witchery – sister property to nearby Prestonfield House – is set in a collection of historic buildings dating back to 1595 and steeped in Scottish history. From Gothic glamour to rooftop views, whichever suite guests choose here they are assured intimate, indulgent luxury. Think gorgeous antique furniture, sumptuous sort furnishings, a roll top bath for two and original oak panelling, lit by flickering candlelight. In The Vestry, reached via a flight of stone turret stairs, you’ll find silk upholstered walls and a dramatic, draped bed, while the Gothic Library suite features book-lined walls concealing a secret door – the ultimate romantic hideaway. Though each suite plays on the history of the setting, they are all equipped with the finest modern comforts – think Dyson hairdryers, GHD straighteners and Nespresso coffee machines. And of course, dining comes courtesy of the gorgeous restaurant – now in its fifth decade it is rightly renowned as an Edinburgh institution.