Kilted doorman and grand entrance make a stellar first impression
Attentive yet unfussy staff deals adroitly with everyone: celebrities, tourists and the passing public
Unfussy guestrooms give you a feel for Edinburgh’s history, plus restful ambience
What To Know
Functions and Palm Court rendezvous bring a constant flow of people
No tea or coffeemaking facilities in guestrooms — room service only
J.K. Rowling finished writing the Harry Potter series here and now has a suite named after her
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Impressive historic hotel that combines Edwardian finery with up-to-date luxury in the heart of Edinburgh
A baronial Edwardian pile opened in 1902, with gorgeous architectural details — clock tower and mini-turrets — presiding over Princes Street. Pale marble, white pillars and orchids in the lobby welcome guests with understated class and relaxed elan. Throughout the hotel old and new are combined tastefully.
Bed and Bath
Decor is unflashy and contemporary, with light walls complementing high-quality textured fabrics, including damasks and plaids. Historic prints, landscape photographs and botanical paintings further elaborate the Scots theme. There are 188 guestrooms and suites, many of which have been refurbished in stages in recent years. Expect spacious rooms with high ceilings and marble bathrooms, especially the suites. The 180-square-foot J.K. Rowling Suite, where the writer finished the Harry Potter series in 2007, has turret alcove views, her writing desk and a marble bust of Greek god Hermes.
The cavernous Palm Court retains the opulence of the Edwardian Age with refined harp music — it’s a popular spot for afternoon tea, champagne and cocktails. Choose from the chic Art Deco brasserie Hadrian’s — designed by Olga Polizzi — or the refined Michelin-starred Number One. Book ahead for a corner banquette and a tasting menu experience amid reimagined Edwardian sophistication. Next to the gym is the Balmoral Spa, which has a Finnish sauna, Turkish steam room, 15-meter pool and treatments.
In the Area
The location is a shopper’s dream. Historic department store Jenners is nearby, as are the New Town’s upscale and speciality boutiques on and around George Street and St. Andrew Square, including Harvey Nichols and quirky Hannah Zakari. For a slice of Victorian splendor and Edinburgh atmosphere, pop in for a pint at the Café Royal circle bar, and perhaps a seafood platter at the adjoining Oyster Bar restaurant. On the way to the Old Town and Royal Mile, visit the Princes Street Gardens, the National Galleries of Scotland and the National Museum of Scotland. Be adventurous and explore leafy Stockbridge along the Water of Leith for its independent shops and galleries — and herons.