Edinburgh’s hotels live up to the city’s history and sense of drama. There are hotels in historic buildings, suites stuffed with antiques, rooms designed to the hilt and views to swoon over. Some have spas attached, many have acclaimed restaurants and bars; Prestonfield House even has its own parkland. Read on to find our choice of the best hotels in Edinburgh.
Edinburgh's best hotels
With a Michelin-starred restaurant (Number One), a glamorous spa, and a landmark clock tower, this five-star Rocco Forte hotel pretty much has it all. Rooms are classically elegant (designed by Olga Polizzi) and have free wifi; the grander suites come with concierge services and special touches such as flowers and fireplaces. Further hotel amenities include the Palm Court (where afternoon tea is served), a brasserie and two bars (one devoted to whisky).
A collection of five-star suites, each one different, but all furnished with antiques and with a range of hotel services attached. There’s 24-hour room service, and in addition, each suite has a microwave and crockery; afternoon tea and drinks are available in the drawing room. Some suites have spa baths, others have views over Edinburgh castle and all have free wifi. Even though the Residence is situated in the New Town, parking is free.
Built in 2009, this is a modern five-star hotel, full of bright colours and bold fabrics, in a very central location. There are 136 rooms, all with free wifi, newspapers, Nespresso machines and rain showers; suites have been decorated by different Scottish artists and designers. The restaurant, Cucina, serves Italian dishes; there’s also a bar (Epicurean) and some treatment rooms (facials, manicures and massages).
This modern five-star hotel sits behind the 1846 façade of Lady Glenorchy Church. The interior has a clean, contemporary design; the 77 rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows with views over the city, Nespresso machines, iPod docks and newspapers. The most desirable rooms either give access to the two-acre roof garden (which has views of Calton Hill) or have balconies. A brasserie serves Scottish cuisine.
This former seaman’s mission is where it all began for the Malmaison chain of boutique hotels. It’s a grand building, situated where the Water of Leith meets the docks (ask for a harbour view when you book); inside there’s a bar and brasserie, a gym and 100 jauntily decorated rooms (all with kettles, desks and mini-bars). Parking and wifi are free.
Set in parkland just south of Arthur’s Seat, the main building here dates from 1687. Public spaces and bedrooms have ornate fixtures and fittings, and there are antiques everywhere, but contemporary comforts abound too (mood lighting, 47-inch TVs, minibars, free wifi). Rhubarb restaurant offers Scottish cuisine and afternoon tea. Peacocks and Highland cattle roam the grounds, yet the Royal Mile is less than two miles away.
Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa
A slick, modern hotel with a classy spa, just to the south of the city – Princes Street is five minutes’ walk away. Spacious, light-filled rooms have wooden floors, contemporary fittings and free wifi; some have views of the castle. There’s a restaurant and bar, but the big attraction is the One Spa, which has a swimming pool, a Hydropool, a thermal suite, a gym, and several treatment rooms.
The epitome of the design hotel, the New Town’s Tigerlily has an opulent bar and restaurant and 33 smart bedrooms. All are kitted out to four-star standard and have free wifi; the Black room has a fireplace and a wicker chair suspended from the ceiling, while the Georgian suite has a contemporary four-poster. Lulu nightclub can be found in the basement.
In the New Town, the Waldorf Astoria was originally a railway hotel (the Caledonian – the station is long gone). It was expansively refurbished in 2012, but the Edwardian heritage remains visible. Rooms are a study in understated luxury, and come with Nespresso machines and Salvatore Ferragamo toiletries; wifi is free. The two dining options are run by the Galvin brothers, plus there’s a bar, and a spa with a swimming pool.
The Witchery by the Castle
The nine gorgeous gothic suites here are housed in two buildings at the top of the Royal Mile in the Old Town. Each one is lavishly furnished with antiques, leather and velvet, not to mention tapestries and four-posters, nicely complementing the atmosphere at the associated Witchery restaurant (on the same premises). Champagne, newspapers and wifi are included in the room rate.
This hotel is impossibly central which means its Princes Street View suites look across to the Old Town skyline, Princes Street Gardens, the Scott Monument and the Castle while Waverley Station is virtually on its doorstep. Given the price of Edinburgh hotels, it's not even expensive and has great low-season bargains. That said, it's functional and slightly old-fashioned rather than stylish – it still has its fans though.
If you know Hotel du Vin then you know what to expect here: dependable comfort and style with a look pitched somewhere between a Scottish gentlemen's club and a contemporary hotel. There's a French bistro of sorts, bar, small courtyard and more. It's a winning formula, all cleverly fitted into an old building that could hardly be closer to the National Museum of Scotland, Greyfriars Kirkyard and various Fringe goings-on in August.
Once the headquarters of the Scotsman newspaper, this has been a luxury hotel since 2001. Some of the rooms and suites have incredible views while the décor and general feel befits a boutique hotel fitted into an Edwardian-era newspaper building with baronial features. It has character and it has a great location. North Bridge Brasserie is the main dining option while the hotel also offers a gym, spa and a seriously space-age swimming pool.
The Macdonald chain has 45 properties across Britain, including this one on Holyrood Road, handy for Old Town tourist attractions towards the east end of the Royal Mile and Holyrood Park. A modern building without much soul, the hotel is big and corporate and does weddings and conferences although it does have a small spa, too. The restaurant, Rocca, and is decent.
It's hefty, it's on North Bridge (which could hardly be more central), some rooms have truly fantastic views (ask for one that looks towards Holyrood Park), décor is functional (if somewhat corporate) and facilities include a fitness suite and pool. Best go out for lunch or dinner though – there is no shortage of choice in the surrounding streets.
This international chain – with establishments from Bahrain to Wuxi – opened in Edinburgh in this central site, just off the Royal Mile, in 2009. It's sort of a hotel, but not, given that all rooms and suites – done out in contemporary boutique style – have at least some self-catering facilities. You can choose from a basic room with microwave and fridge to a suite with a full kitchen and a stunning outlook from its balcony.
A themed designer hotel that arrived not long before the financial crisis, Le Monde has only 18 rooms and junior suites but all are individual, and all reflect the city that gives them their name. The New York, for example, smacks of chic, Manhattan loft living; the Atlantis (not a real city, fact fans) has a large piece of arty aquamarine glass on one wall for that subsea feel. It boasts a central location by the George Street shops; lots of fun if you're up for it.
A small New Town hotel comprising three townhouses that date to the Regency era, the décor here is early nineteenth century adapted to accommodate the comforts of the early twenty-first. It doesn't even have staff as such but much-praised butlers instead, while the signature afternoon tea is a big feature. Part of the Edinburgh Collection group, sister establishments include Channings and the Old Waverley.
Originally three Victorian townhouses that fulfilled various roles over the years, these premises were reborn as a boutique hotel in 1998 and the Bonham has quietly gone about its business, charming guests ever since. Furniture is stylish, bedrooms are attractive, some have excellent views and the location is just ten minutes' walk from the west end of Princes Street.
Major selling points for this hotel include its feel of being tucked away and discreet (even though it's just over 1km from the West End and Princes Street), its boutique aesthetic and friendly staff. Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton once lived in part of the property, hence the Shackleton-themed suites, while north-facing rooms on upper floors have splendid views. Part of the Edinburgh Collection group, its sister establishments include the Howard and the Old Waverley.