The Glasshouse – Greenside
When they call it the Glasshouse Hotel, they mean it. Your slick, modern suite has floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a hilltop glass restaurant (no relation) and a bathroom with enough glass to rival Murano (glass walls, glass door, glass bath panels). Pop next door to the Playhouse Theatre or jump on the tram, or step outside your room directly onto the rooftop garden with spectacular views of Calton Hill. Afterwards you’ll enjoy nibbles from a little wicker picnic hamper of Scottish fudge and shortbread before diving under the luxe bedding. Then you’ll breakfast on fine Scottish fare, including Campbell Brothers’ smoked salmon. If you’re a lover of beige and grey and all things mute, this hits the spot. If you want history, it’s set in the Lady Glenorchy, a one time church with a 140-year old façade. If you love an old building but don’t want draughts and ghosts, this is the place for you. By Caroline Phillips
BOOK IT: +44 (0) 13 1525 8200 / theglasshousehotel.co.uk
Prestonfield House – Priestfield Road
Romantic, opulent and luxuriously secluded, you’d be surprised to realise – after gazing out of the window across 20 acres of parkland and the stunning Arthur’s Seat – that you’re only five minutes out of the Edinburgh city centre at Prestonfield House. Minimalism be damned: there are swags and columns, brocades and velvets, rich colours and intimate corners in this five-star, theatrical haven. 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. 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.
BOOK IT: +44 (0)1312 257800 / prestonfield.com
House of Gods Hotel – Cowgate
If you love an eclectic design style, House of Gods Hotel is the one for you. Self proclaimed haters of beige and lovers of style clashing, this hotels sits right at the heart of Cowgate – that is, right at the heart of the Fringe Festival. Step outside and you’ll be spoiled for choice with incredible bars right on your doorstep. Or stay inside and be treated like the star of the show, especially if you choose the ‘treat me like I’m famous’ package: rose petals, balloons, cocktail service right to your door – the works.
BOOK IT: +44 (0)131 2300445 / houseofgodshotel.com
Virgin Hotels Edinburgh – Victoria Street
India Buildings – now occupied by Virgin Hotels Edinburgh – are rife with history. Built in 1864, a recent archaeological dig, which occurred before the five buildings were converted into a hotel, revealed unearthed artefacts dating as far back as the 10th century. The building was formerly Edinburgh’s principle Register Office, and, in 2005, hosted the first ever same sex civil partnership ceremony in mainland Britain. Now, it is Virgin Hotels’ first European luxury lifestyle hotel – and luxury it is. A dramatic interior – with a domed, balconied rotunda – is balanced by contemporary rooms and facilities. The Commons Club Restaurant showcases Scottish cuisine made from fresh, local produce; in The Rooftop Sanctuary, a delicious sip is accompanied by stunning views of Edinburgh Castle. Having recently opened in June 2022, there is even more luxury to come in the form of another restaurant serving up live music and brunch.
BOOK IT: +44 (0)131 526 4810 / virginhotels.com
The Dunstane Houses – Haymarket
Positioned at the gates of Edinburgh’s vibrant West End and part of the Pride of Britain Hotels collection, The Dunstane Houses are a pair of handsome Victorian villas that have been transformed into a single, stylish family-run boutique hotel. Infused with the spirit and romance of Orkney, where the owners’ roots lie, the interior blends the elegance of the Scottish capital’s Old Town with vintage touches, contemporary flair and well-chosen art. The 35 bedrooms, spread between Dunstane House and Hampton House, are all different. And, at the heart of this unique bolthole, the elegantly laid-back Ba’ Bar provides all-day dining from a seasonally changing modern Scottish menu.
BOOK IT: +44 (0)1313 376169 / thedunstane.com
Native Edinburgh – Queen Street
After a half-a-million-pound refurbishment, Native Edinburgh reopened its doors earlier this summer, adding Edinburgh back to Native’s roster of ‘aparthotels’ that immerse you in the city and combine the freedom of an apartment with the comfort of a hotel. The new interiors – 14 months in the making – are inspired by Scotland’s inventors: John Logie Baird, inventor of the TV; Alexander Fleming, discoverer of penicillin; William Cullen, inventor of the refrigerator. (They also draw on rich amber whiskey tones, and florals for the nearby Royal Botanic Gardens.) Counter, Native Edinburgh’s speakeasy style bar, serves coffee by day and cocktails by night. Check their cultural programme for eclectic events, from jazz nights to vinyl DJs to spoken word.
BOOK IT: +44 (0)131 370 8431 / nativeplaces.com
Gleneagles Townhouse – Edinburgh
The iconic sporting and country estate of Gleneagles launched its first city dwelling in St Andrews Square, Edinburgh earlier this year, reimagining the space as Gleneagles Townhouse. Offering 33 bedrooms, the townhouse is also home to a members club, with access to private spaces and on-site gym and wellness clubs. The rooftop terrace offers views across the city previously only enjoyed by the rooftop statues on the former Bank of Scotland headquarters.
BOOK IT: +44 (0)800 917 4655 / gleneaglestownhouse.com
InterContinental Edinburgh The George – George Street
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. The collection of fine Georgian townhouses that make up the InterContinental Edinburgh The George have been a grand hotel since 1881. While the pillared entrance hall feels palatial, the rooms are anything but austere: they are Scottish landscape inspired, with Bute blankets in tasteful grey at the foot of the bed. 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.
BOOK IT: +44 (0)131 225 1251 / intercontinental.com
Fingal Floating Hotel – Alexandra Dock
Looking for a hotel stay with a difference? Located a little further out of the city centre in Leith is Fingal Floating Hotel, a luxury, 5-star hotel on a boat that combines the glamour of a super-yacht with old-world elegance. Originally a ferry for lighthouse keepers’ essential supplies, Fingal was retired in 2000, and a two-year conversion transformed her into the hotel she is today, kitted out with an elegant ballroom with a sweeping staircase that can seat up to 60 people for dinner. On the upper deck, The Lighthouse Bar provides delicious drinks – or pop across to neighbouring Royal Yacht Britannia for a decadent afternoon tea with panoramic views.
BOOK IT: +44 (0)131 357 5000 / fingal.co.uk
The Balmoral – Princes Street
The Balmoral is Sir Rocco Forte’s beloved five-star property at the heart of Edinburgh, originally built in 1902 in impressive Scottish baronial style as a landmark for Waverley station. One of the world’s great railway hotels, The Balmoral’s clock is cleverly set three minutes fast to ensure guests never miss their trains. Exuding a timeless elegance, the bedrooms have been transformed by Olga Polizzi, deputy chairman and director of design for Forte Hotels. Highlights include the large signature suites: the Scone & Crombie and the Glamis. With up to three bedrooms and spacious living rooms, they make the ultimate Edinburgh base for couples and families.
BOOK IT: +44 (0)1315 562414 / roccofortehotels.com
Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh, The Caledonian – Princes Street
First opened in 1903, The Caledonian – Waldorf Astoria’s Edinburgh outpost – is aptly situated to immerse guests in the Fringe as well as all of the culture Edinburgh has to offer, just a few minutes from Edinburgh Castle, and close to The Royal Mile, where many Fringe festivities occur. Inside, The Caledonian hosts 241 guestrooms and suites, two award-winning restaurants, a peaceful spa, and an indoor swimming pool overlooking the Castle. Dean Banks at The Pompadour – headed up by the MasterChef The Professionals finalist – offers delicious signature tasting menus focussed on sustainable produce, or head to Grazing by Mark Greenway for local ingredients served in shareable dishes. The Caley Bar, in true Scots style, boasts a collection of over 100 whiskeys – or head to Peacock Alley for a decadent afternoon tea.
BOOK IT: +44 (0)131 222 8888 / hilton.com
The Witchery by the Castle – Castlehill
James Thomson’s Gothic conversion of this 16th-century building is darkly mysterious and thrillingly exotic. At the top of Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile, guests enter The Witchery 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. Rooms are decorated in jewel-like colours with swathes of velvet, and the nine suites are vast, sumptuous and wickedly romantic, furnished with four-posters or extravagantly curtained beds, antiques and oil paintings. The Witchery is even more famous for its food: a celebrity haunt, The Witchery restaurant not only looks magical – with 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.
BOOK IT: +44 (0)131 225 5613 / thewitchery.com
Kimpton Charlotte Square
Tucked away in New Town – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and overlooking a picturesque private garden square, Kimpton Charlotte Square promises a quiet escape from Edinburgh’s hustle and bustle. But never fear: you are a short walk from the magic of the Fringe. Behind the historical Georgian facade – seven interconnected Georgian townhouses – lie ultra-modern facilities promising an easy, restful stay. Inside, the glass-topped courtyard shines, blending modernity with the old, and abuzz with travellers winding down with a G&T. Wander down George Street for an array of bars and restaurants – or visit Kimpton Charlotte Square’s acclaimed restaurant, BABA, for Middle Eastern cuisine with a Scottish twist.
BOOK IT: +44 (0)131 240 5500 / kimptoncharlottesquare.com
Hotel du Vin – Bristo Place
On the boundary between the ancient Old Town and the city’s vibrant university quarter is an 18th century building with a lot of history: once a poorhouse, then a psychiatric hospital (known as Edinburgh’s ‘Bedlam’), then a science lab, and then a blood donation centre. And now guests can stay there! Hotel du Vin Edinburgh is a characterful hotel that has, luckily, shaken off the cobwebs of its laden history – a prime example of a historic Edinburgh building with a fascinating past that’s been reincarnated for a new chapter, something the city’s becoming widely renowned for. Now, 47 stylish rooms and suites provide a cosy stay in the heart of this historic city. Choose from a selection of wines in the Laroche wine-tasting room, sample the amber nectar in the Whisky Snug, or even head outside to the heated Cigar Bothy for a cigar.
BOOK IT: +44 (0)131 285 1479 / hotelduvin.com
DoubleTree by Hilton Edinburgh City Centre – Bread Street
Occupying a historic building – built in 1892 – in the heart of Edinburgh, the Edinburgh City Centre branch of DoubleTree by Hilton provides a comfortable stay with incredible views of Edinburgh Castle and the old town. Rooms have contemporary designs to flop down into after a long day of exploring everything Edinburgh has to offer; the DoubleTree is close to Princess Street shopping, Usher Hall events, the Grassmarket, and Edinburgh Old Town. For fitness buffs, a 24 hour gym will provide everything you need. Or, if you’re looking for more relaxation, take a trip to the Monboddo restaurant, a day-to-night lounge space, for guests to unwind in the afternoon and socialise in the evening, known for its fine-dining and Scottish-themed pairing plates.
BOOK IT: +44 (0)131 221 5555 / hilton.com