Nostalgia: Hotels where we’re all VIPs

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THEY are home from home, the luxurious and the lavish, comforting havens where nothing is too much effort and where guests are all VIPs.

Edinburgh can officially boast some of the best hotels in the country after scooping a load of titles at the prestigious Scottish Hotel Awards 2013 earlier this week.

Roy Rogers, wife Dale Evans and Trigger at the Caledonian Hotel in 1956

Roy Rogers, wife Dale Evans and Trigger at the Caledonian Hotel in 1956

There were wins for grand old ladies of the city’s hotel scene: The Balmoral picked up Restaurant of the Year for Hadrian’s and The Caledonian Waldorf Astoria was judged F&B Hotel of the Year. And there was a stunning victory for Tune in Haymarket, which won the Best Newcomer title.

Of course, our hotels have always played a special role in the fabric of day-to-day life, employing thousands, greeting visitors from around the globe, some familiar faces, tourists, business people, some even with four legs. Certainly there can hardly have been any stranger guest at the Caledonian Hotel than wonder horse Trigger, the graceful Palomino stallion that arrived alongside singer Roy Rogers and his wife Dale Evans in February 1956.

The horse might have been among the more unusual guests, perhaps more familiar to many today was former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney, snapped outside the then North British Hotel – now the Balmoral – in May 1973, and the Duke of Edinburgh, who visited the hotel in 1965 resplendent in kilt.

The guests, though, are only one element of hotel life. Behind the scenes are chefs, housekeepers, receptionists and commissionaires, bar staff waiters, handymen and managers, each with a vital job.

Musician and former Beatle Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney (and baby) outside the North British (NB) hotel in Princes Street Edinburgh in May 1973.

Musician and former Beatle Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney (and baby) outside the North British (NB) hotel in Princes Street Edinburgh in May 1973.

Together they perform an important role in making Edinburgh one of the world’s top tourist destinations – and that must be worth an award

Wearing a kilt and sporran, Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh arrives at the North British hotel in July 1965.

Wearing a kilt and sporran, Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh arrives at the North British hotel in July 1965.