IN THE the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, the G&V Hotel is a starkly modern building, nestling among the richly historic Royal Mile architecture.
Purpose-built five years ago, there is nothing olde worlde about this hotel. With 136 bedrooms and state-of-the-art facilities, it offers much more than a place to lay your head.
BUDGET OR BOUTIQUE?
Welcome to the Royal Mile’s only five-star luxury destination hotel. From the doormen’s funkily patterned kilts to the full-length fringing on the reception desk, this boutique hotel screams stylish flamboyance from the minute you step inside. The striking decor throughout is all about Rosita Missoni’s signature contrasting colours and patterns, with a few Scottish designer touches. As well as a feast for the eyes, it’s a delightfully touchy-feely place, which urges you to explore the surroundings.
The concierge showed us to our superior room on the fifth floor and my wife and I simultaneously found ourselves mouthing “wow” as we looked around. We were first drawn to the spectacular panoramic views of the Royal Mile, across Edinburgh, and all the way to Fife and East Lothian. The room itself was packed with quirky design features, as well as a Bose TV, Nespresso machine, mini bar, complimentary mineral water and slippers. To help you locate all the goodies the room has to offer, a map booklet is in the welcome pack, along with a delicious-sounding room service menu. As our young son was with us, the hotel kitted out the room with a travel cot, G&V branded pad and colouring pencils, and a guide to child-friendly places in Edinburgh. The kingsize bed was sumptuously draped in colourful bed linen, with a dazzling selection of pillows and more available on request.
Hidden behind a sliding mirror we found the bathroom, with Arran Aromatics toiletries, luxurious black robes and walk-in rainfall shower.
WINING AND DINING
Returning from an afternoon shopping trip in nearby Princes Street, we couldn’t resist a quick drink in the cocktail bar before getting ready for dinner. Without a drop passing my lips I could tell why this is Edinburgh’s place to be. Fabulously chic, Bar G&V oozes charm with effortless friendliness. My wife had a hankering for a piña colada and the mixologist was only too happy to recreate this off-menu retro cocktail, which tasted as wonderful as it looked.
The G&V is home to Cucina, an award-winning, fine-dining Italian restaurant. Head chef Mattia Camorani creates classic dishes with a modern twist, using the finest seasonal ingredients. Despite opting for an early dinner, the restaurant quickly filled up. Sitting on the groovy banquette seating, I ordered the tagliatelle with traditional pork ragu to start. It looked simple but it was bursting with flavour. For the main course I had veal with saffron vegetables and spinach in Marsala sauce, accompanied by a stunning glass of gewurtztraminer. My wife opted for the lamb with fennel, black olives and sundried tomatoes. We shared sides of roast potato wedges and fried courgettes. Our meals were a triumph. Breakfast was also served in the restaurant, featuring an extensive made-to-order hot menu and a lavish continental buffet – never have I seen such a selection of cakes and sweet treats. Of note were the frangipanis and bomboloni, a delicious Italian custard-filled doughnut.
WORTH GETTING OUT OF BED FOR
If you want a day off from shopping and sightseeing in Edinburgh, there is more than enough to keep you entertained in the G&V. After a workout at the gym, you can head to the spa for some relaxation. While I took our son to the nearby National Museum of Scotland, my wife treated herself to a Back Therapy skincare treatment and aromatherapy massage. Victoria, the beauty therapist, took great care of her and she re-emerged relaxed and glowing. For the kids and big kids at heart, games consoles and iPads are available on loan.
The G&V knows how to go the extra mile. G&V branded bottles of water left in the car after using the valet parking service were a nice touch, as was the complimentary sweetie bar at reception.
• Signature rooms cost from £225, per night; superior rooms, breakfast included, from £265 per night. G&V Royal Mile Hotel, 1 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1AD (0131-220 6666, www.gandvhotel.com)