Do not disturb: Old Town’s exotic eyrie
G&V has ripped up that straight-backed and slightly stuffy approach to five-star hospitality and conjured up a replacement that is full of colour, creativity and modernity.
Budget or boutique?
The name of Italian fashion house Missoni was above the door of this hotel until 2014 but the new owners have stepped confidently into their stylish shoes.
The foyer and lounge have a space-age feel, as though you’re checking in for an intergalactic flight, with low-hanging silver globe lights, high-gloss surfaces and the alluring pink glow from a hydroponic grower where the herbs for the bar are produced.
Clusters of chairs and sofas ooze comfort by the flickering flames of the fire. It’s all very intriguing and you can’t help but want to investigate further.
Off the dark and dramatic corridors of the G&V there are 137 rooms, many with 180 degree views of the capital. From room 503, you feel as though you can almost touch Salisbury Crags and the Pentlands stretch out to the south. Although one of the greatest cities in the world is out there waiting to be explored, you’ll probably want to stay here for some time.
Local artists have customised some of the rooms and ours has been blasted with zingy bright prints and accented with hand-painted details on the wall. Signature furniture pieces add further character, including a huge glass coffee table resting on a tree trunk. The bed is king size and dressed in pure white.
All the practical things are here too, including a Nespresso machine, two flat-screen televisions, a DVD library and a mini bar.
The bathroom is one giant wet room split by thick glass panels into a shower, toilet and bath area. And decked out in black mosaic tiles and purple high gloss, there is one moody looking loo. No wonder Lady Gaga chose to stay at the G&V.
Wining and dining
Eating and drinking is another dimension of the G&V experience. The Epicurean bar is on the ground floor and sits like a dark cavern off the foyer. There is some serious alcohol artistry practised here, and as if to emphasise the fact, a little paintbrush is secured to the cocktail menu, which is themed around the Scottish Colourists. The Plein Air, named after the practice of painting outdoors, mixes gin, fennel soda and a dash of violet liqueur which is suspended in the glass like a drop of pigment. Drinking it is indeed like meeting a stiff breeze. The Miel Royale, a mix of fresh rhubarb, gin and champagne, is sweetened with honey from G&V’s rooftop apiary. The Epicurean alone is worth a visit if you are feeling experimental.
The hotel restaurant, Cucina, delivers a modern Italian menu. An interior designed by Timorous Beasties, a soundtrack of deep house and an army of smiling staff set the scene.
Food is smart and super fresh. In my white crab and avocado starter, the fruit had been smoothed and reset with fennel and cream and little shards of white meat gave a sweet sea punch. The sea trout main was plump like a pink pillow and dressed in a sweet almond crust with salted spinach on the side. My partner had rabbit with hazelnut. Now this is a man who loves his rabbit, preferably fresh from the field with the legs hanging over the plate, but here the little beast looked like it had been brought back to life as abstract art – my partner wished he’d had the pork ragu.
A glorious selection of puddings, such as milk sorbet, honeycomb and white truffle honey, was on offer, but we shared the perfectly balanced cheese board.
Worth getting out of bed for
The breakfast is fabulous, from the cold continental buffet to the hot traditional plates and the special egg menu. Step outside and you’ll be right in the heart of the Old Town and all it has to offer. The Meadows, the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle and Mary King’s Close are a stone’s throw away.
Small dogs are welcome in all of the hotel bedrooms and a pet bed and bowls are provided for a charge.
Rooms from £210 B&B to £425 B&B for a standard Signature room. Room 503 starts at £650 and goes up to £1,500 B&B. G&V Hotel, 1 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1AD, tel: 0131-220 6666