Five of the best boutique hotels in Edinburgh

Enjoy a stay in the capital with our pick of the top boutique boltholes

Picture: G&V HOTEL Edinburgh  DND SOS
Picture: G&V HOTEL Edinburgh DND SOS

Known for its architectural beauty, rich history and world class events scene, Edinburgh is always worth exploring whether as a tourist, visitor or resident. Home to many a big-name hotel, from iconic luxury to modern design, there’s something for all stays. To help you narrow your search, here are five of the best boutique offerings.

G&V Royal Mile

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1 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1AD

Picture: Chester Residence, contributed by Mark Lambson

Formerly the Missoni Hotel, the G&V Royal Mile is in one of the most central locations with the Castle only about a ten minute walk away. Still as stylish as the Italian fashion brand that launched it, the hotel is awash with modern furnishings and bright artwork (from local artists) in the public rooms.

The guest rooms are elegantly decorated with views over the city. Sizes range from Petite to Deluxe rooms and themed suites. Design aficionados will appreciate the Timorous Beasties Suite, which has been decorated with the Glasgow design hub’s Thistle print.

The hotel’s restaurant is an Italian affair with fresh, seasonal produce on the menu. All expertly cooked by celebrated Bolognan chef, Mattia Camorani.

After exploring the city, a trip to the hotel spa is a must. Bespoke treatments from Ishga and ila are available as timed treatments or day packages for full out indulgence.

Picture: Chester Residence, contributed by Mark Lambson

Finally a drink in The Epicurean bar will round off a day in the capital. With a cocktail list themed around the Scottish Colourists and garnished with home grown flowers and herbs, and an extensive list of Scottish and Mediterranean spirits, there’s sure to be something for all tastes.

The Balmoral Hotel

1 Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 2EQ

One of Edinburgh’s landmarks and a staple of the city skyline is the grand hotel and clock tower of No.1 Princes Street, which runs three minutes fast every day (apart from New Year’s Eve), to ensure that passersby don’t miss their train from the neighbouring Waverley Station. Opened in 1902 as an acclaimed station hotel, this grand building is The Balmoral, meaning ‘majestic dwelling’ in Gaelic.

The hotel still offers its age-old porter service of meeting guests from their train and whisking them up to the reception. Or, if arriving by any other means, the bekilted doormen are on hand to give all guests a warm welcome to the hotel - and Edinburgh. The original features of the building can still be seen in the grand lobby, with its vaulted ceilings, chandeliers and impressive pillars. It’s not hard to imagine the Queen Mother (who was a regular visitor) feeling quite at home in such a decadent setting. The décor, designed by Olga Polizzi, is a modern mix of bright purples and greens in the striped carpet, and warm neutrals in the seating; all which evoke the colours of the Scottish countryside and fit in well with the original elements.

Now owned by Italian hotel group, Rocco Forte, the Balmoral was the first hotel in the group’s portfolio and has been developed in order to let the history and character of its location to shine through, from the décor to the suite names - which are all Scottish rivers and castles, with one named for author J.K Rowling as she finished the final Harry Potter book here.

The dining options available to guests and visitors include Michelin starred restaurant Number One. One the menu here is the finest example of modern Scottish cuisine blended with French flavours, to be enjoyed in the richly decorated restaurant. For something less formal, guests can enjoy Hadrian’s Brasserie, which serves up fresh seafood amongst other Scottish favourites. A traditional, award-winning afternoon tea is served in the bright and luxurious Palm Court and pre or post dinner drinks can be enjoyed in the cosy Scotch bar, whose name hints at the amount of whiskies available (over 400) or the colourful and contemporary Balmoral Bar, where cocktails are the order of the day.

The Chester Residence

9 Rothesay Pl, Edinburgh EH3 7SL

Take yourself away to your own private townhouse in the city’s west end at The Chester Residence. Providing the benefits of a serviced apartment, with all the luxury of a five star hotel, the apartments have been tastefully decorated and feature a range of decadent toiletries, fluffy robes, flat screens TV’s, WiFi and a selection of DVDs for a good night in.

Residences range from one and two bedroom, and are divided into Classic, Grand and Penthouse types. Each has a rainfall shower, Nespresso machine, fully appointed kitchen, ironing board and hairdryer. Twin rooms can be made up on request.

For the ultimate in luxury, The Owners’ Residence boasts bespoke designer furnishings by Louis Vuitton and Armani Casa, iridescent textured wallpaper throughout and low mood lighting which creates an inviting ambience.

Features include a huge Jacuzzi hot tub, a private cinema with six foot screen (including games, Sky HD, PlayStation, Blu-ray and surround sound), two 50 inch LCD TVs, a floating effect super king bed with sumptuous Egyptian cotton bed linen, and a separate rainfall shower.

There’s an IX lounge and bar with cosy open fire, which serves up a selection drinks, and in-room breakfast delivery ideal for busy travellers with no time to make their own.

The Dunstane Hotel

4 W Coates, Edinburgh EH12 5JQ

If you’ve ever walked to Murrayfield for a game and admired the grand Victorian houses on route, then you’ll appreciate a stay in the elegant Dunstane Hotel. A family owned business, the Dunstane and its sister property have recently been renovated to become The Dunstane Houses, which launched in April.

Offering a home from home experience that includes services you’d expect from a luxury property, the hotel has been at the heart of hospitality in the city for 19 years. The properties still have many original features, which add to the charm of a stay here.

Decorated in a vibrant, contemporary style, guests at Dunstane can look forward to some traditional hospitality alongside great food from the Orcadian casual dining restaurant and a dram or two at the Whisky Bar. Tastings can be organised on request.

Nira Caledonia

6-10 Gloucester Place, Edinburgh EH3 6EF

Despite the expectations from the name, Nira Caledonia promises no stuffed deer heads, no pictures of Bonnie Prince Charlie and no tartan. Comprised of two Georgian townhouses in Edinburgh’s city centre, which were once home to 19th-century essayist bon viveur and hedonist Christopher North, the hotel combines elegant architecture, original features and modern interior design.

Each of the 28 rooms follows in the same design theme as the rest of the hotel, with muted neutrals and splashes of colour and pattern in the soft furnishings. Guests can choose from a Single, Petite, Executive, Suite and Jacuzzi Suite accommodation depending on the type of stay required.

Blackwood’s Bar Grill is the on-site restaurant, which serves up a menu of fresh, local and often organic Scottish cuisine. It is also home to over 25 whiskies in the bar, from single malts to popular blends.