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, and executive rooms but it is the suite and jacuzzi suite that are ideal for those looking for a luxurious stay.The Jacuzzi Suite is described as: “The Georgian “Age of Elegance” meets modern-day effervescence.” And each of the three suites boast a spacious 42 sqm room, large double bed and, of course, an in-room Jacuzzi.
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 luxury 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 Balmoral Hotel
1 Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 2EQ
One of the Edinburgh’s landmarks and a staple of the 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 now The Balmoral, meaning ‘majestic dwelling’ in Gaelic.
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.
G&V Royal Mile
1 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1AD
Formerly the Missoni Hotel until 2014, the hotel 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 Rooftop Suite is worth splashing the cash on and is described as: “hidden behind the modern façade, at the summit of the hotel’s sixteenth century garret, Rooftop Rest is an inspirational canvas replete with original artworks and bespoke furnishings. Commanding the loftiest views over the Royal Mile below, this suite features luxury linens and locally-sourced amenities.”
4 W Coates, Edinburgh EH12 5JQ
Formally the Dunstane House Hotel, the new name includes the sister property, Hampton House and marks a six month, mutli-million pound renovation which was completed on the Dunstane House earlier this year.
With 16 bedrooms and only two suites, the Dunstane House is the epitome of boutique chic.
It is the Dunstane Suite, which overlooks the gardens, that is worth spending some serious cash on. Like the rest of the hotel the interior is a luxurious mix of traditional and modern with dark wooden furniture, a burnt orange button back sofa and four poster bed. Contemporary touches can be seen in the dark teal Jane Churchill peacock feather wallpaper, oversized tweed cushions and wow-factor copper bath, situated within the bay window of the bedroom. The en-suite isn’t too shabby either thanks to its marble clad interior and large, walk-in rain shower.
Waldorf Astoria The Caledonian
Princes St, Edinburgh EH1 2AB
Once a former railway hotel, this historical Edinburgh landmark property was given an extensive, and pricey makeover in 2014 in order to bring it into the prestigious Waldorf Astoria family. With signature elements of the brand, such as Peacock Alley (which was part of the original station) and the famed Waldorf clock, unique to each location, this hotel has also maintained aspects of its history in the stained glass windows, traditional features and the original station clock by Hamilton and Inches, which survived a fire in 1890, and sits on the red sandstone wall in Peacock Alley.
The suites available range from the modern to the more classically decorated and it is the Alexander Graham Bell suite that gets our vote. With an uninterrupted view of Edinburgh Castle, this suite is found in the main building and has the feeling of an elegant apartment within the hotel due to its living room with fireplace, high ceilings, rococo pillars and muted colour palette of burgundy, cream and pink. Although you are in a very modern hotel in many ways (the Nespresso machine, wifi, flat screen LCD TV and iPod docking station attest to that), you could be forgiven for thinking you were relaxing in 1903, when the hotel was originally opened as The Caledonian Hotel.
352 Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NF
The Witchery restaurant, located within striking distance of Edinburgh Castle and possibly just as well-known, opened on Halloween in 1979 and its eight adjacent opulent suites are suitably Gothic in flavour. Cosmopolitan magazine named it ‘one of the seven wonders of the hotel world’ and celebrity guests have included Ewan McGregor, Jack Nicholson, Pierce Brosnan and Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, while more permanent residents include the ghost of one of the thousand people burned for witchcraft on Castlehill in the 15th and 16th centuries.
For fun flamboyance and a dose of Old Town drama, no room looks the part more than the impressive Vestry Suite at The Witchery.
Dressed in “outrageously-ecclesiastical red, gold and black” and adorned with vestments, drapes, ample cushions and plush fabrics, the Vestry aims to create one of the most divine hotel experiences in Scotland. It’s hard to tell if it’s designed for the saints or sinners amongst us.
Add a bed with an organ pipe headboard, French gilded furniture, a huge roll-top bath and a marble-floor bathroom and you’re faced with an imposing expression of decadent, devilish luxury living.
Priestfield Rd, Edinburgh,EH16 5UT
This former Lord Provost’s house is a stone’s throw from Edinburgh’s city centre, but seems a million miles away thanks to the tranquil location. Surrounded by acres of garden, which is home to a few peacocks, Prestonfield is perfect for a city break with a difference. Like the hotel’s sister property, The Witchery, Prestonfield is decadently decorated with an abundance of rich jewel tones, antiques, artwork, velvet furnishings and grand, original features. Designed as an antithesis to bland, identikit hotels, the 23 rooms follow in the same vein but it is the Owner’s Suite that is the jewel in the crown. As the name suggests, the rooms that make up the suite were previously reserved by previous owners for their personal use and, as such, are accessed by a private turret staircase and hallway. Consisting of an entrance lobby, bedroom with draped, four poster bed, lavish, book-lined, red marble-clad en suite bathroom and living room, there is plenty space to enjoy the views of the ruined Craigmillar Castle. With tones of deep claret with gold accents and ornate furniture, it is easy to see why these rooms are described as the hotel’s most indulgent and opulent suite.
• READ MORE: Five of the best luxury boutique hotels in Scotland