Edinburgh’s Balmoral Hotel Crowned ‘Best in Scotland’ in Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Choice Awards
The Balmoral Hotel has been crowned the best in Scotland and number two in the UK, here’s everything you should know about this historic landmark.
In the Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Choice Awards’ category entitled “top hotels in the United Kingdom”, the Balmoral Hotel was recognised as the best in Scotland while also bagging the number two slot in the UK. It was bested only by the Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa which is located in Wiltshire, England.
The vote, which encompassed over 520,000 Condé Nast Traveller UK and US readers, was based on assessing travel experiences worldwide and highlighting places that tourists planned to revisit.
In response to the hotel’s distinction, the general manager Andrew McPherson said: “I am delighted to share that we have been recognised as the second best hotel in the UK at the Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Choice Awards, securing the top slot in Scotland.
“It is truly an honour to lead such an incredible team who showcase the very best of Scottish hospitality everyday. The Balmoral team works hard to provide our guests with unforgettable experiences and cherished memories.
“The walls of The Balmoral hold a century of beautiful stories, from its opening in 1902 to now, and the Condé Nast Traveller 2023 Readers’ Choice Awards has highlighted quite how many of our guests continue to hold a special place in their hearts for this hotel.”
Anyone interested in the full list of winners can check that out here.
Now, in celebration of the Balmoral’s success, let’s take a look at the finer details of the establishment including its history, ownership and the famous faces it has welcomed over the years.
History of the Balmoral Hotel
Owned by the North British Railway Company, the building was originally known as The North British Station Hotel and was built as a result of W. Hamilton Beattie and A.R. Scott winning a competition in 1895.
Historic Hotels Then and Now explains: “Completed in 1902 it was pronounced as one of the great railway hotels and described as a ‘free rendering of the renaissance period, linking the old Scottish architecture of the old town with the rather severe classical architecture of the new’.”
They continue: “The hotel’s clocktower was set two (many sources state three) minutes early, so that people wouldn’t miss their trains, which is still the case today.
“The only day that the clock runs on time is on 31st December for the city’s New Year celebrations.”
In the early 1990’s the hotel was bought by an Edinburgh-based company and it reopened as “The Balmoral” with 23 million pounds invested into the refurbishment.
Who owns the Balmoral Hotel?
According to the Condé Nast Traveller: “Today, the hotel is the flagship property of Sir Rocco Forte’s renowned luxury hotel group portfolio.”
What does “Balmoral” mean?
Famous Visitors of the Balmoral
Between the 1960’s and 1970’s, Historic Hotels Then and Now reports: “Over the years a regular galaxy of film and sports stars, princesses and politicians, have posed for photographs by the hotel pillars.
“Celebrity visitors to the hotel include Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, Paul and Linda McCartney.
“The Queen Mother was a regular visitor to the hotel, Prime Ministers, Edward Heath and Harold Wilson were also among hotel guests.”
In 2007, J.K. Rowling finished her novel “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” at the hotel and marked the occasion by signing an antique bust in the room she stayed in.
According to a 2016 report by iNews, Andy Fraser (Assistant Concierge Manager) said: “Stay in Suite 552. JK Rowling completed her last Harry Potter novel (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) in this room in 2007 and there are a few hidden gems.”
How to get to the Balmoral Hotel
The Balmoral is located at the eastern end of Princes Street next to Edinburgh’s main Waverley station. The hotel is on the north side of the train station so simply leave from that exit once you have arrived via train and your destination is mere steps away thereafter.
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