The best views in Britain? Edinburgh’s Royal club to become luxury destination

It was once a prestigious Edinburgh private members’ club that will soon offer hotel guests one of the best views from anywhere in the UK.

The view towards Edinburgh Castle.
The view towards Edinburgh Castle.

The Royal Over-Seas League (ROSL) on Princes Street, which first opened at the prime site in 1930, is set to be transformed into a luxury hotel boasting uninterrupted vistas across to Edinburgh Castle.

Visitors to the Scottish capital will be able to book in to the deluxe accommodation offering prime viewing of the city’s iconic landmark from a private viewing platform.

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Red Carnation Hotel Collection is behind the project at 100 Prince Street.

The view towards Edinburgh Castle.

The hotel is due to open next year and will be the company’s first offering north of the Border.

The building was designed in 1879 by Robert Patterson and formed part of the significant Victorian building programme along Princes Street.

The site is also of interest historically, with an earlier building being occupied by Lady Clerk of Penicuik, a Jacobite hostess and supporter, whose wearing of the White Cockade proclaimed her loyalty to Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Jonathan Raggett, managing director of Red Carnation Hotels, said: “It has been a dream of ours to open a hotel in Edinburgh for some time and, with the best address in the city, it was well worth the wait.

“We intend to pay full respect to this remarkable location and city, its history, tradition and people and are excited to be blending our internationally renowned breed of personal service and generous hospitality with the warm humour, expertise and knowledge of the best talent in Edinburgh.”

In 1930 the ROSL club premises on Princes Street were opened by the Duke of York, later King George VI.

It was the first mixed club in the city and had 20 bedrooms, a bar and restaurant and other club facilities. All the furnishings were produced and made in Scotland.

The club became a popular centre for Commonwealth visitors, with the prime ministers of Canada, Australia and New Zealand staying there.

The iconic members-only club which occupied the prime city centre site charged around £277 for a year-long membership.

The club closed its doors in January last year, with the building’s future remaining a closely guarded secret until yesterday’s announcement.

The venue previously offered a club room, restaurant, bar, conference space and 20 ensuite rooms, as well as a viewing platform on the roof with unrestricted views of the castle. The platform will be retained in the new hotel.

When the ROSL premises closed after 90 years, repairs had been estimated at £2 million and refurbishment at a further £3.5m.

The ROSL, which now uses facilities at the Royal Scots Club in the city’s Abercromby Place, has traditionally prided itself on championing international friendships.

The London ROSL is based at Park Place near Buckingham Palace.

The organisation has 16,000 members worldwide.