Hattie Lloyd 05/06/23
We would promise you that these Edinburgh hotels will have you sleeping like a baby…
…but you’re probably glad that the days of waking yourself up by screaming every two hours – and only dropping off again after a nice big burp – are behind you.
So instead, look forward to a night of sleeping like a grown-up in one of these superlative hotels, from velvet-draped four-poster beds (with Champagne chilling in your bedside table) to a Georgian townhouse you can hire out for yourself and all your friends; Victorian grand hotels, to modern apartment-rooms where you call the shots. These are the best hotels in Edinburgh…
Emerge, blinking, into the sunlight after a night at The Witchery, and you could easily be convinced that you dreamt it all. A candlelit, ancient abode dating back to 1595, the past half-century of its life has been spent as a fabulously gothic bolthole set just outside the castle gates. The Witchery houses just nine suites, but the focus here is on quality rather than quantity. Inside, stone turrets, painted ceilings and tapestried corridors, hidden doors conspire to transport you back five centuries. But, you know, without all the witch-burning.
Amenities: Laundry & housekeeping services, breakfast delivered by hamper or laid out for you in the morning, and an outrageously romantic restaurant downstairs serving omelette Arnold Bennett and Lobster Thermidor.
Location: Hilariously, The Witchery is perched right between some of the city’s most touristy attractions, but you’re steps from the castle and the other delights of the Old Town.
Details: 352 Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NF | Book here
The Pavilion at Lamb’s House
Stop press! Two architects design not-totally-hideous house! The Pavilion is a stunning and sensitively restored self-catering cottage in the Leith conservation area, with space for six across its three floors. Antique furniture and a soothing colour palette meet mod cons like under-floor heating and kitted-out kitchens, and the walled garden is something to behold. Its location in Leith is a win-win – you’re a short bus ride from Edinburgh’s centre, but within walking distance of exploring this up-and-coming coastal neighbourhood with its Michelin star restaurants and independent shops.
Amenities: Everything you could want from your own home. But more stylish (probably).
Location: A bus ride away from Edinburgh’s big sights, with plenty on your doorstep.
Details: 11 Water’s Close, Edinburgh, EH6 6RB | Book here
Eden Locke is exactly as much of a paradise as it sounds: a Georgian exterior hides a pastel-coloured contemporary haven. Accommodation here comes in the form of 72 apartments where you can stay like a local, enjoying use of your own proper kitchen (with washing machine and dishwasher) and a lounge to chill out in.
Amenities: There’s a 24 hour front desk, daily yoga, a coffee shop, co-working spaces, and they’re dog-friendly.
Location: You’re right next to Princes Street and the Castle, and by extension a mere 10 minutes from the station.
Details: 127 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4JN | Book here
Sonder Royal Garden Apartments
The selling point of the Sonder Royal Garden Apartments is immediately obvious: they are beautiful. Serene, stone-washed apartments with all mod-cons, your own kitchen, contactless check-in, and a bit of outdoor space. There’s discounted parking nearby, but the location (at the north-eastern corner of New Town) means it’s easy enough to walk everywhere anyway, especially to catch the sunset on Calton Hill before exploring the great bars & restaurants nearby.
Amenities: Fully fitted apartments, 24-hr access & support, outside space, discounted parking available
Location: New Town, baby – with loads of great places to eat and drink round the corner.
Details: 2 York Buildings, Queen Street, Edinburgh EH2 1HY | Book here
House of Gods
Where would the gods of Ancient Rome have stayed for a city break in Edinburgh? Well, it probably wouldn’t be too far off this outré, Bacchanalian fantasy of a boutique hotel, whose 23 rooms are decked out with House of Hackney fabrics, Gucci wallpaper, velvet four-posters and entirely marble bathrooms. There are milk and cookies at bedtime, luxury breakfast hampers in the morning, and a bottle of Moët chilling in your bedside table for whenever the occasion arises.
Amenities: Slipper baths, cocktail bar downstairs, and a VIP upgrade (£99) for an on-call butler, cocktails made in your room and hampers.
Location: On the middle of Cowgate, you’re moments away from the triumvirate of the Royal Mile, the National Museum, and Sneaky Pete’s.
Details: 233 Cowgate, Edinburgh EH1 1JQ | Book here
Living in an Edinburgh townhouse with 10 of your best mates might be unfeasible for most of the year, but it can be a reality for at least a few days at 94DR. This Victorian self-catering spot will be your home-from-home – assuming your home also has a stylishly gravel-covered garden with a log burner, six en-suite bedrooms and a private chef. Co-owner Paul can rustle up dishes for you on-demand, or leave you be with a fridge ready stocked with Edinburgh’s finest provisions, and unlike most self-catering rentals, a magic team of pixies (who look a lot like housekeepers) will ensure your towels are always clean and your beds are made.
Amenities: Daily housekeeping, breakfast every morning (either made in-house for you or delivered to your doorstep), concierge service from the knowledgeable owners themselves
Location: Newington’s bakeries, cafés and restaurants are all nearby, and in ten minutes you can be relaxing on the Meadows or hiking up Arthur’s Seat.
Details: 94 Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh, EH16 5AF | Book here
Kimpton Charlotte Square
Kimpton have form in zhuzhing up stately old buildings with a luxe, modern character (see the Fitzroy in London’s Russell Square), and if you’re not too fussed about going boutique on scale, this is a great option for a big name hotel with characterful decor. Set across seven interconnected Georgian townhouses just behind Princes Street, there are 199 rooms here – and impressively they vary mostly in terms of size, not style. Top-end rooms come with record players & vinyl, but fluffy robes, upmarket toiletries and a retro red telephone to summon mac & cheese at all hours of the night come as standard.
Amenities: There’s a spa with a mood-lit pool, a library, a ‘corner shop’ with snacks, Penguin classics & downloadable newspapers, and 24hr room service. You’ve also got BABA and Aizle downstairs – two of our top places to eat in Edinburgh.
Location: Just behind Princes Street, it’s really easy to get around from here.
Details: 38 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, EH2 4HQ | Book here
The Stevenson House
“Private house. Not a museum” might be a strange thing to have on your doorbell. But not when you live in the former home of one of Scotland’s most famous novelists, Robert Louis Stevenson. The house’s current owners, the Macfies, now rent out two of the rooms as one of the more unusual places to stay in Edinburgh – and just like a museum, they’re amazingly decked out in period style with sumptuous four posters, oil paintings and treasures brought back from travels abroad. And just so you really feel at home, they’ll go above and beyond to make the most of your stay, booking tickets for shows, arranging tartan mill tours, and whatever else might take your fancy while in town.
Amenities: En-suite bathrooms, cooked breakfast in the morning, plus concierge-style service from the live-in owners.
Location: You’re right between Stockbridge (with its independent shops, cafés and cobbled lanes) and New Town (with its world-class cocktail bars and Georgian architecture).
Details: 17 Heriot Row, Edinburgh EH3 6HP | Book here
There’s more than a whisper of Soho House about this members club with rooms, an uber-stylish melange of antique furnishings with midcentury silhouettes and rich textures throughout. Each of the 33 bedrooms come with king-sized beds as standard, whether you’re in the cosy attic rooms or the master bedrooms with balconies, roll-top baths and Edwardian marble washstands. As a guest, you’re free to enjoy the club facilities, too – a rooftop bar with a narrow but impressive terrace guarded by enormous statues, and a gym and wellness suite – and the hotel restaurant, The Spence, is as swish as they come, with soaring ceilings and marble pilasters surrounding a central bar ideal for nightcaps.
Amenities: On-site gym with over 40 complimentary classes, all-day restaurant & bar, rooftop bar, and loads of free in-room entertainment (with bottled cocktails in the minibar).
Location: On the fringes of New Town, you’ll be at the station in five minutes, while Calton Hill is an easy walk away.
Details: 39 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh EH2 2AD | Book here
Market Street Hotel
Market Street Hotel is a slick new complex which gives you the perfect platform for enjoying all the surrounding historic architecture – namely, their seventh floor Champagne bar. Rooms here are inspired by “a modern take on Baronial materiality and composition”, which, as you’ll already be picturing, marry natural stone walls and blonde woods with the obligatory tartan and some chic midcentury furnishings, while bathrooms are designed as “modern anterooms”, which thankfully retain the traditional features of loos and sinks alongside rainfall showers and luxurious Votary products.
Amenities: Room upgrades come with bluetooth speakers, Dyson hairdryers, binoculars (!) and complimentary minibars.
Location: You’re right next to the station, with easy access to the picturesque Cockburn Street, the Royal Mile, and the Castle.
Details: 6 Market Street, Edinburgh EH1 1DE | Book here
Cheval The Edinburgh Grand
It’s upmarket, it’s luxurious, its zig-zag patterned hallways will challenge you on a hangover. But if you’re looking for a typically fancy hotel in Edinburgh, this is it. Housed in an old bank, the basement vault has been converted to a gym, the ground floor is now, er, Hawksmoor, and the offices upstairs are now amazingly appointed apartments. That means you’ll have all the benefits of self-catering – your own kitchen, living space and the ability to wash your own pants – alongside the amenities of a hotel, with a 24hr front desk, a cooked breakfast every morning and housekeeping services to keep things spick and span.
Amenities: Nespresso machines, fully fitted kitchen, on-site gym, cocktail bar open till 3am, daily housekeeping, and breakfast every morning
Location: You’re three minutes from the station, and by extension, most of the sights you’ll want to tick off.
Details: 42 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, EH2 2AD | Book here
Rock House was built in 1756, making it one of the oldest buildings in the New Town. You’ll find it at the bottom of Calton Hill, in prime position not just for going out and hitting the sights in the day… but for looking down on them all as the sun sets from your panoramic terrace. The place is split into three separate apartments, though they can be booked together to accommodate 14. The Photographer’s Studio, housed in the garden pavilion, would make a particularly romantic place to elope. Elegant country decor abounds with log-burners, box beds, and Aga ovens, and it’s also pet-friendly.
Amenities: You’ll want for nothing, even in the studio where the kitchen is niftily fitted into the walls themselves.
Location: Halfway up Calton Hill, it’s worth noting that it’s only accessible by foot. But you’ll enjoy the best of both worlds, with amazing views over the city yet only a short walk down to get among it all.
Details: 28 Calton Hill, Edinburgh EH7 5AA | Book here
A lot of grand old Victorian hotels have lost a bit of their sheen these days, but The Balmoral is as formidable in her 13th decade as she ever was. Originally built as a railway hotel, the place used to have a direct connection to the platforms at Waverley, but rest assured the place is somehow totally sound-proofed. The clocks in the tower have always been set three minutes fast to make sure people catch their trains on time.
The name is Gaelic for ‘majestic residence’, and they take the title seriously, from the doormen wearing bespoke Balmoral tartan kilts to the hotel’s AA Rosette-awarded restaurant (aptly called Number One) and the whisky bar (stocked with a modest 500 malts). That comes second only to the hotel’s Palm Court, where you can take high tea beneath a glass dome to the serene plucking of a live harpist on a balcony.
Amenities: The staff includes everyone from a shoe-shiner to a resident poet and ‘scent butler’, and there’s an amazing spa with treatment rooms, a 15m pool, a Turkish steam room, a Finnish sauna and a… Scottish gym.
Location: The only way you could sleep closer to the railway station would be to take the Caledonian Sleeper Train.
Details: 1 Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 2EQ | Book here
It’s a five star, wonderfully luxurious boutique hotel set across a pair of newly refurbished Victorian villas in the city suburbs, that feels like more of a country retreat than a city break. There are plush lounges, a whisky bar and gardens to kick back in, and you’re relatively near the National Galleries’ modern art museum or the Water of Leith walk for a restorative stroll. And when you want to head into town for something a little livelier, it’s easy to get in by bus too.
Amenities: On-site restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner, meeting rooms, and gardens, plus eclectic room features from vintage radios to telescopes
Location: On the quieter side, but it’s a 10 minute walk to Haymarket and 35 minute walk to Waverley, with plenty of buses heading into the city centre too.
Details: 4 West Coates, Edinburgh EH12 5JQ | Book here
Want to stay in the first Virgin hotel in Europe? Well, you should: Richard Branson’s flagship opened in 2022 across three listed buildings that had been at risk of crumbling entirely. Now, it’s a stunning maze of higgledy-piggledy medieval stonework, modern glass bridges and 19th century grandeur, from the basement restaurant set in the ancient cellars to the glass-domed Victorian stairwell.
225 elegant rooms combine accents of the hotel’s historic features (pale wood panelling and high ceilings) with mid-century design, with tongue-in-cheek extras like the pillarbox red Smeg minibar, stocked with miniature Buckfast. The (literal) crowning glory of the hotel is the rooftop terrace, spacious and boasting jaw-dropping views of the castle and the Edinburgh skyline.
Amenities: Multiple restaurants, bars and lounges with open fires, fitness centre, rooftop bar, ‘pet-menities’ and more.
Location: You’re in the heart of the Old Town, well placed for the Castle, the Royal Mile and the National Museum.
Details: 1 India Buildings, Victoria Street, Edinburgh EH1 2EX | Book here
Want to make the most of your trip? Take a look at our entire Edinburgh Guide
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