If you’re a big fan of Scotch whisky, medieval castles, tartan kilts, and bagpipes, then book a trip to Edinburgh. The Scottish capital is one of the United Kingdom’s most historic and popular destinations – and there’s a good reason. Take a stroll along Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile, and it won’t take long for you to realize what all the fuss is about!
Yes, Edinburgh is well known for its clichés. There’s the world-renowned Scotch Whisky Experience, an imposing 11th-century castle, tartan-clad bagpipers playing to first-time visitors, and cozy pubs serving up pints and plates of haggis and neeps. But there is so much more to this cosmopolitan city than its most popular tourist attractions.
Known to locals as Auld Reekie (which is Scots for the Old Smoke), Edinburgh has been the capital of Scotland since at least the 15th century. Edinburgh Castle has stood on its dramatic rocky plinth for many more centuries than that, and the castle’s tall towers and fortifications offer some of Scotland’s most iconic photo ops.
You can walk along the fabulous Royal Mile, a heritage-laden thoroughfare that has led locals, tourists, nobles, and royalty from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace for centuries. Along the way, you can sample Scotland’s finest tipples at the Whisky Experience, learn about the local history at the Museum of Edinburgh, visit the curiously nostalgic Museum of Childhood, and then take a tour through Scottish democracy at the inspiring Parliament Building.
Keep walking, and you can tackle the two-hour hike to the summit of Arthur’s Seat, where panoramic views await anyone who makes the climb to the top of the extinct volcano. After a tough hike, you’ll be happy to hear there are pubs on every street corner for some hearty pub grub. You can also refuel at the city’s many Michelin-starred restaurants, quirky cafes, and hip brewhouses.
At the end of a long day exploring Edinburgh, you’ll definitely want a nice hotel room where you can rest up. Edinburgh is home to all sorts of opulent historic hotels and hip boutique hotels. So many, in fact, that you might have a hard time choosing the perfect one. So we’ve created a list of the 12 best hotels in Edinburgh to help you plan your perfect getaway!
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Where to Stay in Edinburgh
Edinburgh might be the Scottish capital, but it’s a surprisingly compact city to visit. Some of the best boutique hotels in town are just a short stroll from Edinburgh’s historic city center. Plus, it’s no surprise that many of the coolest accommodation options line the Royal Mile or are hidden away in the maze of medieval streets that make up the cobblestoned Old Town.
There are one-of-a-kind hotels carved from the same rock the Castle was built from, boutique hotels with their very own Michelin-starred restaurants, and lavish hotels filled with antique furnishings that date back centuries.
Edinburgh New Town (a bit of a misnomer because it’s quite old!) is home to gorgeous old townhouses that have been converted into boutique hotels brimming with history and character. Head into the city’s suburbs, where you’ll find up-and-coming neighborhoods like Bruntsfield, which are chock full of stylish boutique hotels.
There are hotels sitting in the shadow of Arthur’s Seat, sprawling old country estates in the suburbs, and vintage hotels situated in the repurposed headquarters of a national newspaper. And don’t forget, Edinburgh is just a short bus or car ride away from the coast, where you can find unique luxury hotels onboard moored boats in the Firth of Forth. You can escape the city and wake up every morning to the fresh Scottish air and a panoramic view over the water!
The 12 Best Boutique Hotels in Edinburgh
If you’re worried about getting lost in Edinburgh’s Old Town, then book a stay at the landmark Balmoral Hotel. You can spot the hotel’s clock tower from anywhere along the Royal Mile!
The luxurious Balmoral Hotel is found at No.1 Princes Street. It’s not only one of the city’s most iconic buildings, but it’s easily one of the best hotels in Edinburgh. The most lavish rooms at the Balmoral offer sweeping views of nearby Edinburgh Castle, while many of the luxury suites have incredible vistas of Arthur’s Seat.
The interior design of the hotel is inspired by classic Scottish styles. You’ll love lounging around on the tartan-clad sofas and getting cozy in front of the wrought-iron fireplace in the Balmoral Suite. And if you want to be surrounded by antique chandeliers, vintage drapes, and a fine collection of Scottish literature, the Glamis Suite is for you.
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, then book the J. K. Rowling Suite, where you’ll find a marble bust of the Greek god Hermes that was signed by Rowling when she finished writing the Deathly Hallows!
You can dine on a fusion of French and Scottish cuisine at the Brasserie Prince or step it up a notch and enjoy the seasonal dishes of the Michelin starred No. 1 Restaurant. At the Balmoral Spa, you can relax in the sauna, take a dip in the pool, or work off your Michelin-quality dinner in the fully-equipped gym.
Open the plush, velvet curtains of your hotel room at the Kimpton, and you’ll be rewarded with the towering sight of Edinburgh Castle on the rocky outcrop above you. If you’re staying in one of the rear-facing rooms, don’t worry because the views over the private gardens in Charlotte Square are just as enticing.
The Kimpton is easily one of the best boutique hotels in Edinburgh because this luxury offering in New Town is set within the exquisite walls of a classic Georgian townhouse. The Kimpton’s rooms feature smoothly finished wood headboards, with tasseled throws and leather upholstery adding to the stylish decor.
Try out the hotel’s luxury bathroom robes while you lounge on the tan leather sofas, or pull out the in-room yoga mat and keep up with your morning routine in front of the long Georgian windows. You can head to the hotel’s fitness center for a more intense workout or book a session at the spa for a swim in the indoor swimming pool.
You’ll love how the Kimpton’s inner courtyard has been fabulously renovated with a bright glass rooftop. You can sit under the glass awnings while you choose from the Middle Eastern restaurant’s extensive list of charcoal-grilled kebabs and hand-mixed selection of hummus.
Few other hotels in Edinburgh are as bright and inviting as The Glasshouse, where every single room features enormous floor-to-ceiling windows and where the exterior of the hotel is literally made from glass!
This is a contemporary upgrade to a classic city center location. The Glasshouse has taken a historic Edinburgh church, removed the crumbling brick facade, and replaced large sections of it with elegant glass installations. You’ll still walk through the 170-year-old stone entranceway to reach the lobby, but once you’re inside, everything about The Glasshouse oozes modernity.
The 77 rooms at The Glasshouse feature smart wood headboards alongside flat-screen televisions, personal coffee pod machines, glass tables, and wood writing desks. The luxurious bathrooms have heated floors, walk-in showers, deep bathtubs, and a selection of Highland Aromatics toiletries you can enjoy during your stay.
Your room’s glass door opens up to a private terrace or balcony, but head up to the Rooftop Garden for the best views in the hotel. If you’re hoping to try out the local whisky, then visit Snug Bar, where the expert staff will help you choose from over 100 different blends and malts curated from all over Scotland.
The Witchery by the Castle is best described as one of the most unique boutique hotels in Edinburgh. Time your arrival at The Witchery after dark, when the haunting exterior of the hotel is mysteriously lit up in shades of ominous red and orange. Step inside the gothic entranceway, and you’ll immediately fall in love with the candlelit lobby and the medieval decor.
The Witchery is located in Edinburgh’s Old Town, where it unabashedly draws heavily upon the city’s historic past. There are just nine adults-only suites available, and they have all been individually curated.
The Armoury Suite is the largest of The Witchery’s rooms, featuring purple mood lighting, blood-red furnishings, and an oak four-poster bed. The Library, on the other hand, is bright and colorful, with a well-stocked bookcase hiding the entranceway to the suite’s secret bathrooms.
You can also choose from The Old Rectory, The Heriot, The Guardroom, The Inner Sanctum, The Vestry, The Turret, and the Sempill Suite. All of the suites are dramatic, moody, and filled with curious oddities and ornate décor – from velvet-draped four-poster beds to gothic chapel-like bathrooms with freestanding tubs.
The gothic, medieval styles continue in the Secret Garden restaurant, where you can enjoy a romantic, candlelit dinner with your partner. An ancient stone staircase leads to a hidden, fine-dining eatery where you can choose from caviar, shellfish bisque, or portobello haggis to start, and a platter of Scottish seafood, a Chateaubriand steak, or loin of red deer for your main.
The Rutland Hotel & Apartments has one of the best locations in Edinburgh. You’ll love how this boutique hotel is conveniently situated on the corner of Rutland Street, right in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle.
At The Rutland, you have a choice to stay in a luxury room or a luxury apartment, perfect for either a short or a longer stay in the Scottish capital. All of the accommodation is housed within a magnificent Edwardian-era townhouse that dates back to the turn of the 20th century.
The 12 boutique hotel rooms have views of New Town or Edinburgh Castle. Rooms also boast king-sized beds for spacious sleeping and Arran Aromatic toiletries to try out in the rainfall shower or freestanding bathtubs. Each room has been individually designed, with some lit up by vintage theater lighting and others featuring pop-art portraits of the Blues Brothers.
There are nine self-catering apartments at The Rutland, and you have a choice of one or two bedrooms for an extended stay in Edinburgh. Apartments feature glass-topped kitchen counters, Nespresso coffeemakers, a fully stocked mini-bar, and all the kitchen equipment you’ll need to whip up a feast.
21212 is first and foremost one of the most famous restaurants in town. But foodies will love staying in one of the luxury boutique rooms above this Michelin-starred restaurant.
Located on the Royal Terrace, the two upper levels of Michelin-starred chef Paul Kitching’s fine dining restaurant have been transformed into four spacious boutique hotel rooms with large lounging areas. The rooms are minimalist and homey, but the furnishings are undeniably luxurious.
The highlight of this unique hotel is the dining experience. Head downstairs, through the bright corridors of the Georgian townhouse, and you’ll find two private dining rooms and an elaborate drawing room.
You’ll need to make reservations for the private dining rooms well in advance, of course. But guests of the hotel can lounge at their leisure in the plush chairs and sofas of the drawing room, where you’ll be served tea and coffee (or a few whiskies) and a breakfast of Scottish smoked salmon.
Paul Kitching’s menu is ever-changing, and every week sees a new tasting menu designed around seasonal Scottish produce. Paul Kitching’s style is always unpredictable, and you need to expect the unexpected when you dine at 21212!
You’ll wake up to a complimentary newspaper every morning at The Scotsman Hotel. It’s fitting since you’ll be staying in the former headquarters of one of Scotland’s oldest daily newspapers!
The Scotsman draws wonderfully on its publishing past. All of the polished rooms and suites are located within refurbished offices that date back to 1905.
No two rooms at the Scotsman Hotel are quite the same, but all are beautifully designed with a mellow beige color scheme and oak-finished furnishings. Catch up on the news as you relax in the linen robe and sink into the Egyptian cotton linens of your king-sized bed in the Reporter Room. Pour yourself a Nespresso, then read the latest run of The Scotsman as you lounge in the sofa-lined cubby hole by the Publisher Suite’s expansive bay windows.
You can watch classic movies at The Scotsman Picturehouse, a 48-seat cinema with velvet seats and an in-cinema bar. Book a table at The Grand Cafe for a pre-movie dinner of sirloin steak or beetroot risotto, then head to the refined Hide Bar for a post-movie whisky.
You’ll love the vast grounds and quintessentially British character of Prestonfield, especially if this is your first time staying within the hallowed halls of a country estate. With 20 acres to explore, you’ll encounter rambling Highland cattle and colorful peacocks as you stroll through the centuries-old gardens of Prestonfield House.
This 5-star hotel has just 18 luxury rooms and five romantic suites. Accommodation is decidedly upper class, with rooms drawing upon hundreds of years of Scottish tradition to produce a uniquely nostalgic style. Classic rooms feature indulgent, velvet furnishings, while suites have decadent four-poster beds surrounded by portraits of Scottish Lords and Ladies.
Prestonfield House was the first place in Scotland to grow rhubarb. You’ll love how this curious culinary tradition lives on at Rhubarb Restaurant, where you can enjoy gourmet rhubarb and custard for dessert after a fine dining meal of loch-sourced fish or Highland steaks.
It feels like you’ve escaped the city when you check into this luxury property, but you’re still only 2 miles away from the start of Royal Mile. Prestonfield House sits in the shadow of Arthur’s Seat. You can plan your hike to the summit as you enjoy afternoon tea at the Garden Room Terrace!
Scotland’s first and only luxury floating hotel is docked in Edinburgh’s historic Leith port, where 5-star cabins offer the best views over the glorious Firth of Forth. The Fingal is a former working ship that ferried crew to a nearby lighthouse, but the boat has been magnificently repurposed and given a new lease on life as the most unique boutique hotel in Edinburgh!
There are 23 cabins onboard the Fingal, where you’ll sink back into comfy tartan-clad beds as the ship rocks gently on its moorings. The wooden decor adds to the nautical feel of the cabins, while brass taps in the bathrooms refine the look of a classic transatlantic cruise liner of old. Book the Skerryvore Suite, and you’ll have your own private terrace on the upper deck of the Fingal.
Head below deck, and you’ll love the nautical themes of the Lighthouse Bar & Restaurant’s cocktail menu, while the dinner selection consists of salmon, halibut, and a very fine cheese board.
One of the coolest Edinburgh hotels to stay at is the House of Gods. This curiously named boutique hotel is located by the old Cowgate on the Royal Mile, where regal Edinburgh collides with the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
The hotel is a clash of style and decadence. You’ll be greeted by the hotel’s Insta-worthy neon sign letting you know that you’ve found the House of Gods.
The romantic rooms are either inspired by the cabins of the Orient Express or the Palace of Versailles, with an over-the-top selection of dark red and deep purple velvet furnishings and luxurious marble bathrooms.
Upgrade to the “Treat Me Like I’m Famous” option, and you’ll get full in-house Butler Service, which includes milk and cookies at night and a Luxury Breakfast Gift Basket with free mimosas in the morning! Other VIP perks include a complimentary bottle of Champagne, in-room cocktail service, and a £50 bar tab.
Mix yourself a drink from the in-room cocktail bar, or head down to Paradise Lost Bar, where you’ll enjoy the warm comforts of a heated outdoor terrace. If the weather isn’t agreeable, book a table inside at Lilith’s Lounge, where mixologists serve up innovative Siamese Sleepers, Nightclubs, and Exploding Drum cocktails all night long.
11. Eden Locke
Eden Locke is a ray of glorious color set among the otherwise monochrome Georgian townhouses of Edinburgh’s New Town. Eden Locke offers weary travelers a relaxing retreat from the urban bustle of the Scottish capital. The 72 luxury apartments are the perfect pick for both short or long stays in the city.
You’ll forget you’re in Scotland when you open the door to your apartment because Eden Locke is designed to be a tropical oasis. The unique, L-shaped “Locke” sofas are surrounded by green plants and potted palm trees, while the white walls of the apartment contrast with the bright, summery colors of the door frames, bathroom doors, kitchen cupboards, and bed linens.
It’s a serious feast of color! Plus, you’ll have everything you need to cook up your own gourmet feasts using Scotch flavors and ingredients in the fully equipped kitchens. Whether you’re in Edinburgh for work or pleasure, Eden Locke has everything you need to make the vibrant New Town neighborhood your home away from home.
12. Black Ivy
You’ll love how there are just 21 stylish rooms at the Black Ivy, one of Edinburgh’s newest (and most fashionable!) boutique hotels. The Black Ivy is located in the green and bohemian suburb of Bruntsfield – one of the city’s up-and-coming neighborhoods – where you’re an easy 20-minute stroll from Edinburgh Castle.
Every single room at the Black Ivy has its own unique color scheme and style. The designers love their bright colors, and many of the rooms feature a vibrant clash of pinks, yellows, and turquoise decor with an abundance of floral bed sheets, duvet covers, and pillows.
In the summer, you can enjoy al fresco dining at the Black Ivy’s signature Terrace. If you’re in the mood for a tipple, you can sample hoppy craft beers carefully curated by the team at the hotel’s Drafthouse bar. In the winter, the Scots might brave the outdoor heaters, but if you’re from sunnier climes, you might prefer to order up an Espresso Martini or an Irish Coffee while you warm yourself by the cozy indoor fireplaces.
The restaurant at the Black Ivy serves up a dangerously decadent mix of gourmet comfort foods. On the menu at the Conservatory Dining Room are delightful concoctions such as lobster mac and cheese and bacon and haggis pie. You’ll love the restaurant’s grand Vienna-imported chandeliers and original street art-style murals by the Melbourne-based artist Rone.
That completes our list of the 12 best Edinburgh hotels! Did we miss any cool boutique hotels in Edinburgh? Comment below so we can add them to the list!
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