An insider's guide to the top boutique hotels in Edinburgh, including the best for stylish sensibilities, Michelin-starred restaurants and romantic bedrooms, in locations near to Edinburgh Castle, Arthur's Seat, Princes Street and the city centre.
24 Royal Terrace
When Alan Campbell’s remarkable collection of contemporary art outgrew his house, he didn’t buy a gallery; he bought a small hotel and filled the walls with pictures worth half-a-million pounds. This grand Georgian house has been reimagined, with chic rooms and a smart bar. It's a fine new way to experience new art. The hotel lies east of the city centre in a quiet leafy hillside location. The hotel garden gives access to the splendid Royal Terrace Gardens, which in turn leads onto Calton Hill with its magnificent views across Edinburgh.
Read the full review: 24 Royal Terrace
The Rutland Hotel
This smart, sassy West End hotel has 12 modern boutique bedrooms, as well as a popular all-day restaurant/bar, a steak restaurant and an underground bar that is gin distillery by day, watering hole by night. It’s perfect for couples looking for a stylish, relaxing break but not too edgy for comfort. It’s smack at the west end of Princes Street, close to the National Gallery, theatres, George Street and the Castle. The best rooms have views to the Castle; failing that, ask for Princes Street or glimpses of the Firth of Forth.
Read the full review: The Rutland Hotel
The concrete Chesterfield sofas in the front garden of an otherwise stoutly ordinary Victorian villa give a clue that things may not be as they seem here. Benefiting from a slinky makeover with a private house party feel, you can book one of the nine bedrooms or hire the entire house. Inside, everything – from ceiling cornices to radiators – is a shade of cool grey, a clever backdrop to the spare but quirky decorations: tribal carved heads, bleached wood furnishings, Moroccan-style and cut-glass lamp shades. In the western part of the city’s West End; ideal for Murrayfield stadium or if you prefer being out of the touristy throng.
Read the full review: Murrayfield House
A carefully styled b&b, as boutique as they come, offering an unexpected helping of urban chic in a modest Victorian villa. Sharp injections of colour and the occasional shot of unadulterated bling stop it all becoming too staid and predictable. Breakfasts are generous and bedrooms deeply comfortable. It’s on the border between the city and Leith, so a good 20-minute walk to the sights, but only 10 minutes or so down to the Shore or up to Broughton Street – both great areas for bars and restaurants.
Read the full review: Ardmor House
Hidden in lush grounds a short drive from the city centre, this is the swankiest, most swoon-some country-house hotel imaginable. Riotously rococo, with bedrooms straight from the pages of bodice-ripping romance, every comfort is catered for. Drama, theatre, romance and passion hang heavily in the air. Minimalism be damned; more is definitely more. It’s on the south-eastern outskirts of the city, in the shadow of Arthur’s seat and set in 20 acres of garden and parkland. Rhubarb restaurant is much-favoured by Edinburgh locals celebrating in style. Its two oval shaped dining rooms come into their own at night as a candle-lit, gothic fantasy.
Read the full review: Prestonfield House
The four bedrooms above this Michelin-starred restaurant are no afterthought; there is a confident hand at work in rooms that are as striking as the food, displaying a sometimes surprising but always sensual contemporary/baroque style and unexpectedly leafy views. Each of the four rooms has its indulgence; perhaps a cosy window seat, egg-shaped bath or double walk-in shower. Michelin-starred chef Paul Kitching is a maverick who likes to tease flavours, building fantastic creations that sound impossible, but work, such as silky pink trout served with artichokes, pasta, almonds, chickpeas, kidney beans, oriental mushrooms, warm coleslaw and feta cheese.
Read the full review: 21212
This Southside guesthouse may be a little out of the way – it’s on the south side of the city, five minutes’ walk from Holyrood Park and the foot of Arthur’s Seat; a 10 minute bus ride from the city centre – but it rivals the best boutique hotels for sheer style, wit and professionalism. Bedrooms are tailor-made, and a sophisticated lounge opens with a dramatic flourish onto a stunning conservatory dining room and garden. Paul and John offer a great concierge service for their guests, with a comprehensive knowledge of the Edinburgh food and arts scene. They provide complimentary bicycles, great facilities for children and a well-equipped honesty bar in the smart but cosy ‘snug’.
Read the full review: 94DR
The Witchery by the Castle
This extraordinary collection of fantasy suites near Edinburgh Castle is the ultimate romantic hideaway: sumptuous, indulgent, and slightly (delightfully) mad. If Pugin designed gothic revival love nests they would look like this: an outrageous riposte to modern minimalism. The nine suites are an antique dealer’s dream: the rooms set-dressed with fascinatingly eclectic clutter; all jewel-coloured velvets, silks and brocades, carved wood, gilding and candle-light – think decadent ecclesiastical. You cannot stay any closer to the heart of the city.
Read the full review: The Witchery
In this beautifully kept, unassuming Victorian villa you will find candle light, acres of mahogany panelling, stained glass and bespoke period furniture, with the occasional well-judged modern touch. The aptly named club room lounge is cosily inviting, with leather sofas and wing chairs in front of the fire, a library of books old and new, as well as city information, an honesty bar, Bose music system, chess board and over a hundred DVDs of old black and white films. In the garden there is outdoor seating, a hot tub (complete with iPod dock) and a well-furnished gazebo. It’s on a busy road in Newington, a quick bus ride from the city centre (about 20 minutes’ walk), and close to Arthur’s Seat and the University Halls of Residence.
Read the full review: 23 Mayfield
No expense has been spared transforming a derelict small hotel into this smart restaurant with immaculate rooms in a great neighbourhood. Stockbridge has splendid shops, restaurants and a Sunday market, but is only a 15-minute amble to the city centre and five minutes from the Royal Botanical Gardens. ‘Boutique’ has become shorthand for an identikit style, but it has been well realised here, with a modern heritage look of moody, rich colours, plenty of tweed and toned-down tartan, faux-Victorian bathrooms, wood panelling and books by the yard in the small ‘library’ lounge.
Read the full review: The Raeburn