Marveling at Edinburgh Castle, taking a literary pub tour, or biking through Old Town are just a few of the dozens of activities that bring travelers to the Scottish city. It has a long history that is palpable at every turn, while also home to modern art galleries and exquisite fine dining restaurants. If you’re considering a getaway to Edinburgh and want the best of the best for hotel accommodations, look no further. We visited the city’s top hotels and boutiques to see how they stack up — from the rooms to the restaurants to the service. Check out our picks for the best luxury hotels in Edinburgh and start planning your trip!
The 188-room grand railway Balmoral Hotel has been a part of Edinburgh's skyline since 1902 (courtesy of its famous clock tower, which runs three minutes fast to ensure guests never miss their trains). The large, majestic luxury hotel has a range of rooms, from compact, comfortable Classic Rooms to large multi-room suites. The five restaurants, including one with a Michelin star, and bars offer a wealth of choices, and include a brassiere, a tea court, a lounge, and a Scotch bar. Packages can be purchased, but generally expect to pay for the extras here.
The Chester Residence easily provides some of the most luxurious self-catering apartment accommodation you'll find in Edinburgh. The 23 apartments are crammed full of high-end gadgetry and top-of-the-range kitchen appliances, and finished with sharp, designer styling with a masculine edge. They're spacious too and while some open to gardens, others have views over the city -- though no elevators means some leg-work is required to access these. The location is pleasant, though the city's bustling center is beyond walking distance. While rates are inevitably high, the attention to detail and sheer level of luxury makes these a great deal for those wanting to splash out.
The 23 Mayfield is a luxury bed-and-breakfast housed in an immaculately presented Victorian villa set about a mile south of Edinburgh's historical center. Period interiors are particularly impressive throughout, extending to eight charming rooms with hand-carved mahogany furnishings and, in some, views of Arthur's Seat. Breakfast is a real highlight and one of the best available in the city, while a cozy candle-lit lounge provides a superb setting for a nightcap. While rates are justifiably toward the higher end and the location isn't ideal for exploring the city on foot, this is certainly one of the finest guesthouses on offer in Edinburgh.
The 18-room luxury Prestonfield House is an opulent boutique hotel on a historic, 20-acre country estate in southeast Edinburgh. The epitome of Scottish luxury, the Prestonfield overflows with fine antiques, oil paintings, and lush fabrics to create a quirky, theatrical feast for the eyes. Each guest room is individually designed and furnished. The common threads are decadence and quality, which carry into the menu at the hotel's destination restaurant, Rhubarb, and the endless fascinating nooks and crannies in this unforgettable hotel.
The Rutland Hotel is a Georgian house that's been converted into a 21st-century luxury boutique hotel with 12 rooms, a family-friendly apartment, and a bovine-themed steakhouse. It's in the heart of Edinburgh’s West End, close to bustling Princes Street and the Financial District. The property is glitzy -- expect silver spray-painted gothic chairs; a chic bar that remains noisy into the early hours; and rooms with views of Edinburgh castle -- but it's not too sophisticated to offer guests home-baked muffins on arrival. Breakfast, which includes plenty of Scottish fare, comes with a fee. The hotel is quiet (it has heavy soundproofing), stylish, and in a convenient location for visiting the city.
This 18-room luxury boutique hotel is an elegant, exclusive property set in three Georgian houses on a posh residential street in Edinburgh’s New Town. Upon arrival, guests are enveloped in an aura of traditional sophistication, quality, and service worthy of Downton Abbey. Butler service is included, and the attentive staff will press trousers, shine shoes, do personal shopping, serve afternoon tea en suite, draw baths, and more. Guest rooms are ultra luxurious, with canopy beds and immense marble bathrooms. But some decor could use updating, and there have been occasional housekeeping issues. The elegant restaurant serves modern Scottish cuisine, and pre-dinner drinks are available in the comfortable drawing room.
While it doesn't look like much from the outside, the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa is a seriously upscale hotel with some outstanding facilities. The largest of its class in the city, the property has a six-floor spa, which includes an impressive rooftop infinity pool with views of Edinburgh Castle -- although the sauna and steam baths cost extra. The 269 rooms are suitably luxurious, with some great in-room tech and swanky bathrooms, some also overlooking the castle. As well as being the biggest hotel in Edinburgh, it's also one of the city's most expensive, but the Sheraton Grand does does deliver a luxury experience for the money.
A four-pearl Victorian country mansion, Norton House Hotel and Spa, built in 1843, sits on 55 acres of beautiful grounds that feature mature trees and pretty hanging baskets. The hotel is a classic stone-built manor with 83 rooms that include a number of luxury suites. Intended as a traditional country retreat, the property is tucked away from the bustle of the city. The spa, located in a separate building, offers a range of treatments, including a form of mud therapy. The hotel is a five-minute drive from the airport, but aircraft noise is not a problem. Edinburgh's city center is half an hour's drive away, making Norton House a good choice for those seeking a bucolic getaway, and for business travelers using its meeting rooms and business facilities, and taking advantage of its proximity to the airport.
The 10-room Twelve Picardy Place is an upscale boutique hotel housed in a historic Georgian townhouse on the edges of Edinburgh's New Town. Interiors feature trendy, contemporary design that is hip and elegant, with two stylish restaurants as well as a cool basement bar with outdoor courtyard. Rooms are equally stylish, clad in gray hues and featuring lovely wallpaper of Scottish architecture and city scenes, and equipped with 3D HD TVs, fully-stocked minibars, and bathrooms with luxurious rainfall showers or soaking tubs (or both). Guests should be aware that there is no elevator and some rooms can be affected by street noise.
The Tigerlily is housed in an historic Georgian townhouse, but inside, it's thoroughly modern. This stylish 33-room boutique hotel has few amenities -- just a small lobby, a restaurant, and a bar (no fitness center or spa here). But it attracts guests with its gorgeous rooms and convenient New Town location, within walking distance of sights, restaurants, and shops. The hip bar and restaurant, where guests and locals can enjoy tasty cocktails and organic meals, features funky chandeliers, bright velvet furniture, and patterned wall panels. The rooms are high-tech, with flat-screen TVs at the foots of the beds and pre-loaded iPods, and have wood floors and sophisticated contemporary style. Rooms are individually decorated, and many feature bright color accents and statement patterns; all have high-end extras such as plush bedding, fresh flowers, and sleek bathrooms with upscale White Company toiletries.
Six Brunton Place is a beautifully presented property set in a typically Edinburgh Georgian townhouse on the outskirts of the city center. While there's plenty within walking distance, much of historical Edinburgh is a bit far (Old Town is around 25 minutes on foot). The property's four rooms are upscale, with plaid bed throws and original wood floors or ceiling beams, as well as modern luxury amenities including premium cable, quality toiletries, and thick robes. A daily free breakfast including fresh-squeezed juices and smoked salmon is served in the cozy dining room and gets excellent reviews from guests.
The 28-room Nira Caledonia is a seriously upscale boutique occupying a charming 18th-century property in Edinburgh's New Town. While the cobbled street setting is particularly charming and close to local amenities, it's not really within walking distance of most popular tourist attractions. The rooms however are particularly gorgeous and full of high-end touches including Nespresso machines, huge flat-screen TVs, and luxe bathrooms, some with Japanese-style jetted soaking tubs. While it lacks some of the facilities you might expect at this price, an outstanding breakfast and top-notch dining contribute to making this one of the finest properties of its kind in Edinburgh.
Set in three Victorian townhouses, the 49-room, upscale Bonham is a stylish boutique hotel in a quiet, historic Edinburgh neighborhood, around the corner from all the action. The property manages to combine Georgian architecture, an old Edinburgh vibe, a well-curated modern art collection, and glam decor to create a one-of-a-kind environment far more luxurious than the price would indicate. Guest rooms are individually designed and decorated, with striking furniture, high ceilings, ornate woodwork, and gorgeous bathrooms. The hotel also serves full Scottish breakfast with local ingredients, and has an elegant restaurant and bar serving afternoon tea.