These hotels are some of the best cheap options in the city, allowing you to save your money for more important things. Each option has double rooms available at a reasonable rate and is still within walking distance of all the great things Edinburgh has to offer.
If you are on a budget while visiting Edinburgh, there’s no reason you can’t still enjoy quality accommodation. It used to be that visitors to Edinburgh would head straight for the Old Town or New Town. Many wanted to be among the old Georgian terraces, or tucked inside a well-kept tenement, but the city has opened itself up to tourists, meaning there are now great places to stay all over town. These hotels cover the whole gamut, from stylish boutiques to quirky apartments.
Studio apartments are the order of the day at this chic boutique apartment hotel located right at the entrance to the New Town. The expansive café on the ground floor slings out artisan espressos daily and is filled with lush greenery and soft furnishings. This tranquillity is reflected in the apartments. Expect cool, Scandi-style furniture, a pale pastel colour palette and big, bright windows allowing the light to flood the rooms and providing excellent views of the Old Town.
Haymarket station is the gateway to all Edinburgh has to offer in the West End. Haymarket Hub Hotel is conveniently located directly opposite, and is easily accessible by bus or tram from the airport. The rooms are compact and simple, with wooden floors offsetting the deep red-and-black colour palette used across the hotel. The floral furnishings are a classic touch, but the design is still very modern. You’re still close to the city centre, but you’re also perfectly located if you’re up for a rugby game at Murrayfield or a day trip to Edinburgh Zoo.
This three-star hotel emulates the fashionable cool of London’s Shoreditch. Rustic wooden features, cool white walls and custom prints adorn the rooms, giving them a more composed feel than your average hotel. Cowgate is one of Edinburgh’s busiest nightspots, so if you’re up for a party, you couldn’t be better placed. For music, go to Sneaky Pete’s or the Caves. For bars, you’ve got Ox184. For clubbing, head to the Hive. The beauty of Arthur’s Seat is also just a short walk away.
A little further out from the centre, in Edinburgh’s Southside, Hotel Ceilidh-Donia is a really charming spot, with good access to some different parts of the city. The hotel itself has the feel of a converted townhouse, and the rooms echo that ambience. There are feature walls of floral patterns, canvas prints and original sash windows, with views overlooking Arthur’s Seat. Take advantage of the Southside if you stay here; the arts venue Summerhall is a great nearby spot for gigs and exhibitions. You’re also a short walk from Duddingston and one of the oldest pubs in Scotland, the Sheep Heid Inn.
Cairn Hotel is a well-located (and well-priced) boutique spot that dates back to the 18th century, designed by Scottish architect William H Playfair as part of a plan to build another New Town in the east of the city. The Neoclassical Grecian exterior is nicely contrasted with a contemporary Scottish interior. The rooms come with countryside prints, contemporary art and a rustic, autumnal colour palette. Cairn is a good choice for those looking to spend their budget on food rather than accommodation. The Gardener’s Cottage and the Little Chartroom are both close by, and from Leith Walk you can hop on a bus to the Shore, one of the city’s best foodie locations.
You can’t get more central than this. The Grassmarket Hotel sits underneath Edinburgh Castle, with the Meadows, Cowgate, the National Museum and the gorgeous Victoria Street at each of its corners. Rooms are amusingly decorated with an array of Scottish institutions like The Dandy and The Broons comic strips, Tunnock’s Teacake mugs and detailed maps of the city. Often hotels will emulate a kind of rural idyll when trying to channel their Scottishness, so it’s good to see Grassmarket playing with a funnier, more kitsch vision of the country. On Saturdays, the Edinburgh Farmer’s Market sets up stalls nearby from 10am to 5pm, with crowds descending upon the square pretty quickly.
Apartments are a great choice if you want a more relaxed, self-sufficient holiday, and Fountain Court does them very well. They try to recreate a homely and comfortable environment in their apartments. At this location, this is done through the use of a cool, neutral colour palette, soft lighting and local art adorning the walls. While you’re not far from the centre here, you’re even closer to the Edinburgh canal, which can make for a really beautiful scenic walk on a good day.
Corstorphine village is a quaint, charming suburb towards the west of the city, just past Edinburgh Zoo, and home to this incredibly reasonable boutique hotel. Befitting its Scottish heritage, stags are a noticeable theme in the rooms here: you’ll find geometric stag heads on the walls, imitation antlers and painted stag silhouettes around every corner, giving the place a certain uniformity. The Torfin also has an on-site bar and restaurant that you’ll definitely want to try out, with modern gastropub food and excellent cocktails that bring visitors from the centre regularly.
This is one of the most reasonably priced boutique hotels in the city. No 11 is down a quiet Edinburgh street, and has the typical Georgian facade that makes the capital so striking. The Georgian features are replicated inside, too, with ceiling roses, grand entrance columns and an illuminating cupola all perfectly preserved since the building’s completion in 1822. Beautiful independent bakery Twelve Triangles is just down the street, perfect for picking up morning pastries before walking into the Old Town, to Leith or up Calton Hill.
This article is an updated version of a story written by Tori Chalmers.
These recommendations were updated on October 16, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.