The Best Luxury Hotels to Book in Edinburgh

The Scotsman Hotel in Edinburgh offers a truly luxurious stay
The Scotsman Hotel in Edinburgh offers a truly luxurious stay | Courtesy of The Scotsman Hotel / Expedia
Helen Arnold

From former railway buildings to old churches, mini stately homes and modern abodes, Edinburgh hotels come in a wide variety of styles. Whether you opt for sleek and streamlined or full-on opulent glamour, this selection of the city’s most sublime hotels will ensure you are utterly spoiled during your stay.

1. The Dunstane Houses, for joyful boutique charm

Hotel, Luxury

A bed and desk with chair in a traditional style hotel room at Dunstane Houses. Large gold-framed mirror on the wall.
Courtesy of the Dunstane Houses / Hotels.com

In 1988, a young couple from Orkney stopped in Edinburgh on their way to London – and never left. Today, Shirley and Derek run the Dunstane, a hotel spread across two Victorian guesthouses that’s so homely, you may end up following in their footsteps. Boutique design rules here, with matte-black four-poster beds and roll-top copper baths to enjoy your morning coffee in. Yet, they haven’t forgotten their roots – Orcadian artworks adorn the walls, while Scottish produce is available all day. Try the chef’s favourite, mackerel, and finish with a locally-distilled whisky in the Ba’ Bar.

2. Fingal – A Luxury Floating Hotel, for a unique stay on the water

Independent Hotel, Hotel

Outside view of Fingal, a hotel on a boat floating on the water, lit up at night
Courtesy of Fingal – A Luxury Floating Hotel / Expedia

What makes this one of the best hotels in Edinburgh? Fingal is within walking distance of the city buzz, yet promises that by the time you disembark, you’ll be as calm as the water it’s on. Sip champagne while stargazing in one of the luxury cabins. The art deco restaurant will make you feel like you’ve dived for dinner, with its rippled bronze ceiling. Choose from nautical-themed cocktails, or stay on land with the full Scottish breakfast, which includes award-winning black pudding and haggis.

3. Nira Caledonia, for thoughtful details

Hotel

Elegant, cream-toned room at Nira Caledonia with a comfortable bed, a high-backed armchair, a dresser and flowers.
Courtesy of Nira Caledonia / Expedia

As the former home of 19th-century writer Christopher North, you’d expect a level of grandeur at Nira Caledonia. The boutique hotel screams elegance with its muted colour palettes and in-room hot tub, while the floor-to-ceiling windows mean you can admire the city from the comfort of your 2000 pocket-sprung bed and goose-down pillows. If you want to head out, you’re right in the centre of town; the friendly staff are happy to offer their recommendations.

4. The Balmoral Hotel, for the Harry Potter connections

Hotel, Luxury

The opulent dining room with palm trees, wallpaper, a chandelier and upholstered chairs at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland
Courtesy of the Balmoral Hotel / Expedia
The clock above the Balmoral Hotel, which towers over the east end of Princes Street, is permanently set three minutes fast to ensure that passengers en route to Waverley Station don’t miss their trains. This Edwardian Gothic edifice (where J.K. Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) has been an Edinburgh institution for over a century, but there is nothing remotely old-fashioned about it. With a Michelin-starred restaurant, ritzy afternoon teas in the glass-domed Palm Court and deeply luxurious rooms, this grand hotel confidently keeps itself relevant.

5. Prestonfield House, for an Edinburgh institution

Hotel, Luxury

Gaudy, opulent, red-toned lounge area at Prestonfield House featuring velvet couches, antique lamps and tapestries
Courtesy of Prestonfield House / Expedia

Minimalism takes a back seat at this wildly extravagant Edinburgh hotel, with plush velvet, leopard-patterned carpets, deep hues on the walls and oil paintings creating the ambience of an opulent boudoir. Set in 20 acres (8ha) of parkland in the shadow of Arthur’s Seat, giving it the feel of a country estate, this tranquil haven is only a 5-minute taxi ride from the city centre. It offers guests superlative service the minute they walk through the door. Dine at the award-winning Rhubarb restaurant, and flick through the 800-strong wine list. Book a helicopter (naturally, there’s a landing pad). Organise a game of golf next door, or play croquet on the manicured lawns.

6. Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian, for fabulous views

Hotel, Luxury

Cream-toned room with double bed, blue armchairs, blue lamps and a view at Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh
Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian / Expedia
When it comes to accommodation, it’s all about the location, and it doesn’t come much better than the “Caley” (as it’s affectionately dubbed by locals). Dominating the West End of Princes Street, with unparalleled views of Edinburgh Castle, this former Victorian railway station is one of the best hotels in Edinburgh for unadulterated luxury. Think luxuriously dressed ladies, tartan-trousered concierges, lavish afternoon teas, impressive restaurants and a swanky Guerlain Spa (which is the only one in the UK). Check in to one of the Queen Carriage Rooms, a throwback to the hotel’s railway history, and let the Caledonian spoil you.

7. The Scotsman Hotel, for an extra dose of character

Hotel, Luxury

Elegant dining area and bar at the Scotsman Hotel featuring a tiled floor, a turquoise velvet couch, red armchairs, green chairs and marble columns
Courtesy of The Scotsman Hotel / Expedia
Formerly the home of Scotland’s national daily newspaper, The Scotsman, this imposing Edwardian building – which straddles North Bridge – offers sweeping vistas of Edinburgh’s skyline. Any hint of ink and hot-metal printing presses have long been banished, replaced by a city-centre hotel that combines the charm of a bygone era with the best of 21st-century living. However, there are occasional reminders of the hotel’s former incarnation – check in to a spacious Editor Room or a compact Reporter Room. For the ultimate luxury, treat yourself to a stay in The Penthouse, where you can sweat it out in the suite’s sauna and enjoy grandstand views of the castle from a private terrace.

8. The Glasshouse, for light-flooded spaces

Boutique Hotel, Luxury

Elegant bedroom with a leather couch, a double bed and a private patio at The Glasshouse
Courtesy of The Glasshouse, Autograph Collection / Expedia

The Glasshouse can be found inside one of Edinburgh’s more unusual 19th-century churches at the top of Leith Walk. Beyond the Gothic exterior, however, sits a very modern boutique hotel, creating a striking contrast between traditional and contemporary. Extensive use of glass allows masses of light to flood into every room, most of which enjoy a private terrace. Yet, the absolute highlight of this five-star hotel has to be the 0.8-hectare (2 acres) rooftop garden. In the summer, it has a gin bar where you can kick back, relax and soak up the views of Calton Hill.

9. The Bonham Hotel, for both the traditional and the modern

Hotel, Luxury

Elegant sitting area with a fireplace and blue velvet chairs at The Bonham Hotel
Courtesy of The Bonham Hotel / Expedia

Situated in a peaceful, leafy crescent in Edinburgh’s well-heeled West End, the Bonham offers guests a gorgeously indulgent stay in spacious rooms and suites. These three former townhouses have recently been given a revamp, and, while the hotel has retained its period features, including wood panelling and huge bay windows, this place is anything but stuffy. Furnishings are upholstered in bright velvets, and the beds are deep and piled high with pillows and cushions. If you don’t want to go out, there’s also an excellent on-site restaurant, No35, serving up imaginative modern British cuisine.

10. Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel, for eclectic interiors

Boutique Hotel, Luxury

White and black wallpaper, wire chairs and a fireplace at Kimpton CHarlotte Square Hotel
Courtesy of Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel / Expedia

Just steps away from the upmarket shops on George Street and within walking distance of most of the city’s attractions, the Kimpton Charlotte Square’s prime location makes it an ideal base. Comprising seven elegant Georgian townhouses, the hotel features eclectically styled rooms decked out with heavy velvet curtains, tartan throws and deep colours. Roll-top baths and bespoke Perfumer’s Garden toiletries invite you to wallow a little bit longer, while the handmade mattresses make hitting the snooze button irresistible. After a day of sightseeing, rejuvenate in the spa, take a dip in the indoor pool, or relax with a nightcap in the garden bar.

Looking for more luxurious stays in Scotland? Check out our guide to the most luxurious hotels to book in Scotland. If you’re after a unique stay in Edinburgh, book one of the best boutique hotels in the city. If you’d rather something cheaper, discover our guide to the best cheap hotels in Edinburgh and book now on Culture Trip.

Erin Lee contributed additional reporting to this article.

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