The Best Boutique Hotels in Edinburgh

The Black Ivy Hotel is just one of Edinburgh's most stylish boutique hotels
The Black Ivy Hotel is just one of Edinburgh's most stylish boutique hotels | Courtesy of Black Ivy Hotel / Expedia
Photo of Mike MacEacheran
Contributor30 November 2020

There is more to Edinburgh than kilts, bagpipes, the Castle and the Royal Mile. The Scottish capital has an arsenal of amped-up design hotels, nudged outside by must-see pubs, book-ahead restaurants and covetable cafés. They’re a mighty fine place to get a fresh perspective on Edinburgh’s landmarks and ratchet up the after-hours excitement when the locals head home. Michelin-starred chefs, in-house pubs and burlesque workshops await behind the stylish doors of these boutique stays.

House of Gods

Boutique Hotel
Map View
House of Gods Royal Mile, Edinburgh
Courtesy of House of Gods Royal Mile / Expedia

Hidden on one of Edinburgh’s Old Town streets, this Cowgate hotel is a knockout hybrid of storied Walter Scott romance and Gothic chic; if Dracula had a dapper Scottish cousin, this would be his lair. Cue unapologetically extravagant decor, with plush four-poster beds, a haberdashery’s worth of crushed velvet and dark velour and a mood-setting assault of red, purple and plum. There are two bars, a 1920s one with a distinctly Art-Deco vibe and a palm-draped outdoor garden. It’s not exactly subtle, but brilliant all the same.

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Black Ivy

Boutique Hotel
Map View
Black Ivy Hotel, Edinburgh
Courtesy of Black Ivy Hotel / Expedia

Your fellow patrons at this Bruntsfield-located, all-day destination are laptop-glued freelancers, imbibing students and out-of-towners on getaways. It’s a mix drawn in by the hotel’s vibey, on-trend design, which is best displayed in the Drafthouse pub and Conservatory Dining Room. In fact, the wooden flooring is made from upcycled troop carriages, used during WWI and WWII. Highlights of the fresh doubles and snug rooms are arty fashion-mag prints, feature lamps and front-row views of leafy Bruntsfield Links.

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Rabble

Boutique Hotel
Map View
Rabble, Edinburgh
Courtesy of Rabble / Expedia

If only everywhere in Edinburgh had a glass-roof garden. This is the main draw of this fun-loving New Town hotel, restaurant and tap house, with compact, fuss-free rooms. Allow time for enjoying the in-room perks – stocked Smeg fridge, cocktail-ready room service, bespoke bath products – but don’t skip on what’s outside your front door: namely, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and boutiques on Multrees Walk. Socialise in the bar over a copper tank-poured beer, or linger over breakfast until midday, it is up to you. Oh, and did we mention the restaurant’s notorious “Lobster and Crab French Toast”?

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The Raeburn

Boutique Hotel
Map View
The Raeburn, Edinburgh
Courtesy of The Raeburn / Expedia

On bright, sun-lit days, Stockbridge’s social scene is centralised around this upcycled Georgian mansion’s front-and-centre beer garden. There’s more to cheer inside, too, with a fab family-friendly brasserie, tucked-away library and lofty views of Inverleith Park. Upstairs, the rooms are as smart as the bumper-to-bumper independent boutique stores along the street outside. The dinner booking you want is at chef Tom Kitchin’s pub the Scran & Scallie, right across the road.

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Dunstane Houses

Hotel, Luxury
Map View
The rooms at The Dunstane Houses are decorated in a pared-down traditional style
Courtesy of The Dunstane Houses / Hotels.com

With its front lawn afternoon teas, vintage whisky tastings and Orcadian touches – courtesy of the transplanted owners – this is the Victorian-era boutique you’ve always dreamt of. The 35 suites and cosy wee doubles are democratically split across two refreshed heritage houses, both with Neoclassical design and enough swit-swoo flourishes to get you rethinking your own interiors. Like your rugby? The hotel’s West End location is only a drop goal’s kick away from Murrayfield Stadium.

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  • 21212 Hotel

    Hotel, $$$
    Map View
    21212 interior
    Courtesy of 21212

    Run by Michelin-Star chef Paul Kitching and his partner Katie O’Brien, this exquisite, if eccentric, restaurant with rooms on Calton Hill stands out like a sore thumb. It doesn’t embrace the dyed-in-the-wool tartan look, nor does the kitchen trot out the same old tasting menus found elsewhere; out goes the wild game and seafood, in comes smoked salmon with curried banana and haggis porridge. But you shouldn’t only stay here for the food. Alongside the glam cocktail lounge on the first floor, the spacey doubles are as stylish as Edinburgh gets.

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    Tigerlily

    Boutique Hotel, Hotel
    Map View
    Lounge Area
    Courtesy of Tigerlily, Edinburgh

    Night owls need only apply. Located amid the cocktail bars and clubs of George Street, this dolled-up city centre restaurant with rooms and basement club comes front-loaded with Wonderland decor and a vibe that says everyday is Saturday. In-room frills include music playlists to get the party started and a hodgepodge of events downstairs, from cocktail and burlesque classes to cheerleading. Next day, head-soothing perks include in-room breakfast and an on-demand DVD library to ease the hangover. We especially love the Black Room with its in-wall fireplace and hanging egg chair.

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    Prestonfield House

    Hotel, Luxury
    Map View
    Luxury double room at Prestonfield House
    Courtesy of Prestonfield House / Hotels.com

    If the Scottish Highlands — with their shaggy-haired cows, clan kilts and baronial castles — are on your mind, this Monarch-of-the-Glen-style city centre manor provides a fitting substitute. It has peacocks and Highland cattle, rolling lawns and kilted doormen, plus stellar views of volcanic Arthur’s Seat. Inside, the design is Steve McQueen meets Brigadoon (1954), with a mix of stag antler armchairs, gilded mirrors and public rooms straight from a Speyside hunting lodge.

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    These recommendations were updated on November 30, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.