Accommodation in Edinburgh for the Savvy Traveller
Make the most out of your stay at one of Edinburgh's landmark hotels, the Waldorf Astoria – The Caledonian, and delight in afternoon tea | Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh, The Caledonian / Expedia.com
Are you wondering what it’s like to navigate Edinburgh? Easy-peasy, thanks to its compact, navigable streets and localised landmarks – think the Castle, Royal Mile, Scott Monument and Calton Hill – all within a short stroll from each other. That means no fussing over public transport or taxi queues, giving you extra time to explore all of the hidden gems and places in between. If that sounds right up your alley, we’ve compiled the best accommodation in Edinburgh for every traveller.
A short walk away from theRoyal Botanic Gardens, by way of the cobbles and clocktower of Stockbridge, this hotel is steps away from the capital’s smartest neighbourhood. It’s in a whisper-quiet location where it’s easy to blend in as a local, but also close enough to all of the city’s big hitters. Within half an hour’s walk, you can visit the Castle, Holyrood palace, walk up Arthur’s Seat, as well as explore numerous gardens and historical monuments. Beyond the ornate exterior, the hotel houses the best of Edinburgh, and features floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing New Town’s Unesco-listed Georgian terraces. Then, there’s also Blackwood’s Bar & Grill, where the main attraction is prime Perthshire beef and Berwickshire lamb.
Located between The Meadows and the Royal Mile, the Hotel du Vin exists between the tourist side of Edinburgh, with its tollbooths and steampunk towers, and the student quarter, with its cafes, terrace bars and curry houses. That puts you steps away from theNational Museum of Scotland, the busy bars of Grassmarket and Cowgate, as well as close to a riot of Fringe festival venues come August. If all that doesn’t seem ideal, then consider doubles with five-star appeal at four-star prices and a classic French-style bistro and bar. If you’re craving something different, the street food at nearbyTing Thai Caravan is also worthy of a chef’s kiss.
Connoisseurs look no further. With the Edinburgh Gin Distillery practically underneath your feet, hidden away in an underground cellar, this hotel is perfect if you’re looking to experience Edinburgh’s finer side. The boutiques of George Street are close at hand, while the adjacent Princes Street Gardens wind through oak and hazel to Edinburgh Castle and all the medieval glory of the Royal Mile. An even bigger draw is the hotel’s rich history – for instance, it used to be the terminal and ticketing hall for Princes Street Station.
Geared towards a young, if well-travelled crowd, this rambling series of townhouses is so close to the many pubs of Rose Street and the splashier clubs of George Street that you’ll be enjoying a cold one just minutes after check-in. The hipster-vibe rooms feature record players, scarlet-red bedside telephones and punky safari prints, and there is also a tucked-away pool, sauna and steam room for rainy days. Hungry? Try Syrian-inspired charcoal kebabs, and mint and pomegranate cocktails at Baba.
If a red-eye flight out of Edinburgh Airport is part of your plans, then few other hotels are better placed. A five-minute drive from the terminal, this country house charmer ditches the stratified urban look for old-school glamour, full Scottish breakfasts and afternoon tea. There are also many attractions nearby – take time to visit Edinburgh’s three Forth bridges, all masterpieces in their own right, take a waterside saunter along the Union Canal fromThe Bridge Inn at Ratho, and stop for fish and chips in South Queensferry.
Rave-worthy hotels are a rare find in Edinburgh’s salt-tanged suburb of Leith, putting this Georgian-era townhouse – located a short walk away from Waverley Station and Calton Hill – head and shoulders above the rest. Once a historic regimental club for kilted veterans of the British Army – the entrance tiles were once smashed by beer barrels as they were wagon-wheeled through the front door – this boutique hotel now excels at understated luxury. Handily, The Gardener’s Cottage, one of Edinburgh’s most fabulous lunch spots, is nearby on London Road.
Moneyed Murrayfield, ground zero for Scottish rugby fans, is the backdrop to this Victorian-era duo of townhouses. Inside, the rooms showcase enough design flashes to fill a World of Interiors magazine, but even then they aren’t the main attraction. That would instead be the location: families will love the hassle-free access toEdinburgh Zoo and the path down the Water of Leith to Dean Village and beyond. Couples should beeline to theScottish National Gallery of Modern Art and make sure to look out for the random Antony Gormley statues popping up in the river and on the road.
This George Street boutique is a test for your mind as much as it is your body. The individually-distinct globe-trotting themed rooms – from Havana to Moscow to Rio – will test your geography, while the cocktail masterclasses and indulgent buttery scone teas will test your willpower. You’re here to dose-up on culture and shopping, so with the city’s must-see museums and best selection of boutiques in the near vicinity, planning the days has never been easier. For expert barista coffee with a twist, tryUrban Angel.
For picnics in Inverleith Park – where locals swear you get the most sumptuous view of the Edinburgh skyline – and lost-in-the-city walks along the Water of Leith, this mansion can’t be beat. The Raeburn is the beating heart of Stockbridge community life, and is situated among the neighbourhood’s knick-knack shops, barbers and butchers. On Sunday, sample paella or a wild game pie at the farmer’s market, then return to the hotel brasserie for a pint in the beer garden. As for rooms? How about drench showers, espresso machines and plasma TVs.