The Best Hotels to Book Near the Royal Yacht Britannia

The HMY Britannia carried Queen Elizabeth II across the world’s seas and oceans for over four decades
The HMY Britannia carried Queen Elizabeth II across the world’s seas and oceans for over four decades | © Colin Burn-Murdoch / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Culture Trip Travel Team
24 September 2021

Having conveyed Queen Elizabeth II safely across the world’s seas and oceans for 43 years between 1954 and 1997, the HMY Britannia was retired to Leith in Edinburgh as a tourist attraction. Leith is a lovely alternative to old Edinburgh when it comes to finding a good hotel, with its popular port adding another face to the Scottish capital. Here are the best hotels near the Royal Yacht Britannia, all bookable with Culture Trip.

Fingal – A Luxury Floating 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

You might not be able to spend the night on the Royal Yacht Britannia, but there’s another classy ship in Leith port which has been converted into an upscale floating hotel. The Fingal was built in 1963 to help and assist lighthouse keepers in Scotland. Today, the cabins have been turned into comfortable bedrooms with elegantly tiled bathrooms in greens and greys, with Art Deco gold finishing. The Lighthouse is the on-board restaurant and bar, and the engine room has been preserved and displayed behind glass.

Malmaison Edinburgh City

Malmaison Edinburgh City
Courtesy of Malmaison Edinburgh City / Expedia

Next door to the Scottish Portrait Gallery and St Andrew Square, the Malmaison Edinburgh City is a top-quality hotel with daring designs and brazen decor. This is one of the city’s newer hotels, and the old rulebook has been thrown out along with the pastel tones. Instead, you have bright red, blended with white and grey, and the headboard of each bed is surrounded by a mural, such as a pixelated Birth of Venus or a vintage scrapbook motif.

The Glasshouse, Autograph Collection

S-shaped black chairs on a paved patio in front of the black and glass exterior of The Glasshouse. The door to the lounge is ajar, revealing a low grey chair and vase of flowers.
Courtesy of the Glasshouse, Autograph Collection / Expedia

Set at the foot of Edinburgh Castle, the Glasshouse projects a much more refined atmosphere, owing perhaps to the fact that the building housing the hotel’s 77 rooms was once the Lady Glenorchy Church, built in 1846. The rooms give little of this past away, though, opting for modern comforts and designed with impeccable zoning so that even the smallest rooms feel like mini suites. The actual suites, therefore, feel huge and have excellent views through the floor-to-ceiling windows.

The Balmoral Hotel

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
As the name suggests, the Balmoral opts for the kind of regal charm befitting a royal yacht. The HMY Britannia is only a couple of miles away, while Calton Hill and Edinburgh Castle are in easy walking distance. Rooms have high ceilings, owing to the generous Georgian architecture; some have sylvan wallpaper, antique furniture and capacious sitting rooms with elegant coving. Of the six restaurants and bars, Number One stands out for its Michelin-star cuisine, while Scotch has 500 different whiskies available.

Courtyard by Marriott Edinburgh

Courtesy of Courtyard by Marriott Edinburgh / Expedia

There’s a real sense of warmth and calm at the Courtyard by Marriott Edinburgh. It starts in the lobby, with its wood tones, copper lampshades and colourful chairs, featuring tartan-style cushions. The rooms are a little cooler, with darker wood and little brush strokes of aquamarine. Modern amenities include TVs with Chromecast capabilities, while the hotel also has a small fitness centre with free weights and cardiovascular equipment.

Apex Waterloo Place Hotel

Courtesy of Apex Waterloo Place Hotel / Expedia

Only a minute from the entrance to the Grecian-themed Calton Hill, you’ll find the red carpet rolled out to guests of the Apex Waterloo Place Hotel, leading them through the columned doorway and into the heart of a consummately stylish hotel. Suites are split over two storeys; there’s a Scandinavian-style lounge, complete with rocking chair and sofa. The wellness centre, with its heated pool, is a real highlight here.

Aparthotel Adagio Edinburgh Royal Mile

Aparthotel Adagio Edinburgh Royal Mile
Courtesy of Aparthotel Adagio Edinburgh Royal Mile /

Are you looking for something that offers more flexibility during your Edinburgh stay than a standard hotel room? Aparthotel Adagio Edinburgh Royal Mile offers the best of both worlds, giving you all the cleanliness and comfort of a hotel room, but the amenities and space of an apartment. Even the smallest studios here have a kitchenette and lounge area. Coin-operated laundry facilities and a fitness centre can also be found on-site.

Ten Hill Place

Ten Hill Place
Courtesy of Ten Hill Place / Expedia

Over in the Southside neighbourhood of Edinburgh, minutes from Holyrood Park and around 3mi (5km) from the Royal Yacht Britannia, is Ten Hill Place. The hotel is owned by the Royal College of Surgeons, but there is nothing painful about its operation; profits go into training surgeons around the world. Rooms are decorated in a reserved black, grey and white motif, with little pops of red from chairs and cushions. And because health is taken seriously here, there’s an excellent fitness centre.

Mercure Edinburgh Haymarket

Courtesy of Mercure Edinburgh Haymarket / Expedia

Over in Edinburgh’s more modern Haymarket quarter, Mercure has come up with elegant accommodation. An understated blue-and-white colour palette – a nod to the Scottish flag – is used in the rooms, and the thistle-print carpets reference the country’s national flower. Some rooms have Nespresso machines and a minibar. The hotel has its own bar and a fitness centre available to guests as well.

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