Where to Stay in Edinburgh Like a Local

Relax at Eden Locke's airy lobby bar on a trip to Edinburgh
Relax at Eden Locke's airy lobby bar on a trip to Edinburgh | Courtesy of Eden Locke / Expedia
Photo of Mike MacEacheran
Contributor30 November 2020

Edinburgh may be a tourist’s dream, but that doesn’t mean you have to act like one. Instead, go for a more authentic experience – all you need to know is where to stay. From up-and-coming neighbourhoods to lesser-known, pint-sized places, the Scottish capital has as much intrigue for regulars as it does for first-timers. If you’re looking for a more local experience of the city, here are some of the best.

House of Gods

Boutique Hotel
Map View
House of Gods Royal Mile, Edinburgh
Courtesy of House of Gods Royal Mile, Edinburgh / Expedia
Even the locals are dying to come back for more at this insanely brilliant boutique Cowgate hotel. There’s a heady mix of personality-packed gothic, medieval and Victorian-era themed rooms, with the emphasis on hocus-pocus tricks, such as believe-it-or-not in-room cocktail bars, hidden coffee machines and mirror TVs. If the Rocky Horror Picture Show cast opened a hotel, this would be their blueprint.
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Black Ivy

Boutique Hotel
Map View
Black Ivy Hotel, Edinburgh
Courtesy of Black Ivy Hotel / Expedia
On-trend neighbourhood boutique hotels are something the capital has been missing for years. Step inside this fashion-forward, Bruntsfield joint with art murals and social areas that are as much for people-watching locals as for city first-timers. Start in the Conservatory with a full Scottish skillet (that’s with potato scone, black pudding and haggis, by the way) then join the locals on The Meadows. If it’s summer, the park comes alive with Fringe-lite antics and circus life. Afterwards, finish with tank beer amid new friends. Hot tip: stay at the weekend for the cool-as-cats jazz brunch.
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Rabble Tap House and Grill

Boutique Hotel
Map View
Rabble, Edinburgh
Courtesy of Rabble / Expedia
A stay here can feel like joining a local’s impromptu night out in the New Town. The craft beer tap house is a shoulder-rubbing joy, while the restaurant does boozy weekend brunches for the morning after the night before. Rooms are staple work-hard, play-hard territory, with desks, speakers and coffee machines. If you’re planning on joining the locals in the streets early doors, the kitchen does breakfast bags to go.
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94DR

Boutique Hotel, Bed and Breakfast
Map View
94DR
Courtesy of 94DR / Expedia
A reservation here gets you more than a stylish double with woollen throws and complimentary coffee. How about free bikes for tootling from Newington through the parkland of the UK’s greenest city and bespoke breakfast cooked by the owners? For that local touch, owners Paul Lightfoot (the trained chef, in case you were wondering) and John MacEwan can recommend cycling routes, as well as arrange theatre tickets and restaurant reservations. Just like they’re a couple of friends you’ve known all your life.
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Mono Suites

Suite Hotel
Map View
Mono Suites
Courtesy of Mono Suites / Expedia
Built with the Instagram and Airbnb generation in mind, this quietly contemporary aparthotel is at odds with chaotic South Bridge outside. At-home tranquillity is paired with views of Arthur’s Seat from the window, while freedom from hotel faff comes in the form of an unmanned reception and access code-only entry to the 10 rooms.
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  • Eden Locke

    Boutique Hotel, Serviced Apartment, Hotel
    Map View
    Eden Locke, Edinburgh
    Courtesy of Eden Locke / Expedia
    At the vanguard of the capital’s thrumming aparthotel scene, this design-led George Street address brings in a slick mix of business folk, weekenders and creative types. It has the airy hangout lobby bar to rub shoulders with off-work locals, as well as just-like-home plants and sofas to sink into. The difference is its super-plush, Scandi-style rooms that feel like the most daring in the city.

    About this place:

    Stylish, Boutique, Great Location, Relaxed, Modern, City, Cosy, Design

    The Pavilion at Lamb's House

    Guesthouse
    Map View
    Pavillion at Lamb
    Courtesy of Pavilion at Lamb's House / Expedia
    A dream house built by Irish and Icelandic conservation architects, this self-catering hideaway is based on an 18th-century garden pavilion — meaning there are plenty of hidey-holes to explore. Meticulously designed, it feels like stepping through Alice’s looking glass, with Victorian box bed, vaulted ceiling, open fire and — the star — an Italian Renaissance garden. That it’s caught in Leith’s groovy local bubble is an oddity in itself: beyond lies Edinburgh’s Michelin-star restaurant row (namely, The Kitchin and Martin Wishart), as well as hashtag-worthy tap houses and port saloons.
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    No 11 Brasserie & Boutique Hotel

    Boutique Hotel
    Map View
    Courtesy of No 11 Boutique Hotel / Expedia
    Oh, the 19th-century pomp at this four-storey Georgian townhouse is a sheer delight. It’s a rare hotel that moves from ancient Doric columns to designer bathrooms in the space of one flight of stairs, and the tasting menu gives you the best of Scotland’s idealised larder — all without the need for tweezer-perfect fustiness. Spare some time to live like a local by bar-hopping along Leith Walk and taking in a show at the Playhouse Theatre. Nearby is the bar-filled Pink Triangle, the heart of the capital’s LGBTQ scene.
    These recommendations were updated on November 30, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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