Top 14 best hotels in Edinburgh, Scotland: from historic mansions to boutique hotels and luxurious private apartments

By Tetiana PavlichenkoDec 21, 2023 15:32 PMEdinburgh
Top 14 best hotels in Edinburgh, Scotland: from historic mansions to boutique hotels and luxurious private apartments
Edinburgh boasts numerous authentic hotels in historical buildings. Source: Image

With majestic architecture, a dramatic fairytale castle, underground alleyways full of medieval mysteries, and a lively pub scene, Edinburgh has everything to attract travelers. This city is brimming with stunning sites, easy to navigate even on foot, and offers good hotels in almost every neighborhood of Edinburgh. You can choose to stay in a neighborhood that suits your personality and build the perfect itinerary to explore the city.

There are numerous beautiful hotels to enchant you, from chic boutiques and hidden gems in the Old Town to modern apartments with fantastic views of Edinburgh from rooftop bars. If you're planning the perfect Edinburgh vacation, consult our guide to the best hotels. This list has been curated by Conde Nast Traveler editors who have personally experienced all these places and are now eager to share their insider insights. Here, you'll find the most luxurious hotels, as well as lesser-known havens and new establishments in Edinburgh that, despite lacking a long history, have already garnered fans worldwide.

1. Gleneagles Townhouse

Top 14 best hotels in Edinburgh, Scotland: from historic mansions to boutique hotels and luxurious private apartments
Each boutique bedroom has a classic original design. Source: Image

Among other top-rated luxury hotels, this five-star oasis stands out because, despite its central Edinburgh location close to major attractions, it offers a family adventure-style vacation in a charming country estate in the middle of the Scottish countryside. The 33 rooms of the hotel, which acts as a membership club, match the splendor of the surrounding landscape. There are 8 different categories of bedrooms and suites with a range of luxurious amenities, Victorian and Art Deco decor, and beautiful Scottish textiles. Guests can choose the room of their choice, from charming small attics to spacious rooms with fireplaces, high ceilings, and luxurious bathrooms. On the first floor, you'll find The Spence, a superb restaurant open all day. On the rooftop terrace, you can enjoy a seasonal list of cocktails, whisky, and wine and casual dining in one of the liveliest bars with epic views of Edinburgh's skyline. Hotel guests have access to a state-of-the-art wellness center housed in a restored bank vault. It offers over 40 different classes and services: a gym, infrared sauna, cryotherapy chamber, fitness studios, yoga, morning jogs around the city, and innovative spa treatments.

2. Virgin Hotels

One of Edinburgh's unusual hotels representing a new Old Town vibe, housed in original 19th-century Indian buildings on winding Victoria Street. The city's historic sights will be just on your doorstep if you stay here, so even in a short time, you'll have time to enjoy the local culture, history, food, and shopping. Speaking of delicious food, you'll be able to have a tasting at the hotel's restaurants without leaving the hotel at all. Common Club embodies the romance of old Edinburgh and serves traditional Scottish cuisine. The eponymous bar offers world-class cocktails, while Eve offers casual breakfasts and dinners or weekend brunches, as well as live music evenings from Thursday to Sunday. There are 222 rooms and suites, decorated in pale cream colors with bright red accents and designed in a "two-chamber" style, with sliding partitions separating the sleeping and living areas. There are 8 suites, and each has something unique to offer, from the Bedouin tent-like mezzanine to the "Fun Library" in the family suites - a selection of books, coloring books, and board games for all ages.

3. The Balmoral

One of Edinburgh's most prestigious hotels has one of the most enduring associations with the city. Its famous 190-foot tall clock tower, ornate balconies, and neo-Renaissance turrets are an integral part of Edinburgh's landscape. It has an ideal location for easy access to all major attractions. The hotel opened in 1902 as the North British Railway and has undergone a multi-million-pound refurbishment. It has 188 individually decorated rooms, an elegant reproduction of Scottish heritage, with views of Edinburgh Castle and the Walter Scott Monument. All are spacious, with beautiful furnishings and thoughtful amenities. Suites provide their guests with some additional benefits and compliments, from complimentary breakfast to check-in and personalized room service. Many of them are also notable for the guests who have stayed here. One, for example, is where Joanne Rowling stayed during the completion of the final book in the Harry Potter series. Another attraction of the hotel is its restaurants, such as the French-inspired Brasserie with Scottish accents or the Michelin-starred Number One restaurant. Also not to be missed is the traditional afternoon tea in the serene and luxurious Palm Court. Other guest amenities include a swimming pool, gym, and spa with a Turkish steam bath, sauna, and several treatment rooms.

4. House of Gods

Few of the popular hotels in Edinburgh can rival House of Gods in extravagance. Located in the heart of the city in the middle of historic streets, this hotel is a uniquely decadent pad. The 22 rooms don't offer much space, but this is skillfully compensated for with an original design inspired by the Orient Express coupes. You'll find the four-poster beds that have become the hotel's signature feature hidden behind a drapery of burgundy-red velvet. And in the larger suite, you can relax in the freestanding Victorian-style bathtub. The interior furnishings are tinged with the ambiance that hovers around the hotel. The surrounding neighborhood is filled with vibrant nightlife, though many historic landmarks are also within walking distance. House of Gods in Edinburgh may not be classified as a traditional hotel in the conventional sense but rather as three cocktail bars with adjoining rooms. In one, you'll see cocktails on the menu whose names refer to international stars and other famous hotels in Edinburgh and around the world. In another, you'll enjoy a cabaret atmosphere, and in a third, you'll experience a drag show. The hotel skillfully combines this mischievous mood with an innocent atmosphere: you can expect the butler to bring you milk and cookies before you go to bed, and in the morning you'll find a breakfast basket.

5. Eden Locke

Top 14 best hotels in Edinburgh, Scotland: from historic mansions to boutique hotels and luxurious private apartments
The hotel rooms resemble individual apartments with a cozy common lounge area. Source: Image

At first glance, the staid and imposing Eden Locke looks like one of Edinburgh's typical New Town top hotels. But behind the classic Georgian townhouse facade lies a breezy, trendy oasis with wicker chairs, tropical plants in tubs, light oak floors, and plenty of pastel accents. There are 72 studio apartments with large beds with soft leather headboards, kitchen areas, and private bathrooms with complimentary toiletries. Guests also receive yoga mats and access to a free fitness app. The heart of the hotel is the coffee bar, with a reception desk at one end and a seating area at the other end where guests can sit down to relax or sit with a tablet. The local Mayvn Cafe creates the perfect spot with a casual atmosphere for coffee lovers. The cafe is open from morning to late afternoon, swapping coffee, herbal teas, and fresh juices for local craft beers, cocktails, natural wines, and light snacks. The George Street location gives you access to Edinburgh's most luxurious bars and stores, and the city's iconic landmarks are just minutes away. The hotel staff will arm you with insider tips on where to go and what's worth visiting.

6. Roseate Edinburgh

The best hotels in Edinburgh, such as the Roseate Edinburgh, have a modern history while maintaining a historic appeal. This hotel in the West End was formerly known as Dunstane Houses. It is housed in two-period Victorian townhouses built in 1865 and recently underwent a thorough refurbishment. The hotel has 35 elegant rooms and suites. Roseate Edinburgh offers a luxurious stylish stay with an authentic Scottish soul. It is a relaxed and tranquil retreat where the historic past is complemented by modern comforts. There are small rooms for two or more expensive spacious ones with Instagrammable bathrooms, but both are meticulously decorated, with quality beds, high-density linens, and, in suites, minibars and coffee machines. The cuisine in the hotel's Dunstane Restaurant and Bar is an exemplary blend of the finest Scottish produce and spirits delivered from Highland breweries and distilleries. You can also enjoy an al fresco drinks menu and delicious snacks at The Roseate Garden from Friday to Sunday.

The hotel is outside Edinburgh city center, but Haymarket train station and streetcar stops are 10 minutes away.

7. The Witchery by the Castle

Tucked away among the historic buildings of late 16th-century Edinburgh Castle's gates is one of Scotland's most luxurious hotels, steeped in centuries-old history. Its crimson and burgundy decor is reminiscent of a scene from a movie about Count Dracula in a Gothic castle. The hotel's nine suites embody a magical romantic atmosphere that will create special memories with your loved one. Cosmopolitan magazine named these hideaways one of the seven wonders of the hotel world. All suites are luxuriously individually decorated: inside you can find chic four-poster beds, walls upholstered in silk, Victorian baths for two, and a stone tower staircase leading to the second floor. Each suite's interior is unique, but walk-in closets, tapestries, and bright red-and-gold décor set the overall tone. A breakfast basket is delivered to your room each morning, and for lunch, it's worth heading downstairs to the charming original 18th-century oak-paneled, candlelit dining room. Or in the summer months, sneak into the hidden oasis of The Secret Garden to enjoy great Scottish food on the terrace with its delightful painted ceiling. The hotel is in the heart of Edinburgh, and from some of its suites, you can see the Royal Mile, Old Town, or Princes Street.

8. Intercontinental Edinburgh The George

This historic and luxurious hotel has a prime location close to Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, and Princes Street Gardens. It consists of five Georgian-style townhouses, established in 1775 as mansions for the city's most prosperous residents. Since 1881, it has been one of the most popular hotels in Edinburgh, offering a taste of luxury in the Scottish capital. Rooms are sophisticated and modern, with bright bathrooms, and interiors include leather armchairs, pendant lights, and Victorian-style corduroy sofas. The upper floors of the hotel offer one of the most beautiful views of the Georgian rooftops and the Firth of Forth Bay beyond, perfect for watching the fireworks and Hogmanay lights. Guests can start the day with a light breakfast and homemade pastries at the Burr and Co coffee shop. Next door is the Printing Press Bar and Restaurant, which serves a seasonal Scottish menu throughout the day and wine, cocktails, and craft beer until late in the evening. At Le Petit Beefbar, another restaurant, guests can enjoy a steak menu. The hotel has a modern gym and a business center. Intercontinental Edinburgh The George is located on the main shopping street near restaurants and bars, and most of the city's iconic sites can be reached within a couple of minutes' walk.

9. Porteous' Studio, Grassmarket

One of Edinburgh's finest hotels, this is a great mix of history and modern amenities. The former 18th-century blacksmith's workshop is now a fine example of stealth architecture with some charming references in the form of exposed brickwork and timber framing. The hotel is designed as a quiet place to relax after a busy day of exploring the city. Its location in the famous Grassmarket district provides guests with easy access to a host of attractions and activities, from world-class boutiques and fine restaurants to local artisan markets and street performers. Porteous' Studio was designed by a local couple, Jack Arundell and Eilidh Izat, who set up their design studio in Edinburgh. It offers visitors to the city a private sanctuary - an open-plan apartment for two, comprising a living room, fitted kitchen with dining area, bathroom, and bedroom with a large bed. They are separated by lattice doors and screens reminiscent of the Japanese "komorebi" - "the light of the rays shining through the foliage of the trees." The room is designed in a minimalist style using natural materials. Underfloor heating adds to the coziness of the studio, while an enlarged doorway and a large window fill it with soft sunlight. A breakfast basket with locally sourced produce is delivered upon arrival.

10. Cheval The Edinburgh Grand

Top 14 best hotels in Edinburgh, Scotland: from historic mansions to boutique hotels and luxurious private apartments
The most luxurious views of the city are from the penthouse terraces. Source: Image

The list of the best hotels in Edinburgh undoubtedly includes the stately building in St. Andrew's Square, which formerly housed the National Bank. It is a great option for a luxurious stay in the city center after exploring the city's attractions. It is also popular for long-term stays, and the hotel staff will make every effort to make this place your ideal temporary home. Cheval The Edinburgh Grand offers its guests 50 apartments of various types, from studios to three-bedroom penthouses with incredible views of the city. All have equipped kitchens, dining rooms, and living rooms. Guests staying here can visit the CaveFit Fitness Center, which includes a fitness studio and a fully equipped gym, at their convenience. Like other renowned hotels in Edinburgh, Cheval The Edinburgh Grand provides guests with the opportunity to explore traditional Scottish cuisine and enjoy the delights of international cuisine. You will be spoiled for choice as it is home to the city's top restaurants. You can hang out for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres or relax in a casual atmosphere over afternoon tea at The Register Club on the 4th floor. On the first floor is Lady Libertine, a café and bar with a tempting food menu, a superb wine list, and top DJs and live music. The upmarket British restaurant Hawksmoor serves the best of Scottish cuisine, including seafood from the local coast and some of the best steak in Edinburgh.

11. Market Street Hotel

Arriving by train at Waverley station, all you have to do is cross the street to find yourself in your chic hideaway, where Old Town character blends perfectly with modern design. This Edinburgh city resort is the first hotel in Scotland to become a member of Design Hotels. Located in the heart of the city, it is ideal for travelers planning to explore iconic landmarks. The lounge and reception area are on the top floor with direct elevator access, deviating from the traditional layout approach to ensure that guests' first impression is a stunning panorama of the city. The rooms are decorated with natural materials such as textured stone and white oak. Inside, they are filled with bespoke furniture and handmade décor pieces. Wooden shutters designed in the manner of the original window hardware of historic Old Town, soft wool accents, and fabric wallpaper accentuate the cozy homey atmosphere. Marble bathrooms feature rain showers and vegan-brand toiletries. The fun of this design hotel revolves around the stunning rooftop Champagne Loft bar: stop by here to sample 20 varieties of champagne (many available by the glass) and complement them with small plates of gourmet appetizers, or for afternoon tea with a modern menu of treats.

12. Kimpton - Charlotte Square, an IHG Hotel

One of the New Town's most beautiful hotels, set on the edge of a picturesque private garden, is the epitome of modern Edinburgh. Behind the classic Georgian façade is a glass-roofed lobby and central courtyard that's always bustling with activity: travelers relax with a gin and tonic, local friends socialize, and local businessmen schedule business meetings. The Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel consists of 7 interconnected Georgian townhouses. Bedrooms and suites are decorated in an eclectic style with references to the golden age of travel in meticulously detailed decor in the form of books, art, etc. Each room feels like a private urban retreat with luxurious leather upholstery, state-of-the-art technology, and nice extras like a yoga mat and soft cozy robes. There is a special room #33 at Charlotte Square that is a hotel within a hotel. It has 12 rooms for up to 20 guests and two event spaces - a living room and a dining room. Amenities at the hotel include a Tesla chauffeur service, an on-site fitness center and classes, a spa providing massages facials and body treatments, an indoor pool, restaurants and a bar.

13. North Bridge Lofts & Lord Lyons Chambers

A great option for travelers who prefer private apartments to famous hotels, Edinburgh has equally chic self-catering apartments in the city center. The North Bridge Lofts are ten such self-catering apartments located in the former Scotsman newspaper building. The interiors are elegant, in white and gray tones, and the previous purpose of the premises is reminded by the sturdy Victorian-style fire safes (which must have held some journalistic scoops and national secrets), which have now been converted into shower cubicles. The apartments have 1-2 bedrooms or are designed as studios and all have a fully equipped kitchen, lounge and dining area. At the same address are three large Lord Lyons Chambers apartments. These are sophisticated apartments with leather sofas, parquet flooring, pendant lights, and a private kitchen. North Bridge Lofts & Lord Lyons Chambers are located in a listed building and are just a couple of minutes walk from the Royal Mile. Each apartment's amenities include a king-size bed and sofa, Wi-Fi, non-presso machines, a Peso sound system, and branded toiletries.

14. The Raeburn

Top 14 best hotels in Edinburgh, Scotland: from historic mansions to boutique hotels and luxurious private apartments
Edinburgh's hotels are home to some of the city's most interesting restaurants and bars. Source: Image

The Georgian-style building that houses The Raeburn Hotel was built in 1832 as an elegant family mansion. It has been transformed into a sophisticated boutique hotel 15 minutes walk from Edinburgh city center, known among other famous city hotels as a restaurant with rooms. It has 10 rooms in standard and deluxe configurations with all the necessary amenities for a comfortable stay, from Egyptian silk sheets and fluffy bathrobes and towels to coffee machines and well-stocked minibars. Bathrooms are marble, with rain showers or rounded tubs (in Deluxe rooms). The restaurant serves dishes made from the finest local ingredients, from grilled steaks to bolder options like smoked pigeon with beet puree or scallops from the West Coast. The stylish bar is the lively center of the hotel: fringed banquettes, subdued lighting, stone walls, and a variety of seating create a warm and sophisticated atmosphere. Three seating areas on the outdoor terrace are a great bonus in good weather. The restaurant and bar are also popular with locals, so it can get noisy before closing time. The hotel provides airport transfers, and there's also private parking - a big plus for Stockbridge, which is filled with independent stores and restaurants.

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