Best places to stay in Edinburgh

Jon Price

From neo-Renaissance landmarks adapted to suit standards of 21st century luxury, to ghostly gothic hotels bathed in crimson red, there’s certainly no shortage of beautiful and completely unique places to spend the night in Scotland’s historic capital city, Edinburgh. Whether you’d like to lounge in five-star comfort under the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, or spend your evenings admiring contemporary artworks in surprisingly affordable boutique hotels, here are five of our top recommendations on where to stay in the city.

Embrace age-old traditions at The Balmoral

The Balmoral (pictured) is an Edinburgh institution, which can be found watching over the east end of Princes Street, overlooking the city’s iconic Old Town. This neo-Renaissance landmark has been immensely popular with travellers for more than a century, partly because its proximity to the station makes it the perfect location for anyone arriving to the city by train.

It also boasts a Michelin-star restaurant and a colourful history, but the atmosphere is much more modern boutique than traditional historic hotel. Guests can enjoy afternoon teas under a glass dome in the Palm Court bar, and thick carpets and plush furniture in the lavishly decorated rooms. The hotel is also shrouded in interesting trivia, with a clocktower that is set three minutes fast to help ensure locals heading to Waverely Station don’t miss their trains.

Go all-out gothic at The Witchery  

Every single day, hundreds of tourists heading towards Edinburgh Castle walk straight past one of Edinburgh’s quirkiest and most atmospheric places to sleep without so much as batting an eyelid.

Housed inside a beautiful baroque building, The Witchery is a self-proclaimed “gothic hotel” which blends eerie furnishings and ghostly ambience with timeless romance. Lined floor to ceiling with devilish drapes and creepy crimson red fabrics, the rooms here feel like something straight out of an age-old horror novel, while the award-winning bar boasts a generous wine list that genuinely is to die for.

Best of both worlds at the Glasshouse

Another offbeat option for those looking to sleep somewhere that’s just that little bit different is the Glasshouse Hotel at 2 Greenside Place. Set inside an historic 170-year-old former church that’s been upgraded with giant, great glass panels, The Glasshouse takes the concept of old-meets new to the extreme.

Step inside and the sleek furnishings and whimsical design touches beautifully contradict each other, somehow blending to deliver a 1970s-inspired retro vibe. We’d recommend requesting a suite with a balcony that leads out onto the rooftop garden. If you’re ever here on a rainy day, head down to the superb Henderson Gallery housed in the hotel’s own grounds – an art space dedicated to the kind of creativity that encompasses the Glasshouse’s unique design ethos.

Go affordable but stylish at 24 Royal Terrace

With crowds from all over the world flocking to Edinburgh to see its world-leading arts festivals and age-old attractions, it can often be difficult to pinpoint a hotel that offers the right location, style and amenities at the right price. If you’re looking for the best budget option in the city that doesn’t compromise on atmosphere, we’d recommend 24 Royal Terrace.

Nicely located under the shadow of Calton Hill, this former Georgian townhouse offers tremendous value for money considering its very walkable location, but also boasts truly unique interiors that challenge some of the city’s top boutique hotels when it comes to style. Think walls adorned floor-to-ceiling in brightly coloured contemporary artworks, ornamental room dividers and cast-iron roll-top bathtubs.

Opt for subtle luxury at Nira Caledonia

Travellers in search of silent luxury as opposed to out-and-proud decadence should head over to Nira Caledonia along Gloucester Place. From the outside, this centrally located hotel looks like an unpretentious Georgian building housing only modest accommodation. But inside, Nira Caledonia is a masterwork of 21st century comfort and world-class amenities.

Ask for one of the many sumptuous hot tub suites if you’d like to splash out, and don’t miss the generous breakfast, which centres on Scottish-only ingredients. If you really value superb cuisine, head over to the hotel restaurant to sample its delicious Shetland smoked mussels, too.