There’s nothing worse than heading away on a luxury city break and staying in a hotel miles from everything. When you book a holiday to travel and tour a new destination, you want to be close to the sights. Who wants to walk forever to reach the best shops, or trek for miles to see the best attractions? So when you find a luxury hotel in the very centre of a city, it’s always a great start.
The Rutland Hotel in Edinburgh is one such establishment, sitting on the north west corner of Princes Street Gardens. From here, everywhere is accessible within minutes; the delights of the gardens and their ancient cemetery, the shopping along Princes Street, the castle perched loftily on the dormant volcano, and infamous Rose Street, legendary for its pub crawls, are all just minutes away.
As hotels go, the Rutland is something to behold. From the outside it’s an interesting layout, with the restaurant and bar taking up the first two floors on the northern side. The entrance to the hotel is found on Rutland Street itself, and as I stepped inside I was taken aback. It certainly wasn’t quite what I’d expected. The lobby is elaborately decorated in bold, dark colours, with fabulous orchid displays and ornate throne-style chairs in rich upholstery. Upstairs, our room was every bit as fanciful, with a large carved bedstead dominating the centre of the room, and a chandelier taking up ceiling space. It is by far one of the ‘dressiest’ rooms I’ve stayed in. But its real feature isn’t what’s in the room, it’s what’s outside – this room is one of two in the Rutland known as the Castle rooms, and as well as the royalty theme running throughout, they also have simply outstanding views of Edinburgh Castle from their panoramic windows.
Most of the other rooms in the Rutland are less extrovert in design while still retaining a fresh, colourful appeal. But I imagine that these Castle Rooms would be first choice for hen parties and brides-to-be, as well as those travellers who just want a glimpse of Edinburgh’s most iconic landmark from their bedroom. And while the view is wonderful during the day, the dark nights bring views of the Castle lit up in all its glory.
The hotel is more than comfortable. The hallways and corridors follow the same dark décor, but it’s rich rather than overwhelming or subdued. Sporadic Beckham-style thrones adorn occasional nooks and crannies, and contemporary wallpaper adds a decadent touch. On the ground floor, your bedroom key card grants access to the bar as well as the Kyloe restaurant, one of the hottest eateries in the Capital, and with a young team running the establishment we were looked after on our stay with a pleasant youthful enthusiasm.
The Rutland Hotel is ideal for a luxury city break in Edinburgh. It’s got everything you’re looking for in an inner city property, as well as that all important location, location, location. The next time you’re planning a trip to Scotland’s capital, give serious consideration to booking your room here.
For other great ideas about luxury travel in Europe, check out our hotel reviews here.
Here at Candidtraveller we love our luxury travel destinations, so we’re lucky to have all the delights of fabulous Edinburgh not too far away. We think it’s one of the best travel and tour destinations in the Northern Hemisphere, although we don’t mind admitting to being a little biased! It’s also the location of one of our favourite hotels, the Roxburghe, a place we’d travel to just for their sweet potato chips!
Just north of famous Princes Street in Edinburgh, and overlooking the green precinct of historic Charlotte Square where the acclaimed Edinburgh International Book Festival takes place every November, the imposing facade of the Roxburghe Hotel stands tall along the southeast edge, rubbing its Georgian shoulders with noteworthy neighbours. On the north side, Bute House is official home to the First Minister of Scotland, and to the south, the birthplace of Alexander Graham Bell is another noteworthy home. So, with such esteemed surroundings, the red carpet gracing the entrance to the Roxburghe is far from out of place.
Inside, the hotel is an eclectic mix of old and new, contemporary and period, but every aspect works well. Walls are painted in warm hues of lilac, the floor is wood with the occasional tapestry-effect rug, and even the pillars have been given a modern look with mirrored facings that brighten the large rooms.
We ate in the Melrose Lounge overlooking Charlotte Square. With the Melrose Restaurant next door and the Consort Bar also serving meals, guests won’t struggle for choice. And the service is friendly too – unhurried, polite, and attentive without being overbearing.
The menu isn’t extensive for lunch, but I like that in a restaurant. Lunches are meant to be simple, uncomplicated meals. Taking a break from work or the strenuous rigours of shopping, shouldn’t be met with a complex menu and head scratching choice. So the Roxburghe has got this one absolutely right. There’s something for everyone here. The heat of a curry, the tradition of battered fish, the meatiness of steak and the comfort of cottage pie – whatever the weather or your personal taste this is a menu to make you happy.
We tried the curry and the Caesar salad, and chatted to Jimmy, probably one of Scotland’s cheeriest waiters while our food was cooked. The curry, with its free-range chicken, perfectly cooked fluffy rice and tangy lime chutney was hot and fragrant. Not the sort of heat that makes you think your head’s on fire, but the sort that demonstrates a chef has a good relationship with his spice rack. Madhur Jaffrey would have been very happy with this.
The Caesar was also very good. A salad can often be a disappointing choice in a restaurant. Invariably on the menu to cater only for guests who either eat little or have an aversion to any sort of calorie intake, they can often be overlooked and disappointing dishes. But not so at the Roxburghe. The chicken was a whole roasted breast, moist and tender and with crispy skin – a far cry from the usual chopped pieces you find strewn over the top of some limp lettuce leaves. Large lengths of parmesan, slivers of anchovies and crispy croutons, with just the right amount of dressing. And they know their wines here too, with the Barossa region featuring as the main attraction. The crisp zing of a good citrus flavoured wine never seems to miss the mark.
The Roxburghe prides itself on its food, and so it should. A plaque outside the restaurant announces its commitment to local and sustainable food sources, and the manager Wilfreid Gendron says their dedication to seasonal fare runs throughout the Macdonald chain of hotels.
We were only there for the food, but a quick wander around the rest of the hotel after lunch told us all we needed to know about its popularity. The courtyard between the old and new parts of the Roxburghe was overflowing with contented wedding guests, although one or two had escaped the cacophony to relax in the sanctuary of the traditional Consort Bar. With rooms that blend the traditional with the new, a state of the art gym open to locals as well as guests, and friendly staff who greet you with a smile, it’s little wonder the Roxburghe has such a well-earned reputation.
We love this hotel for its proximity to everything that Edinburgh has to offer. It’s a fantastic choice if you’re visiting the city, and if you’re looking for a party venue at New Year, there’s an amazing view of Edinburgh Castle from one of the upper floors. This is definitely a luxury hotel in a fantastic city.
For other great ideas about luxury travel in Europe, check out our hotel reviews here.
This Borthwick Castle hotel is the epitome of ancient luxury, the very walls, crumbling from Oliver Cromwell’s attempted invasion, filled with a rich history and tales of fleeing Queens and ghosts.
I stayed in this fantastical luxury hotel in the picturesque Scottish Borders a few months ago, revelling in first real stay in a genuine castle. I was there to seek out the ghost for an article I was writing, but I couldn’t help but lose focus on my task while I was surrounded by such a location.
The history of Borthwick dates back over 600 years, and encompasses legendary visits by Mary Queen of Scots. The interior is much as I imagine the castle would have looked in those days, with thick stone walls, gaping fireplaces filled with roaring flames, and tapestries hung from the galleries. The Minstrels Gallery is even still there, and the charming housekeeper played up a quaint tune or two on her flute at the culmination of our meal.
The bedroom I stayed in, which incidentally is meant to be the haunted one, was the aptly named Red Room. The ghost of a young girl is said to haunt these walls, and her image is meant to be clearly seen on the stone mantlepiece. I could certainly see an outline that could have resembled a figure, but I guess I’m not cynical enough to believe in its reality.
The four-poster bed was more than comfortable and perfect if you’re booking in for a romantic stay, but what really got me was the size of the bathroom. It was tiny, with a shower curtain that clearly didn’t stretch all the way across, and the door to the toilet was nothing more than a curtain hung across the gap. Somehow, though, all this is acceptable when you realise that the incredibly thick stone walls would have been impossible to fit a door to anyway.
Access to these rooms is via a steep, circular stone stairway, and if you continued up, you’d come to the room that Mary Queen of Scots stayed in all those years ago.
The view over the surrounding countryside is incredible, and despite it lying only a short distance from Edinburgh, you can see very little built up area from the small windows. Weddings are frequently held here, and it’s no wonder really, given its impossible perfect location and fairytale setting.
Borthwick Castle is a fabulous hotel that has certainly earned the title of luxurious. It comes highly recommended by the candidtraveller team.