A luxury stay in Edinburgh
To say the Balmoral is centrally located is an understatement. I nearly walked past it when I exited the train station. The building is a historical landmark with its recognizable clock tower and late Victorian architecture. Imposing as it is elegant, it is perfectly situated between the old town and new town with all of Edinburgh at your feet and most at walking distance.
The Balmoral brings stylish touches and European sophistication along with top British service which greets you from the moment you arrive starting with the the charming porter dressed in tartan. A wonderful central flower display of fresh flowers is always a nice detail, and part of every Rocco Forte hotel I have ever stayed in. For a grand hotel this still felt quite cozy.
My comfortable room was tastefully decorated in heather tones and offered a view of the castle albeit from a very small window as I was on one of the upper floors. But I found the sitting space by the window very homely and inviting, and I loved how the hotel left a pair of binoculars so you can look at the whole city up close. If that wasn’t enough to make me feel at home, there was a dish of succulent fresh strawberries to nibble on. The bathroom had a cheeky nod to James Bond with a photo of famous 007 Scot Sean Connery over the toilet.
With the city right at your feet it is easy to want to dash out the door, however there are choice restaurants and bars on the premises worth staying in for. Especially if it is a very wet rainy day. Starting with their Michelin starred restaurant Number One. Book in advance of arrival or like me you will not be able to get a table even if you are a guest in the hotel. Their Brasserie Prince by Alain Roux is a bit more relaxed but still upmarket, featuring a French style menu with a Scottish flair. Their fashionable bar offers a “bespoke cocktail list” and clearly a popular hangout in the city. Should you want something a bit quieter and more relaxing, then the whisky bar appropriately named Scotch is the place to go for a refined beverage. I highly recommend it as it has 500 different whiskies and the bartenders are excellent guides to helping you find a special whisky or introducing newcomers to whisky with an informative tasting.
Last but not least there is the Palm Court where they serve a classic Afternoon Tea with a spectacular presentation. Enjoy all the sweet delights and a glass of champagne in a relaxing atmosphere after a long day of sightseeing.
Should you want the full Scottish experience, the hotel can set up many authentic experiences such as shopping for a tartan or an excursion out of the city. There are even Instagram tours, and of course golf.
The Balmoral was recently voted one of the best hotels in the world and it is easy to see why, the service is flawless. The room was always fresh, the restaurant service accommodating, and the concierge desk very knowledgeable and gave great recommendations for local restaurants. Not the run of the mill usual ones, but proper nice ones you would go back to. Like coming back to the Balmoral which I am already planning to do. What an enjoyable stay.
Please note I paid for my own stay, and this review is based on my own personal experience staying at the hotel.
The Balmoral 1 Princes Street, Edinburgh EH2 2EQ tel. +44 131 556 2414