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Prestonfield, Edinburgh 

See the Edinburgh Guide ›
Priestfield Road
Scotland EH16 5UT
Tel: 44 131 225 7800
view web site ›'s insider take:

As far from minimal as you can possibly imagine, this restored Jacobean mansion is extravagantly rococo—all silk brocades and ormolu, tasseled velvet cushions, hand-blocked wallpapers, Venetian mirrors, and walnut-wood beds. The dominant color is "lipstick," with "gilt" a close second—but as bordello as it sounds, it's all utterly theatrically fabulous (if you like that sort of thing) and quite tastefully authentic underneath it all, too. A complementary bottle of Champagne in your room when you check in will soften the focus anyway. Owner James Thomson, well known around town for his 25-year-old restaurant (and hotel) The Witchery, had loved the place since he waitered here during catering college. Finally he bought it in 2003, then spent about $6 million doing it up. Despite being in the city, you get to revel in the countryside, with Highland cattle and peacocks strutting improbably around the hotel's 29 acres. The grounds, which have Wi-Fi for those who like to wander around with their laptops, have huge amounts of roses and topiary bringing the opulent feel of the interior to the outside. The swanky restaurant, Rhubarb—so named because this was the first Scottish estate to grow the stuff—is beloved of the more glamorous breed of rock star and J.K. Rowling.

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