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The Balmoral, Edinburgh 

See the Edinburgh Guide ›
1 Princes Street
Scotland EH2 2EQ
Tel: 44 131 556 2414
view web site ›'s insider take:

It could not be more central or more subtly beautiful, with decor by Olga Polizzi, sister of Rocco Forte, to whose select hotel chain this belongs. On the other hand, its rates could hardly be higher. For the 188 exquisite chambers, Polizzi has selected a heather-on-the-Highland-moors palette: lavender, cream, moss, and peat in costly wools, leather, silks, and linens. The best rooms have views of Edinburgh Castle. But look out (or rather, don't…): A great many of them face inward, with no view at all; even the biggest of the ($600-odd) Deluxe rooms are marred by this problem. The Balmoral Spa has a gorgeous 15-meter pool overlooked by a juice bar, sauna, and steam rooms. There's an impressive gym, and also studio facilities and five treatment rooms using E'SPA products. The fanciest of the hotel's three restaurants (appropriately named Number One) is among the best in the city. If you're after less fancy dining, there's the informal brasserie called Hadrian's. The elegant Palm Court, the hotel's Bollinger Bar, is an open, airy space with comfy settees, a domed ceiling, and a beautiful Venetian glass chandelier—an especially genteel spot to enjoy afternoon tea listening to the soothing melodies of the resident harpist.

From the readers of Condé Nast Traveler:
Next to the train station, this "memorable hotel" with a landmark clock tower has "the best views of Edinburgh"—including vistas of the castle and Old Town. "Beautifully decorated" rooms in earth colors mix contemporary furniture with antiques. "If I asked for something and they didn't have it, they'd send someone to buy it." Number One transforms local ingredients into creative dishes like Aberfoyle beef filet with Scottish girolles.

(188 rooms)
—2011 Gold List
Overall Score: 86.5
  • Design: 84.0
  • Food: 82.2
  • Location: 96.6
  • Rooms: 84.9
  • Service: 84.9

Also appeared in the Gold List in 2009, 2008, 2007

Amenities: Pool, Spa

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User Reviews

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An Absolutely Incredible Holiday

We just returned from celebrating the New Year in Scotland. We stayed in a corner suite on the third floor (suite 320) at the Balmoral and it was everything we... more

Too Close to Ordinary

The Balmoral may be centrally located and it is the "grand dam" of Edinburgh hotels, but you are sacrificing comfort and, surprisingly, some level of... more