The Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh

For a regal Scottish break, The Balmoral is the connoisseur’s choice. This 5-star Edinburgh landmark hotel located in the heart of the city, boasts a fascinating history dating back to 1902 when it was built as a luxury railway terminus by the North British Railway Company. Over the years The Balmoral has been known by many names but now it is simply referred to as “the Balmoral”. It has been a popular destination for travellers since its opening, attracting everyone from business executives to honeymooners and tourists from all over the world.

From the moment you step onto the hotel’s inviting red carpet, greeted by friendly door staff dressed in traditional Scottish uniform (they wear the hotel’s own bespoke Balmoral tartan, no less) it’s as though you are about to enter a Scottish palace. Once you step across the threshold, this feeling is only enhanced by the strikingly grand interiors and seasonal blooms that take pride of place in the middle of the lobby. Be sure to indulge in the perfect photo opportunity here, or while admiring quirky touches like the Scotsman’s kilt table.

Offering 167 elegantly decorated rooms, some of which offer views across Princes Street Gardens making them ideal for those wishing to admire views of Edinburgh Castle, you’ll find sumptuous Queen-sized beds and breathtaking bathrooms finished in Italian marble and stocked with Beauty Editor’s favourite: Irene Forte skincare.

For the ultimate in luxury, the hotel also boasts 20 impressive supersized suites. The stylish Castle View Suites are each named after a Scottish river or castle—including Rothesay, Dee, Drummond, Brodick, Bothwell and Spey — and boast floor-to-ceiling windows which are ideal for admiring the magnificent views over Edinburgh’s most iconic landmarks. Each individually-named suite echoes the country’s heritage and colour palette in its décor, offering a modern twist with touches of tartan in the upholstery and decorative artworks inspired by nature. You can even book a stay in the suite where JK Rowling finished the final instalment of her magical novel series, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ – a must for die hard fans of the books.

The hotel offers an array of services to ensure that every guest feels welcome: from its turn down service to an elegant pillow menu. If you have opted for a suite, then from the moment your confirmation email lands in your inbox, you know you are in for a truly special stay. The hotel encourages you to submit your preferences upon arrival for all Balmoral suite bookings, from tailoring your in-room bar options to classics, or healthy choices if you follow a balanced diet, you can even choose child-friendly treats to appease any hungry little ones who might have tagged along on your trip. Why not select an in-suite check-in for maximum comfort? Or the unpacking and packing service can give busy guests more time to explore the city. If you’re heading out for a romantic dinner, clothes pressing is available, and the hotel can also organise transfers upon arrival and departure.

The hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant is called Number One and offers an exceptional culinary experience. The seven-course menu changes with the seasons, but you can expect to find seasonal Scottish flavours with a modern twist such as hand dived XL scallops, Goosnargh duck and veal sweetbread –why not complement each dish with tasting wines?

If you are after something more relaxed then you will find the stylish French inspired Brassiere Prince on the ground floor. The food here is traditional French cuisine with a Scottish influence, which means that you’ll find traditional French onion soup, Scottish rib eye and haggis, neeps & tatties, plus an array of other classic dishes. The staff here are knowledgeable about the history of Scotland and all the dishes on the menu, which is helpful if you are feeling indecisive on what to choose. 

The award-winning Palm Court is where the quintessentially British tradition of afternoon tea is served in the most Instagrammable area you can imagine. It’s here that you can enjoy an extensive menu which includes classic scones with clotted cream and Balmoral’s homemade jam; finger sandwiches such as Heather honey & Arran mustard glazed gammon; pastries including malt & miso Caramel choux  and savoury canapes such as thyme roasted potato, Lanark Blue, chestnut & port. You might even spot a familiar face from ‘Inside the Balmoral: Scotland’s Finest Hotel’ which aired on channel 5 back in 2021. 

The Balmoral’s iconic Scotch bar features an extensive whisky collection…over 500 and counting! This is where you can find a selection of rare whiskies from all over Scotland and the largest collection in Edinburgh. if you have a burning whisky question then the knowledgeable staff are there to deliver. If whisky isn’t your thing, then fear not the sophisticated, Bar Prince, has a variety of tipples to enjoy in the most decadent surroundings. Be sure to order a G&T with The Balmoral’s premium own-label Scottish gin ‘Baile Mhoireil’, in partnership with The Old Curiosity Distillery. Baile Mhoireil features a variety of local botanicals including rosemary, dill, sage, chamomile, anise and lemon verbena, all hand-harvested exclusively from The Old Curiosity Distillery, which is located just six miles from the hotel.

No visit to The Balmoral hotel is complete without popping downstairs to the basement to explore one of Scotland’s best urban day spa retreats. The Balmoral Spa is the perfect place to escape the pace of city life. The relaxation suite is the ideal spot to unwind before a treatment, choose from a wide range of treatments including massage therapies, facials, body scrubs and classic beauty services – we highly recommend booking in for the Irene Forte facial, which is personalised to your skin’s needs.

The Balmoral Hotel is one of those places where you can feel like you’re in the middle of a scene from a movie. It’s so luxurious, so classic and so perfect that you will never want to depart. 

The Balmoral Hotel