Arriving in Edinburgh: The Scotsman Hotel

March 13, 2016
Arriving in Edinburgh: The Scotsman Hotel

Arriving in Edinburgh: The Scotsman Hotel

From history to luxury: a stylish stay at the former headquarters of The Scotsman newspaper 

“The best winters of my childhood were spent in my grandfather’s mansion in The Highlands,” explained my British boyfriend as he puffed his chest with pride, recalling his Scottish ancestry. “I want to show you how beautiful and magical Scotland is, and thought we’d start with Edinburgh.” That’s how I found myself, my hand in Henry’s, standing in the wood panelled lobby of The Scotsman Hotel where we were welcomed by the tantalising smoky scent of the coal fire and beaming staff with the most charming accents. As far as first impressions went, I felt right at home in the capital of Scotland. 
The Scotsman Hotel was no trivial choice - Henry knows how particular I am about where I sleep, having stayed in dozens of lodgings across the world from industrial-chic treehouses to mansions converted into luxury boutique hotels. My Scotsman chose The Scotsman for three very compelling reasons - one: its unbeatable location -positioned on the North Bridge with The Royal Mile on its doorstep, two: the views - it’s the only luxury hotel in the city with views of Edinburgh Castle, the Firth of Forth, Leith, Princes Street and Calton Hill, and three: the history - the century-old building was once The Scotsman newspaper’s offices, with subtle allusions to its heritage found in details like the crossword motif on the hotel teacups. That The Scotsman looked like Hogwarts didn’t hurt, either. In other words - the boy did good.
___


Arriving in Edinburgh: The Scotsman Hotel

Arriving in Edinburgh: The Scotsman Hotel

The entrance to The Scotsman Hotel is on its fourth floor with a stairway leading to Market Street - which added to its Hogwarts-esque charm (you know, stairs that appear out of nowhere). Parts of Edinburgh seem to float, with the city built on different levels. The Scotsman Hotel, situated on the historic North Bridge, brought to mind a castle perched on craggy cliffs with a sprawling view of the city, arguably one of the best in Edinburgh.

Arriving in Edinburgh: The Scotsman Hotel

Arriving in Edinburgh: The Scotsman Hotel

I crossed the grand and imposing threshold of the hotel and stepped into the warm, welcoming hearth. While the building facade is palatial the lobby would be better described as baronial, with decor one associates with the British nobleman’s home: tasteful, classical, and cozy with a restrained elegance one could never deem vulgar. 

Arriving in Edinburgh: The Scotsman Hotel

Arriving in Edinburgh: The Scotsman Hotel

If the lobby of The Scotsman Hotel is a solid and dignified older gentleman, then the marble staircase that leads to the other levels of the hotel is his ice-queen lady - with tall, alabaster, and striking looks that compelled your gaze to linger.

Arriving in Edinburgh: The Scotsman Hotel

Arriving in Edinburgh: The Scotsman Hotel

The marble corridor led to the hotel’s restaurant North Bridge Brasserie (where I had my virgin meal of haggis - I’ll review my experience tomorrow!) which was a double-height vision of marble columns and handsome wood panels with modern accents of steel: the features of the ‘dignified gentleman lobby’ and ‘his marble corridor wife’, in other words, their child - sporting cool, hip metal accessories.

Arriving in Edinburgh: The Scotsman Hotel


Not that I got any use out of The Scotsman Spa & Health Club, but it was interesting to know that the 20,000 square foot space was once the Scotsman Newspaper’s printing press. The exclusive health club is a world apart from the old-world charm of the hotel - an underground cavern filled with state of the art equipment and luxury amenities one expects from modern hotels.

Happily, the rooms retain their rustic and rugged charm…!

Arriving in Edinburgh: The Scotsman Hotel

Henry booked us a room boasting the best view from the hotel. We were adjacent to the penthouse, on the ninth floor, with double-height ceilings and our very own turret that came with its own freestanding bath!

Arriving in Edinburgh: The Scotsman Hotel

Arriving in Edinburgh: The Scotsman Hotel

The room is furnished in Harris Tweed, from the satisfyingly heavy curtains to the bed’s moan-inducingly comfortable headboard. Even the sofa and cushions were upholstered in Scotland’s famous export, with a framed swatch of Harris Tweed detailing the history of that particular tweed on the wall, which was a very Scottish and lovely touch - an educational piece of the fabric’s heritage.

Arriving in Edinburgh: The Scotsman Hotel

Attention to detail: mugs with a crossword motif, a nod to The Scotsman Hotel’s previous incarnation as newspaper headquarters, an Edinburgh edition of Monopoly, and complimentary papers (The Scotsman, naturally).

Arriving in Edinburgh: The Scotsman Hotel

Arriving in Edinburgh: The Scotsman Hotel

Our bathroom was lovely enough, but even the marble shower paled in comparison to our ‘bath chamber’…

Arriving in Edinburgh: The Scotsman Hotel

Arriving in Edinburgh: The Scotsman Hotel

…a claw-footed tub in our very own turret overlooking the city!
  
Arriving in Edinburgh: The Scotsman Hotel

But my favourite thing about our room is, by far and large, the incredible view of Edinburgh from our window.

From our vantage point on the ninth floor we could see Prince’s Street, Edinburgh Castle, Calton Hill, and beyond. At our level, we had the best of every world: despite our proximity to traffic-heavy North Bridge we couldn’t hear any noise from the street, the air was fresh and crisp (no doubt the breeze from the hills and the sea reached our turret windows, which we left open in the evenings), and the vista of the city was simply breathtaking. 

All of these serendipitous factors and a bed as invitingly soft as a marshmallow gave me such a good night’s sleep. I had the most vivid dreams in years, alluding to childhood fantasies that awoke a sense of wonder and magic that I had almost forgotten. It may seem strange that I’m referring to my dreams to review my stay at The Scotsman Hotel, but it must be said that if I can recall stories I’ve woven in my sleep from decades past, then the hotel must be doing something right. Either way, my crazy imagination revived is testimony to the magic that seems to be abuzz in Edinburgh…I can absolutely see now how JK Rowling was so inspired to create the world of Harry Potter.

Arriving in Edinburgh: The Scotsman Hotel

Arriving in Edinburgh: The Scotsman Hotel


THE SCOTSMAN HOTEL 
20 North Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1TR


Rates average at £150 per night for a Standard Room. 
I highly recommend the room we stayed in - Room 902.

PHOTOS 7, 14, & 26 COURTESY OF THE SCOTSMAN HOTEL




Coming attractions: 
Tomorrow I review the hotel's restaurant North Bridge Brasserie and my very first experience of eating haggis!

No comments:

Post a Comment