The Balmoral Hotel
A Rocco Forte Hotel
What it is
A 168-room Victorian landmark—newly reborn with decor by Olga Polizzi—with a view of Edinburgh Castle and a Michelin-starred restaurant.
What it isn't
Stuck in time. Yes, this iconic clocktower building was erected in 1902, but the fittings are thoroughly “now”—with interactive TV and lightning-fast free wifi.
What we think
When you’re overlooking storybook Edinburgh Castle—which has been home to Scotts since the Iron Age—you don’t want to sleep in meh surrounds yourself. Which is why this darling of the Rocco Forte stable is so delicious: interiors are thoroughly charming, with mixed prints and patterns, floor to ceiling pleated draperies and roaring fireplaces at every turn. The many on-site restaurants are no less lovely, as influenced by the locals queing up for dinner at Michelin starred Number One, where the locavore menu includes dishes like hand-dived scallop with iberico pork, redcurrant and black garlic ketchup. For a more casual scene, hit buzzing Bar Prince, where you can nibble on Isle of Skye langoustines with cocktail sauce and kick back a Black Isle Watcher cocktail, made with 15-year-aged Dalmore, Remy V.S.O.P., Grand Marnier and Luxardo Maraschino.
You're here because
Children are doted upon, as if they were descended from Will and Kate or Harry and Meghan themselves. Teens have tailor-made spa treatments and bespoke city adventures; younger tots are coddled with coloring books and Owl teddy turn-down. And indeed, there’s 24-hour babysitting available.
When you enter the tucked-away Balmoral Spa, you can feel your shoulders drop—and then wander, at your leisure, to the Turkish steam room, Finnish sauna, tile-lined swimming pool, and finally to a treatment room, where your therapist handles you with kid gloves in the loveliest imaginable deep tissue massage. When you drift to sleep right on the table, you dream you’re the king of the castle.
Restaurants & Bars
Number One - Michelin Star for 11 years
Hadrian's Brasserie - Seasonal, local and international cuisine
Palm Court - Scotlands only Bollinger bar
On aptly named Princes Street, just a few blocks from the Scottish National Gallery (home to paintings by Vermeer, Titian, and Botticelli, to name a few), Museum on the Mound, and, yep, Edinburgh Castle.