Bucketlist Travels logo

Bucket list ideas:

9 Best places to stay in Edinburgh

  • Edinburgh, Edinburgh Region, United Kingdom (UK)

Last updated: 15 June, 2024
Expert travel writer: Lucy Gillmore
  • Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)

  • Official star rating:

The Balmoral Hotel

Place to Stay

The Balmoral Hotel

This is the grand dame of Edinburgh’s hotel scene and still holding its own, even as an influx of high-end apart-hotels take up residence in the Scottish capital.

A palatial presence at one end of Princes Street, topped with its iconic clock tower, this regal Victorian railway hotel is a landmark, standing sentinel at the point where the medieval Old Town meets the Georgian ‘New’.

From the sparkling marble foyer, dripping in fresh flowers, to the 167 rooms and suites, it is still, thanks to design director, Olga Polizzi’s alchemy, the epitome of elegance.

The Balmoral has it all; a Michelin-starred restaurant – and classic bistro, a bijoux whisky bar with 500 malts, an urban spa – and a sense of style that money just can’t buy – although you will need a healthy bank balance to check in.

This one’s best suited to those who know class when they see it – and Harry Potter fans, who can check into the JK Rowling Suite.

Average £450

Extra beds

Pool

2+ bedrooms

Beach

Kids menu

Fitness center

Kids club

  • Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)

  • Official star rating:

If you’ve ever fancied your own uber-chic city pad in Edinburgh, it might well look like one of these 50 serviced apartments in the medieval Old Town.

The building might be centuries old, but the interiors are smart and contemporary, with exposed stonework, wooden floors, sleek modern kitchens and sofas in grey, raspberry or apple green wool.

Some come with balconies or views over the rooftops. There’s also a 24-hour gym, a welcome hamper for longer stays and you can pre-order your groceries to be delivered – it’s a bit like a plush private apartment block.

They’re perfect for flexible (an extra bed in an alcove) family or group stays – and you can even bring your dog for free.

Chic, contemporary design and a family and pet-friendly ethos come as standard in these luxury apartments in Edinburgh’s medieval Old Town.

Average £342

Extra beds

Pool

2+ bedrooms

Beach

Kids menu

Fitness center

Kids club

  • Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)

  • Official star rating:

The Raeburn

Place to Stay

The Raeburn

Edinburgh might be famous for its medieval Old Town and elegant Georgian New Town, but it’s also home to a clutch of village-style enclaves on its fringes.

One of these is picture-postcard Stockbridge, just down the cobbled hill from the New Town and close to the Botanical Gardens. A small river, the Water of Leith, runs through it and it’s peppered with delis, cafes and one cosy boutique hotel.

The Raeburn is a 19th-century listed mansion with just 10 bedrooms; think wooden floors, roll-top tubs and a smattering of tartan. There’s a bar and restaurant but there’s no shortage of gourmet eateries on the doorstep.

Ideal for those who prefer to dip into the city centre – but bed down in a quieter, quainter quarter.

Average £180

Extra beds

Pool

2+ bedrooms

Beach

Kids menu

Fitness center

Kids club

  • Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)

  • Official star rating:

Market Street Hotel

Place to Stay

Market Street Hotel

This slim-line, upside-down design hotel, with its striking stone slab-clad façade, is just steps from Waverley Station. Bedded into the middle ground, near Princes Street Gardens, between the Georgian New Town and the medieval Old Town, it couldn’t be more central.

The reception and glamorous open-plan champagne lounge and terrace, Nor’ Loft, is on the top floor with wide-angled views of the city’s skyline – and real wow factor.

The 98 rooms are lower-key but still sleekly designed with oak floors, marble bathrooms and handcrafted furniture. If you want a view – and binoculars – book a ‘Vista’ room or splash out on the Alba suite with its telescope and private terrace. The minibars are complimentary and full of local treats.

This one’s best suited to those who love cool design and champagne sundowners.

Average £180

Extra beds

Pool

2+ bedrooms

Beach

Kids menu

Fitness center

Kids club

  • Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)

  • Official star rating:

Unique is an over-used, often inaccurate description, but this wildly flamboyant restaurant with rooms, hunkered beneath Edinburgh Castle at the top of the Royal Mile, is truly unlike anywhere else.

Created by Edinburgh restaurateur royalty, James Thomson, the nine theatrical suites, hidden in turrets, accessed by steep spiral staircases through a warren of medieval buildings.

Each takes decadence to a new level; think four-poster beds draped with opulent red and gold damasks, roll-up tubs for two, a smattering of antiques and gilt-framed oil paintings, and the odd suit of armour. Yet there are all the mod cons you’d want too – all suites are equipped with Amazon Echo systems, adjustable mood-enhancing lighting, Nespresso machines & fridges.

Breakfast can be taken, by candlelight, in the Witchery restaurant or delivered to your room in an indulgent hamper.

This is one for lovers and history lovers who want to step back in time.

Average £595

Extra beds

Pool

2+ bedrooms

Beach

Kids menu

Fitness center

Kids club

  • Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)

  • Official star rating:

Edinburgh Grand

Place to Stay

Edinburgh Grand

One of the most exclusive addresses in the Scottish capital, this neoclassical building was once the Royal Bank of Scotland headquarters.

Situated on St. Andrews Square in the heart of the New Town, it has been converted into 50 high-end serviced apartments sleeping between one and six – with breakfast served in the fourth-floor Register Club.

The cutting-edge design incorporates many of the building’s original features, such as the wood panelling in the Director’s Suite bathroom which was upcycled from Westminster Bridge after it was bombed in the Second World War.

Add original Art Deco styling and a bedazzling six-storey atrium topped by a glass dome, and there’s a real sense of glamour.

The old bank vaults house the hotel gym, a branch of Hawksmoor restaurant and Lady Libertine, one of the hippest bars in town, in the basement.

This is one for design-conscious night owls who like everything on their doorstep.

Average £310

Extra beds

Pool

2+ bedrooms

Beach

Kids menu

Fitness center

Kids club

  • Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)

  • Official star rating:

Cheval Abbey Strand

Place to Stay

Cheval Abbey Strand

One for royalists and history lovers, this exclusive aparthotel nudges up against the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the bottom of the Royal Mile, with views onto the striking Scottish Parliament building and Arthur’s Seat.

The 16th-century building was at one time a medieval almshouse, at another a debtors’ sanctuary and Mary Queen of Scots is also said to have bedded down here.

Now converted into nine contemporary studio, one-bed and two-bed apartments this is one of the fanciest addresses in town.

Each apartment is named after a former inhabitant and the open-plan living spaces, some with original features including the odd medieval fireplace, are high-end and sleek, the fabrics specially commissioned, the furniture bespoke.

Average £148

Extra beds

Pool

2+ bedrooms

Beach

Kids menu

Fitness center

Kids club

  • Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)

  • Official star rating:

The Dunstane Houses

Place to Stay

The Dunstane Houses

If you’re after an intimate and luxurious guesthouse vibe, this boutique hotel, a 10-minute stroll from the West End, is the answer.

Family-run and friendly, it’s peppered with personal touches, such as the old photos of island life hung by its Orkney-born owners.

Two hotels in one, there are 35 rooms split between this William Playfair-designed mansion and Hampton House across the road.

The open-plan lounge and bar has deep velvet sofas and a scattering of tables where you can grab a light bite or settle in with a dram.

It’s a bit like staying with wealthy Edinburgh friends – a home-from-home with benefits – and free parking. Not to be sniffed at in Edinburgh.

Average £189

Extra beds

Pool

2+ bedrooms

Beach

Kids menu

Fitness center

Kids club

  • Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)

  • Official star rating:

Eden Locke

Place to Stay

Eden Locke

There’s a Spring-like freshness to the interiors in this light, bright aparthotel in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town.

Bustling George Street is lined with high street staples, restaurants and bars and runs parallel to the main shopping drag, Princes Street.

Behind the listed Georgian facade of this hip hideaway there are 72 bijoux apartments with a Scandi vibe; downstairs the café-cum- workspace, with its smattering of wicker chairs and leafy plants, has a palm house feel.

An added bonus is complimentary yoga classes in a nearby wellness studio. It’s ideal for those looking for design on a budget, a bit of independence and a slap-bang-central location.

Average £220

Extra beds

Pool

2+ bedrooms

Beach

Kids menu

Fitness center

Kids club