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Last updated: 31 October, 2022
Expert travel writer: Lucy Gillmore

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.

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Key facilities

Airport transfers: Not available
Beach: None
Fitness centre
Fitness classes
Golf course
Hot tub
Kids club
: Nearby *
Pool (adults only)
Pool (indoor)
Pool (outdoor)
Pool (kids)
Tennis courts
WiFi: Free

Food & drink

All inclusive
Kids menu
Restaurant on-site
Self catering
Additional charge

Room types


Room facilities

Air conditioning
Flat screen TV
Jacuzzi (private)
Pool (private)
Tea & coffee making facilities

Bedding options

2+ bedrooms
3+ beds
Connecting rooms
Rollaway/sofa bed

Bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

National Museum of Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)[0.7 miles]

Scotland’s history, culture, art and design, science and technology – under one state-of-the-art roof. Special exhibits include the story of Mary Queen of Scots and Dolly the sheep.

Best for ages: 4+ | Free

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)[0.8 miles]

Edinburgh’s impressive hilltop castle, with bags of history and a bird’s-eye view over the capital.

Best for ages: 4+ | £1,750

Other worthwhile experiences in this destination if you have the time or the interest, closest first

Edinburgh Dungeon

Edinburgh Dungeon

Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)[0.2 miles]

An underground yomp through the darkest episodes in the city’s history, including the story of body-snatchers Burke & Hare, a torture chamber and the Grassmarket Gallows – a re-creation of when Edinburgh’s central square was famous for its hangings.

Best for ages: 10+ | £18

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Overview >
A photo showing the outside entrance and building of the Scottish national portrait gallery, where the Gallery is an important centre of European Art.

Scottish National Portrait Gallery

Edinburgh , Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)[0.4 miles]

The world’s first purpose-built portrait gallery, one of the highlights of this neo-Gothic palace is the Great Hall decorated with an ornate frieze of famous Scottish figures.

Best for ages: 18+ | Free

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Overview >
The Chocolatarium

The Chocolatarium

Edinburgh , Scotland, United Kingdom (UK)[0.4 miles]

This micro-chocolate factory in the city centre offers 90-minute introduction tours to all aspects of chocolate-making, and you get you create your own bar to take away. There are also truffle-making masterclasses, and a unique chocolate and Scottish whisky experience that pairs artisan chocolates with single malts.

Best for ages: 6+ | £20

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Destination guides including or relevant to this place to stay


Edinburgh Region, United Kingdom (UK)

Capital treats abound, from mighty castles and royal palaces to gourmet restaurants and arguably the world’s best performing arts festival.

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