The Balmoral Hotel ticks all the boxes for a 5-star stay: breathtaking architecture, world-famous castle views, luxurious Scottish decor, and the very best in fine dining.
Since 1902, this exceptional Edwardian beauty with its majestic clock tower has stood tall over central Edinburgh, making it one of the most elegant and iconic hotels in Britain. The Balmoral Hotel, which is part of the Rocco Forte group, has a total of 188 rooms, including 20 suites, one of which is appropriately titled the J.K. Rowling Suite. The famous Harry Potter author resided at the hotel in secret for six months, writing the last chapters of the Hogwarts series.
Aside from the famous writer, other notable celebrities that frequented the five-star hotel include Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, and the Queen Mother who all stayed at The Balmoral throughout the years, which tells you everything you need to know about the clientele this 5-star hotel draws. If you stay here for a night, you’ll feel like an A-lister as well.
This quietly exquisite Forte flagship, although being an Edinburgh iconic for more than a century, is anything but old-fashioned. With opulent guest rooms, a fine-dining restaurant, extravagant afternoon teas, a tranquil spa, and the best service in town, The Balmoral Hotel is located at the eastern end of Princes Street, adjacent to Edinburgh’s central Waverley station, and only a five-minute walk from the National Gallery, shopping, and the charming Old Town of Edinburgh.
The hotel’s proximity to bus, tram, and rail lines means guests can easily find themselves in the hustle and bustle of the city but once beyond the kilted doormen, it’s delightful serenity.
The Balmoral’s devoted concierge team is also always on hand to bring the city to life for guests. The city is brimming with experiences waiting to be had, from exploring the oldest crown jewels in Europe and the near-mythical Stone of Destiny at Edinburgh Castle to following in the footsteps of royalty at Holyrood Palace and experiencing the meandering streets of the historic Old Town.
Rooms & Suites
With 168 rooms and 20 suites, there are lots of options to suit all travellers. Consider upgrading to an Executive or Deluxe accommodation, or splurge on a Superior Deluxe room, which is essentially a suite with views across Princes Street Gardens to the famous Edinburgh castle.
The interior style of the hotel can be described as modern-classic, with calming colours of earth, sea, and sky; heather and myrtle green; and bathrooms in grey-and-white marble are ooze classic elegance. A room safe and minibar as well as coffeemakers, Scottish tea, luxury bathrobes, and slippers in two sizes. Many of the suites boast working fireplaces for added charm and cosiness.
The furnishings are of the greatest of quality, with handcrafted beds from Glencraft – providers to the Queen at Balmoral Castle – and fabrics by Timorous Beasties, a celebrated Glasgow brand.
We stayed in the Brodick Suite, a Castle View Suite for 2 nights, which, like most of the other rooms and suites are designed with mellow, neutral shades and sophisticated furnishings, with tartan hints dotted around the room. From the floor to ceiling windows, our Castle View Suite, named after its spectacular views, has some of the best views in the Scottish capital, looking out towards the stunning Edinburgh castle atop Castle Rock, a 700-million-year-old extinct volcano.
The suites, which are elegant both inside and out, beautifully reflect Scottish heritage with tones of heather and moss, rich wool tartans, and other opulent local textiles. For business and pleasure travellers alike, the stylish workstation and inviting armchairs in the lounge area combine relaxation and sophistication, while the magnificent king-sized bed and exquisite marble bathroom offer luxury and indulgence.
When it comes to dining the sumptuous and preppy Number One restaurant is the hotel’s primary restaurant, providing exceptional Scottish seafood and game for which it has in previous years been awarded a Michelin star. The Balmoral has also recently launched Prince Brasserie and Bar Prince, a French-style brasserie where breakfast is served and guests can enjoy a huge variety of eggs, salmon, coffee, fresh juices, cereals, and a charcuterie continental buffet of the finest meats and cheese as well as the option of a cooked Scottish breakfast.
The classy yet laidback spot is also an excellent choice for dinner, in which you can experience some of Edinburgh’s top cuisine, combining classic French cuisine with outstanding Scottish products. The Loin of Venison served with Red Cabbage and Celeriac Puree along with the Scottish Rib Eye, Hand Cut Chips, Watercress & Béarnaise Sauce are both excellent options. For pudding, you won’t want to miss out on the Profiteroles & Vanilla Ice Cream, Hot Chocolate Sauce.
From the sparkling mirrored and brass elements to the buttery soft leather banquettes, there are many similarities of Parisian brasserie and the surroundings of Edinburgh and the nearby hills are a constant reminder of Brasserie Prince’s location at No. 1 Princes Street. Within Brasserie Prince, guests and locals can also enjoy Bar Prince, boasting an extensive cocktail menu and the warm, laidback atmosphere of a private members club. Every Thursday evening from 7.30pm – 9.30pm Bar Prince has the most fantastic live music in Edinburgh, which shouldn’t be missed.
Afternoon Tea at The Balmoral has become something of an Edinburgh institution, and we are happy to report that it exceeds all expectations. If you’re celebrating a special occasion, such as an anniversary or a birthday, make a reservation for Afternoon Tea in The Balmoral Hotel’s lovely Palm Court. The area is simply dazzling, with a shimmering blossom tree arrangement, a stunning glass dome, and a Venetian chandelier. Guests can enjoy here a vast selection of loose leaf teas (over 88 different types of tea), coffee, cakes and pastries available as well as a glass of vintage champagne to savour all whilst listening to a live resident harpist. Elsewhere, whisky-lovers should stop in for a dram at the aptly named Scotch Bar, which has more than 500 bottles and is currently the largest whisky collection in Edinburgh.
Spa & Hotel Facilities
The hotel’s lavish spa is a great spot to unwind with five treatment rooms, a mani/pedi room, a relaxation area, and a yoga studio, as well as a sauna and steam room. The exquisite Forte Organics toiletries used here are made from the brand’s own olives, oranges, and lemons from its Sicily resort and may also be found in the rooms.
Guest’s dogs will also be welcomed with open arms at the Balmoral as visitors are welcome to bring their four-legged friends to Edinburgh with them so long as your pup is a maximum weight of 20 pounds. Larger dogs are permitted to stay provided formal permission from the hotel management is obtained prior to arrival.
It is always the tiniest of touches that leave the most lasting impressions, and The Balmoral triumphs in this regard. The subtle extras on offer here ensure that you won’t forget your stay anytime soon, from the exquisite chocolate truffles and welcome drinks in the form of the hotel’s very own premium own-label Scottish gin ‘Baile Mhoireil’. In partnership with The Old Curiosity Distillery, the hotel has thoughtfully created a gin inspired by the breathtaking Scottish landscapes, embodying the country’s well-loved culture and spirit – no trip to The Balmoral is complete without enjoying a sip or two of this delicious gin.