This hotel ticks off quite a number of boxes, when it comes to foremost accommodations in Edinburgh.
I LOVE staying in hotels that come with a lot of history. The past associated with the property seems to still permeate and imbue the place with a “presence”. And, no that’s not code for ghostly apparitions – far from it.
The Edinburgh hotel where I stayed, when I toured Scotland in April, was very lively with the energy of living, breathing people but there were more than just nods to the history and heritage of this place.
The Principal Edinburgh is fashioned around five heritage-listed Georgian townhouses (whose occupants were some of the most illustrious in the city) built in 1775. The hotel is on where else but George Street (named after King George III), and on the street is a statue of George IV who visited Edinburgh in 1822. But I digress. The hotel has been taking in guests since 1881.
In fact, one of the townhouses is now the hotel’s F&B restaurant, The Printing Press Bar & Kitchen. It was once home to acclaimed novelist Susan Ferrier (according to Sir Walter Scott, she’s an equal to Jane Austen – so I dined where literary “royalty” used to live).
In the 1840s, it was home to one John Oliphant, and a frequent visitor was Robert Burns (that Burns, the national poet of Scotland). And Oliphant and Ferrier’s descendants founded Oliphant, Anderson and Ferrier, one of Scotland’s most prestigious publishing houses.
Presented with the Gold Laurel Award, City Hotel of the Year, and Scottish Hotel of the Year at the 2017 Scottish Hotel Awards, the hotel’s interiors combine luxurious natural materials such as oak, marble and leather with a palette of colours inspired by the great 19th-century Scottish landscape painters.
And that is what you get when you walk into the lobby – imposing white marble columns and marble-tiled floors, a reception area filled with plush leather seating, and oak tables. Greeting you are doormen in full Scottish kilts – just in case you forget you’re a laddie visiting Scotland.
My Signature Suite took my breath away with its sitting room with high ceilings and tall windows high up the wall. The many cabinets, a large spacious closet and even a complimentary mini snack pack (which I was grateful for, to stifle my hunger pangs just coming off a long flight, and which they kept topping up) just added to my delight. And the flourishes, like the large framed cutouts of dogs on the wall, left a smile on my face.
In the cupboard, I even found a bladeless fan and a heater unit – they seemed to have thought of everything.