Balmoral Hotel Edinburgh | Edinburgh, Scotland | During my recent visit to charming medieval Edinburgh, I stayed at two hotels, the lovely, boutiki and quaint Nira Caledonia and the Grand Dame of Edinburgh, The Balmoral Hotel by Rocco Forte, which happens to be the official hotel and headquarters for my next experience The Royal Scotsman luxury train by Orient-Express, due to its proximity to Waverley Station. Right off Prince Street, with stunning views of Arthur’s Seat Hill, the Royal Mile and Edinburgh’s Castle, I was hosted on the 5th floor, very close to Suite 552 chosen by J. K. Rowling to withdraw to write the last sequel of Harry Potter.
Opened on October 15th 1902, our hotel was originally known as the North British. Acclaimed as one of the great railway hotels, it originally boasted 300 bedrooms and 52 bathrooms. It was later renamed The Balmoral — which means “majestic dwelling” in Gaelic.
Combining contemporary design with classic Scottish charm, each room has a queen size bed. The spacious bathrooms, some with Sean Connery prints, have been designed with ceramic and marble. From 22 square metres.
As one of the finest Edinburgh restaurants, ‘Number One’, one Michelin star, presents an innovative blend of Scottish and French flavours. Saute Foie Gras with duck confit. Borders lamb, broad beans and grelot. Rhubarb and white chocolate panna cotta. Take a seat on the golden banquettes and sample some of Scotland’s most creative dishes from our six-course tasting menu. Equally striking are the original artworks from The Royal College of Art that hang on the red lacquered walls.
If you are familiar with the Rocco Forte brand, you will recognize their style and design concept right away. My only comment on this regard, is that, unlike of how I feel about their sister property Hotel de Rome in Berlin, I feel that The Balmoral, has lost its identity and DNA, with a huge contrast between the BEAUTIFUL facade and architecture, its heritage, and the current design concept. As I waked into the hotel, I couldn’t help my disappointment of not finding an old, traditional, heavy British atmosphere and decor, a formal attire concept, and a rigid pompous style and attitude in general. Maybe I am too old fashion and I am still one of the few that celebrates black tie, old school styles and lots of charm, particularly in this type of historic landmarks and specially in a destination such as Edinburgh. Having said that, I had a great stay at The Balmoral, but I must say that, during my 4 days in Edinburgh, I tour many other hotels in the city and the suburbs, which I found more charming, and representative to the destination. Matter of personal taste. Carlos Melia Luxury Travel Curator – www.carlosmelia.com
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