Tag: Balmoral

Hotel Review: For tradition and luxury it has to be The Balmoral in Edinburgh

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The Balmoral hotel on Princes Street, with its iconic clock tower, is a city landmark.
The Balmoral hotel on Princes Street, with its iconic clock tower, is a city landmark.

Exquisite architecture, world-famous views, lavish interiors and the very best in fine dining: The Balmoral Hotel truly ticks all the necessary boxes for a 5-star stay.

Considered among the most luxurious hotels in the British Isles, this elite Edwardian beauty with its majestic clock tower has kept watch over central Edinburgh since 1902.

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And it’s that very same iconic timepiece, traditionally set three minutes fast so that rail passengers would make it to their Waverley platforms on time, which ensures that all The Balmoral’s guests arrive fashionably early no matter the season.

The spacious lobby in The Balmoral Edinburgh

Bosses at the North British Railway Company, the original owners of the hotel, were able to claim the perfect site for their grand station hotel. The Balmoral’s address – No.1 Princes Street – serves as the ideal base to plan the civic sightseeing trip of a lifetime.Now owned by the Rocco Forte group, the hotel is up to date with all the latest amenities, such as a gorgeous pool and top spa facilities, but retains its traditional spirit.

Following the Scottish Government’s announcements and phased exit from lockdown, The Balmoral reopened its doors on August 1. Covid-19 prevention measures are visible the moment you walk in into the main lobby with masks, disposable gloves and hand sanitisers available to all guests. Staff are adhering to government guidelines regarding cleanliness and disinfection procedures. More information can be found here: https://www.roccofortehotels.com/special-notice/

Bar Prince, Balmoral Edinburgh

Celebrity guests at The Balmoral over the years include Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor and the Queen Mother, which tells you all you need to know about the clientele this 5-star hotel regularly attracts. Spend a night here, and you’ll feel like an A-lister too.

The hotel has 167 rooms and 20 vast suites all luxuriously dressed by renowned interior designer Olga Polizzi, sister of Sir Rocco Forte, and evoking Scotland’s natural and cultural heritage.

Furnishings are of the highest quality, with rooms featuring handmade beds from Glencraft – suppliers to the Queen at Balmoral Castle – and textiles by popular Glasgow brand, Timorous Beasties.

Marble and a free-standing bath make the bathroom in the Scone & Crombie Suite a luxurious place to relax

And, while there is no such thing as a bad room at The Balmoral, many rooms are enhanced by the views they boast out over the key landmarks of central Edinburgh.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, The Balmoral’s Michelin-starred Number One restaurant remains closed, but don’t let that deter you, as the sumptuous Brasserie Prince makes for a suitably rewarding substitute. A delightful blend of French and Scottish cuisine, the relaxed restaurant, which is also surprisingly affordable, is as perfect a place as any to enjoy a first class meal.

The serving of alcohol, for the time being,

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For tradition and luxury it has to be The Balmoral in Edinburgh – hotel review

Do Not Disturb

The Balmoral hotel on Princes Street, with its iconic clock tower, is a city landmark.
The Balmoral hotel on Princes Street, with its iconic clock tower, is a city landmark.

Exquisite architecture, world-famous views, lavish interiors and the very best in fine dining: The Balmoral Hotel truly ticks all the necessary boxes for a 5-star stay.

Considered among the most luxurious hotels in the British Isles, this elite Edwardian beauty with its majestic clock tower has kept watch over central Edinburgh since 1902.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

And it’s that very same iconic timepiece, traditionally set three minutes fast so that rail passengers would make it to their Waverley platforms on time, which ensures that all The Balmoral’s guests arrive fashionably early no matter the season.

The spacious lobby in The Balmoral Edinburgh

Bosses at the North British Railway Company, the original owners of the hotel, were able to claim the perfect site for their grand station hotel. The Balmoral’s address – No.1 Princes Street – serves as the ideal base to plan the civic sightseeing trip of a lifetime.Now owned by the Rocco Forte group, the hotel is up to date with all the latest amenities, such as a gorgeous pool and top spa facilities, but retains its traditional spirit.

Following the Scottish Government’s announcements and phased exit from lockdown, The Balmoral reopened its doors on August 1. Covid-19 prevention measures are visible the moment you walk in into the main lobby with masks, disposable gloves and hand sanitisers available to all guests. Staff are adhering to government guidelines regarding cleanliness and disinfection procedures. More information can be found here: https://www.roccofortehotels.com/special-notice/

Bar Prince, Balmoral Edinburgh

Celebrity guests at The Balmoral over the years include Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor and the Queen Mother, which tells you all you need to know about the clientele this 5-star hotel regularly attracts. Spend a night here, and you’ll feel like an A-lister too.

The hotel has 167 rooms and 20 vast suites all luxuriously dressed by renowned interior designer Olga Polizzi, sister of Sir Rocco Forte, and evoking Scotland’s natural and cultural heritage.

Furnishings are of the highest quality, with rooms featuring handmade beds from Glencraft – suppliers to the Queen at Balmoral Castle – and textiles by popular Glasgow brand, Timorous Beasties.

Marble and a free-standing bath make the bathroom in the Scone & Crombie Suite a luxurious place to relax

And, while there is no such thing as a bad room at The Balmoral, many rooms are enhanced by the views they boast out over the key landmarks of central Edinburgh.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, The Balmoral’s Michelin-starred Number One restaurant remains closed, but don’t let that deter you, as the sumptuous Brasserie Prince makes for a suitably rewarding substitute. A delightful blend of French and Scottish cuisine, the relaxed restaurant, which is also surprisingly affordable, is as perfect a place as any to enjoy a first class meal.

The serving of alcohol, for the time being,

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Sean Connery and The Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh Share a Slice of History

Columbia Hillen

Reading about the recent death of Sean Connery, the Scottish actor who helped launch his ‘James Bond 007 MI6 secret agent’ character to such worldwide popularity, I’m reminded of a sudden surprise that awaited me at The Balmoral hotel in Edinburgh.

Columbia Hillen

I and my companion had just entered our fourth-floor room, designated ‘Deluxe Castle View,’ in this grande dame of city hotels when I noticed a peculiar black and white photograph that adorned most of the bathroom’s back wall.

It depicted a handsome Connery, clothed only in a pair of tight swimming shorts, delicately holding the legs of a pretty lady in a white bikini whom he is helping perform a handstand on a beach. The lady turned out to be none other than Swiss actress, Ursula Andress, and the photo was taken during the filming of the 1962 Bond movie, ‘Dr. No.’

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So why was it there, so eye-catchingly in our bathroom?

Well, when this historic, century-old hotel re-opened after a major renovation almost 30 years ago, Connery, being a native of Edinburgh, agreed to be host of the much-publicised, all-star, ribbon-cutting ceremony.

All these years later, The Balmoral, a member of the Rocco Forte Hotels group, still retains its distinction in the annals of hospitality in Scotland and beyond, attracting guests from far and wide.

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Established in 1902 as a railway hotel, the Edinburgh-to-Waverley station being located right beside it, this five-floor 167-room, 20-suite hotel is a prominent landmark of the architectural cityscape, plum on the capital city’s busy downtown Princes Street. Its iconic Clock Tour is known to many and the hotel prides itself on its singularly prestigious address – No. 1.

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Having undergone more recent renovations since the Connery event, including work just three years ago, The Balmoral offers a classic Old World ambiance, a Victorian take on Renaissance architecture including a sweeping staircase with stain-glass windows (popular for wedding photos), classical columns and royal icing plasterwork, with a modern twist reflected in designer Olga Polizzi’s contemporary interiors.

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Aside from being spacious with all the mod cons one could ever require, our room also presented us with a picturesque window view up Castle Rock, formed by an erupting volcano, atop which perched the indomitable, millennium-old Edinburgh Castle. Gazing at its austere facade was a thrill, like observing centuries of history from a distance. A marble and ceramic bathroom with Rocco Forte Hotels’ own brand of natural toiletries from the Irene Forte Skincare line added to our overall sense of well-being.

Breakfast and dinner are served in Brasserie Prince, with its gleaming mirrored and brass accents, stained oak-paneled walls, buttery soft leather banquettes and broad windows gazing out on to the hubbub of Princes Street.

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The morning ritual is not to be hurried. Table service is friendly and attentive without being annoyingly fussy, and there is a generous range of choice, including what is termed health ‘booster shots’ such as a combination of

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