Tag: luxury

Philly undoes deal with developer Peebles to revamp historic Family Court building into luxury hotel

Philadelphia officials have broken off an agreement to sell the historic Family Court building on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to Peebles Corp. for the developer to revamp into a 203-room luxury hotel, as the coronavirus pandemic clouds the demand outlook for visitor accommodations in the city.



a large building by a road: The old Family Court building at 1801 Vine St. in Center City. Philadelphia officials have terminated developer Peebles Corp.’s deal to revamp the historic Family Court building.


© ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS
The old Family Court building at 1801 Vine St. in Center City. Philadelphia officials have terminated developer Peebles Corp.’s deal to revamp the historic Family Court building.

The Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. said that it had “coordinated with the city and concluded that we will formally terminate the agreement” to purchase and redevelop building at 1801 Vine St., across from Logan Square, according to an email the agency sent last week to Christopher Leng Smith, Peebles’ managing director for the northeast U.S.

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The decision was made “in consideration of the impact of COVID on the hospitality market,” Sam Rhoads, a PIDC executive vice president, wrote to Smith in the email, which was provided to The Inquirer.

The move underscores the uncertainty surrounding the hotel industry and other categories of commercial real estate, with the long-term impact of the pandemic on everything from office use to convention businesses yet to play out.

“Nobody really knows what the landscape is going to look like post-pandemic,” said Christophe Terlizzi, who heads KeyBank’s commercial real estate practice in the region. “It’s unknown and it’s unknowable.”

Although hotel performance has ticked up since the early days of the pandemic, when business travel and tourism came to a virtual halt, the sector continues to struggle.

Occupancy at hotels in Philadelphia and the surrounding Pennsylvania and South Jersey counties remained depressed at 46% during the week ended Nov. 14, down from 74% during the same week a year ago, according to the hospitality-industry tracker STR Inc.

Revenue per available room, a standard metric used in the hospitality industry to gauge hotel performance, fell 61%, from $110.53 to $42.75, during that time.

With vaccinations against the coronavirus expected to reach the market in the months to come, some see a resumption of more commercial activity on the city’s horizon. Yet, it’s uncertain how long some sectors, such as hospitality, will take to return to pre-pandemic levels, if they ever do.

Workers who have gotten used to discussing business with associates around the world using teleconferencing software such as Zoom may be less likely than before to take expensive and time-consuming business trips or attend costly conventions, some have speculated.

And Center City may become less of a destination for whatever business travel remains if companies continue allowing employees to work from home, or if a new demand for less densely filled offices prompts a move to the suburbs where space is cheaper, others fear.

“In 2020, the immense adverse impact to the hospitality industry caused by the COVID-19 novel coronavirus created significant changes in market dynamics that impacted viability of hospitality development across the nation,” PIDC president Anne Bovaird Nevins said in an email

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Amnesty asks govt to stop luxury hotel construction to protect indigenous Mro people

File photo shows indigenous women at the Chitagong Hill Tracts Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

“Members of the Mro and other Indigenous communities are also afraid that the construction of the hotel will damage sacred sites, forests, water resources and biodiversity in the region,” the letter said

Amnesty International has raised concerns over a possible forced eviction of the Mro indigenous people from their ancestral lands due to the construction of a five-star luxury hotel on the Chimbuk-Thanchi route in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT).

In a letter to CHT Affairs Minister Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing on Sunday, the international rights group also demanded immediate abandonment of the construction of the luxury hotel on the route to protect and develop the lives and livelihood of the Indigenous peoples in line with Bangladesh’s commitment in its Constitution and international human rights law.

In the letter, Amnesty raised concerns that the construction of the luxury hotel on the route between Chimbuk and Thanchi will eventually wipe out villages, forcibly evict a large number of the Mro people and destroy the social, economic, traditional and cultural fabric of the Mro Indigenous community.

“Members of the Mro and other indigenous communities are also afraid that the construction of the hotel will damage sacred sites, forests, water resources and biodiversity in the region,” the letter said.

Amnesty also said the action also contravenes Bangladesh’s commitment to protect the “institutions, persons, property and labour of these populations” under the ILO Indigenous and Tribal Populations Convention, 1957.

“The construction of a five-star hotel under these circumstances would violate the Bangladeshi authorities’ responsibility and commitment to protect and promote the rights of the indigenous peoples, rather than providing the indigenous community with the necessary support to realize their own development plans, such as improving access to education and electricity,” it added.

At the same time, community members said that the hotel and associated projects may ultimately lead to the direct and indirect taking away of at least 800 acres of land of the Indigenous people in violation of the customary laws of the community. 

“Furthermore, the hotel’s construction, on the land belonging to Indigenous peoples, would violate Bangladesh’s constitutional obligation to “protect and develop the unique local culture and tradition of the tribes, minor races, ethnic sects and communities,” Amnesty said in the letter.

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Michigan GOP officials were pictured drinking champagne in the lobby of Trump’s luxury DC hotel after meeting the president to discuss attempts to overturn the election result



a close up of a train station: US flags are seen at the entrance to the Turmp International Hotel at Pennsylvania Avenue on the eve of the 2020 US presidential election Yegor AleyevTASS via Getty Images


© Yegor AleyevTASS via Getty Images
US flags are seen at the entrance to the Turmp International Hotel at Pennsylvania Avenue on the eve of the 2020 US presidential election Yegor AleyevTASS via Getty Images

  • Michigan GOP officials were pictured drinking Dom Perignon champagne in the lobby of President Trump’s luxury Washington DC hotel on Friday night. 
  • Hours earlier, the officials met Trump at the White House, amid the president’s campaign to pressure state officials to overturn the election result. 
  • In a joint statement after the meeting, state GOP leaders said they were not “made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan.” 
  • The lawmakers told CNN they had paid their own bills at the hotel. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Michigan Republican Party officials were pictured enjoying champagne in the lobby of President Donald Trump’s luxury Washington DC hotel after being hosted by the president at the White House.

Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield and other members of his group were pictured at Trump International Hotel in Washington DC Friday evening drinking Dom Perignon champagne in a lobby bar, in images acquired by the Detroit Free Press. 

Both Chatfield and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey stayed overnight at the hotel, located a few blocks from the White House. Trump had earlier held a meeting with the lawmakers, reported CNN. 

 

The following morning, Shirkey and state Republican official Dan Lauwers were pictured leaving the hotel by Detroit News’ Washington correspondent Melissa Nana Burke. They did not answer any questions from her. 

In a tweet, a staffer for Democratic Michigan Rep. Dan Kildee accused the lawmakers pictured in the lobby of violating coronavirus guidelines, with none of the group wearing masks or observing social distancing. 

 

Spokespeople for Chatfield and Shirkey told CNN that the lawmakers had paid their own expenses at the hotel. 

 

The lawmakers did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider. 

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Earlier on Friday, the lawmakers met Trump at the White House. Trump has continued his long-shot bid to overturn the election result by pressuring state Republican officials to delay certifying vote counts. Biden was projected winner in Michigan by media organizations more than two weeks ago. 

After the meeting, Chatfield and Shirkey in a joint statement said that they had not been “made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election in Michigan” and said “as legislative leaders, we will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan’s electors, just as we have said throughout this election.”

They claimed that a coronavirus relief package for Michigan was the focus of their talks with the president. 

In response to the statement, Trump said in a tweet Saturday that evidence of fraud would be shown in court. 

“This is true, but much different than reported

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Glass-domed luxury train will travel through Southwest next summer

A new high-end train route is on its way to the Southwest.

Rocky Mountaineer, a Canada-based luxury rail-tour company, announced on Thursday that it will be launching a two-day route next summer.

The “Rockies to the Red Rocks” trip — between Denver and Moab, Utah — will stop overnight in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Passengers will travel on one of Rocky Mountaineer’s glass-domed train coaches through the beautiful scenery of the Southwest.

The cost of the trip starts at $1,250 USD per person, according to the announcement. It includes the two-day train journey as well as the overnight stay in Glenwood Springs.

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Canada-based luxury rail company Rocky Mountaineer will be launching a new route between Colorado and Utah next summer. (Rocky Mountaineer)

Canada-based luxury rail company Rocky Mountaineer will be launching a new route between Colorado and Utah next summer. (Rocky Mountaineer)

The route’s preview season will run from Aug. 15 through Oct. 23, 2021, with 40 departures, the company said.

For people who want to book a ticket now, they can make a $25 refundable deposit. 

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Rocky Mountaineer is still developing various tour and activity packages with help from local tourism groups and hotels, “so guests can experience even more of the region,” the announcement said.

The two-day route, called 'Rockies to the Red Rocks,' will stop overnight in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. (Rocky Mountaineer)

The two-day route, called ‘Rockies to the Red Rocks,’ will stop overnight in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. (Rocky Mountaineer)

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“Over the past 30 years, Rocky Mountaineer has become renowned for our world-class train travel experiences, and now we are opening our newest train experience in the region where train travel history began,” Peter Armstrong, Rocky Mountaineer’s founder, said in a statement. “This region, with its magnificent scenery, national parks, vast opportunities to explore, will delight millions.” 

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The company already runs three luxury train routes in Canada, from Vancouver to three towns in the Canadian Rockies: Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper. 

The journey will also be held on one of Rocky Mountaineer's glass-domed train coaches. (Rocky Mountaineer)

The journey will also be held on one of Rocky Mountaineer’s glass-domed train coaches. (Rocky Mountaineer)

Steve Sammut, Rocky Mountaineer’s president and CEO, said the company has been working on adding new routes for several years.

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In a statement, Sammut said the Rocky Mountaineer has been in search of a route with “incredible scenery, iconic destinations, and the option for an all daytime, multi-day journey that is best experienced by train.”

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“Rockies to the Red Rocks will have all of this and more, and is an opportunity to bring our award-winning Rocky Mountaineer experience to showcase the epic scenery of the Southwest United States,” Sammut said.

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New luxury hotel near River Walk brings glitz, glamour, much needed economic impact

SAN ANTONIO – The City of San Antonio is growing so fast and you might now notice a new sight on the city’s skyline.

The brand new Thompson San Antonio hotel is full of glitz and glamour and economic impact for the Alamo City.

“At a time where the hospitality industry is a challenging industry, we’re bringing new jobs to San Antonio that really needs it; we will add about 150 jobs at opening and through time that will probably grow to about 200,” General Manager Ted Knighton said.

And San Antonio needs jobs, especially in the tourism industry.

“One in seven San Antonians work in the tourism and hospitality industry so you know when the numbers are down it has a seismic impact on our local economy,” Richard Oliver, director of partner and community relations for Visit San Antonio said.

Photos show 20-story luxury hotel opening up near the River Walk

The pandemic has been devastating across the country, but especially here.

“I think tourism and hospitality especially in San Antonio, the third largest industry in the city, has been hit hard. We have lost almost $365 million in economic impact, just in meetings we’ve lost,” Oliver said.

So, the Thompson Hotel could help our market because there appears to be a need.

“There’s not enough luxury product in San Antonio, particularly on the weekends where the leisure travel is demanding for larger guest rooms with outdoor space, which we have, and a contemporary modern design,” Knighton said.

In fact, this new lavish lodging could actually serve as an attraction.

“The Thompson hotel is going to be a big destination for folks. We’ve seen it with Hotel Emma and it shows that there is a market in San Antonio for a good luxury lodge and certainly the Thompson is going to be that,” Oliver said.

It will a unique feature to the Alamo City to say the least.

“As you can see there’s no rooftop bar lounge perspective like we have and I’m so excited to introduce it to the locals, because you can see San Antonio from another angle 20 stories up,” Knighton said.

The rooftop bars and restaurants are open to the public starting Jan. 27.

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Proper Hospitality turned luxury suites into private offices for remote workers

  • Hotel brand Proper Hospitality and coworking space provider Industrious partnered to turn some of Proper’s luxury hotel suites into private offices.
  • The suites can accommodate one to six people depending on the location.
  • Visitors will receive free WiFi, coffee, an extra computer monitor, printing access, and a digital subscription to The New York Times, to name a few perks.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Hotel brand Proper Hospitality and coworking space provider Industrious has partnered to turn some of Proper’s luxury hotel suites into private offices.

The “work from anywhere” mentality and digital nomad lifestyle saw a strong resurgence during the pandemic when employers across the US started announcing long-term or permanent work from home protocols. As a result, several industries started looking at this rising nomadic workforce as a potential segment of new customers.

This includes Proper Hospitality, which recently partnered with Industrious’ “Work From Here by Industrious” program to turn some of the brand’s luxury hotel suites into private offices for the work remote crowd. 

Keep scrolling to see what this looks like:

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New San Antonio luxury hotel to open in January; it’s the city’s first in more than five years

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Hotel Thompson San Antonio — the first new luxury hotel in the city in more than five years — is scheduled to open downtown on Jan. 27.

The 20-story hotel on the River Walk, near the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, will feature 162 rooms and 33 suites, and charge some of the highest room rates in San Antonio.

The city’s hospitality industry likely will still be struggling when Hotel Thompson open its doors. Many business travelers are staying home, and San Antonio’s convention business is nearly at a standstill.

One of 162 guest rooms. Interior designs include wood and rustic metal accents unique to the San Antonio property. Early preview of the Thompson San Antonio hotel, a Hyatt property, in the heart of downtown San Antonio on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020.

Nevertheless, visitors are trickling back, though mostly on the weekends.

Hotel Thompson originally was scheduled to open in late October or early this month, but its owners decided early next year would be a better time to launch.

“We decided to push it back a little obviously because of the pandemic,” said Ted Knighton, the hotel’s general manager. “But we’re ready to introduce it now.”

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Knighton said a standard room will go for $300 a night during the week and $400 on the weekends. Rates jump to $2,500 a night for the hotel’s 2,100-sq.-ft. penthouse suite, with two bedrooms, a dining area, a living room with a pool table and a private terrace.

Exterior view of the Thompson Hotel as seen from the Tobin Center. Early preview of the Thompson San Antonio hotel, a Hyatt property, in the heart of downtown San Antonio on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020.

Among San Antonio hotels in the downtown area, only Hotel Emma at the Pearl generally charges higher rates. The hotel’s website lists a standard room for $475 a night on Wednesday, Jan. 27, the day Hotel Thompson is scheduled to open.

Hotel Emma opened in November 2015.

The Thompson chain, part of the Hyatt Corp., is aiming for excitement, with “celebrity chefs” — Knighton said the hotel will identify them at a later date — anchoring its restaurants, art exhibits and disk jockeys playing music poolside.

The cavernous meeting room. Early preview of the Thompson San Antonio hotel, a Hyatt property, in the heart of downtown San Antonio on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020.

“There really is not a hotel in San Antonio that will have the nightlife scene like we will have,” Knighton said.

The $130 million building housing the hotel also includes 59 condominiums, called the Arts Residences at Thompson San Antonio.

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Residents of the condos, which priced from the low $500,000s to more than $4 million, will share the pool deck and workout room with hotel guests. They’ll also have access to hotel services, such as 24-hour room service.

Condo owners started moving in last week. Fifty-two of the 59 units are sold.

The Hotel Thompson provides a view of the San Antonio skyline.

Amid the COVID-19 downturn, which has forced most hotels to cut workers, Knighton said one factor in Hotel Thompson’s favor is the limited number of luxury properties in San Antonio.

“San Antonio is different,” the general manager said. “It doesn’t have a surplus of luxury products.”

He said guests in the luxury market are traveling sooner than expected. The hotel,

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Trump Books Four Seasons Total Landscaping Instead Of Luxury Hotel For Press Conference

The Trump team held a press conference in a parking lot outside Four Seasons Total Landscaping in Philadelphia

On Saturday November 7, Joe Biden won the 2020 U.S. Presidential election. As people celebrated in the streets across the country, Trump and his legal team prepared for a news conference to talk about voter fraud (despite the fact there’s no evidence to support it) and their plans to file additional law suits. Instead of the presser being at the Four Seasons Hotel Philaelphia, where Trump initially tweeted it would be held, it was actually held at Four Seasons Total Landscaping, a landscaping company situated under the interstate, next to an adult bookstore, and across from a crematorium. I mean, the jokes just write themselves.

“Lawyers News Conference Four Seasons, Philadelphia. 11:00 a.m.,” President Trump tweeted Saturday morning, before issuing a second tweet that it was not at the luxury downtown hotel but rather outside a business called Four Seasons Total Landscaping. Slate reports that Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, was standing by when confused journalists arrived at the site and quickly speculated that someone in the Trump campaign made an error when booking the location.

In the parking lot, a podium was set up in front of a closed garage door with a Trump campaign poster. Across the street, oh so poetically, a crematorium sat. Fantasy Island Adult Bookstore was located right next door. During the news conference, Giuliani insisted that Trump was not going to concede the election and again claimed, without evidence, that ballots had been tampered with in the state of Pennsylvania.

The humble area seemed a far cry from a location Trump or anyone on his team would normally hang out let alone hold a serious press conference contesting election results. As people began to realize what looked like a hilarious mistake had, in fact, happened, Twitter erupted with the kind of joy that only a moment like this could create.

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The Trump campaign held a press conference in the parking lot of the Four Seasons suburban landscaping center, instead of the luxury Philadelphia hotel



a group of people standing in front of a building: Rudy Giuliani speaks to the media at the press conference in Philadelphia. Chris McGrath/Getty Images


© Chris McGrath/Getty Images
Rudy Giuliani speaks to the media at the press conference in Philadelphia. Chris McGrath/Getty Images

  • The Trump campaign booked a press conference at the Four Seasons suburban landscaping center, instead of the luxury hotel in Philadelphia, on Saturday.
  • President Trump first tweeted that the briefing would take place at the noted five-star venue before deleting his tweet and clarifying that it would be at a landscaping firm by the same name instead.
  • The business is located between a crematorium and an adult book store called Fantasy Land and is about a 20-minute drive from the hotel.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Trump campaign seemingly booked the wrong venue for a press conference on Saturday, holding it in a parking lot of a landscaping company called Four Seasons instead of the five-star luxury hotel. 

Less than an hour before major networks announced that Joe Biden was projected to win the 2020 presidential election, President Trump announced in a since-deleted tweet that his legal team would be holding a press conference at Four Seasons in Philadelphia.

However, what was supposed to be the noted five-star luxury hotel ended up being a car park outside a small landscaping firm called Four Seasons on the outskirts of the city.

The business is located between a crematorium and an adult book store called Fantasy Land. According to Google Maps, it is a 20-minute drive away from the Four Seasons hotel in central Philadelphia.



map: Google Maps


© Google Maps
Google Maps

The president later clarified in another tweet that the “big press conference” would take place at Four Seasons Total Landscaping.

The Four Seasons Hotel also confirmed on Twitter that the press briefing would not be happening on its premises and that it has “no relation” to the landscaping company.

Some reporters expressed their confusion online after they were asked to travel to the landscaping company for the briefing. 

Video: RNC chair: People immediately argue election claims are false, it’s ‘frustrating’ (FOX News)

RNC chair: People immediately argue election claims are false, it’s ‘frustrating’

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“Is Donald Trump convening the world’s press at a small landscaping company on the outskirts of Philadelphia?” a reporter for the Independent tweeted.

 

During the briefing, Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, told reporters the campaign planned to challenge the election in court next week, making unsubstantiated claims of election fraud. 

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Guiliani was interrupted in the middle of the press conference when the news broke that Biden had won the presidential election.

When a reporter told Giuliani that all the networks had called the race, the former New York mayor threw his arms up and responded sarcastically: “All of them! Oh my goodness! Wow, all the networks! We have to forget about the law, judges don’t count!”

Some reporters had already left before the delayed press conference even began. Trump, who was golfing, was not present.

Decision Desk HQ and Insider called the race for

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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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