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Where to Stay in Edinburgh: Best Areas & Hotels, 2019

Written by Lura Seavey and Carri Wilbanks
Feb 26, 2019

Whether vacationing for business or pleasure, with the family or on a romantic getaway, Edinburgh's city center is the best place to stay for first-time visitors who want to see the city's most famous sights. The historic Old Town surrounds the Royal Mile, stretching from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to Edinburgh Castle. This neighborhood is popular for its old-world charm and plentiful museums, as well as its historical significance.

The adjacent Princes Street neighborhood is famous for its posh retail shops and the stunning Princes Street Gardens, which decorate the grounds in front of the castle. The New Town business district offers some of the city's best dining, from the ritziest restaurants to cozy bistros. The neighborhood's laid-back atmosphere is perfect for people-watching, and independent shops offer an alternative to Princes Street's retail chains. The Broughton & Calton neighborhood is a bit more spread out, home to Calton Hill and the National Monument of Scotland.

Where to Stay for Luxury

Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa

Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa | This is Edinburgh / photo modified

In the heart of the Old Town neighborhood and at the epicenter of the city's most historic sites, Old Town Chambers provides luxury apartments in a stunning 15th-century building. Spacious rooms, generous furnishings, and an on-site self-serve laundry make this perfect for extended stays and families.

The Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, in the West End, is conveniently located near Haymarket Station, with shops and restaurants nearby as well as a wide range of on-site amenities like a full-service spa, fitness center, and an excellent fine dining restaurant featuring local ingredients. The experience is topped off by fantastic castle and city-wide views from many of the guest rooms and from the spa's rooftop pool.

Classic luxury meets technology at 24 Royal Terrace in the Broughton & Calton neighborhood. Here, you get the best of both worlds, spending the afternoon admiring the hotel's private art collection and its Georgian terraces, then retiring to enjoy the best in tech, including smart TVs and Blucube speakers in each room.

Where to Stay for the Best Value

Princes Street Gardens

Princes Street Gardens

The Premier Inn Edinburgh offers reasonable rates with a castle view across Princes Street Gardens from its ideal location. This top-rated, family-friendly hotel is convenient to historical landmarks, restaurants, and the popular Princes Street shopping district. The Rutland Hotel is nearby and is also convenient to the city center. This boutique-style hotel occupies a Georgian house in a quiet neighborhood, close to Charlotte Square, St. Mary's Cathedral, and Ross Fountain.

As its name suggests, The Inn on the Mile sits right on the Royal Mile, in the center of the Old Town. Built in a historic landmark, the former 1923 British Linen Bank, the hotel has no elevators, but the rest of the amenities are above and beyond, including an iPod docking station connected to ceiling speakers, an assortment of Scottish treats to go with the in-room tea and coffee station, and even hair straighteners in the bathroom. As a bonus, the on-site restaurant uses locally sourced produce and sustainably raised meat and seafood, as well as free-range poultry and eggs.

Centrally located on St. Andrew square in New Town, near the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Ibis Styles Edinburgh Centre St. Andrew Square has crisp, bright rooms and modern décor. A generous continental breakfast and high speed Wi-Fi are included with all stays.

The Dunstane Hotel occupies two stunning Victorian townhouses in the posh West End, easily accessible to bus transportation yet still within a reasonable walking distance from the most popular sights. Only the price distinguishes this from a luxury hotel, with its top-rated service and bright, spacious rooms. This boutique hotel is also well known for its restaurant, which serves locally sourced meals all day, and - of course - offers afternoon tea.

Where to Stay on a Budget

Cairn Hotel Edinburgh

Cairn Hotel Edinburgh | Karen Bryan / photo modified

The Travelodge Edinburgh Central Princes Street is centrally located near the intersection of the four downtown neighborhoods, close to Old Town sights, near Princes Street shopping, and adjacent to the Royal Mile. It lies just opposite the Edinburgh-Waverley train station, a bustling neighborhood in the center of the action.

Just outside the Southside & Holyrood neighborhood, Hotel Ceilidh-Donia is a family hotel with accommodating staff. The rates make a short ride into the city center worth it, especially with breakfast and Wi-Fi included in the stay. Just outside the edge of the Broughton & Calton neighborhood, located in the theater district, the newly refurbished Cairn Hotel Edinburgh is still within a 15-minute walk to the city center. Their most popular feature is a welcome basket full of snacks and goodies, replenished each day.

Where to Stay for Romance

Old Town, Edinburgh

Old Town, Edinburgh

Although it sits conveniently at the junction of the Old Town, New Town, and Princes Street neighborhoods, a couple could easily find themselves reluctant to leave The Balmoral Hotel. The building's grandeur is magnified by an imposing clock tower, and its charm begins right at the entrance, where you're greeted by kilted doormen. The hotel's fitness center offsets the inevitable indulgence of afternoon tea at Palm Court, followed by dinner in the Michelin-rated restaurant, while a day of pampering at the spa and pool is always an option.

Located in a quiet neighborhood in Edinburgh's West End yet still within a reasonable distance from the city center, the Chester Residence earns its five stars not only as a top-rated luxury lodging but also as the city's premiere romantic getaway. The elegant suites are spacious and have generously equipped kitchens, making this the perfect place for longer stays.

A bit out of town, the Prestonfield is a favorite wedding venue thanks to its perfect combination of luxury and romance. The charming grounds are home to flower gardens, freely roaming peacocks, and even a herd of Highland cattle.

Where to Stay for Families

St. Andrew Square

Fountain Court Apartments Royal Garden is a great luxury hotel for families. It offers swanky serviced apartments in a historic building in a prime New Town location, opposite St. Andrew Square and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. The spacious apartments feature one or two-bedrooms and are done up in contemporary style, with full kitchens. For families, the two-bedroom penthouses are huge and even feature a private rooftop terrace with awesome views across Edinburgh.

Another top luxe choice if you're traveling with kids is The Edinburgh Residence. Set on a quiet street in the West End, it is within walking distance of train and tram stops that take you into the city center. The elegant hotel offers 29 spacious suites that are big enough for families and come with giant windows, fireplaces, kitchenettes, and high-end bath amenities. Other extras include in-room Nespresso machines, snack baskets, and a 24-hour room-service menu.

Inside a medieval looking 16th-century building, the Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh is an ultra contemporary property that caters to families. It is also good value. Located right on the Royal Mile, it has you within walking distance of all the top Edinburgh attractions. Rooms are done up in shades of charcoal, white, and silver, and a pillow menu is offered. Amenities include a restaurant, spa, swimming pool, and on-site parking, which is rare considering the location.

Stewart Aparthotel is another good family hotel in a central location close to George Street's restaurants and shops. The modern apartments are serviced daily and come in a number of sizes, including a two-bedroom suite that can accommodate up to seven people. All apartments come with full kitchens, lounge space, and the convenience of 24-hour reception. Rates also include a continental breakfast, and there is parking for an extra fee.

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