The Balmoral, a Rocco Forte Hotel

Edinburgh, Scotland

At a Glance

  • Located in the heart of Edinburgh benefiting from beautiful views of Edinburgh

  • Offers world class dining at the Number One Michelin starred restaurant

  • Over 400 whiskys to taste at the signature whisky bar

  • Unwind in the award winning spa, offering a luxurious champagne afternoon tea spa day

  • A very elegantly designed hotel

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Best time to Visit

Good time to visit

Average time to visit

It is very difficult to predict the weather in the United Kingdom - in the summer from May to late September is generally seen as the most pleasant time to visit. Rainfall is difficult to predict - but the UK does not receive as much as many are led to believe! In the winters, temperatures do fall, but there is nothing better than finding a remote pub with a roaring fire to sit beside after a long walk in the country.

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Insider's View

With over 500 malts, blends and vintages from all over Scotland, Scotch the whiskey bar is the perfect place to unwind for whiskey lovers staying at the Balmoral.

Call us on 858 345 1764 to start planning your vacation to The Balmoral, a Rocco Forte Hotel or take a look at our itineraries to Edinburgh the Lowlands

Description

The Balmoral is Edinburgh's 'Grande Dame', opened in 1902 it retains a wonderful old-world charm, but has been given a loving splash of luxury and style by Rocco Forte. With its attentive service, it is the go-to hotel in Edinburgh.

The Balmoral was opened in 1902 as the 'North British', and is located just up the steps from Edinburgh Waverley Station at the top of Princes Street - the best address in town. It was taken over by Rocco Forte and given a loving make-over by his designer sister, Olga Polizzi, retaining its historical and charming atmosphere, yet adding contemporary touches making it a classic example of getting the blend of old and new spot on.

You will be met at the front door by the doormen who are kilted up to the nines, and you will often pass the odd bagpiper if for any reason you weren't in the mood already. Rocco Forte puts a great deal of emphasis on service, and around every corner the staff are there to help; quite often they remember your name.

The 168 Rooms and Suites use a color scheme which reflects the wild colors of Scotland - the greens from vast, misty moors and purples from Scottish heather, yet the colors are softly muted with only the odd dash of tartan.

The dining is exceptional, and you have to try Number 1, suitably deserving of its Michelin Star. Hadrian's offers contemporary dining. Sit back and relax at Palm Court for afternoon tea, or The Balmoral Bar for a pre-dinner drink. If you like your whisky, then Scotch is the place to go - and they have over 400 on offer and we particularly find the tweed sofas very relaxing.

The Balmoral also has a spa, run by ESPA with a small-ish indoor pool.

The Balmoral's excellent location means you are within walking distance of the beautiful Georgian Terraces of New Town, or a hop, skip and the jump to the Royal Mile which leads up to Edinburgh Castle.

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Accommodation

The Balmoral Hotel has 168 individually designed rooms by Olga Polizzi. Ranging from smaller classic rooms, family size executive rooms to a beautifully decorated grand suite. All rooms have a traditional Scottish design with spacious and luxurious bathrooms.

Executive Room

Comfortable and welcoming, the executive rooms at Balmoral have a combined bedroom and living space with king size or twin beds & a spacious en-suite.

Decorated to reflect traditional Scottish style, these elegant rooms can be interconnected, making them suitable for families.

Deluxe Room

Comfortable and contemporary, these large rooms at The Balmoral have a choice of either a king size bed or two single beds, sitting area and spacious bathroom decorated in marble & ceramic with a large bath.

Superior Deluxe Room

Offering views of the Castle from their higher floor location, these rooms are between 18 and 37 sqm. Superior Deluxe rooms come furnished with marble bathrooms with James Bond prints and a king-size bed with the option of twin beds.

Junior Suite

Benefiting from views of the city or the inner courtyard, Junior Suites are a step up in size (28-47sqm) from the Balmoral's bedrooms with the option of an extra bed on request and a comfortable lounge area.

Junior Suite Castle View

As their name suggests, these suites benefit from views of the castle and are a step up in size (28-47sqm) from the Balmoral's bedrooms with the option of an extra bed on request and a comfortable lounge area.

Classic Suite

The Balmoral's first room/suite category with a separate bedroom and sitting room, a Classic Suite spans 44-66sqm, offering enough space for two extra beds for children to be added upon request. Views from these suites are either across the old town, Princes Street or Northbridge.

Grand Suite

Each of these suites measures between 51 and 55sqm and four are located in areas of the building affording turret-style alcoves. They are named Braemar, Stirling, Dunrobin, Tay and JK Rowling. A brass owl door knocker indicates the latter, the room where the final Harry Potter book was completed. Each suite has a king-size bed and enough space for two extra beds for children.

Deluxe Suite

All of these six suites are named after Scottish rivers or castles - Rothesay, Dee, Drummond, Brodick, Bothwell and Spey. Most have original working fireplaces and offer views of Edinburgh Castle and Princes Street Gardens are possible and there is the option to add an extra bed for children. (Each measure between 47 and 58 sqm)

Balmoral Suite

The Balmoral Suite offers guests a king size master bedroom, the option to interconnect with a Classic Room, separate dining room for six people, living room, bathroom and guest powder room. At 66 sqm this suite is ample in size and located so as to provide views of Arthur's Seat and the historic old town.

Glamis Suite

A contemporary suite with sitting room views of Princes Street, Glamis measures 85 sqm and comprises a dining table for four and signature Balmoral bathroom. A king size bed comes as standard with the option for twin beds, an extra bed for children and the possibility to connect to an Executive Room.

Scone & Crombie

The signature suite at The Balmoral, this iconic residence is the largest offered at the hotel and offers the potential to sleep two adults and two children (extra beds added on request) and to be connected to an executive room. Views from the suite are over the historic Old Town and the interior is abundant in traditional and elegant Scottish touches.

Services

The award winning Balmoral Spa is the perfect way to relax after exploring the city of Edinburgh. With a modern gym with weights room, an 15 meter swimming pool and sauna and steam room, the Balmoral Spa is surely not be missed.

Facilities

The Balmoral Hotel offers guests fine dining in the Michelin starred Number One restaurant as well as traditional and regional cuisine in Hadrian's restaurant. An elegant afternoon tea can be enjoyed in Palm Court which is finely decorated with a Venetian chandelier.

To have a truly Scottish experience guests have a selection of over 400 whiskies to choose from in the traditional Scotch Bar or contemporary cocktails are also available in the Balmoral Bar.

Activities

Edinburgh is a breathtaking city with many bars, theaters and museums. Guest can visit the famous Edinburgh Castle which is within walking distance from the Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh will certainly be a memorable visit.

If you don't want to venture out of the hotel, there are a wide range restaurants and also the award winning Spa which has a pool, sauna, steam room, weights room and modern gym.

Reviews

5

(Press)

This well-placed city hotel, which opened in 1902, has a top restaurant and an excellent spa and is close to the main sights.

Location

Next to Edinburghs main Waverley railway station, at the eastern end of Princes Street, and a short walk from the National Gallery and shopping areas.

Style/character

Dominating the city center, this six-storey neo-Renaissance building, with its massive clock tower, has been a landmark for more than a century. Built as a railway hotel, it has accommodated film stars, royalty and prime minsters. In 1997, it was bought by Sir Rocco Forte as the first hotel in the Rocco Forte Collection and completely refurbished by his sister, the designer Olga Polizzi. Original features include ornate plasterwork in the reception, an elegant well staircase and the dome-ceilinged Palm Court tearoom and bar in the center of the hotel. Guests include families from overseas and across the United Kingdom, couples and groups, particularly Americans, plus business people. Local residents use the restaurants, bars and tearooms. An exceptionally large spa specializes in ESPA and SUNDRI treatments and offers a relaxation suite, swimming pool and gym.

Service

Friendly, highly professional and efficient. Staff make a point of remembering guests names.

Rooms

There are 188 rooms of which 20 are suites. The most expensive rooms overlook Princes Street, the Castle and Arthurs Seat, but also the less scenic railway station. Inside-facing rooms are the cheapest, but also the quietest, with views onto a deep, inner courtyard. Earthy colored fabrics and walls (greys, browns, purples) reflect Scottish landscapes, mists and heathers. Some of the light marble bathrooms come with windows and black and white iconic filmshots of Sean Connery. Most of the suites are named after Scottish castles or rivers, with the exception of the JK Rowling Suite where the author finished writing the last of the Harry Potter books in January 2007.

Food & drink

Number One, the hotels Michelin-starred eatery, is one of Edinburghs top restaurants and is overseen by chef, Jeff Bland, who focuses on local Scottish ingredients. The restaurant occupies an intimate space in the hotels basement, with red-lacquered walls, velvet banquettes and well-spaced tables. Expect to pay 64 for three courses or 70 for an eight-course Chefs Tasting Menu. In 1930s Art Deco style, Hadrians brasserie (also used for breakfast) serves traditional Scottish dishes while the Palm Court has a Champagne bar and is a popular place for afternoon tea (from 25); light lunches are also served in the Balmoral Bar.

Value for money

On the reasonable side for a top city hotel that couldnt be much better located and where service is almost faultless. Classic doubles from 295, including continental breakfast.

Family-friendly?

The 'Five-star Kids program includes the provision of cots and baby equipment, teddy turn-down, hotel quizzes and childrens menus.

Experiences

  • A Round of Golf at St Andrews

    Follow in the footsteps of legends with a round on the world's oldest and most iconic golf course. The Swilcan Bridge and Hell Bunker are recognised globally, but the greatest feature of the Old Course is that it remains open to all.

  • Bagpipe and Ceilidh Class

    Have a ball learning how to play the bagpipes and dance like a true Scot. Kilt optional! Our piper specializes in traditional ceilidh dancing and will demonstrate this energetic Scottish dance accompanied by a group of talented musicians.

  • Edinburgh Castle

    Dominating Scotland's capital city from its elevated position, Edinburgh Castle has had a history as diverse as its previous inhabitants.

  • Edinburgh Festival

    Edinburgh is best known for its world-famous August festival: a huge, month-long arts, music, theater and comedy extravaganza that includes several festivals running at the same time and is the largest cultural gathering on the planet.

  • Edinburgh Military Tattoo

    The Tattoo is an iconic Edinburgh institution held every August, and a highlight of the Edinburgh Festival. Massed pipes and drums, military bands, cultural troupes and global musicians all perform against the stunning backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.

  • Holyroodhouse

    The Queen's official residence in Scotland, the Palace of Holyroodhouse is located at the end of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. Originally founded as a monastery in 1128, Holyroodhouse has played a key role in Scotland's turbulent history.

  • Isle of Skye

    The Isle of Skye is derived from the old Norse sky-a which translates to "cloud island", so called because of its often mist-cloaked hills.

  • Private Tour of a Whisky Distillery with a Master Distiller

    Join a master distiller and learn the secrets of the finest whiskies in the world before sampling the golden nectar afterwards. We can arrange exclusive visits to legendary distilleries such as Dalmore, Glenlivet, Laphroaig and Macallan.

  • Private tour of Edinburgh Castle & Old Town

    Discover the beauty of Edinburgh's Old Town with a private guided walking tour of the city. A fantastic family-friendly venture, you'll discover the winding cobbled streets of the Old Town before heading to the world-famous Edinburgh Castle.

  • Private tour of the Royal Yacht Britannia

    Discover what life was like on board The Queen's floating Royal residence, the Royal Yacht Britannia. For over 44 years she served the Royal Family, traveling over a million miles to become the most famous ship in the world.

  • Private whisky tasting and appreciation with Charles MacLean

    Enjoy an exclusive private whisky tasting session with Charles MacLean, a writer whose specialist subject is Scotch whisky, about which he has published ten books to date.

  • Rosslyn Chapel

    One of Scotland’s most remarkable buildings, Rosslyn Chapel in Roslin was founded in 1446 and today attracts visitors from far and wide, drawn by its unique and mysterious carvings and the beauty of its setting.

  • St Andrews

    St Andrews is known by many worldwide as the "home of golf" and the most frequent venue for The Open Championship but it is also a beautiful and historic coastal town and home to the oldest university in Scotland.

  • Stirling Castle & the Trossachs

    Stirling Castle is one of the most important castles in Scotland’s history. It has witnessed the

    crowning of many Scottish Kings and Queens, and the earliest parts of the building date back as far as the 15th and 16th centuries.

  • The Scottish Larder

    Scotland's larder is a phenomenal culinary experience, renowned around the globe. Learn how to prepare some tasty dishes with Edinburgh’s top private caterer and cookery teacher, who regularly cooks for presidents, prime ministers and occasional, royals.

  • Traquair House

    Situated near Peebles on the Scottish Borders, Traquair House is the oldest continually inhabited house in Scotland. Gain a wonderful insight into Scottish history, explore its charming grounds and try award-winning ales at Traquair House Brewery.

Vacation Ideas

  • Grand Tour of the British Isles

    London, Cotswolds, Wales, Kerry, Clare, Dublin, Gleneagles & Edinburgh

    from $11000 pp 16 nights

    • Impeccable and friendly service
    • Delicious breakfasts with a different flavour smoothie each morning
    • Iced water in cool boxes for every couple on the beach
  • Off the beaten track in the Scottish Highlands

    Edinburgh, Cairngorms, Alladale Wilderness Reserve

    from $6100 pp 9 nights

    • Impeccable and friendly service
    • Delicious breakfasts with a different flavour smoothie each morning
    • Iced water in cool boxes for every couple on the beach
  • Scotland for Families

    Gleneagles, Isle of Eriska & Edinburgh

    from $4000 pp 7 nights

    • Impeccable and friendly service
    • Delicious breakfasts with a different flavour smoothie each morning
    • Iced water in cool boxes for every couple on the beach
  • Scotland in Ultimate Luxury

    Edinburgh, Belmond Royal Scotsman, Gleneagles

    from $8000 pp 7 nights

    • Impeccable and friendly service
    • Delicious breakfasts with a different flavour smoothie each morning
    • Iced water in cool boxes for every couple on the beach

Location & directions

Edinburgh, Scotland

Centrally located next to Waverly station, less than half a hours drive from Edinburgh International Airport. The Balmoral benefits from beautiful views overlooking the famous Edinburgh Castle.

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Call us on 858 345 1764 to start planning your vacation to The Balmoral, a Rocco Forte Hotel or take a look at our itineraries to Edinburgh the Lowlands

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