The Balmoral, a Rocco Forte Hotel

Edinburgh, Scotland

At a Glance

  • Located in the heart of Edinburgh, the hotel bridges the glamourous Georgian splendour of the New Town and the atmospheric streets of the Old Town. 

  • Impeccable Rocco Forte service ensures the every guest is truly pampered throughout their stay.

  • Home to one of the city’s finest restaurants, Number One serves Michelin-starred Scottish cuisine.

  • Settle down at Scotch, the hotel’s signature whisky bar, and sample over 500 of Scotland’s finest bottles.

  • Edinburgh is a city best explored on foot - luckily the hotel’s excellent spa is home to a 15 meter pool, sauna and steam room ideal for soothing aching joints after a day exploring.

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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

Number One restaurant has been rated Michelin starred for the 18th year in a row. Try out the seasonal ingredients in dishes such as highland wagyu beef sight beetroot.

The JK Rowling Suite is where she finished writing the Deathly Hallows. She had this room rented for six weeks and as a celebration when she finished the book, she grafittied a sculpture in the room with her initials and the date that she finished the last book of the Harry Potter series.

The hotel's clock tower is always three minutes fast because they always wanted people to make their trains on time. The only time the clock is correct is for New Years Eve.

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.

The Brasserie Prince has delightful menus filled with local produce and meats. Make sure to try it out if you are looking for something a little more casual.

Sean Connery cut the reopening ribbon for The Balmoral, find his photos around the hotel and try to name all the movies they are from.

There is still a secret passageway in the spa that goes to the rail station

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 United Kingdom

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.

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 500 on offer and we particularly find the tweed sofas very relaxing.

The Balmoral's excellent location means you are within walking distance of the beautiful Georgian terraces of the New Town, and just on the other side of the North Bridge from the Royal Mile, which leads up to Edinburgh Castle and down to Holyrood Palace.

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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.

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

Haile Brant (Staff)

Located in the heart of the new city of Edinburgh, The Balmoral has enjoyed over 100 years with it's esteemed address on 1 Princes Street. Close to plenty of monuments, shops, restaurants, The Royal Mile and the Ediburgh Castle you would be hard pressed to find a better location. Standing out with it's iconic clock tower, The Balmoral show cases it's class, elegance and grandeur from the moment you step foot in this historic building. Once inside, there is plenty to keep you entertained after a long day of discovering the secrets of Edinburgh. Head to Palm Court, a tropical room decorated with palm tree wallpaper, to enjoy a splendid afternoon tea complete with a harpist every weekend and summer afternoon. After refuelling with a spot of tea, take a visit down to the leisure area where you can burn some calories in the recently updated gym offering personal training, and even a fitness studio room. Cool down afterwards in the massive 15m pool or find your zen in the Finnish sauna and Turkish steam room. For a relaxing experience, visit the award winning Balmoral Spa featuring products handpicked and created by the hotel owner's daughter, Irene Forte. Once it is time to turn down for the day, find solace in your comfortable room that has a great marriage between Scottish accents and delicate modern features such as bright wallpapers and plenty of natural light. With views that look onto Princes Street and the Edinburgh Castle, you'll never lose the sense of place even when in your hotel room.

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.

  • An excluisve pre-opening tour of Edinburgh Castle

    An early start will be made worthwhile today as you enjoy exclusive access to Edinburgh castle before the crowds descend. Accompanied by an expert guide discovered the castle's enigmatic history, filled with battles and fights for control.

  • Edinburgh by Mini Cooper

    Take to the streets of Edinburgh in one of Britain's most iconic vehicles; The Mini Cooper. These small cars allow you to navigate the narrow winding streets of the city and explore like a local.

  • Edinburgh food tour

    Discover the tastes of Scotland with a fascinating tour of Edinburgh's top food spots. Enjoy six stops throughout your exploration of the city and you'll have the chance to taste a variety of treats and delicacies, including the famous Scottish haggis.

  • 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.

  • Evening tour of Edinburgh's Catacombs

    Discover the hidden world beneath Edinburgh's old town where destitute in habitants were sent to live, sunned away from public eye.

  • Explore the Scottish Borders

    Discover the area of Scotland which lies to the south of the Edinburgh featuring architectural gems such as Floors Castle, Abbotsford House and the enchanting Rosslyn Chapel.

  • Foodie walking tour of Edinburgh

    Discover both the food and history of Scotland’s capital as you explore the city with a specialist guide, taking in hidden restaurants, meeting the chefs and tasting flavorsome locally-sourced dishes accompanied by carefully paired wines and whiskies.

  • Guided tour and tasting at Glenturret Distillery

    Tour the Glenturret Distillery to discover the intricate process of making whisky and taste the end result paired with locally made fudge.

  • Guided Tour of Edinburgh

    Discover Edinburgh’s rich, multi-layered history as you explore the city’s Old Town with a private local guide, strolling the cobbled streets, secret courtyards and ancient buildings.

  • 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.

  • Private access tour of the Royal Yacht Britannia

    Enjoy exclusive access to the Royal Yacht Britannia whilst it is not open to the general public with a private, guided tour on board The Queen's floating Royal residence. Gain an enticing insight into the life of the British Royal Family and their lives.

  • Private Cruise on Loch Lomond

    Cruise across the moody waters of Loch Lomond on a luxury private motorboat and uncover the history of this beautiful body of water.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Vacation Ideas

  • Family Fun in Scotland

    Edinburgh, Isle of Eriska & Gleneagles

    from $8900 pp 7 nights

    • Ideal for families with children aged 6 and up
    • Enjoy fun-filled activities as a family trying your hand at archery, falconry and even ferret handling!
    • Visit the rolling glens of Perthshire and a stay at the iconic Gleneagles hotel
  • Highlights of Scotland and Ireland

    Edinburgh, West coast of Scotland, Dublin & Co. Galway

    from $9300 pp 10 nights

    • Combine the highlights of Scotland and Ireland
    • Enjoy private guided walking tours of Dublin and Edinburgh
    • Stay in a magnificent castle hotel on Ireland’s emerald West Coast
  • Scotland in Ultimate Luxury

    Edinburgh, Belmond Royal Scotsman, Gleneagles

    from $9300 pp 7 nights

    • Enjoy the gorgeous scenery of the Highlands & Islands in serious style
    • Let yourself be pampered on one of the world's finest luxury trains, the Belmond Royal Scotsman
    • Dine in michelin-starred restaurants in Scotland's finest hotels

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.

Speak to our specialists 858 523 9000

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