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The Balmoral

Edinburgh & The Lothians

1 Princes Street, Edinburgh, Edinburgh. EH2 2EQ.

Tel: +44 (0)131 556 2414

https://www.roccofortehotels.com/hotels-and-resorts/the-balmoral-hotel/

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Our review

With its unique address, 1 Princes Street, Edinburgh, this grand Scottish Baronial property first opened in 1902 as a Grand Railway hotel and therefore occupies a prime city centre location.  The iconic Clock Tower is a familiar landmark and since the beginning, the time has been set 2 minutes fast to assist travellers in catching their trains.

Part of the deluxe Rocco Forte Collection since 1997, the interior design by Olga Polizzi, preserves the  classic Edwardian décor alongside contemporary furnishings and a superlative choice of artwork.

Bedrooms and luxury Suites are dressed in Scottish wool and tweed fabrics in colours of green, mauve and blue to reflect the Highland landscape of mountain and loch.  A quirky touch in the majority of bathrooms comes with vintage movie photographs of Sean Connery as James Bond.

Ken and I loved the homely comfort of the Rothesay Suite with its private lounge and spacious bedroom, decorated throughout in soft shades of green and turquoise.  The view of Princes Street, Edinburgh Castle and the city skyline was breathtaking especially at sunset when everything was bathed in a golden light.

Guests staying in a range of Suites are offered VIP services, including unpacking and packing, In-room movies, and a choice of pillows. One of the Grand Suites is named the JK Rowling, with a brass owl on the door. This is where the final Harry Potter book, The Deathly Hallows was completed, and the suite is furnished with the writing desk and a bust of Hermes, the Greek God of Travel, signed by the author.

Five Star Hospitality, with fine wining and dining, is the essential aspect of a stay at the Balmoral Hotel.  Number One Restaurant is sophisticated and stylish provides a superlative cuisine.  Under Executive Chef Jeff Bland, Number One has retained a Michelin Star for thirteen successive years, retaining the accolade for 2015. 

Sitting in the Number One Cocktail Bar, Ken and I enjoyed some delicious canapés accompanied by an ice cold glass of Heidsieck Brut champagne.  We then dined on Scottish crab, Wild Mushrooms & Truffle, Baby Monkfish, Turbot with shellfish and caviar sauce, Prune Souffle and platter of Cheese, each course served with selected wines. As well as A  la Carte, the well-priced Tasting Menu with matched wines offers a similar gastronomic feast.

Hadrian’s Brasserie is the alternative restaurant for breakfast, lunch and supper. In the afternoon, you can relax over drinks in the Balmoral Bar while traditional Afternoon Tea is served in the romantic setting of the grand Palm Court Salon.

Scotch is the Balmoral's signature Whisky Bar, a cosy, chic, intimate lounge bar which boasts the largest collection of Scotch Whiskies in Edinburgh - over 400 different blends and malts, ranging from new brands to vintage.  Professional Scotch Whisky ambassadors ensure guests experience and learn about the distinctive range and after dinner, Ken and I sampled a couple of classics.

For me, an Old Fashioned Cocktail with Haig Club, the David Beckham-branded Scotch, while Ken sipped a Mortlach 1971, a very fine Speyside single malt.

The Balmoral is situated in the centre of a city, but it is also a Leisure Resort. Downstairs in the Health Club and Spa, there is a large swimming pool, gym, steam room, and Finnish sauna. Here, amongst a full menu of treatments, you can enjoy a pampering Espa age-defying Lifestage Facial, a Jet Lag reviver, or a therapeutic Sports Massage.  The Spa is furnished in  the style of a Pool Deck on a luxury cruise ship,complete with loungers and drinks bar.

Many American, European and UK families return to the Balmoral regularly as children are welcome as VIPs, enjoying extras such as a Balmoral Passport ( to explore the hotel); Teddy bears, special menus, robes and slippers, cots and bedtime milk. 

Welcoming leisure and corporate world travellers, the hotel also specialises in accommodating meetings and conferences, private dining, banquets and weddings.  The Concierge Team is always on hand to arrange Personal Shopping, dinner reservations, Golf Resort Tee times, and tickets to visitor attractions, theatre and sports events.

For those interested in their Scottish ancestral roots, Andy Fraser has the role of the Balmoral's Tartan Butler, finding out about your family name, its associated tartan, and he can even arrange a kilt fitting and personalised genealogy research.   

Edinburgh is a year round destination for visitors for its history, renowned for its heritage and arts festivals.  At Christmas and New Year, the famous Winter Wonderland and Hogmanay events come to town and the Balmoral is ideally placed to ensure that a wonderful party is enjoyed by all, with dinner dances and a prime view of the castle for the Fireworks.

 UPDATED: 17TH NOVEMBER 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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