Edinburgh is a city of contrasts. From the medieval wynds and vennels of the old town to the grand Georgian New Town, the extensive history of the city is reflected within all four corners of the city’s boundaries. With a reputation for being one of the most beautiful cities in the world, it is easy to see why nearly 4 million people decide to visit Edinburgh every year.
A compact city in British terms, it is incredibly easy to traverse on foot, meaning there are also extra opportunities to discovers hidden alleyways, quirky shops, cosy cafes and even some of the many whisky soaked bars and public houses that the city is so famous for.
Home to international festivals like the annual Fringe comedy festival, and with a creative and cultured vibe, it is not just the historical magnificence that visitors come to see. Of course, no trip to the city would be complete without a tour of the castle, or a stroll down the iconic Royal Mile, but modern day Edinburgh is every bit as contemporary as its more southerly counterparts like Liverpool or London.
With not one, but five Michelin-starred restaurants dotted across the city, a veritable smorgasbord of pubs, clubs, bars and nightlife and a wide and diverse range of accommodation to suit all budgets, Edinburgh is so much more than the sum of it’s parts. Sweep away thoughts of gloomy tenements and miserable Scottish weather and come and explore the vibrant, colourful collection of attractions that can be found throughout the cities various neighbourhoods.
If you are looking for somewhere to stay in the Scottish capital, here is our guide to the best places to stay in Edinburgh. Also, feel free to check out our guide to the best breakfast in Edinburgh.
As a chain hotel that caters for large groups and business travellers, The Leonardo Royal Hotel offers comfortable, clean and convenient accommodation a five-minute walk away and Princes Street, the Old Town and Edinburgh Castle.
Bedrooms are suitably well presented, with touches of tweed that break up the ever present beige, and the hotel offers a decent restaurant, that may not be five star but does serve well cooked, high quality meals, three times a day. There is also a good size car park on-site, as well as flat screen TV’s and an impressive all-you-can-eat breakfast.
- Rooms from £111
- Check availability of The Leonardo Royal Hotel
Located just outside of the city centre, this fascinating, economy boutique style hotel is definitely worth a mention. Set within a stately Georgian terrace, the exterior definitely belies the quirky, colourful interiors that await you. A grand spiral staircase, dark wood panelling and huge original windows nudge this budget hotel just a cut above similarly priced lodgings.
Despite the grandeur of the communal areas, bedroom are minimalist by design with the occasional embellishment of unusual design pieces, There is no restaurant on-site but the cooked breakfasts are of a really high standard, and there is a bar area that is lively and fun.
- Rooms from £95
- Check availability of B+B Edinburgh
This cheerful hostel is part of a new generation of affordable urban accommodation that is no longer just for the youth. Cheerful and comfortable, Safestay Edinburgh is located in the Old Town, just a few minutes walk from Royal Mile and the riotous bars and clubs of Cowgate.
In the groovy looking reception area, clashing colours bring this otherwise ordinary building to life, while bedrooms are dormitory style with private bathrooms. There are also a couple of twin-bedded private rooms to choose from, and Safestay offers standard extras like 24 hour reception, lockers and laundry facilities.
- Rooms from £19
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Edinburgh’s oldest hotel offers classy contemporary bedrooms and bang up to date amenities, while a thoughtful redesign have managed to retain the period feel of the property. Located on Edinburgh’s premier shopping street, you can walk to most of the city attractions from here, as well as enjoy some serious retail therapy.
Bedrooms are a heady mix of tweed, leather and velvet and some have fantastic views out across the Firth. If you can drag yourself away from the cosy comfort of your room, the hotel also offers a hip coffee shop, a busy bar with live jazz on a Saturday and a brasserie with a well thought out menu that focuses on locally sourced produce.
- Rooms from £177
- Check availability of The Principle
As part of the popular, mid-range Apex brand, this hotel offers quality accommodation in an enviable location. With views across the castle and looking down on the Old Marketplace, you will be right in the thick of it here.
Bedrooms are bright and well-appointed with a nod to mid-century styling, and there are complimentary earplugs on offer to help dim the sometimes noisy city streets below. With a swimming pool, sauna and fitness room, as well as a bright, informal restaurant overseen by lauded chef Tony Singh, you will be well catered for at the Apex Hotel in Grassmarket.
- Rooms from £171
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Housed within a former Victorian Seamen’s Mission, this Leith based hotel is funky, friendly and fun. With intriguing interiors featuring plenty of tartan and a retro feel, Malmaison is a pleasing combination of comfortable accommodation and stylish looks.
There is also a splendid on-site brasserie that offers tender steaks and house specials like the “MalBurger” that are reliably good and well priced. The bar area is usually busy, and if the Scottish weather holds up, you can sit outside and enjoy the views out across the water. Set within a hip enclave of the city, and being just a short bus ride away from the main attractions, Malmaison is an excellent choice for those looking for something a little different.
- Rooms from £128
- Check availability of Malmaison
This converted Gothic building may look imposing from the outside, but it is packed full of pleasantly refreshing surprises on the inside. Bedrooms are designed to maximise the space on offer, and unlike standard boxy hotel rooms, they offer beds angled to afford better views, Japanese room dividers and beautiful marble bathrooms.
The major selling point of this hotel is the amazing roof garden, that offers a full two acres of trees, shrubs and even real grass. Sit back and relax around the fire pit with one of the barman’s very own whiskey cocktails, or in the absence of a formal restaurant, order from the comprehensive room service menu. A city centre hotel with it’s very own garden oasis is a rare find in this built up urban conurbation.
- Rooms from £218
- Check availability of The Glasshouse
Set within the walls of a former asylum, there is nothing crazy about booking a stay at the Hotel Du Vin. Flagstone flooring, wine themed artworks and lots of dark wood and exposed brick give this hotel a uniquely aged feel, even though the accommodation is thoroughly modern and luxurious.
Depending on the type of room you choose, there are plenty of cosy slanted ceilings, thick wooden beams and carefully placed tartan, as well as their trademark deep freestanding baths in the decadent bathrooms. The restaurant is an authentic bistro in every sense of the word and offers an extensive wine list. Located in the heart of the Old Town, the Hotel Du Vin is a 15 minute walk away form the castle and the Royal Mile.
- Rooms from £224
- Check availability of Hotel Du Vin
Located at the trendy west end of Princes Street, The Rutland Hotel is a charming boutique hotel bar with plenty of added extras. Bedrooms are carefully curated, with each one as uniquely styled from the next, with plenty of baroque touches and opulent oversized furnishings that create an almost fairy-tale feel.
The hotel is also home to a choice of eateries including a busy restaurant that serves up burgers, hotdogs and Po Boys, while the upstairs bar and grill is all about dry-aged Scottish steaks. As an extra surprise, tucked away on the basement is a gin distillery with a roaring fire, perfect for sipping gin slings and other cocktails on chilly Scottish evenings.
- Rooms from £188
- Check availability of The Rutland Hotel
If you are looking for somewhere completely different to stay, in a location that will help you spend more of your budget on exploring the city, and not sleeping in it, Kick Ass could be the one for you.
Situated slap bang in the centre of the Old Town, save yourself a pretty penny or two by being able to walk pretty much anywhere. Accommodation comes in the form of unusual, but surprisingly comfortable pods, that are set in shared dormitories of up to 20 people. There are individual bathroom cubicles for added privacy and a bustling bar area that is great for socialising with fellow travellers.
- Rooms from £18
- Check availability of Kick Ass
Amar was born and raised in England and embarked on an 11-country round-the-world gap year after graduation and then became well and truly hooked. The first gap year inspired a second, which ended up being a 23-country down-the-world trip from Canada to Antarctica. Since then, Amar has spent the last 14 years traveling the 7 continents.