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Malmaison Hotel Edinburgh 4.0

Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland

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Review Summary

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  • Located in trendy Leith
  • Great patio area that gets busy in the warmer months
  • Funky rooms with tartan bedding and black-and-white checkered bathrooms
  • Chic on-site restaurant serving classic European fare along with American favorites
  • Free Wi-Fi and parking
  • Dog-friendly


  • Not in Edinburgh city center 
  • Fee for breakfast
  • Rooms are poorly lit, and are sometimes overheated

Bottom Line

An upscale boutique property with 100 rooms, Malmaison Hotel Edinburgh is housed in a former house of ill repute (yes, a brothel). Today, with 100 rooms and suites over four floors, it has overcome its salubrious reputation of 1883. Most rooms are cozy and contemporary, but guests have complained about overheating; portable air-conditioning devices, though, are there to regulate the temperature. The hotel, which has a brasserie, bar, terrace, and small fitness center, is part of the Malmaison hotel chain but has its own individual charm, displayed in its quirky use of tartan cushions and the old winding staircases that lead to the rooms. The property is located in the trendy area of Leith, which is a short cab ride from Waverley Station and within walking distance of the historic Royal Mile. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel, making this ex-seaman's mission a lively, trendy pit-stop that delivers good value in Edinburgh.

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An imposing building with its own clocktower, a lively and friendly atmosphere, and a maritime theme

Majestically sitting on a cobbled street, the property is indeed a historic one -- so high ceilings and grand stairways are a given. What's not expected is the funky checkered decor that blends the walls and floors together in an eye-catching display of patterned squares. It may be too over-the-top for some, but the decor does make a statement. Corridors are classier, outfitted in dark-blue wallpaper and velvety chaise longues. There's plenty of leather, black, and tartan, atmospheric lighting, cavernous yet stylish communal spaces, omnipresent pop music, and clever allusions to the building’s kinky past. The hotel is popular with young professionals, couples, business guests, and groups of friends who are looking for a chic, yet laid-back atmosphere.


On the stylish Leith dock, near the Royal Britannia -- but most of the major sightseeing will involve taking public transportation

Malmaison Hotel Edinburgh is a 10-minute walk to the Royal Yacht Britannia, in service from 1954 to 1997, which was once the royal yacht of  British monarch Queen Elizabeth II. Other sightseeing in Edinburgh will usually require taking some form of public transportation, as the hotel is on the outskirts of Edinburgh in Leith. Edinburgh Playhouse Theater is a 15-minute bus ride away, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse is about a 20-minute bus ride from the hotel. Nearby is Arthur's Seat, a picturesque extinct volcano that has gorgeous hikes and panoramic views, and is  within a 20-minute drive. The historic Royal Mile is a must-see, and has incredible old architecture, shops, and restaurants. Again, it takes about 20 minutes on the bus. Other attractions within a half-hour bus ride are Edinburgh Castle and Princes Street, which is crammed with interesting shops, restaurants, and bars.


Tartan bedding, slinky surroundings, and moody lighting that might prove too dark for some.

Rooms in the Malmaison Hotel Edinburgh have colorful contemporary decor and fresh modern furnishings. They come with free Wi-Fi and wide flat-screen TVs with DVD players. Sleek, modern bathrooms have chic black-and-white checkered tiles. Beds are soft and sumptuous, with luxury tartan bedding. Bathrooms have shower/tub combos with rain showerheads, heated towel racks, and high-quality branded toiletries. The views out the window aren't the most stunning that Edinburgh has to offer, but the harbor does come alive at night, reflecting the lights of the neighboring residential homes in its waters.


A courtyard for afternoon tea and a small fitness center 

The on-site Malmaison Brasserie is a cozy, classy eatery with subdued lighting, and is decorated in the style of a Parisian bistro, with old wine bottles and hardwood floors. The menu blends modern European cuisine with American favorites like steak and burgers. While the Malbar is an impressive, high-ceilinged, beautifully lit space, the real attraction is the patio area, with chunky wooden furniture and a cool alfresco vibe. This particular Malmaison has become famous for its epic Sunday brunches (the menu calls it lunch), which include a choice of various egg dishes or a main course, dessert, and an extensive Bloody Mary menu. There is a well-stocked wine cellar. The hotel's small gym, Gymtonic, is in a mirrored room with cardio equipment and free weights. Jogging maps, which include routes for runners of all skill levels, can be found in the guest rooms. There's free Wi-Fi throughout and free parking.

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1 Tower Place, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 7BZ, United Kingdom

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