Central location within walking distance of all major attractions
Gorgeous, elegant rooms with upscale amenities and sleek bathrooms
Suites add upgrades such as clawfoot bathtubs and living spaces
Excellent restaurant serves modern Scottish cuisine and cocktails
Popular cafe with great coffee and tasty food
Small fitness center equipped with modern machines
Eight events spaces, including a large hall for up to 300 guests
Concierge and valet parking services (the latter for a fee)
Pet-friendly property with no weight or size restrictions
Free Wi-Fi throughout
Some rooms are small for the price
Popular wedding venue (causing noise in some rooms into the night)
Not all rooms have air-conditioning (but fans available on request)
Wi-Fi can be spotty
The 240-room Principal Hotel Edinburgh George Street is a gorgeous, upscale hotel that stands out for its thorough attention to detail and beautiful interior design. Elegant rooms have a decidedly upmarket feel, with quality amenities such as Tuck Boxes holding free snacks, smart TVs, and swish bathrooms. On the downside, some standard units are small for the price, and lower-floor rooms can get some noise during on-site events. The Scottish restaurant and bar is a destination unto itself, as is the wonderful Burr & Co Cafe, which is busy with guests and non-guests alike throughout the day. There is a small, well-equipped gym, but the hotel does not have a spa. Those seeking something more contemporary in this price range, with the additional of a spa and pool, may prefer the Radisson Blu Hotel, Edinburgh.
Beautiful, historic hotel with tasteful interiors and great services
Housed in five listed 18th-century Georgian buildings, the Principal Edinburgh George Street is every bit as elegant inside as it is outside. An arched entrance -- flanked by centuries-old signs of the Caledonian Insurance Company that once occupied one of the buildings -- opens onto a gorgeous lobby with fluted columns, checkered floors, and ceiling and wall moldings, setting the atmosphere for a sophisticated stay. The combination of luggage trunk-inspired coffee tables, arched windows dressed in heavy drapes, and huge classic paintings transports guests to a bygone era, while warm lights, plush velvet and buttoned armchairs in neutral hues, and soft rugs make the space cozy and inviting. This upmarket feel continues in the rest of the common spaces. Even meeting rooms, though especially dining venues, have a wonderfully polished feel, with handsome wooden floors, leather accents throughout, fireplaces, and wood paneling.
The hotel is well-known among locals, especially for its exceptional cafe and restaurant, both of which have direct street access. Tasteful meeting spaces, attention to detail, and rich history also make it a preferred option for corporate events and weddings, which some guests have found inconvenient at times, as they bring crowds to common areas and, more importantly, noise to some lower-floor rooms.
In the heart of New Town, within easy walking distance of attractions and restaurants
The Principal is located on George Street, a grand avenue lined with beautiful Georgian buildings, designer boutiques, and classy restaurants. The area is always busy with tourists and locals alike, as it offers easy walking access to all major attractions in the city center, and to some of the most renowned restaurants and shops in Edinburgh. Rose and Princes Streets, two of the city’s top shopping destinations, are each just a three-minute walk away, and it takes about 10 minutes on foot to reach most of the town’s main tourist sights, including the Scottish National Gallery, Calton Hill, the Royal Mile, and Edinburgh Castle. Waverley Station, the city’s main transportation hub, is an easy five-minute walk away, as are the airport buses and trams. The drive to Edinburgh airport takes about half an hour.
Stylish rooms with classic, travel-inspired decor and vintage bathrooms
Rooms sizes vary between categories -- ranging from small units for solo travelers to 646-square-foot suites with separate living rooms -- but all have the same classic, polished feel as common spaces, with a tasteful combination of earth tones, wood finishes, leather accents, and rich fabrics. Elegant wooden furniture combines with plush neutral rugs and warm lights to create inviting spaces full of lovely details, from trunk strap-inspired curtain holders, to textured walls and cozy armchairs. Plush double beds are topped with soft duvets and several pillows, while big windows feature heavy curtains that block the light. Street-facing units have double glazing to keep traffic noise at bay, but rooms on lower floors may get noise into the evening from the event halls on the ground floor, especially during weddings. There happened to be an event during our stay and we could hear some thumping music from our third-floor suite, so light sleepers and early risers may want to request a room on a higher floor if there’s an event on-site during their stay.
Each room is equipped with modern technologies, such as USB charging points by the bed and smart TVs, plus a wide array of great amenities, including mini-fridges, electric kettles, teapots, bottle openers, robes, and free Tuck Boxes stocked with a great selection of snacks and sweets. Wi-Fi is free throughout the property, but we found it a little bit slow in the evenings, an issue that seems to be common. Bathrooms are compact but upscale and spotless, with white subway tiles, antique-style taps, spacious walk-in showers with rainfall showerheads, heated towel racks, and Elemis toiletries. Some suites have bigger marble bathrooms with clawfoot tubs and separate showers, and Perfumer's Story toiletries.
Popular dining options, small gym, and classy meeting spaces
Located off the lobby, the Printing Press Bar + Kitchen serves excellent modern Scottish cuisine in a beautiful dining room with checkered and wood floors, leather seating, and soaring ceilings decorated with moldings and eye-catching chandeliers. The adjacent cafe, Burr & Co, is a popular pit stop for locals, serving excellent coffee and an array of delicious small bites such as sandwiches and pastries. The fitness center is small but well-equipped with a good selection of modern cardio and strength-training machines. It is located in the basement and gets little natural light, but it’s sufficient, and there are free bottled water and towels.
The hotel has extensive events space, including the historic King’s Hall, a popular wedding venue. All meeting rooms are outfitted with audiovisual equipment, and there is a dedicated event planning team, as well as IT support.
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