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The Royal Scots Club 3.0

New Town, Edinburgh, Scotland

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Set in Edinburgh's attractive and upmarket New Town, walking distance of the city center
  • Historic building full of military memorabilia
  • Some rooms overlook Edinburgh's rooftops
  • Cozy, traditionally styled rooms with Molton Brown products
  • Breakfast with full Scottish option included in many rates or charged separately
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout

Cons

  • Dress code for dining (pro for some)
  • Bit old-fashioned for some tastes

Bottom Line

The Royal Scots Club is a private members club that opened its doors as a hotel to the public whilst maintaining all of its traditional heritage. Location of this mid-range property is excellent, being set in the quieter, upmarket New Town while being just about within walking distance of the center. The 25 individually decorated rooms are cozy, and some have great views -- though basement level can feel dingy. A dress code for dining, and old-fashioned interiors won't appeal to all, though rates are good for a mid-range hotel in Edinburgh and there's certainly nothing else quite like it about.

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Scene

Private members club hotel steeped in military tradition and memorabilia

The Royal Scots Club has a relatively unassuming presence, occupying part of a gray-stone Georgian terrace typical of the area. It is a privately owned hotel, originally set up after World War One as a private member's club for servicemen, as well as a place to stay for its members. Nowadays it is obviously open to all, though much of its original club atmosphere remains, as does plenty of military memorabilia and thoroughly traditional interiors. The inside of the hotel is unexpectedly large, with a labyrinth of numerous hallways, stairwells, lounges, and function rooms, most of which are adorned with an array of army-themed mementos including hundred-year-old photos, old military drums, and period etchings. While efforts are made to maintain the ethos of a club -- jacket and tie must be worn while dining, and no cell phones are allowed in the breakfast room or bar -- the mood is generally relaxed and unstuffy, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in this formerly private, and now largely bygone, world. 

Location

Edinburgh's upmarket New Town within walking distance of the center

The hotel is set overlooking Queen Street Gardens in a particularly attractive and well-heeled area in the middle of Edinburgh's New Town. There are plenty of restaurants, bars, and cafes well within walking distance, while the St. James Shopping mall is just half a mile away. Edinburgh's main train station is about a 10-minute walk into town, with the city's famously lively Royal Mile about 15 minutes or more on foot. It's also a brisk 15-minute stroll to Edinburgh Castle and the city's historical center; alternatively, local buses from Abercromby Place depart every five to 10 minutes for the 10-minute ride. Edinburgh Airport is about a 20-minute drive from the hotel, or about 40 minutes on the 100 bus. On-street parking is very limited indeed. 

Rooms

Homey rooms are slightly dingy or flooded with light, depending on the floor

The hotel has 25 rooms, each of which is slightly different, though all are simply styled with cozy textiles and traditional furnishings. Some have wallpaper in warm tones and tasteful prints, while others are painted in cool grays and beiges; bedding is white, with different colored throw blankets. In-room amenities include tea/coffee facilities, flat-screen TVs (with Freeview channels rather than cable), and free Wi-Fi. The lower rooms, being in the basement, can feel a little dingy, while upper-floor rooms have plenty of natural light, and some even have views over the Edinburgh rooftops towards Fife. Traditional bathrooms are well-maintained, with shower/tub combos and Molton Brown toiletries. Some rooms have four-poster beds. 

Features

Full Scottish or smoked kippers -- though no mobile phones

The hotel serves a solid breakfast each morning with a choice of full Scottish or smoked kippers, along with fruit, cereals, and yogurt -- guests should be aware that cell phones are not allowed over breakfast. The restaurant overlooks Queen Street Gardens, and is also open for high tea and dinner, though lunch is exclusive to members and their guests. Many rates include breakfast, and some even include dinner on one night, though it should be noted that dinners are not served on Sundays. There are also two bars on-site -- the Front Bar replete with fascinating military memorabilia, and the minimalist downstairs bar set in a cave-like stone space. Additionally, there are plenty of spaces available for meetings, conferences, and events, including the Douglas Room with period fireplace. 

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Address

30 Abercromby Place, Edinburgh EH3 6QE, United Kingdom

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