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The Witchery by the Castle 4.0

Old Town, Edinburgh, Scotland

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Large, theatrical multi-room suites in two historic buildings, with a gothic-romantic theme
  • Conveniently located near the popular Edinburgh Castle
  • Breakfast basket delivered to rooms daily, and is included in the room rate; a la carte breakfast is also available 
  • The two restaurants on-site -- The Witchery, and the newer, more elegant Secret Garden -- focus on Scottish specialties 
  • Wine cellar, with trained sommeliers

Cons

  • No Wi-Fi or Internet access available
  • Little communal space 
  • No big-scale amenities, such as a fitness center or business center
  • No parking

Bottom Line

The Witchery by the Castle is a four-pearl, gothic-style property at the top of the Royal Mile in the Old Town, at the base of the Edinburgh Castle. Essentially a restaurant (well, two actually) with some suites attached (nine), there are few communal spaces -- the hotel is a favorite among those seeking seclusion. The rooms are large, ornately designed, and filled with antiques, but be aware that the hotel lacks such large-scale amenities as a fitness center, business center, spa, and even Wi-Fi. It excels in the small touches -- slippers, chocolates, Champagne, and nightly turndown service by an attentive staff.

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Scene

Gothic, flamboyant, and ornate, like spending a night in a museum

The scene at The Witchery is simply one-of-a-kind. The suites, built into a 16th-century stone building at the gates of Edinburgh Castle, are decked out to the nines in a mix of gothic and romantic decor. There is almost no communal space in the hotel itself, though there are two restaurants attached to it: The Secret Garden, set in an internal patio with sunlight and trellised greenery, is the newer of the two, and has a comparatively subdued design. The Witchery is a saloon-style place with detailed wood paneling on the walls (the ceiling has crests painted on them), red-leather-button seating, and red velvet tablecloths. 

The stairway leading to reception is stone-walled, circular, and small; wood flooring and inlays populate the halls, and antiquated wallpaper shows a faded nature scene. The reception desk is small, and the space is rather dark, making the rooms the main event here. 

Location

At the gates of Edinburgh Castle in Old Town

The Witchery by the Castle sits at the gates of Edinburgh Castle, one of the city's main sights. The Witchery is also within walking distance of the Holyrood Palace, the National Gallery of Art, and National Museum of Scotland. Located in an area with high-tourist traffic, there are plenty of shops and restaurants nearby. 

Rooms

Massive, multi-room suites decorated in a mix of gothic and romantic styles, filled with antiques

The rooms at The Witchery are one-of-a-kind suites. Large and opulent, they transport guests back in time -- it's like sleeping in a living museum. The multi-room suites are large and filled with antiques. The Inner Sanctum Suite includes a restored Victorian bath, and a certified copy of a bed belonging to the royal family -- the original is on display at the Holyrood Palace. It might all seem a little over the top, and it can be difficult to shake the museum-y "don't touch" feeling in these rooms that celebrate details. A woven rug depicting a nature scene hangs in one bedroom, and dining chairs are made of finely carved wood. Dusty books and artwork are scattered strategically around the rooms. Some suites, such as the Armoury Suite, have small kitchenettes, too. Bathrooms are just as extravagant as the the rooms, with big, with deep-seated tubs and modern shower fixtures -- embossed red wallpaper covers one bathroom wall. All rooms come with flat-screen TVs, Bose clock radios with iPod docks, but there's no Wi-Fi or Internet access, a blow that might be softened by the chocolates, Champagne, and slippers delivered by the helpful staff.

Features

The decor, restaurants, free breakfast, and location are the stand-out features.

The Witchery is essentially a bed and breakfast: It's nine suites attached to a set of two renowned restaurants. But the ornate, gothic/romantic style of the rooms, along with the privacy and seclusion, is the reason to stay here. Breakfast, included in the room rate, is delivered in a hamper to guests each morning, along with newspapers. The two restaurants, The Witchery and The Secret Garden, offer a range of Scottish-specialties at reasonable prices. Be aware that there is no Wi-Fi or Internet access at this property.

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Address

The Royal Mile 352 Castlehill, Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NF, United Kingdom

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