Last Updated on September 30, 2023 by Katrina
More than just a charming older section of the capital of Scotland, Edinburgh’s Old Town is both a UNESCO World Heritage Site and bustling town for exploring. Start along the Royal Mile, which has the Scottish Parliament and Palace of Holyroodhouse on one end, and the Edinburgh Castle on the other. Visit other great landmarks such as St. Giles Cathedral and the National Museum of Scotland, and the pubs, eateries and shop located in the alleys—also known as closes. Best of all, you can also stay in hotels that exude plenty of ambience. For our money, these are the best hotels in Edinburgh’s Old Town.
The Scotsman Hotel (20 North Bridge; 44-131-556-5565) Old Town
The Telegraph notes that this landmark hotel, the former home of the city newspaper, has “a great location, commanding views and popular restaurant… the roar of the printing presses has been exchanged for the soft hum of quiet luxury.” A Google reviewer says that there is not much of a lobby, but “the room had a great view and a cozy loft-like design. We mostly went out to eat because there is so much choice in the area. The hotel’s central position however gave you Edinburgh on your doorstep.” >> Book this hotel for less
Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian (Princes St.; 44-131-222-8888) Old Town
This eco-certified branch of the luxury brand is in a 1903 railway station a short walk from the Royal Mile. It has a spa, indoor pool and two restaurants—plus many rooms with views of Edinburgh Castle. Condé Nast Traveler says that the hotel’s “bones—the sandstone exterior, the marble lobby— have been exquisitely restored, and rooms are updated in sleek and smoky blues and grays.” Don’t miss the Peacock Alley lounge, which salutes the hotel’s railway history. One Tripadvisor user it calls it “a huge stately space that makes a marvelous place for afternoon tea. Our waiter made sure we got the perfect martini.” >> Book this hotel for less
Cheval Old Town Chambers (Royal Mile, 329 High St.; 44-131-510-5499) Old Town
More than just hotel suites, this hotel across from St. Giles Cathedral is actually a collection of “slick, stylish serviced apartments in a series of historic buildings,” says The Telegraph, and “this is as close as you can get to the heart of old Edinburgh.” Lodgings are outfitted with kitchens and laundry rooms, but also have access to a hotel restaurant and bar. “They even had a jug of milk and bottled water in the refrigerator for us,” says a Tripadvisor user. “Everything was perfect. You cannot beat the location on the Royal Mile.” The hotel is also walking distance to the castle, Greyfriars, and Waverley Station.
The Witchery by the Castle (Royal Mile 352 Castlehill; 44-131-225-5613) Old Town
This nine-suite hotel gets its name from a dark history—once upon a time, accused witches were hanged not far away—but today the hotel and its namesake restaurant exude mostly “gothic romance and dramatic grandeur,” says Condé Nast Traveler—“it’s like ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ in hotel form” with “candlelit rooms, sumptuous velvet, oak paneling, and elaborate antique furniture.” One Google reviewer calls the hotel “spectacular and opulent,” and another offers a great tip: “Do not pick a room in the annex: they are larger (apartment layout with kitchen) than the ones in the main building, but definitely not as charming, and are quite dark.” >> Book this hotel for less
The Knight Residence by Mansley (12 Lauriston St.; 44-131-622-8120) Old Town
This hotel comprised of apartments (ranging from studios to up to three bedrooms) “may not be as immediately glamorous, or wildly characterful,” says The Telegraph, “but they are well-designed, smartly furnished, and generously equipped with the great bonus of cheap parking in the city center.” One Google user praises it for its great value, too: “Walking distance to Edinburgh Castle, shops, Grassmarket. Staff are so friendly. The most affordable place to spend your holiday in Edinburgh.”