The Balmoral, a Rocco Forte hotel located at 1 Princes Street next to Edinburgh Waverley Station, was one of the original grand railway hotels when it opened in 1902. It was also the very first hotel in the Rocco Forte brand when it launched in 1997. The hotel's illustrious guests have included royalty, prime ministers, Paul and Linda McCartney, and J.K. Rowling (for whom a suite is named), among others.
The Balmoral Location and Check-In
The hotel's prime location on Princes Street is walking distance from sights such as Edinburgh Castle, Camera Obscura, the National Galleries of Scotland, and the National Museum of Scotland. Edinburgh Airport (EDI) is about a 25 minute drive.
I arrived a bit before the hotel's regular check-in time of 3pm, and my room wasn't quite ready, so I did some work in the lobby. The lobby flowers were beautiful, and a completely different arrangement was displayed the following day.
Deluxe Castle View Room
I was in a Deluxe Castle View Room on the fourth floor. These rooms are on average 300 square feet, although it seemed a bit larger, thanks to the high ceilings and abundant natural light.
The room had a superb view of both Princes Street and Edinburgh Castle.
Welcome amenities on arrival in the room included bottled water and whiskey fudge, and later, a delightful gin cocktail set was brought.
There was also a mini bar and complimentary Nespresso coffee and tea.
The marble bathroom was a good size, although with just one sink and a bathtub/shower combination. As at other Rocco Forte hotels, there are organic bath products by Irene Forte.
Harry Potter fans should save up to reserve the J.K. Rowling Suite, where she finished writing Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. Watch our video below to see what lies beyond the purple door, with its owl door knocker.
Here's our Balmoral Edinburgh Video Review:
The Balmoral Edinburgh Dining
The Palm Court is popular for afternoon tea, which is accompanied by live harp music.
The Balmoral's signature restaurant is Number One, which serves a 7-course tasting menu of refined Scottish cuisine. The restaurant is open for dinner Thursdays-Mondays 6-9:30pm.
Brasserie Prince is the hotel's all day dining restaurant, serving breakfast (complimentary for TravelSort clients), lunch and dinner daily. See our linked review.
The Balmoral Spa Pool
The hotel has an indoor pool ~50 feet (15 meters) in length for lap swimming, open 6:30am-10pm weekdays and 7am-10pm on weekends. I went in the evening, hoping to do some laps, but there were some kids splashing around, so I gave up. It would be best if the hotel had certain defined hours for kids and families and enforced them, so that adults who want to do lap swimming can count on the pool being available to them at certain times of day.
Benefits for TravelSort Clients
- Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
- Welcome amenity
- Daily breakfast for two guests per bedroom
- USD 100 equivalent credit per room per stay
- 20% off spa services during stay
- Priority for early check-in and late check-out, based on availability
We enjoyed our stay in a Deluxe Castle View Room at The Balmoral. The central location by Waverley Station is excellent both for arriving or departing by train and for walking to the city's sights. We also loved the high ceilings, ample natural light, and beautiful views: be sure to reserve a room or suite with a view of Edinburgh Castle, Calton Hill or the Old Town. We were also pleasantly surprised by how good Brasserie Prince was, both for its French cuisine at dinner and the high quality buffet breakfast, with one dish made to order. The only thing we didn't care for wasn't really the hotel's fault: a family took over the swimming pool during my late evening visit, making it inconvenient to do lap swimming. It would be better if the hotel had limited hours for kids (and enforced them).
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