Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products and services; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: The Witchery by the Castle – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"Sumptuous and wonderfully over-the-top."
"For a three-star hotel, the breakfast is impressive."
Best Waterfront: Fingal – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"A retired and anchored lighthouse tender that has been renovated into 23 rooms."
Best for Couples: Prestonfield House – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"The outside is almost haughtily formal, yet the inside is styled with a sense of mischief and passion."
Best Castle View: Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"Services make guests feel that they are already royalty."
Best for Singles: The Grassmarket Hotel – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"This labyrinthine building was constructed for the young at heart."
Best for Foodies: 21212 – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"Styled with confidence, the look is a mix of Baroque and classical patterns with eccentric retro touches."
Best During Fringe Festival: Tigerlily – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"Fun and always buzzing."
Best for Families: 94DR – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"One of the best crash pads for those traveling with kids."
Best Overall: The Witchery by the Castle
Within a building of secret dens that dates to the 16th century, this extraordinary collection of fantasy suites on the Royal Mile right near Edinburgh Castle is the ultimate vacation hideaway: sumptuous and wonderfully over-the-top. Think along the lines of a Harry Potter or Game of Thrones film set, then up the decadence and amounts of velvet draping, add a top-rated restaurant in the city celebrated by serious foodies, and that will only get close to describing the ambiance. Note, some of the suites are up several floors of a spiral staircase, so for mobility-impaired guests, one of the ground floor suites should be requested.
While the nine unique suites are thematically gothic and filled with four-poster beds and plush curtaining, they also have more modern touches such as mineral water, Penhaligon toiletries, Bose sound systems, GHD straighteners and cleverly-concealed TVs that do not interrupt the historic vibe.
Choosing a suite can be difficult, as they all have their own flair – the passionate blood-red Armoury with its bathtub for two, the rooftop Guardroom with privileged views of Princes St. and the hills of Fife, or the glamorous Vestry with its organ pipe headboard and silk-upholstered walls are just three of the enticing options for guests wanting to create an unforgettable stay in Edinburgh.
Best Budget: Motel One Edinburgh-Princes
There are not too many budget options that also offer a great location in Edinburgh, but the Motel One on Princes Street is an ideal option for travelers not looking to break the bank in Scotland. This hotel is right by Waverley Station and just a two-minute walk to the nearest tram stop. Rooms are not large, but they are functional and have a strong design identity. For example, a drop-down flap also cleverly works as a table with coffee/tea facilities hidden behind, and hanging rods take up otherwise unused space.
Bathrooms are clean and come with powerful hairdryers and surprisingly great water pressure. For a three-star hotel, the breakfast is impressive, with organic food and fair-trade coffee offered. Pets are welcome with advance notice and children under 12 stay for free.
Best Waterfront: Fingal
Close to central Edinburgh but with an entirely different feel, Leith is the historical harbor home to the Royal Yacht Britannia as well as two Michelin-starred restaurants. The Fingal, Scotland's first luxury floating hotel, is a retired and anchored lighthouse tender that has been renovated into 23 rooms for discerning guests. Cabins range from classic doubles to decadent suites, all designed with brass fittings, leather, and warm, rich hues.
The most decadent is the roomy Skerryvore Suite, which has a separate sitting room and private decking area. A glamorous ballroom with removable skylight for uninterrupted views of the stars is ideal for a private cocktail event or celebration that can host up to 60 people. Friendly staff welcomes guests who have spent the day strolling around Edinburgh with Afternoon Tea in the Lighthouse Bar.
Best for Couples: Prestonfield House
Although set in a quiet, country-house setting, this Baroque/Georgian mansion five minutes from the center of town is not nearly as conservative as it seems at first glance. The outside is almost haughtily formal, yet the inside is styled with a sense of mischief and passion. Filled with brocades and velvets, rich colors and with flowers, fruits, and candles scattered about, it is definitely one of the more romantic options in Edinburgh. Sixty years ago this private estate on 20 acres of gardens was converted into a boutique hotel, and it’s been one of Scotland’s top lodging options since. There are 18 rooms and five suites to choose from (the most prestigious being the owner’s suite with its book-lined bathroom). The Salon Privee can be booked for an intimate dinner for two. Hidden off a stone turret stair, this romantic nook celebrates privacy while a waiter is always just a bell-call away.
Best Castle View: Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian
Constructed in 1903, the Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh is an icon offering the largest number of rooms with views of Edinburgh Castle in town. Services at this luxury establishment make guests feel that they are already royalty in a castle, with doormen in top hats, afternoon high teas, a Guerlain spa, and impeccably refurbished rooms. Rooms come in four grades, from Classic to Suites, but the Castle View rooms are best for the view.
A perfect base to explore Scotland's capital, the hotel is within walking distance of Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, Edinburgh International Conference Center and the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For those who prefer to stay on-site, there is fine-dining restaurant, The Pompadour, a more relaxed eatery called Grazing by Mark Greenaway, and a 12-meter pool, sauna, steam room, and fitness center.
Best for Singles: The Grassmarket Hotel
Situated just off the Royal Mile right by the castle, there isn’t a more ideal location or a livelier one for singles looking for activities in the city. Historic Grassmarket neighborhood, after which the hotel is named, is the very center of Edinburgh nightlife. This labyrinthine building was constructed for the young at heart. Rooms are whimsically decorated with Dandy comic book wallpaper and magnetic wall maps of the city to plan sightseeing and come with quirky local touches such as Tunnock’s teacakes.
There is a Saturday farmer’s market to meet both locals and travelers and nearby pubs include the Last Drop Tavern and Biddy Mulligans for chatting up new friends over a beer. Room choices include everything from singles to quads, all including Bluetooth speakers, rainfall showers, and safes.
The hotel offers bike hire and will even pack guests a picnic lunch to facilitate a relaxed day exploring Edinburgh.
Best for Foodies: 21212
Paul Kitching’s 21212 opened in May 2009 and was awarded a Michelin star in 2010, which it has retained ever since. While known internationally for its gourmet food that expertly blends a dizzying number of distinct flavors, this restaurant also has four guestrooms, two private dining rooms and a sophisticated drawing room. Styled with confidence, the look is a mix of Baroque and classical patterns with eccentric retro touches.
Each of the four large bedrooms come with a dedicated lounge area, Smart TV with Bluetooth speaker, luxury toiletries, plush bathrobes, and extensive storage space. The rooms are on the two upper levels of the house, with either views over the gardens to the rear or the city of Edinburgh to the front. After a lengthy dinner which includes choices from three starters, a soup, three mains, cheese, then three desserts, fully-indulged guests just have to make their way upstairs to sleep off the food decadence.
Rooms are available for booking all seven nights of the week.
Best During Fringe Festival: Tigerlily
Perhaps not the best choice the rest of the year for guests who look for quiet tranquillity, Tigerlily gets to shine during the already chaotic and bustling Fringe Festival season. Fun and always buzzing, the hotel has 33 rooms with king-sized beds, stripped wood floors, huge windows, sleek designer bathrooms with White Company goodies, and a well-stocked minibar. Tigerlily is right in the heart of the New Town, on George Street, with some of the best pubs within easy walking distance. The hotel is always offering events, many based around alcohol, such as cocktail-making classes or the Tigerlily Takeover of the hotel for groups with Chandon included. Keeping with their trademark style, the Tigerlily afternoon tea is served with a crisp glass of Veuve Cliquot.
Best for Families: 94DR
With Edinburgh Castle, the Edinburgh Dungeon, the Museum of Childhood, and the Storytelling Centre in the city, Edinburgh is filled with family-friendly activities. One of the best crash pads for those traveling with kids is the Wee Dram bunk room at 94DR, complete with books, DVDs, games, and an Xbox.
Parents can also book the Tamdhu room to create a family suite. For those who wish to bunk all together, an extra bed can be arranged in the Deluxe, Bowmore or Caolisla bedrooms. Front-facing rooms offer views over Salisbury Craggs and Arthurs Seat, while rear-facing rooms provide views over Pentland hills.
From the hotel, it’s an easy bus ride to the city center, as the bus stop is just a few steps from the hotel. Craigmillar Castle, the Commonwealth Pool, and Arthur’s Seat are just a short walk away. There is complimentary bike hire for adults, an honesty bar, and convenient breakfast boxes for those who can’t or don’t want to get the kids up and moving early in the morning.