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LUXURY HOTELS: Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh, Scotland
Style: Imposing, Scottish-baronial-style meets Victorian matriach
Scene: The centre of Edinburgh, Its 58 metre clock tower is a local landmark.
 
The Balmoral was built as one of the great railway hotels in 1902, occupying a premier address at Number One Princes Street. The luxury hotel is an imposing, Scottish-baronial-style pile and distinguished landmark on Edinburgh's cityscape. Because of its handsome proportions it is reminiscent of a grand Victorian matriarch. It was described as a "free rendering of the renaissance period linking the old Scottish architecture of the old town with the rather severe classical architecture of the new". Be not alarmed at the wordy description. Its structural idiosyncrasies such as turrets, domed ceilings and irregular shape windows are quite endearing. Getting bags up from the platform is not however. There are several sets of steps (uncovered). I know all too well having done it one year as snow began to fall. A lift has been mooted for more than a century but has yet to materialise.

bollinger bar at palm court
bollinger bar at palm court
balmoral welcome
balmoral hotel exterior
scone and crombie suite
view towards the scott monument and edinburgh castle
spa

Our plan? One stayed with the bags, the other went up to the hotel to summons a porter from the kilt-clad doorman of the hotel. If you are travelling with multiple bags (we were), it's probably best to alert the hotel of your arrival time and they can meet the train. Alternatively, you might be flying in. The airport is 25 minutes by car.
Nothing beats rail however. This was why the hotel was built, when rail travel was in its heyday. Its 58 metre clock tower is a local landmark. Ask anyone, and they'll point it out if you haven't spotted it yourself - which you might not have, if you have arrived by train at Waverley Station, which is adjacent to, and almost beneath the hotel.
Waverley Station is where the luxurious train, The Royal Scotsman arrives and departs. We would be on it in a day or two, so we wanted to immerse ourselves in the Scottish spirit. No excuses not to - Edinburgh Festival Fringe events were taking place in and around the Old Town, almost literally on the hotel's doorstep.
Don't be intimidated by The Balmoral's scale or 'monument status'. Once across the threshold, you will find a contemporary, elegant five-star hotel which nonetheless respects its architectural heritage and place in Edinburgh's history. There are 168 hotel rooms and 20 suites, all feature large marble bathrooms, and many overlook Edinburgh Castle.
One of the outstanding hallmarks of the Rocco Forte hotel group, is their skill in taking over an iconic property and breathing new life in to it through inspired design and function, first rate food and beverage outlets, guest amenities and outstanding service.
The Balmoral boasts a Michelin star fine-dining restaurant, "number one"; the buzzy brasserie Hadrian's; the beautiful Palm Court - world-renowned for the fine Afternoon Teas, and its very own Bollinger Bar. Don't fret, if you have over-indulged, head up to the fabulous gym, swim a few laps in the 15 metre pool, then lie back and enjoy a massage or a revitalising facial.
And just who is who among the clients? Stylishly-dressed young professionals, business people and lovers of tradition  and luxury travellers of all descriptions are all perfectly at ease in this classy environment which pretty much goes for other properties in the Rocco Forte portfolio of hotels.
The Balmoral was voted top UK Business Hotel outside of London in Conde Nast Readers Travel Awards for 2011
 
Check in: The Balmoral. 1 Princes Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2EQ. Email: reservations@thebalmoralhotel.com
Ultimate Luxury:  A sumptuous suite with glorious views of Edinburgh Castle, your own fireplace and a fourposter bed.
Most Indulgent Moment: Most Indulgent Moment: Hmm, hard. There are many. Probably a rejuvenating facial from the ESPA or SUNDARI product range or other delicious grooming treats available in the gorgeous environs of the hotel's sumptous spa.
Insider Secrets: The Balmoral's clock tower is always set two minutes fast - except at Hogmanay - to ensure people don't miss their trains.
The Little Things: The Little Things: Quite possibly the best breakfast buffet in the world. Don't pass up the porridge or the black pudding! Or mountains of fresh berry fruits and stewed rhubarb.
Dent in the platinum:
Luxury Hotels Link: www.roccofortehotels.com
Maggy Oehlbeck 4/3/13
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