What do you get when you mix one of our favourite restaurants in the city with a beautiful new boutique hotel and top it all off with one of the best views in Edinburgh? Well you have a mach made in heaven of course, which is exactly what new Hotel Indigo on Princes Street has managed to achieve since it opened late last year and TLE went along recently to test out a room for the night.
If you read TLE you will know we love and highly recommend destination restaurant Twenty Princes Street and Juniper, if you haven’t been it’s definitely work visiting. So we were delighted to hear about the opening of Hotel Indigo Princes Street which is a 64 bedroom boutique hotel that sits above 20 Princess Street restaurant and completes the multi-million pound refurbishment of what was the Royal British Hotel on Princes Street.
The former Royal British Hotel was a Victorian property and large elements of this period are visible throughout the communal spaces and specifically in the restaurant which was originally the ballroom of the hotel. Move to the upper floors of the property and rooms have been given a soft contemporary finish (think Harris Tweet, cashmere, and pastel grays on the walls to reflect the local architecture). Fun little nods to the cities rich literary history are dotted throughout the property like room numbers embossed and engraved in genuine book leather, to the menu’s in the restaurant laid out in a novel format complete with plot, protagonist and conclusion, this is anything but another characterless chain hotel.
Addresses don’t get much better than this in Edinburgh, directly across from Waverley Station and the Balmoral, rooms at the front and the restaurant have sweeping views along the length of Princes Street right up to the castle. Not a bad view to start the day off on!
I had been so used to coming to the property just for food and the bar, I had missed the fact that the entrance on the first floor is also the hotel reception and ended up looking around the upper floors (you might also miss the fact there is a hotel in the property as there is limited signage outside at eyelevel). However once I worked everything out check in was done within minutes and we were on our way to drop off our bags in the room before dinner.
Rooms are accessed by the original wooden staircase that ascends to the upper floors in the property. There is also a lift so fear not!
Truly boutique in size at just 64 rooms, the hotel feels calm and quiet. We were spoilt to have a superior room at the front which has two sets of original windows along the length of the room and offers a view the entire length of Princess Street. To wake up to a view of Princes Street Gardens in the morning must be on most visitors to the cities wishlist. It is worth noting for those of us who need complete silence to sleep at night, I have stayed in many hotels front facing rooms – great at daytime but then at night they can be noisy with the goings on from bars and restaurants below. Not the case here the room was completely silent, a good nights sleep guaranteed.
Our room was large – larger than a standard room with wooden floors and rugs and paneled walls in soft greys. Each rooms is a different size so there is no cookie cutter finish to rooms in the hotel. Thanks to interior designer’s Matthews Mee who spent a week in Edinburgh immersing themselves in the city they have created spaces that feel Scottish in influence but have none of the ‘tweeness’ that you find in some hotels in Scotland that have added a few ‘Scottish influences’ in their design and ended up with a Disneyland feel to the place. You will not find any garish tartans, instead rich fabrics and fine cottons give a soft, warm and thoroughly romantic finish to rooms.
I love a good bathroom, it’s more than just a place to have a wash and spend a penny in, and whilst there was no bath, it didn’t matter this bathroom was completely on the money. The large walk in rain-shower with herringbone blue tiling was an oasis of calm and the Aevda amenities were totally delicious on the body. The marble tops and large granite tiles finished the bathroom off and gave it a wonderful luxurious feel, there was also good heating in the space so the tiles were not cold to walk on.
Some nice little extras
I did like the fun little extras in the mini bar (which were all free) that included a Tunnocks tea cake! (my favourite) and a delicious premium orange juice in the minibar fridge as well as other snacks you can see in the picture.
I didn’t spot this till later on, but this ingenious little light pops out of the wall next to the bed and provides a narrow beam of light for reading allowing the rest of the room to be in darkness. However after multiple wines in Juniper reading was off the cards that night.
Public Areas (Food And Drink)
The public areas in the hotel are Juniper and 20 Princes Street restaurant. The bar offers great cocktails and wine, it does get busy on the weekends, but has a great atmosphere.
The hotel’s restaurant Twenty Princes Street has been open since 2013 and earned an enviable reputation as a must goto restaurant in the city and are packed out every weekend so booking is essential. The restaurant blends old with new, triple height Victorian period bay windows offer a view out to the street. While curved leather and walnut booths with marble topped tables are the perfect place for a couple of group of dining guests to enjoy an evening at. Light and bright, with walls adorned with pictures and photographs reflecting the history of the city.
If you like steak this is the restaurant for you, with their Josper grill meats are cooked and given a beautiful charcoal flavour, quite unique to most grilling techniques in kitchens. You can read our full review and get a flavour (excuse the pun) of the restaurant.
Breakfast – the hotel does serve a breakfast, however I have to admit after a long night in the bar I skipped the breakfast in the morning, but it is served in 20 Princes Street too.
Finances and Final Thoughts
I wasn’t really 100% sure what to expect from the hotel as I was already familiar with the Hotel Indigo brand so had a few ideas in my head (which were all wrong). I was thoroughly impressed, rooms are beautiful and attention to detail in the finish and interior design is first class. Combined with the fact you have access to this fabulous restaurant and bar in the same property and slap bang in the middle of Princes street, this really is the perfect place to come for a night or a few nights in Edinburgh.
Rooms start at £115 Bed and Breakfast per room.
Address: 20 Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 2AN
Phone: 0131 556 4901