I am so lucky that I genuinely love my job. The main reason for this is because of the interesting people I meet and the amazing places I visit. Today was no exception when I was invited for a guided tour of five star boutique hotel, The Glasshouse, Edinburgh.
My mother-in-law had stayed there once many years ago and we’d joined her for brekkie one morning so I have been here before. I do remember being impressed back then but since the refurbishment last June the hotel has a new air of sophisticated style.
I’m looking forward to this tour which is kindly given by Leigh Craig, Director of Sales and Marketing.
The Glasshouse is centrally located and just a short walk from Waverley Station and Princes St, however you’d be forgiven if you walked straight past it thinking that it was a historical building of insignificance. The church-like façade of the hotel is in fact a listed building but the moment you step through the door you realise that the entrance is a façade in every sense of the word; there is nothing of insignificance here. A spacious, meticulously clean and stylish reception area adorned with contemporary art and sculptures (one of whom goes by the name of Penelope and makes an appearance seven times throughout the hotel!) immediately creates a no non-sense, grown up feel. I instantly like this place.
Art and Style
Leigh warmly greets us to give us the guided tour. First calling point; The Henderson Gallery (home to some of Scotland’s finest creative and contemporary arts) and as we make our way up the stainless steel spiral staircase Leigh explains that the hotel is a franchise of Marriott under their Autograph Collection hotels brand, meaning guests can earn and redeem Marriott Rewards points.
Another prerequisite of being part of the Autograph Collection is that the hotel must work to a subtle theme. Theatre and Arts is the theme inherent to the Glasshouse and being located next door to the Playhouse Theatre and home to some fabulous Scottish artwork this works exceptionally well.
As we leave the gallery and make our way to one of the front suites, you can’t help but notice the artwork on the wide corridor walls, all of which have been commissioned especially for the hotel and include landmarks of Edinburgh and photographic images of the Edinburgh Festival. This artwork is just one of the ways in which the hotel presents its Scottish heritage without being stereotypical tartan and tweed.
Another gesture in keeping with Scottish heritage is that all of the suites (16 studio’s and 2 deluxe) are named after single malts, which a guest receives a ‘wee dram’ of upon arrival. A wonderfully warming touch!
The studio suite we are shown is the Talisker (funnily enough I’d just bought my dad a bottle!) which overlooks the front of the hotel. Located off a busy road would usually ring alarm bells, however because most of the hotel is on the third floor, set well back with the rear to Carlton Hill, it is surprisingly quiet. The suite itself is spacious and modern with all the techy mod-cons and some tasty specialist PMD Tea. However, what I love most is the even more spacious balcony, cool outdoor furniture and a fab view which on a clear day you’ll be able to see right across the Forth. Ideal for people spotting too!
The bathrooms with underfloor heating are of such a quality that they have withstood their 11 years of existence and still look fresh and in keeping with the rest of the hotel.
Lounge, Bar and Dining
Most of the rooms are located just off the central lounge and bar area; this allows easy access for guests – no shame in popping out for a G&T in you slippers! With its cosy pit fires and atmospheric lighting this is the ideal place for pre-dinner drinks and during the day it is equally as inviting for a place to conduct business or relax with a book. The layout facilitates privacy without being sterile.
The Observatory is the hotel’s restaurant and I fell in love with the sealy grey and lime green colour scheme which combined with the floor to ceiling windows gives the illusion of becoming an extension of the greenery of Calton Hill. You really don’t feel like you’re in the heart of a bustling city.
The restaurant is only open to guests, private functions or organised events (at the time of writing this) however the plan is to offer more ticketed events and slowly make it more accessible to the public. As a local I like the idea of this as it is definitely somewhere I would frequent more often, however I can’t help feel that the private nature of the hotel really adds to its character and sophisticated feel. I do hope that this would not be diluted by opening its doors more often.
Without a shadow of a doubt the most impressive part of the hotel is the rooftop garden. Eight floors up and spanning two acres the area is modern and well-kept with funky Italian furniture and rose like lights to add to the spectacle. Again all in tasteful keeping with the art theme.
Boasting stunning views across the city, with Calton Hill as a back-drop and plenty of private corners this has to be one of the best spots in the city. In fact if I wasn’t already married I would get married here (and you can – service and reception). It is fab. There’s even two resident ducks that make an appearance every now and again!
Quick Fire Questions for Leigh:
What do you think gives The Glasshouse the WOW factor? Our 2-acre rooftop garden with the backdrop of Carlton Hill, it’s absolutely stunning.
Why is Edinburgh such a great place to visit? Everywhere is within walking distance and there is so much to see and do. This is a beautiful city full of nooks and crannies to explore.
Your personal favourite spot(s) in Edinburgh? The view from Edinburgh castle over the city down to Leith, on a clear day the view takes your breath away.
Ideal For: Business travellers, couples or small groups.
Prices from: £170 per night (double)