Fingal Review, A Night On Edinburgh’s Floating Luxury Hotel
Staycations are all the rage for 2020 and TLE was recently invited to experience a post lockdown luxury Staycation in our very own home city…. aboard Final, Scotland’s first luxury floating hotel, which has also been voted Edinburgh’s number one luxury hotel on TripAdvisor. Read onto discover more about this incredible luxury hotel in Edinburgh.
Background And Concept
Fingal lived her life as the Northern Lighthouse Board’s tender ship, registered in Leith and built on Glasgow’s Clydeside. She was stationed for 30 years in Oban and then for six years in Stromness, ferrying lighthouse keepers, essential supplies and maintenance staff to lighthouses, as well as undertaking repairs to navigational aids throughout the West Coast and the North of Scotland. Fingal retired from NLB service in 2000 and in 2019 she retired into Leith’s docks and given a £5 million makeover to become Scotland’s first luxury floating hotel.
Tucked away in her own berth at Alexandra Dock in Edinburgh’s Leith which is fabulously quiet and away from the hustle and bustle so a good night sleep is guaranteed. You have The Shore a few minutes from your doorstep, which is packed with bars and restaurants including some of the cities finest eateries including Martin Wishart and Tom Kitchin’s Michelin star restaurants. It’s a further 15 minute taxi ride into Edinburgh’s New Town and 20 minutes to the Old Town. There is plenty of public transport from the Shore back into central Edinburgh too.
Fingal is part of The Royal Yacht Britannia, so a stay here also allows complimentary access to this fantastic tourist attraction. It’s a very short drive and ten minute walk to Ocean Terminal where Royal Yacht Britannia is berthed.
After being welcomed on board, you are invited to use sanitiser products before checking in at the reception. Staff wear masks and visors, we didn’t have to wear a mask when we stayed, but do check as regulations frequently change in accordance with Government guidelines. All cabins have been sterilised before your visit and a ribbon on the door handle indicates the room hasn’t been entered since cleaning.
The most important thing to note is all the new health and safety measures really change nothing about the overall experience – it is still a fabulous experience. The charming staff provide discreet service, appearing when you need then, relaxed luxury is the name of the game at Fingal …….you will feel like you have the whole place to yourself.
Worth noting there is a lift onboard and the ship is completely accessible on all floors via the lift.
The Stevenson family was responsible for designing all of Scotland’s lighthouses, so to credit their work, and the NLB, each of the 23 cabins aboard Fingal are named after their lighthouses.
From the reception, the walls of the sleek corridors are lined with pictures of lighthouses and lead off to the choice of cabins which come in four formats; from classics which are luxuriously comfy, include king sized beds, 20sqm of space and a rain shower bathroom.
Luxury Cabins are larger in size at 21 – 24 Sqm and have access to the outside gangway so let in more light to the cabin.
Classic Duplex are ideal for longer stays at 45 Sqm and united by a spiral staircase that connects the living space with the bedroom.
While the Luxury Duplex’s are 60 Sqm set over two floors and include a rain-shower and roll top bath.
The cabins all come with free Wifi, USB sockets, slippers and robes and gorgeous Noble Isle amenities and a Smart TV. While a Nespresso machine, tea, shortbread, teacakes, and fresh milk in the minibar, are welcome surprise in the room too.
In terms of theme, all the cabins have a splendid art deco feel to them, with leather, wood and brass finishes and the cambered floors definitely remind you are on a ship and especially confusing after a few wines!
If you want to go all out on luxury during your stay the Skerryvore Suite, includes a private dining area for entertaining and a large living space with curved, soft leather sofas as well as your own private deck.
During our stay we enjoyed a classic cabin names Neist Point.
Food and Drink
Like the cabins, the rest of the ship continues the Art Deco styling, harking back to a bygone era of luxury travel and this theme flows through the Lighthouse Restaurant and Bar. The Lighthouse serves breakfast, Afternoon Tea and dinner. They also offer a fantastic range of cocktails and in the brighter weather guests can make use of the outdoor decking area, complete with deck chairs.
Start the evening off in the bar area before moving to your table for dinner. We started our evening with one of their signature Lighthouse Martinis, which are served chilled in a lighthouse shaped bottle and are theatrically poured at your table.
The outside terrace is a sun trap, unfortunately during our stay the Scottish weather played down and the rain stopped us from using the terrace, but in the summer months, this is the perfect spot for some alfresco drinking.
Fingal serve a supper, but I think it is a disservice to call it a supper, it’s a slimed down menu so doesn’t offer the full a la carte choices, but the portions and quality of food are tremendous. Ingredients are sourced locally, and the menu changes frequently, there is a veggie option for all courses and you can tailor things further if you have any food intolerances.
Fingal used to serve a buffet breakfast, this has been removed due to Covid like all hotels, however you can order till your hearts content from the breakfast menu and it will be served to your table. We opted for some fruit to start followed by some eggs Benedict.
Around The Ship
Fingal doesn’t have communal areas apart from the Lighthouse restaurant, but if you go to the lower deck you can walk through the original engine room which has been meticulously restored to its former glory and is fascinating.
The ship also has a large function suite which is perfect for weddings and events. Obviously due to Covid large gatherings are currently not able to happen in Scotland, but hopefully as the world eventually moves on from this pandemic this event space will once again be able to be brought back to life.
Fingal offers a luxurious break from the norm and a unique place to escape. Its history is fascinating and being set away from the usual tourist traps of Edinburgh it works well for guests want a city break but are looking for some quiet in the evening. The steam, quality of service and food really make this hotel something very special. We give Fingal ten out of ten and it is included in our guide to the best luxury hotels in Scotland and Edinburgh.
Address: Alexandra Dock, Edinburgh EH6 7DX