Prestonfield House is a beautiful 5-star property and certainly one of Scotland’s best luxury hotels, that seamlessly blends opulence, theatricality, and luxury within one of Edinburgh’s most charming historic buildings. Originally designed by the renowned architect Sir William Bruce in 1687, this exquisite residence was built upon his completion of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, commissioned by Sir James Dick, the Provost of Edinburgh. Serving as Sir James Dick’s personal abode, Prestonfield remained a cherished family estate until 1958 when it underwent a transformation into a prestigious hotel.
In 2003, the property found new ownership in the capable hands of distinguished restaurateur, James Thomson, and over the course of two decades, he dedicated himself to meticulously restoring this historic gem to its former grandeur. In the process, he infused the venue with his signature touch of magic, drama, and romance, which are reminiscent of his acclaimed creation, the Witchery by the Castle. The result is nothing short of spectacular, making Prestonfield one of Scotland’s most captivating hotels.
A Country Retreat Within The City
Set within 20 acres of beautiful, manicured gardens, with views across the nearby Arthur’s Seat, and yet just a mere 15-minute jaunt from the heart of Edinburgh the hotel is an oasis nestled in an otherwise residential area. It has the only helipad in the city (with no landing fees for guests) and there is plenty of parking for vehicles and bicycles. Guests may prefer to stay and enjoy the grounds and parkland surrounding the property, but for those who wish to wander further afield, it’s an easy walk, bus or taxi ride to a wealth of theatres, cinemas, restaurants, and bars within the city centre.
Lobby & Check-In
One thing I have to mention is the service, from arrival to departure, at Presonfield House is absolutely exceptional – and that’s an understatement! Guests are greeted by surname on arrival at the front desk podium and your surname is remembered throughout your stay, bags are delivered to your room and the whole check-in process is seamless, there is even a hotel cat, who offers help with check-in and out too!
Each of the 23 uniquely designed bedrooms and suites are a tribute to the hotel’s commitment to luxury, comfort and gloriously over-the-top style. Expect ornate antiques, sumptuous fabrics, and dim lighting that combine to create a refined yet cosy atmosphere. The top floor houses luxury bedrooms with French-style Mansard ceilings and dormer windows overlooking the 20-acre plot, Classic Rooms are on the ground and first floors. Estate Rooms are the largest of the bedrooms and there’s a range of dramatic suites named after the illustrious figures who’ve stayed here, such as Benjamin Franklin, Alan Ramsey and Winston Churchill.
All guest quarters come with an array of modern conveniences from Nespresso coffee machines, valet parking, Penhaligon’s toiletries, complimentary newspapers and well-stocked minibars, full sky TV and Netflix to name a few.
The Owners Suite
During our stay at Presonfield House, we stayed in the hotel’s Owners Suite, this is Prestonfield’s most luxurious and extravagant suite which is accessed via a private turret staircase and hallway. Lavishly appointed, adorned with antiques and curios – this suite exudes drama and romance, featuring an entrance lobby, a bedroom with a four-poster bed that is so high it even has its own steps, a bathroom with a glorious silver chariot bath, and a generously sized separate sitting room with various sitting areas and chess set. Views from the suite look out in three different directions overlooking the lawns and gardens and Arthurs Seat.
Worth noting if you book directly you will receive a bottle of champagne in your room on arrival.
A well-stocked mini bar is full to the brim, with treats, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages a Nespresso machine and fresh milk in the fridge for coffee.
A nightly turndown with still and sparkling water replenished, slippers laid out next to the bed, and an itinerary for the next day is left out on the dressing table and if you don’t want to be disturbed just hang the tassel on the suite door.
This was the first estate in Scotland to grow rhubarb (a tradition that has continued to this day). The restaurant is named after the fruit and here the fine dining menu offers dishes from land and air, and loch and sea with a focus on seasonal Scottish produce from artisan suppliers; beef from John Gilmour Butchers, Highland Game supplying the venison, duck, partridge and pheasant and Ben of Fungi supplying the foraged greens and mushrooms along with many other wonderful Scottish suppliers providing the ingredients for the kitchen.
Worth noting that the hotel is open to non-residents too where you can take a seasonal champagne afternoon tea (which includes the hotel’s own loose-leaf blends) in the rose-filled gardens or inside by a log fire (see salon images below) and is a great way to experience the hotel for an afternoon.
Rhubarb is split across a north and south dining room, the spaces are dramatic and romantic with soft classic music playing in the background it really sets the tone for the evening.
Pre Dinner Cocktails
Before dinner, we enjoyed a pre-dinner cocktail. There is no bar in the hotel instead drinks are served to your table in one of the hotel’s salons and sitting rooms on the ground and first floor, with exquisite interior designs and roaring coal fires they really are something special.
TLE Tip: have a post-dinner nightcap in the whisky room when you stay too.
James Thomson is known as a restaurateur with a keen appreciation for the pairing of fine wines with fine dining within opulent settings. The wine list at The Witchery has consistently held the distinction of being Scotland’s finest, and the expansive wine selection at Prestonfield upholds this longstanding tradition and for the evening James had chosen a beautiful bottle of Chablis for our dinner.
For starters, we chose Sound of Mull Crab and the Prestonfield Smoked Sea Trout.
For mains we opted for the Scottish Fillet Steak and the Confit Onion Squash.
The dessert menu is so extensive it has its own separate menu, we went for a combo of pudding and cheese board and I loved the little cheese guide that was supplied with the cheese.
Breakfast is served in Rhubarb and it really will set you up for the day – the portions are huge. There is no traditional “buffet” breakfast instead everything is cooked to order, we chose the full vegetarian breakfast and Scottish pancakes.
If you need more privacy or intimacy Presonfield also offers various private dining experiences, ranging from large dining settings for multiple people to an intimate two-person dining room which we spotted in the turret on the way up to our suite.
Prestonfield House has a captivating blend of magic, drama, and romance, unlike anything else you will find near or far. With exquisite interiors fit for aristocracy, world-class cuisine, and tranquil grounds, it’s a very special destination for visitors to the city, as well as for Edinburgh residents seeking a glamorous staycation. We absolutely love it!