Background and Concept
Built in 1903 as Princes Street Station and The Caledonian Hotel, the station was demolished in the late 1960s and the hotel remained. In 2012, the hotel was bought by the Waldorf Astoria brand and the property is now one of Edinburgh’s most significant landmark buildings and luxury hotels. Experience classic grandeur in Peacock Alley, formerly the station concourse and ticket office, which is now a luxurious lounge offering light lunch, traditional Champagne Afternoon Tea, and elegant evening drinks. Sample Scotland’s finest whisky from the collection of over 100 malts and blends at The Caley Bar and dine on the best food in the city at Grazing by Mark Greenaway and Dean Banks at The Pompadour. And after a day exploring Edinburgh unwind at the Waldorf Astoria Spa, a sanctuary of luxury and relaxation, home to four treatment rooms, an indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam room, whirlpool, and two gyms.
Waldorf Astoria The Brand
Waldorf Astoria is one of the most iconic hotel brands in the world. With over 100 years of history, the brand has built a reputation for luxury and excellence. From the original Waldorf Astoria in New York City to locations around the globe, each hotel provides an unparalleled level of service and amenities.
Discover more about the brand here www.hilton.com
Read our review of the Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel
Located in an enviable position at the junction of Lothian Road and Princes Street it’s ideal for people coming to shop, explore the city and do business. There are excellent transport links from the hotel – the city tram stop is a few minutes walk and will whisk you to the airport in 30 mins, and if travelling on foot most parts of the Old and New Town are accessible in around 20 minutes. An enviable location also means great views and the hotel presents stunning vistas of the Castle from the front-facing guest rooms and suites.
Rooms and Suites
The hotel has 241 rooms with a wide range of guestrooms and suites available.
Rooms range from Queen Rooms, King, Premier, Twin and Double Rooms. These also come with castle views and city views. All rooms present Waldorf Astoria bedding, Serta mattresses and delicate Egyptian cotton sheets, tea-making facilities, a Nespresso coffee machine and an LCD TV. Aswell as bathrobes, slippers and luxury bath products.
Looking for something extra special? Then opt for one of the Carriage Rooms, decorated to celebrate the rich railway history of the area. Every detail in the room, from the metalwork to the polished burr veneers, is reminiscent of the finishes which would have featured in the Victorian railway carriages that once transported travellers from Edinburgh around the world. Other amenities of the Carriage Rooms include a Nespresso coffee machine, a minibar, a flat-screen TV and an elegant bathroom with bathrobes and slippers and luxurious bath products.
All room types offer complimentary access to the Spa and swimming pool.
The hotel has 11 suite options ranging from One and Two bedroom suites and Junior suites, up to the individually named Signature Suites.
Our favourites are the Alexander Graham Bell (more on that below), the Sir Conan Doyle Suite, named after the Edinburgh-born writer of Sherlock Holmes and the Robert Louis Stevenson suite named after the Edinburgh-born writer of Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
Our Suite – Alexander Graham Bell Suite
During our stay, we had the best suite in the hotel. The Alexander Graham Bell Suite. This suite is huge at 947 sq ft with castle views from each room. The lounge features ornate high ceilings, a gilt-framed mirror and a traditional fireplace complete with ‘live’ fire. Sip a coffee from the Nespresso machine and enjoy entertainment options using the LCD TVs which are built into the mirrors in the lounge and bedroom.
A good night’s sleep is guaranteed with black-out curtains luxury high thread count bedlinen. Evening turndown service is provided with fresh water, slippers and chocolates.
Luxurious bathrobes, a huge double bath and walk-in shower, slippers and bath products, from Aesop, are supplied in the bathroom – and we loved the fact you can have a bath while looking out to the Edinburgh skyline.
Food and Drink
Featuring two of Edinburgh’s finest restaurants, the dining experience at the hotel celebrates the best of Scottish fare. MasterChef The Professionals finalist and Chef Proprietor Dean Banks creates delicious signature tasting menus focused on sustainable produce at Dean Banks at The Pompadour, whilst chef Mark Greenaway champions locally sourced ingredients in shareable dishes at Grazing by Mark Greenaway. The hotel’s bar, The Caley Bar, boasts a collection of over 100 whiskies, and decadent afternoon teas await guests at the hotel’s glamorous Peacock Alley, the former railway concourse and ticket office of what was once a Victorian railway hotel.
Both restaurants are featured in our guide to the best restaurants in Edinburgh.
Located in the heart of the hotel, the stylish sophistication of the Peacock Alley reconnects to all the glamour and traditions of the original Waldorf & Astoria Hotels in New York. The classic place to be, from morning to night. A comfortable lounge for residents to treat as their own, for breakfast, light lunch or afternoon tea. A discreet, professional welcome for informal business meetings; “the place to see and be seen” at cocktail hour; a convivial, attentive “club” in which to wind down at the end of the evening.
During the time we stayed at the hotel an exclusive Afternoon Tea experience inspired by the Van Gogh Alive exhibition (running at nearby Festival Square) was served. The menu for this Afternoon Tea has been inspired by the renowned artist himself and some of his most famous paintings. Highlights from the Afternoon Tea showcase some of the artist’s most famous works and include delicacies such as the Artist Palette, a traditional Dutch butter cake; the Sunflowers, a burnt white chocolate, pear and sunflower seed open macaron; and the Almond Blossom, an almond frangipane with almond blossom, apricot and orange blossom compote. The menu also boasts a selection of savoury sandwiches, including a Crispy Duck, Rocket, Cucumber & Coriander Wrap and a Red Pepper & Black Olive Tartelette; as well as a selection of Buttermilk and Citrus Peel Scones. Gluten-free, vegan and children’s menus are also available.
Dean Banks at The Pompadour
The 2018 finalist of MasterChef: The Professionals, took over the five-star Waldorf Astoria’s famed restaurant (originally named after Madame Pompadour, Louis XV’s mistress), in 2021. Its intricate period dining room and sought-after castle views have long made The Pompadour a city fine dining favourite, but under Dean Banks’ relatively recent leadership, it’s flourished furher. Tasting menus come in the form of lunch, classic, chef’s signature and vegan options, with paired wine flights available. Local produce from land and sea is key, but there are many unusual Asian and Mediterranean influences evident in the creatively designed dishes. More than just a meal, a visit here is a sensory experience.
The Caley Bar
Aficionados of the Golden Age of Travel shouldn’t miss this heritage-style bar; a Victorian property that was inspired by the history of the local Caledonia Railway. Part of the Waldorf Astoria, perched where Lothian Road meets Princes Street, drinks here feel like a chic step back in time. A long, thin bar area with leather bar seating, dark wood and sophisticated prints has the feel of an upmarket carriage, while an open seating area features comfy velvet upholstered seating, designed to relax and recline, before or after dinner. The Caley Bar boasts a huge range of whisky and some fantastic custom cocktails.
Grazing by Mark Greenaway
Diners at Mark Greenaway’s Edinburgh venue are encouraged to relax, unwind and graze, as they feast on fare from this accoladed and awarded-winning chef, who has his own cookbook and regularly appears on TV. The restaurant is found on the ground floor of the Waldorf Astoria Caledonian; a light-filled space thanks to large sash and case windows and sophisticated, understated furnishings allowing the focus to fall on the showstopping food. The courses offer a ‘twist on tradition’ all presented with imaginative attention to detail. There are a la carte dishes, sharing platters, steaks and a seven-course surprise tasting menu to choose from.
Our Dining Experience
During our stay we dined in the wonderful Grazing by Mark Greenaway.
Breakfast is served in Peacock Alley, it is À la carte with service on point, efficient and a great selection of breakfast options cooked to order.
Wellness and Spa
You can expect a peaceful haven at the spa and unwind away from the bustle of the city. Complete with steam-room, sauna, whirlpool, indoor swimming pool and two-floor gym, the spa is a sanctuary of relaxation and rejuvenation with a range of restorative treatments on offer.
The Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian is the perfect choice for a luxurious stay in Edinburgh. The hotel is situated in the heart of the city, within easy reach of all the main attractions. Rooms and suites are spacious and elegantly furnished, with all the latest amenities on offer. The staff are attentive and helpful, and the restaurants and bars are of the highest quality. If you’re looking for a five-star experience in Edinburgh, the Waldorf Astoria is a perfect choice.
The hotel is featured in our guide to the best hotels in Edinburgh.
Address: Princes Street, Edinburgh EH1 2AB