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How Edinburgh's newest boutique hotel brings the city's gothic charm indoors

13 January 2020, 16:26

The mysteries of Edinburgh were just a stone's throw away
The mysteries of Edinburgh were just a stone's throw away. Picture: Getty / Malmaison
Emma Gritt

By Emma Gritt

A blustery weekend exploring Edinburgh was made even more exciting by the chance to spend the night in a Grade A Listed building that has stood by as hundreds of years of history unfolded in the Scottish capital.

As the rain lashed the windows and the wind howled outside, I couldn’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be.

We had come to Edinburgh to stay at hotel chain Malmaison’s most recent opening, but the weather this weekend was nearing ‘Macbeth’ levels.

Thankfully for us, we were out of the wet, but the noises added to the gothic atmosphere of our room, which featured trendy dark walls, cast iron detailing - and the biggest bed we’d ever seen.

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All the rooms at the hotel have huge beds - ideal for relaxing on and listening to the rain downside
All the rooms at the hotel have huge beds - ideal for relaxing on and listening to the rain downside. Picture: Malmaison

Malmaison Edinburgh City is the brand’s second opening in the Scottish capital, joining a waterfront location in the nearby suburb of Leith.

Parts of Buchan House, the glorious Grade A listed sandstone building that houses the 72-room hotel, date back to 1775.

As Edinburgh is a notoriously haunted city, we hoped we might see a ghost or two, and delighted in analysing every creek and groan as a storm brewed outside, but we didn’t encounter any spirits until we had a pre-dinner Negroni downstairs.

From reading other reviews of the hotel, I can agree that the rooms are so dark it can make putting on makeup a bit of a bronzer roulette - walk in to the room pale, walk out like you’ve just a week in St. Barts - but the mirror in the huge bathroom proved to be perfect for getting ready - and selfies.

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The restaurant offered a great value set menu in a very extravagant setting
The restaurant offered a great value set menu in a very extravagant setting. Picture: Malmaison
We loved the downstairs bar, it was perfect for a nightcap
We loved the downstairs bar, it was perfect for a nightcap. Picture: Malmaison

Thankfully for us we didn’t need to venture back out in to the icy rain for dinner as we were booked downstairs at Chez Mal Brasserie, the hotel’s glamorous, and good value bistro.

For £29.99 you can enjoy a three-course menu that caters for everyone - including vegans and those looking for non-alcoholic cocktails.

Service was warm and friendly, and we found the same level of Scottish hospitality in the hotel’s bar, Bar Mal, when we rounded off our evening with an after-dinner nightcap.

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The reception sets the tone for the whole hotel, which has undergone a multi-million pound transformation
The reception sets the tone for the whole hotel, which has undergone a multi-million pound transformation. Picture: Malmaison
Parts of the hotel's Grade A Listed building date back to 1775
Parts of the hotel's Grade A Listed building date back to 1775. Picture: Malmaison

Considering the hotel’s location just moments from busy shopping district Queen Street, it was an incredibly quiet night’s sleep - howling winds aside - leaving us energised for a day of sightseeing.

Edinburgh’s Old Town, with the Royal Mile, Castle and the old pubs of Grassmarket and Rose Street are just ten to fifteen minutes walk away.

After a hearty breakfast and a pot of Scottish tea, we were off. And we’ll be sure to come back to this trendy bolthole when it’s a bit warmer.

Click here to find out more about Malmaison Edinburgh City