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Review: The Caledonian, Edinburgh

Peta Hunt discovers city chic and whisky galore in Scotland’s first city

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Peacock Alley celebrates the hotel’s Victorian heritage

First Impressions: Smack in the middle of Edinburgh’s Princes Street, The Caledonian first opened as a railway hotel in 1903 and, back in the day, A-listers from Charlie Chaplin and Elizabeth Taylor to Sean Connery flocked there. Fast-forward a century or more and, after a multi-million pound restoration, the hotel – now a Waldorf Astoria – feels like a freshly spruced-up family friend, right down to the tartan-clad doormen who greet you. It’s also a great wedding venue for under 200 guests.

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Room for Romance: There’s nothing quite like waking up with a cracking view of Edinburgh Castle from your bedroom window. The marble bathroom is equally impressive – and massive – with a powerful double size shower and an original bath so huge you can lay out flat.

Wine and Dine: The Caley bar, with its lush mix of Thirties-style deco and modern, is a great way to start your evening, with a choice of 200 whiskies for your h2b and a signature ‘1903’ cocktail for you (that’s Scotch whisky, heather honey and lemon juice). Or take mum away and treat her to the afternoon tea of cute sandwiches and deceptively filling dinky cakes. If you love to play dress up, The Pompadour by Galvin is fine dining from Michelin-starred chefs, the Galvin Brothers. The shabby-chic Regency room has stunning city views and the sommelier is super-friendly with tireless enthusiasm for the contents of his cellar. Breakfast has to be in the Galvin Brasserie where my new fave discovery is potato scones.


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Dine in style at The Pompadour by Galvin

We love… Fun tours of the city arranged by the hotel including the night-time Ghost Tour, and shopping at Grassmarket, streets full of little shops in Edinburgh’s old town. (Loved all the charity shops too, picking up an Armani suit, Escada jacket, and fighting a friend for a pair of Ralph Lauren leather trousers, all from Mary Portas’ Save the Children shop!). The Royal Botanic Gardens is worth an afternoon’s stroll, too. Just ask the concierge at the hotel for a sheet of walks and take advantage of their local knowledge.

We didn’t love… The 2lbs gained after going there. (OK, perhaps it was the deep-fried Mars Bar! Wrong on so many levels but actually quite tasty.)

Getting there: British Airways offers two nights at the five-star The Caledonian Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Edinburgh from £329pp including accommodation with breakfast and return British Airways flights from Heathrow. 

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Visit ba.com/Edinburgh or call 0844 4930758