What? Formerly The Roxburghe Hotel, The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square overlooks one of the prettiest private gardens in the city and is in the ideal location for exploring the city being just a few minutes’ walk from Edinburgh Castle.
New? Yes and no. The building has been a hotel since 1881 but it only opened as a Principal hotel in September of 2017, it was the newest in the Principal hotel collection until the Principal in London came along, which is currently still in its soft launch.
Where? As the name suggests you’ll find The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square at: 38 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, EH2 4HQ, www.phcompany.com
Rooms: There are 199 rooms including 18 suites spread across the townhouses. The rooms range from standard up to the Principal suite which occupies the raised ground floor of one of the original Georgian townhouses. Our Superior Room was both cosy and chic with Principal signatures like the red telephone by the bed and a tuck box with crisps and Tunnock’s Caramel Wafers. The rooms are said to celebrate the golden age of travel, and each room is rather like staying in a cabin which sometimes likes to pose as a railway carriage with suitcase fastening-esque fixtures. Eclectic art adorns the wall, we particularly liked the stag wearing a top hat and books and shelved are lined with cocktail shakers and trinkets.
Travelling to Scotland took me the best part of eight hours thanks to flight delays (at least Ryanair is consistently inconsistent) so when we arrived gone midnight I couldn’t be more grateful for the rainfall shower in the bathroom and the pillows which were sumptuously soft. It was the first time in a long time that I didn’t sleep like a baby (waking up every hour crying hystericall). In the morning there was fresh coffee and fresh milk – hurrah! I used to work in a hotel and we always offered guests fresh milk to take up to their bedrooms, because surely we can do better than UHT? Yet even in top hotels you find those awful little pods and they never leave enough. Rant over.
Restaurants: Being in the centre of Edinburgh they could have so easily gone down the route of a classic Scottish restaurant serving up game, haggis and heavy hearty dishes. However, the two restaurants are far from being a Scottish clichéd. There’s BABA, a restaurant serving up the best of Levant. Middle Eastern prints line the wall, there are terracotta oranges, teal blues and mustard yellow tones and a charcoal grill takes centre stage. There are nods to Scotland with dishes such as haggis and harissa kibbeh and venison and peppercorn carpaccio with feta and roasted hazelnuts, but you’ll also find the likes of squid with merguez sausage and salmorejo and hake with yellow split peas and burnt urfa butter.
Breakfast, snacks and comfort food is served in The Garden, an Instagrammer’s paradise. Filled with trailing plants, wicker chairs, palm prints and hanging baskets. They do an excellent Scotch beef burger with smoked brie, chipotle relish and big cut chips and their beetroot hummus with feta and dukkah was particularly good. For pudding expect the likes of white chocolate, banana and peanut butter pudding with chocolate sauce and date sorbet or yoghurt mousse with crushed raspberries.
Things to Do: Previously having scoffed at hotel gyms, because clearly, I am there to lie in only surfacing for breakfast before returning to bed until check out. Not anymore though as I decided to venture to the gym one morning. Not surprisingly I was the only one in there on a Sunday morning which meant I had free reign which was fine by me because it’s an excellent gym. Not just an afterthought or a small room crammed with machinery, this gym has a dedicated weights section, free weights area, spin studio and a good range of cardio machines. If the gym seems too taxing then you’ll also find a subterranean swimming pool, steam room and sauna, which all guests can use. They also have a spa where treatments include OSKIA glow facials and eye treatments, ishga body and facial massages and OPI ProSpa manicures and pedicures.
Go With: Given that the hotel is in the city centre there aren’t large grounds for children to run around in, so apart from children who might want more space to run around then The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square is for anyone and everyone. It’s modern, yet traditional, it’s got that old-school charm about it without being pretentious.
Final Word: I highly recommend the Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square, it mixes classic old-school hotel charm with cool edges. It brings together the history and heritage of the building and adds in modern features and it works brilliantly.
The Principal Edinburgh Charlotte Square: 38 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, EH2 4HQ