The Dunstane Houses are in West Coates, a charming residential district 10 minutes from the city centre.
Edinburgh Airport can be reached directly from most large UK airports, including from London Heathrow, Bristol, Manchester and Birmingham.
Edinburgh’s main station is Waverley, nestled in the valley beyond the city’s old and new town. Most services coming from the south terminate there, but if you’re able to continue on to Edinburgh Haymarket, jump off there instead – you’ll be within a few minutes’ walk of the hotel.
You won’t need a car in Edinburgh: the city centre is best seen on foot, and there’s an award-winning bus network and plenty of cabs to get you there. If you do choose to drive, there are 12 free parking spaces outside the hotel, which are available on a first come, first served basis.
Worth getting out of bed for
Within easy striking distance of the city centre, the Dunstane Houses will be a launching point for most, but the hotel's cosy lounge has a siren call of its own. An original fireplace, thick Persian rug and tweed cushions set the perfect atmosphere for afternoon tea – add a dash of Scottish spirit by pairing with a Hendrick’s gin and tonic. You can also do whisky tastings at the bar, including one that’s paired with Scottish cheeses.
Centred around an volcanic plug that’s crowned by the most besieged castle in Britain, Edinburgh’s Old Town needs no introduction. Neither does the uniform splendour of the New Town, a masterpiece of urban planning to which the city’s wealthy decamped to escape the sights and smells of ‘Auld Reekie’. But when the time comes to take a breather from the crowds on the Royal Mile, there’s nowhere quite as transportive as Dean Village, built in the steep-sided valley (or ‘dene’) that follows the Water of Leith. You can pick up the walking route right by the hotel, which takes you down to the riverbank and into what was once a grain milling quarter, where the cobbled roads, rubble-stone houses and babbling river will soon have you questioning whether you’re in a city at all. In one direction, the walkway leads to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, split between two neoclassical landmarks; in the other lies Stockbridge, an upmarket and literary-leaning area populated with hip coffee shops and independent boutiques. Be sure to stop in at Scandi café Söderberg for one of their restorative cardamom buns, which have achieved cult status among Edinburgh’s café crowd. Also nearby are the Royal Botanic Gardens (the Victorian glasshouses have you covered if the weather starts to look a bit, well, Scottish.
If it’s your first time in the Venice of the North, don’t skip the chance to scale Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano that rises up behind Holyrood Palace, offering climbers sweeping views from the Pentland Hills to the Firth of Forth. If you’re after the picture of Edinburgh that graces most postcards, you’ll get that from the crest of Calton Hill.
For a casual lunch in the heart of the new town, try mod-Scottish eatery Badger & Co. This modern, Wind in the Willows inspired restaurant has plenty of Scottish produce on its menu, including Aberdeen Angus beef burgers and Ayrshire pork belly. For seafood, make a beeline for the White Horse & Oyster Bar, built on the site of one of the oldest inns on the Royal Mile. The menu is drawn from small-scale seafood suppliers across Britain – stop in for a glass of Chapel Down and half a dozen Lindisfarne oysters or go all out with one of the decadent house platters, layered with seafood from around the country. Timberyard, housed in a 19th-century prop warehouse, is the place for a contemporary, fine-dining dinner. Choose from a four-, six- or eight-course menu, served in a long dining room bearing the hallmarks of Victorian industry. Those who like fine-dining with a story will love Six by Nico, where the six-course tasting menu is always themed around a place or memory, changes every six weeks. For a really Scottish meal, book a table in the stone cellars at Stac Polly, where the tables are set with flickering candles and the chairs are clad in Bute tweed.
Superlative tipples can be had at the Register Club, a refined cocktail bar on the fourth floor of the Edinburgh Grand. Beer connoisseurs should pay a visit to the Hanging Bat Beer Café, which serves its own craft brews alongside an extensive list of beers sourced from across the globe. Most of the draught options are served by the third rather than half pints, making it easy to try multiple beers in one outing.