Edinburgh, United Kingdom

The Dunstane Houses

Rates per night from$132.61

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP106.04), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

True Scotsman

Setting

West is best

Live a laird’s life at Edinburgh hotel The Dunstane Houses, a pair of stately Scottish villas with thoroughbred souls. Ten minutes from the city centre in well-heeled West Coates, the hotel paints a picture of Victorian prosperity with its grand proportions, smoky sandstone façade and decorative crow-stepped gables. Inside, corniced ceilings and stone staircases give off an air of old-world splendour, but the rooms radiate cosiness thanks to soft wool throws, Afghan rugs and deep soaking tubs. The Orkney-influenced restaurant takes a novel approach to Scottish cuisine, using a tapas-style menu to showcase the best of the nation’s fields and shores. The only threat to your repose comes when attempting to choose a nightcap – there are more than 100 single malts to choose from, the best of which are displayed in a custom-made cabinet in the bar.

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A bottle of wine and 1pm check-out; GoldSmiths get the above and a glass of champagne at dinner; suite bookings get a bottle of Joseph Perrier champagne instead of the wine

Facilities

Photos The Dunstane Houses facilities

Need to know

Rooms

35, including six suites.

Check–Out

Noon, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $132.61 (£106), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates usually include breakfast. There’s a Continental buffet and an à la carte menu that includes a hearty full Scottish, complete with haggis, Ayrshire bacon, black pudding and tattie scones.

Also

The hotel’s restaurant, Ba’ Bar, takes its name from ‘the ba’, a rough, tough form of street football played each winter in the town of Kirkwall, Orkney. Two teams of up to 100 men each gather on the cobbled streets to compete in this 700-year old sport, which pits one side of the island against the other – and has hardly any rules.

At the hotel

Free WiFi throughout. In rooms: Samsung smart TV; Roberts digital radio; Nespresso coffee machine; tea and a kettle; free bottled water; Noble Isle bath products.

Our favourite rooms

The largest room in Dunstane House, the Dunstane Suite is a stately showstopper with a soaring ceiling, decorative cornicing and a bay window with a deep copper soaking tub. One wall is clad in peacock-feather wallpaper and there’s an orange velvet sofa at the foot of the bed, adding a flamboyant finish. Light sleepers will like the rooms at the back of Hampton House, which are better sheltered from the road.

Packing tips

Bring your sensible shoes for the scenic walk along the Water of Leith – the path often gets wet and muddy, particularly in winter.

Also

All of the public areas are wheelchair accessible, but there are no specially adapted rooms or bathrooms due to both buildings being listed.

Children

All ages are welcome, but there’s not much for little Smiths, making it more suited to adults. A cot (free; suitable for children under two) or an extra bed (£30 a night) can be added to Luxury King rooms and suites.

Food and Drink

Photos The Dunstane Houses food and drink

Top Table

At breakfast, aim for one of the tables in the bay window; in the evening, go for one by the fire.

Dress Code

Don your Harris tweed jackets and cashmere knitwear from Johnstons of Elgin or Pringle of Scotland.

Hotel restaurant

Found in Dunstane House, the Ba’ Bar celebrates the best of Scotland’s fields and shores, with a particular nod to the Orkney Islands, from where the Dunstane’s owners hail. The smoked salmon, kippers and scallops are all sourced from Orkney waters, and cooked simply to showcase their naturally rich flavour. Dishes are split into ‘wee bites’ and ‘bigger bites’, encouraging tapas-style meals that might see you sampling haggis bon bons, Cullen skink and pan-fried Orkney salmon in one sitting. The desserts fly the saltire too – we’d go for the Dunstane cranachan (traditionally served as a celebration of the harvest) or the homemade sticky toffee pudding, paired with ice cream from S Luca, Edinburgh’s favourite parlour.

Hotel bar

Painted a deep, dark blue and strewn with velvet lounge chairs, Dunstane’s bar makes a fine spot for a dram. With more than 100 single malts to choose from, the bar’s connoisseur-worthy collection takes centre stage, with the oldest and rarest malts on display in a vintage whisky cabinet. Gin gets a starring role too – the hotel has its own variety called DunGin, and the cocktail list is full of gin-based drinks like the Dunstane 98, head barman Sean Collins’ take on the French 75.

Last orders

Breakfast is served from 7am to 11am; the all-day menu is available from noon to 9.30pm.

Room service

A reduced room service menu is available round the clock.

Location

Photos The Dunstane Houses location
Address
The Dunstane Houses
4 West Coates
Edinburgh
EH12 5JQ
United Kingdom

The Dunstane Houses are in West Coates, a charming residential district 10 minutes from the city centre.

Planes

Edinburgh Airport can be reached directly from most large UK airports, including from London Heathrow, Bristol, Manchester and Birmingham.

Trains

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.

Automobiles

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 striking distance of the city centre, the Dunstane Houses will be a launching point for most, but the hotel's lounge has an original fireplace, thick Persian rug and tweed cushions, making it ideal 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’. 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 have you questioning whether you’re in a city at all. Along one way, the walkway leads to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, split between two neoclassical landmarks; in the other lies Stockbridge, an upmarket area populated with coffee shops and indie boutiques. Stop in at Scandi café Söderberg for one of their cult cardamom buns. Also nearby are the Royal Botanic Gardens (the Victorian glasshouses have you covered if the weather starts to look a bit, well, Scottish). Don’t skip the chance to scale Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano that rises up behind Holyrood Palace, offering climbers 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.

Local restaurants

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 Tweed Valley lamb. 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 Negroni 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.

Local bars

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.

Reviews

Photos The Dunstane Houses reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this boutique bolthole in Edinburgh and unpacked their cashmere from Johnstons of Elgin, a full account of their city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Dunstane House in Edinburgh…

With a castle at one end and a royal palace at the other, Edinburgh’s old town is nothing if not impressive – but if you were alive in the 18th or 19th century, it wasn’t where you wanted to live. By the 1700s, the city was bursting at the seams, with rich and poor alike crammed into tall tenements that lined the city’s closes and wynds (the narrow passageways that snake down from the Royal Mile). No longer content to live among the fish markets and tanneries, the wealthy began to up sticks and move outside of the old city walls. Built in 1860, Dunstane House is a child of this suburban boom, built on a roomy plot in West Coates, a well-heeled district just 10 minutes from the city centre. Like the merchants, doctors, bankers and musicians that have called the houses home, you too will get to savour the luxuries that came with being out of the throng: a manicured front garden, high ceilings and, in some of the suites, large bay windows with freestanding bathtubs.

The owners, Derek and Shirley, both hail from the Orkney Isles and, besides keeping the houses as stately as ever, they’ve also made sure the rooms are fit for a Scottish winter, with tweeds and soft wool blankets making an appearance in every room. The food is equally tied to their roots, shining a spotlight on Orkney seafood along with beef from Aberdeen and Ayrshire. But Dunstane wouldn't be a thoroughbred if it didn’t have a few drams up its sleeve – thankfully, it serves more than 70 single malts, the best of which are displayed in an antique case in the bar. 

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in The Dunstane Houses’s Guestbook below.

We loved

Absolutely lovely stay. Food is delicious, rooms are lovely and the ambiance of the hotel can't be beat!

Don’t expect

Big beds! Remember in Europe that king-size beds arent the same size as they are in the U.S. Be prepared to cuddle with your travel companion.

Rating

Stayed on 25 May 2019

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