Edinburgh, United Kingdom

The Dunstane Houses

Price per night from$166.59

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 (GBP130.71), 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.

Prices

Double rooms from £137.25, including tax at 5 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.

Please note

Currently the restaurant is only open on Friday and Saturday evenings.

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 smalls. A cot (free; suitable for children under two) or an extra bed (£40 a night for 3–15 year olds) can be added to Luxury King rooms and suites. There's a kids' menu too and highchairs are available.

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. The cobbled street alone makes for a charming wander, but stop by the Camera Obscura for some mind-boggling illusions and to see the city from above. 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. And, for some wild encounters, head to Edinburgh Zoo.

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
Aimee Hartley

Anonymous review

By Aimee Hartley, Hotel-loving oenophile

Walking down the cobbled streets of Edinburgh, with its grand mansions hung in fog; lit up from the inside with a warm glow of light, you might mistake yourself for being on a Harry Potter film set. The regal mansions that line the street where the Dunstane Houses (a pair of homey hideaways) sit, just a hop, skip and jump from Haymarket station, display the same grandiose, if weathered, Victorian glory. It feels like a great privilege to get a glimpse into the history of what this graceful building once was, who lived there and how the devil they kept such a big house warm during the chilly winter months. 

It is this sense of mindful luxury and cosiness – of being welcomed into what feels like a (gently wealthy) distant relative’s wee abode – that the folks at the Dustane Houses do rather marvellously. The 16-bedroom mansion sits back just enough from the main road that you feel like you’re ensconced in a country manse, rather than a bolthole amid the capital’s hustle and bustle. The interiors – deep hues of blue, natural stone and heather tweed – feel plush, but never overwrought. The couple that own the houses (main residence Dunstane and its partner in crime Hampton House, just across the road), are originally from the Orkney islands, so the decor and the menu in their small restaurant and lounge Ba’Bar, are inspired by North Sea island life. 

We’re shown to our room – the Scapa Suite – by a friendly member of staff, admiring the beautiful wooden staircase and bookcase full of rare editions as we go. The first thing we spy as we enter is the enormous copper bath tub, standing proudly by the four-poster bed. Then a jar of homemade shortbread (replenished daily, FYI) and a bottle of free fizz steal our attention. We polish off the latter with abandon, while filling up the giant tub and throwing the imminent threat of dehydration to the wind. After soaking a little too long, close to the point of combustion, we emerge lobster-red and fling ourselves onto the sumptuous bed, which is so big and soft that you can’t feel too sad you’re partner is beyond reach in it, because the opportunity to starfish is joyfully infinite.  

Hilariously, what we notice as we wriggle around, trying to reach a normal body temperature, is a giant mirror above us. The Scapa Suite, my friends, is the room for a slightly saucier, but eminently elegant, escape. After a dreamy sleep on a mountain of plump pillows, we wander down to the sun-filled lounge for a hearty breakfast. Fresh pastries, yoghurts and homemade jams are there for the taking, but we can’t resist the Scottish breakfast with Ayrshire bacon, local eggs, haggis, black pudding and a tattie scone, which we wash down with a pot of perfectly brewed coffee.

By this point, it’s time to take the plunge and leave the comfort of the house to walk off our breakfast. We stroll along the river pathway, right next to the hotel, stopping off at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art before moseying onwards to pretty Leith. If Edinburgh’s buoyant food and drink scene is part of what drew you here, be sure not to miss dinner at the beautiful Scandinavian-Scottish restaurant Timberyard, where you can sip on array of natural wines, to boot. Another must-try is 27 Elliot’s café: the perfect choice to experience neighbourhood life and try the tastiest salads known to mankind. And, if it’s a stiffer drink you’re after, Lucky Liquor – with its rotating list of 13 cocktails that change every 13 weeks – is your choice of poison.

But, I digress to Dunstane and its many charms. Now, this hideaway is a little far from the city-centre (around a 20-minute stroll), so if you want the Royal Mile on your doorstep this may not be the place for you. But, for your troubles you get delicious, homemade breakfasts with oodles of local produce, over 80 whiskies to try and a team who know their drams and beds you’ll never want to climb out of – a lovely slice of quiet luxury.

Price per night from $166.59

Book now