A Luxurious Scottish Seat…
From the secluded parkland to extensive suites and those little details (chilled champers in the room) that mark out true indulgence, our explorer is seduced by Prestonfield House
Review by Justine Gosling
Located in the foothills of Edinburgh’s iconic view point, Arthur’s Seat, the privately owned Prestonfield House has 23 luxurious suites. Built as the grand baroque home of Edinburgh’s Lord Provost, Prestonfield is now said to be the city’s most luxurious five-star hotel and has previously been awarded the accolade of Hotel of the Year.
After the original house was burned down in anti-Catholic student protests in the 17th century, Sir William Bruce, the king’s architect who designed the Palace of Holyrood House nearby, was commissioned to design a suitably lavish replacement that still stands today.
As I arrived staff in traditional kilts stopped their wood chopping and dropped their axes to open the door to my taxi and take my bags. I was swiftly checked in and shown my room, the Benjamin Franklin suite, a large and opulent suite named after one of the founding fathers of America who visited Prestonfield in the 18th century. My room had a wonderful view over the house’s secluded parkland, allowing me to see the estate’s two horned Highland cows from the comfort of my ridiculously large and comfy bed the next morning. My suite extended to two large bathrooms each with tubs and a sumptuous lounge that over looked the summer terrace. A bucket of chilled champagne awaited me on the dresser in the evening. The comfortable room was furnished with rich, warm colours, piles of pillows with sensuous fabrics making for the most indulgent and individual setting.
If I had dined in the restaurant, I may have had a similar dinner to Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher who have each dined at the award winning restaurant, Rhubarb. So named after a previous owner of the estate who was accorded a gold medal for his successful introduction of rhubarb to Scotland, it is still grown on the estate today.
Breakfast is served until 10am overlooking the gardens with a choice from the à la carte menu with Scottish specials such as haggis; plus pastries, cereal and a large selection of fresh fruit, all washed down with fresh coffee.
After breakfast I set down to do some work in the Leather Room. It’s not as racy as it sounds as I tap away on my lap top in front of the crackling log fire surrounded by walls lavishly panelled with gilded 17th-century leather from Cordoba – installed here in 1687 and recently restored.
It was hard to leave the luxury and comfort of the hotel, but Edinburgh has so much to see, the hotel staff were only too happy to book taxis into town. But we couldn’t stay away long before being drawn back for a nightcap by the fire. It was a supremely cosy and decadent stay indeed. We’ll be back.
Enquiries, Prestonfield House, Priestfield Road, Edinburgh EH16 5UT / 01312 257800 / www.prestonfield.com/