The hotel's small black brochure warns of a ?dangerously decadent' experience, but nothing prepares you for the excessively sumptuous attention applied to every detail of Prestonfield House! Driving up to the manor is like approaching the scene of a costume drama. A winding road leads you from the suburbs of Edinburgh, through the beautifully kept fields and pasture lands of the ancient owner's manor house, where the two house cows live in luxury.
The brochure indicates directions if arriving by helicopter (1.8 nautical miles from Edinburgh N55 degrees 56.17 W 003 degrees 09.54. Altitude +200 feet above sea level...). For the rest of us, Prestonfield is located just outside of Edinburgh, two miles from the town centre. Set in 20 acres of parkland and blissfully isolated from the city by the majestic Arthur's Seat, the manor house feels much further than it actually is from the Edinburgh's city centre. A taxi from Edinburgh's Waverly Station will take around 5 minutes, although you might feel more in place arriving by limousine...
Prestonfield was originally built for Edinburgh's Lord Provost in 1687, to the designs of Sir William Bruce who had just completed the nearby Royal Palace of Holyroodhouse. Acquired by James Thompson in 2003, the manor was re-opened last year following a £2 million restoration. Adding to a number of ambitious projects; Prestonfield is part of the collection including the celebrated Witchery, Secret Garden and Tower restaurants. Like the hotel's inner-city sisters, Prestonfield House attracts a steady stream of celebrities drawn to the opulent interiors and unique setting.
The manor itself is fairly unassuming from the outside, which only increases the awe of discovering the sumptuous interior. A grand central hall leads the way to the reception, where you can flick through The World's Most Stylish Hotels (which Prestonfield is, of course, featured in) while you wait. Staff are immaculately turned out and very friendly. Bursting with unique artworks and pieces of furniture, the imperial manner resembles the personal collection of a well-traveled and eccentric gentleman. The truth is not far off - as most of the pieces were accumulated by the owner himself. There is no shortage of lounges and common rooms at Prestonfield, each offering its own unique quirks and charms. Take time to explore the Leather Room and the Yellow Room, and end up in the stunning Tapestry Room with its ancient tapestries, portraits and antiques and its cosy log fire. The hotel offers free Wi-Fi throughout, and you can rent laptops and mobile phones from reception, and borrow DVDs, CDs and books from the library. Alternatively borrow a bicycle and explore the estate.
Prestonfield has 18 unique guestrooms, fittingly described by The Scotsman as ?more boudoir than bedroom?. The hotel is a popular destination for weddings and honeymoons, and its original period features and whimsical décor make it classically romantic. Most bedrooms are located at the back of the building, with views over Arthur's seat and vast trim green lawns of the golf course. Guestrooms are spacious, and many boast original fireplaces as well as hand-picked antique furniture and artworks. Think lavish wallpaper, gold-gilded mirrors, large polished oak beds, and rich carpets. Expect to find a well-stocked mini-bar, and a large selection of complementary toiletries in delightfully old-fashioned brown glass bottles (Essential Elements). The rooms are welcoming and cosy, many decorated in rich reds with heavily draped beds and a touch of Napoleonic grandeur.
Breakfast is included in the price of your stay. Choose between a continental buffet and a full Scottish breakfast, both of which can be delivered to your room, or enjoyed in the dining hall, with the angels on the mural-clad ceiling looking down on you. To visit Edinburgh without testing an afternoon tea would be a shame, but to visit Prestonfield House without testing a tea would be a sin! We took our tea on the large balcony at the front of the building from where we enjoyed lovely views of the estate as staff prepared for that evening's wedding celebrations. Neither staff nor guests batted an eyelid when a host of camera turned up to film on the grounds, and a number of vintage cars that pulled up outside the front of the hotel went equally unremarked. If you're less fortunate with the weather, tea can be taken in any one of the large number of public lounges and living rooms.
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