The Witchery, located right by the Edinburgh Castle, is one of our favourite places to stay. Not only is it in prime location, right in the centre of town - although tucked away in a back street away from the hustle and bustle - but it also exudes some of that authentic Scottish charm, despite its original interiors. The service is friendly and efficient and the staff here will go out of their way to make every guest feel special. An ideal hotel for couples looking for a romantic getaway with a twist of originality.
The Witchery is located at the foot of Edinburgh Castle, at the very heart of the historic Old Town. Although the area is probably Edinburgh's most touristy, much of the hotel is tucked away along narrow private passageways, meaning you're removed from the outside world. The Witchery is divided into two, with suites on both sides of the Royal Mile. Walk down Victoria Street to get to the trendy Grassmarket, where there are a number of popular bars and vintage clothes shops. Or walk down Royal Mile and cross the bridge over to the New Town, home to the main shopping district, and also popular for post-work drinks. The Witchery is around a ten minute walk from Waverly Station, from where you can also catch a direct bus service to the airport (around 30 minutes).
The Witchery's rich history has been translated into an opulent, theatrical interior. Originally built for Thomas Lowthian in 1592, The Witchery is so-named because of the tradition of burning witches at the stake, which once took place in the square in front of the hotel. Look out for the inscription on the doorway bearing the motto ?O lord in thee is all my traist' with Lowthian's initals! The Witchery caters to a niche audience, and the hotel's eccentricity attracts an impressive crowd of A-listers, with previous guests including Kate Moss and Dan Brown.
The hotel is centred around its suites and its critically-acclaimed restaurant. The ideal location, historical details and fascinating collection of antiques and objects mean that The Witchery is less a hotel than an experience. You'll be greeted by the infamous housekeeper Roxy, who'll show you around the suite's special features, of which we won't give away too much... Let's just say that the theatricality of the suites doesn't stop at the decoration! A complimentary bottle of chilled champagne awaits guests on arrival, as well as a soundtrack of classical music and an enormous bouquet of fresh lilies.
The Witchery by the Castle consists of eight suites, each uniquely decorated with its own charm and character. All suites are cosy and decadent, decorated in rich colours, heavy fabrics and quirky antique details. Owner James Thompson collects vintage uniforms and ancient tapestries, and the hotel is jam-packed with little details to capture your attention and your imagination. The Witchery caters to a niche audience, and a stay at the hotel is very much an experience. The Inner Sanctum, with its gothic spin on Scottish romanticism, was Thompson's first invention. A lavishly-draped four poster stands amongst antique busts and portraits, separated from the enormous fireplace by iron grates. The Library enjoys views over Edinburgh's famed Royal Mile. The large room has a magnificent book-clad bathroom through a secret door, and other nice touches include the old theatre seats, stage curtains and of course the impressive antique book collection. The Witchery is all about design and atmosphere, and what modern technology there is, is hidden away in secret contraptions. Suites are kitted out with kitchens, but owing to the fact that breakfast is delivered directly to your room and the hotel is renowned for its restaurant, you'll most probably only use so much as the kettle...
Descend the vine-clad staircase into a small, high-ceilinged medieval restaurant. Clad in intricate Armour and dark oak tables, the restaurant is candlelit come nightfall. A menu of fresh local ingredients supports Scotland's local producers, and some ingredients can even be sourced to an exact address by reading the paragraph at the end of the menu. The restaurant serves a mixture of Scottish roasts and grills and fresh fish and shellfish caught in the local bay of Leith. The traditional menu is appetizing and the food delicious, but perhaps a little pricey for what it is. What you are really paying for is the unique historical setting and the excellent service. The Witchery is part of a collection of top-end Edinburgh restaurants owned by James Thompson, any of which can be booked at The Witchery's reception. Prestonfield House, the only other hotel in the collection, provides the perfect setting for an afternoon tea and an escape from the touristy city centre.
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