A heritage fling

Nestled in a quiet cobbled street across two adjoining townhouses, this handsome 28-room hotel could easily pass for a private residence. A home-from-home (albeit a Grade A-listed one), Nira Caledonia eschews the formality of some of the city’s other boutique hotels in favour of a more personalised and intimate approach.

Built by celebrated Scottish architect William Playfair, the hotel was also the not-so-humble abode of 19th-century bon vivant and Scottish literary figure John Wilson (pseudonym Christopher North) who counted William Wordsworth as a close friend. Its UNESCO-listed New Town postcode places it amongst some of Scotland’s finest neoclassical and Georgian period architecture. Locations don’t get much better, with the Royal Botanical Gardens and Princes Street a mere 15-minute stroll away.

2018 marked the hotel’s reopening after a nine-month-long US$1.8 million refurbishment, following a fire that swept through all five floors. Thankfully, its grand spiral staircase and floor to-ceiling sash windows were spared, as well as ornate cornicing and other priceless, period features. The fresh colour palette and vibrant prints by Jeffrey’s Interiors in nearby Stockbridge, add some contemporary flair.

And whilst its five room categories; Jacuzzi Suite, Suite, Executive Room, Petite Double and Single, range from a compact 17sqm to a generous 40, there’s no compromise when it comes to luxury. Each room is endowed with hand-stitched 2,000 pocket-sprung British-made beds, sumptuous wallpapers, bespoke furniture and mirrored walled bathrooms with L’Occitane toiletries.

And in keeping with the hotel’s ‘no tartan policy’ there’s not a swatch of the cross-checkered plaid or stag’s head in sight. The restaurant, on the other hand, honours the hotel’s Scottish roots, with Loch Tay salmon, Shetland-grown mussels and Highland steak cooked on its award-winning Josper Grill. Named after the 19th-century magazine for which Wilson wrote, the Blackwood Bar and Grill’s also stocks 25 varieties of Scotch whisky, including the hotel’s very own distillation.

From US$200 per night / niracaledonia.com

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