Gleneagles Townhouse is truly hidden in the heart of Edinburgh’s historic New Town: A small plaque to the left of the front door is the only indication of the elegant hotel and private members club within. Here are four reasons to visit the urban outpost of Scotland’s great Gleneagles country resort.
Modern Design in a Historic Setting
The original resort, about 40 miles northwest of Edinburgh in rural Perthshire, has been one of the most famous hotels in Scotland for nearly a century. Think of Gleneagles Townhouse as the plucky younger sibling—proud of the family legacy but ready to set out on its own. The Townhouse offsets its historic setting (a 19th-century building that was once the British Linen Bank) with modern design flair: sumptuously upholstered banquettes, mirrored ceilings, pale pink velvet headboards, and more. It’s posh yet unpretentious.
Feel like Royalty
The greens and creams of your chic room—with its canopy bed, golden curtains framing floor-to-ceiling windows, and an enormous rain shower that’s worth the price of the stay on its own—make you feel like you’re both at home and inside a royal palace. My daughters sum this sensation up, with my oldest likening our stay to a “fancy hug,” and my youngest, wrapped in a plush bathrobe, repeatedly declaring that she “feels like a princess.”
The property’s most impressive space is The Spence, a fabulous all-day restaurant in the former bank’s telling room. An opulent Art Deco bar holds court beneath the busts of 12 notable Scots (Adam Smith, Sir David Wilkie) and an awe-inspiring glass domed ceiling. Chef Jonny Wright sources produce and meat from local farms for his Scottish-inspired menu: Try the mushroom tart and the corn-fed chicken, and save room for the banoffee baked Alaska. Finish your evening at the rooftop bar, Lamplighters, which is open exclusively to club members and hotel guests. Order The Leerie (the Scottish term for lamplighter), a tropically minded tequila cocktail, and watch the city lights twinkle.
Stay in Edinburgh’s Epicenter
The Townhouse is located smack in the middle of the Scottish capital’s best: Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, the National Museum, and several National Galleries are within walking distance, as are the boutiques and bistros of New Town. Staffers will happily suggest activities (the free Potter Trail walking tour is great for families), but it’s just as fun to explore the winding wynds and medieval closes on your own. If you feel especially adventurous, request a picnic lunch and hike up Arthur’s Seat, the extinct volcano that towers over the east side of the city and provides unmatched panoramic views. From $370, gleneagles.com