21212

Royal Terrace, Edinburgh, United Kingdom Book from

Elegant luxury and magical food with a refreshing smattering of madcap fun, in the classy heart of Georgian Edinburgh
The name, the lipstick-red reception desk, and the '60s Doctor Who-style lettering on the front of this magnificent 4-storey Georgian townhouse: all hints that you’re not in just another plush (but staid) Edinburgh hotel. Chef Paul Kitching, who owns and runs 21212 with his partner Katie, has a mischievous sense of fun, which infuses both his rooms and restaurant. Conformist eyebrows may furrow, but the personal and friendly service, comfy contemporary décor and ground-breaking food are hard to fault.

The 4 stylish suites, with their fabulous bed linen, state-of-the-art bathrooms and dreamy views over the city rooftops, are amazing. The draw for most, however, is Paul’s flair in the kitchen, which won him a Michelin star within 8 months of opening. It’s in the hotel’s opulent restaurant that you’ll learn the significance of the name: there are just 2 starters, 1 soup, 2 mains, 1 cheese plate and 2 desserts. Simplicity replaces the clutter of the à la carte. But simplicity doesn’t mean boring - with no 2 mouthfuls the same, the taste storm has just begun.

Highs

  • One of the country’s most exciting chefs/restaurants
  • The location: at the end of the world’s longest, and arguably most handsome, Georgian crescent, and bang in the centre of Edinburgh’s New Town
  • The opulent décor is deliciously over the top
  • The views. On a fine day you can even see the Firth of Forth from 2 of the suites
  • For non-parents, the fact that it's mainly child-free could be a plus

Lows

  • If your idea of a good dinner is steak and chips - or a wide choice of dishes - this place is not for you
  • The toast from factory-made sliced bread at breakfast was a bit of a comedown after the previous evening’s culinary fireworks, but the rest of breakfast was lovely
  • Parking nearby is all metred, though it’s free overnight and all weekend
  • No lift and lots of stairs

Best time to go

Edinburgh is fascinating at any time of year. Come in August for thespian thrills; or avoid the crowds and explore the city’s historic streets, shops and restaurants the rest of the year. In December the lure is Edinburgh’s Christmas markets, and on New Year’s Eve its lively Hogmanay celebrations. 21212 is closed for a week in summer and a week in winter, but the dates each year.

Our top tips

Escape the crowds with a walk along the River Almond from the pretty village of Cramond (10km from the hotel). At low tide - check tide times first - you can walk out to Cramond Island in the Firth of Forth.

Great for...

City Style
Foodie
Honeymoon
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Restaurant with Rooms
  • 4
  • Restaurant (open Tues-Sat)
  • Over 5s only, not ideal for kids
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

There are just 4 bedrooms, all generously sized and split over the 2nd and 3rd floors of the house. The numbering though, is predictably eccentric: instead of being numbered 1-4, like the hotel’s moniker they all contain 1s and 2s. Colours tend to be naturals that remind you of foods (of course) like mustard, sage, cream and coffee, and you’ll spot all the big designers from Osborne & Little to Sahco Hesslein, Romo and Designers Guild.

As in the rest of the house, the suites’ Georgian features and proportions provide a stunning backdrop for contemporary lighting and furnishings. There’s plenty of space to mooch, sleep, read or just gaze out over beautiful Edinburgh; on a fine day you can even see the Firth of Forth from bedrooms 1 and 21. Suites at the back (2 and 12) have wonderful views over the huge gardens leading up into woods, plus New-York style shutters to keep the place cosy on winter nights. We stayed in #12, and slept brilliantly as the linen was crisp and luxurious, the bed huge.

All suites have plasma TVs, free WiFi, good storage space and a walk-in shower or wet room. #12 and 1, on the 2nd floor, also have vast egg-shaped island baths that are made of stone and lit by mounted LED lights - ideal for long, indulgent soaks.

There are nice extra touches, too, like bathrobes, Elemis goodies and a decanter of sloe gin to soothe you after a hectic day at the Festival or tramping round the sights. You can ring down for complimentary tea or coffee whenever you like.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Hairdryer
  • Ipod dock
  • Iron
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Tea & coffee (on request)
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

Be prepared for a gastronomic adventure. Having trained with some of the UK’s best chefs, including Michael Caines at Gidleigh Park, Paul’s technical skills are indisputable. His genius, though, is that he throws away the recipe books and creates from scratch - it starts with sketches on a Sunday morning, and these evolve into the week’s dishes. They’re assembled piece by piece by a team of chefs who work with the precision of surgeons performing an operation in the open kitchen - watch it all while you wait.

The thrill, as an eater, is that every mouthful reveals more intriguing flavours and textures. Expect some unusual, multi-layered combos, like venison, chorizo, sultanas, mustard and carrots. But they work. As the concoction of ingredients is different every week, no one will ever again eat what I ate (sadly, as it was fab!). My main was Sicilian-style 'pink trout', composed of trout with artichokes, shimezi and shitake mushrooms, giant pasta shells, almonds and chickpeas, warm coleslaw, leek, spring onion, kidney beans, balsamic and thyme yeast cream, as well as dried courgettes, argen oil and grated feta cheese. The pudding was a divine apricot and coffee tiramisu concoction. It was all inspired and inspiring.

After the culinary drama of dinner, breakfast seemed somewhat humdrum. But it was delicious and tastefully presented nonetheless - we had fried eggs sprinkled with cubes of ham and chive oil. The meal is served in the POD (Paul’s Own Dining), a circular cream leather banquette around a pink marble table adjoining the drawing room.

If you’re staying more than 1 night and want to eat out, there are plenty of options. The other jewel in Edinburgh’s culinary crown is Restaurant Martin Wishart, on Leith’s upwardly mobile waterfront (there’s a cheaper brasserie, too). Also well worth trying are Ondine, a seafood restaurant perched above the Royal Mile, and Mark Greenaway at 12 Picardy Place.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • In August, Edinburgh throbs to the sounds of its famous Festival, a theatrical extravaganza. Book well in advance for a stay during this month

  • Catch your breath after walking up to Arthur’s Seat - then have it taken away again by the views

  • Check out the palace of Holyrood House, the Royal family’s Edinburgh residence, including its abbey and the Queen's Gallery, which hosts visiting exhibitions from the Royal collections

  • Immerse yourself in the medieval Old Town and wander along the Royal Mile, the capital’s most historic street

  • Stroll up Calton Hill, behind the hotel, and enjoy views out to the Firth of Forth

  • Treat yourself to a spot of retail therapy on Prince’s Street

  • Tickle your tastebuds with a visit to Edinburgh’s famous farmers' market on Castle Terrace on Saturday mornings

  • Pop up to Edinburgh Castle, which lords it over the city. Hear the One o’Clock Gun booming from the battlements, admire the Scottish Crown Jewels, and visit the National War Museum of Scotland

  • Get inspired by the old masters at the National Galleries of Scotland

  • Visit the National Museum of Scotland and see ancient Egyptian artefacts to modern-day innovations

  • Gen up on your plant species at the Royal Botanic Gardens, and marvel at its Victorian Palm House

  • There are great golf courses a short drive away

  • Come in December for the Christmas markets, or on New Year’s Eve for the Hogmanay shindig, including a massive street party on Prince’s Street

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Festivals
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Shopping / markets

Kids

21212 does not accept children under 5, and has no extra beds or baby cots. It's really an adults-only place.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
9/
Food
10/
Service
10/
Value
10/
Overall

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