The Dunstane House

Haymarket, Edinburgh, United Kingdom Book from Book from £124 per night

A luxurious small hotel in a grand Victorian villa, hued in rich, deep colours, and set in peaceful Haymarket
This fine, warm-stone, pointily gabled Edinburgh mansion bodes well from the outside. Step inside and you’ll find interiors imbued with the natural colours of Orkney, from copper rust to dark inky blue: the owners hail from the islands. Following a magnificent renovation, The Dunstane House is head-to toe-comfort, decorated in these striking colours and enhanced by heather-pale tweed fabrics. Orkney mementos on the walls add to the character of the place, including, by coincidence, a black and white photo of this writer’s grandmother as a child (found at Orkney Library), but also lots of fishermen and local characters. There’s an inviting Ba'Bar (named after a traditional Orkney game), with over 80 choices of whisky and 20 local gins, which combines with a restaurant serving satisfying comfort food.

But for many people, it's the smaller details that benchmark an endearing, homey place to stay, and The Dunstane House has them all. Homemade shortbread and fudge, coffee machines plus good teas and wines in the 16 rooms, underfloor heating in the bathrooms, classy tweed key rings, and a poem on your pillow after the nightly turndown service.

Highs

  • A friendly welcome, and warm, helpful staff
  • Beautiful decor and character in the rooms, along with fabulous showers and Fired Earth copper bathtubs
  • The specialist whisky and gin bar
  • Modern Scottish classics in the restaurant: oak-smoked kippers, hand-dived Orkney scallops and haggis bon bons
  • The airport bus stops right outside

Lows

  • It’s a 20-min walk or 10-minute bus ride to the centre of town
  • No other bars or restaurants in the immediate area
  • No twin rooms
  • The rooms in sister property Hampton House are not so stylish; hence this review concentrates on the rooms at The Dunstane House itself

Best time to go

There's plenty going on in Edinburgh year round. You may want to book well ahead for the summer festivals, and Hogmanay and the Christmas build up are also popular times.

Our top tips

The Caledonian Sleeper is a great way to travel from London to Edinburgh overnight.

Great for...

City Style
Foodie
Honeymoon
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 16
  • Restaurant and bar open daily
  • Allowed but not ideal
  • 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

In serene, earthy colours, the 16 rooms are sumptuously comfortable, with Loaf sofas to sink into, pale Scottish tweed, peacock wallpaper, huge upholstered headboards on kingsize beds, and soft carpet underfoot. Spacious bathrooms house good walk-in showers, Noble Isle toiletries and Moroccan-meets-Victorian-caustic-style tiling.

This is a place where the suites are totally worth the extra outlay; they’re huge, with free-standing copper bathtubs from Fired Earth. We had The Dunstane Suite, a wonderful first-floor room, with rolltop bath in the bay and large bathroom, but the other suites are equally good. Also recommended are the Luxury King Doubles, with views from the bed to the grandiose multi-turreted 19th-century Donaldson’s school. In one there's a seating nook with more views, armchairs and a telescope. The Luxury Wee Doubles may be small, but they also have plenty of charm, character and comfort.

When The Dunstane House is fully booked, you can book a room in Hampton House across the road; note these rooms are of a different standard and price point.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Nespresso
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Satellite TV
  • Slippers
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

The restaurant is sitting-room comfortable, and breakfast is served here (or in your room if you prefer). Besides the buffet of fresh pastries and yoghurts, you can choose from a Scottish cooked breakfast, porridge with various toppings, eggs Benedict and more. Our pancakes were served with a tangy berry sauce, accompanied by French-press style coffee.

For lunch or dinner, there’s a pleasingly straightforward menu of modern Scottish classics, served as small or large plates. Haggis bon bons, Orkney smoked salmon linguine, and Scrabster haddock goujons. The Ba'Bar's drinks list is more complex, with a great range of local gins, and an incredible range of whiskeys. The extremely knowledgable waiter, when we asked, delivered a fascinating lecture about Scotch and how it became his passion, and when I ask to try something especially obscure, he brings me a very niche (and nice) Glenfiddich finished in IPA craft beer casks.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • You're a 10-minute bus ride from the centre of Edinburgh, with its many monuments, museums and shops. Don't miss the Royal Mile and the Castle
  • We loved Mary King's Close, a warren of 17thC streets frozen in time below the Royal Mile (book in advance). Similarly eerie are the Dungeons
  • Sweep away the cobwebs with a walk up to Arthur's Seat, perched atop an extinct volcano, with magnificent views over the city
  • You're close to Murryfields Stadium for a match or a gig
  • Edinburgh Zoo is also near
  • The hotel can arrange a number of quirky tours, such as trips around the countryside in vintage cars
  • Cosy up at the hotel bar and taste local whiskies and gins

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Golf
    • Hiking
    • Historical sites
    • Museums / galleries
    • Nightlife
    • Shopping / markets
    • Whisky Tasting
    • Wine tasting

Kids

Cots, high chairs and folding beds are available, as well as kids' meals, but this place feels much better suited to couples and friends than families.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

The Suites can each fit a baby cot or rollaway bed

Baby equipment:

Baby cots and high chairs

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
8/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

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