This Scottish Hotel’s Design Rejects National Stereotypes

Careful you don’t miss this luxury boutique gem blending seamlessly in with the broad and cobbled streets of Old Town, Edinburgh. The Nira Caledonia, one of Scotland’s finest boutique hotels, is a five-star luxury set-up taking a bold stance towards the classic Scottish tourist-traps: it’s having none of them.


“No tartan. No stuffed deer heads. No prints of Bonnie Prince Charlie,” it proudly states, and not one of the three makes an appearance in the hotel’s two Gloucester Place listed buildings. It nevertheless nods to the site’s architectural history by creatively combining the original Georgian features with contemporary design touches, and the result is a dark and sophisticated hideaway a short walk from the city centre.


Nira took over the site back in 2011, and refurbishment of the building’s 28 rooms and the in-house Blackwoods Bar & Grill took place over five months, just two surreptitious rooms at a time, to avoid interrupting the hotel’s management.

Each room was given a character of its own, with private terraces and jacuzzis, and all united under an elegant dark colour palette accented with hits of red and green. The interior design has kept the building’s original high ceilings, dado rails, Georgian sash windows and cornicing, among other charming Georgian touches.


THE PLUS: The hotel’s design will help define guests’ stays in the city; what kind of Edinburgh experience were you creating?
Nira Caledonia:
One of simplicity. We wanted to create rich moods without over-complicating or detracting from the experience of travel.

TP: Each of the rooms has its own character – what determined the style each room would have?
We envisaged the history of the building throughout the ages: who would have used it and for what purpose, and incorporated touches of modernity whilst respecting its originality.


TP: Of all the contemporary styles that you could have chosen to blend with the Georgian architecture, what inspired this dark and sophisticated look?
Guests at Nira Caledonia are well travelled and do not expect a pre-packaged solution akin to many brand or chain hotels.

TP: Where has the furniture been sourced from?
Ah, a closely guarded secret! From a few specially selected and trusted suppliers from Asia and Northern Europe.


TP: What three things do you look for when you’re choosing hotels?
Quality, discretion and something out of the ordinary.

TP: What makes this hotel unique among the others in the Nira portfolio?
Nira Caledonia has a deep history and is located in an upmarket residential location which is within a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this makes it very special and unique.


TP: And what can guests at the Nira Caledonia specifically not afford to miss?
The warm welcome and personalised service as well as a very comfortable bed to sleep in!

TP: Any insider tips on how to make the most of a hotel experience?
Engage with the staff andlocals – travel has come a long way in the past 10 years, make the very most of your trip.

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