It is easy to miss the Principal in Edinburgh’s Charlotte Square. I did — twice. The understated signage was explained by staff as being in keeping with the square’s status as a Unesco World Heritage site.
And heritage is key to the ethos of the hotel, formerly known as the Roxburghe, which has reopened after a multi-million pound refit.
For although there is ample evidence in both the bedrooms and communal areas of serious money having been spent, the hotel also exudes a timeless quality, appropriate for a site incorporating seven inter-connecting townhouses which date back to 1791.
Georgian features have been retained and the book-lined study is a home from home. The same applies to the adjoining bar.
I didn’t test management’s claim that no two rooms are the same. But despite housing 199 of them, the feel is not of your standard chain hotel.
Mine was spacious with minimal noise from the neighbours and the nice welcoming touches offered by the chain; a tuck box of chocolate, lollies and crisps to enjoy with the complimentary hot drinks.
With regional loyalty, the chocolate biscuits were Tunnock’s and the milk was fresh, alongside free still and sparkling water. You can also populate the fridge with supplies from the hotel’s own corner shop.
Tunnock’s aside, the tartan aspect in my room was restricted to the throw over the large and sink-into bed. There was a choice of comfy non-matched seating and the phone was retro red, standing out among more restful colours.
Meanwhile toiletries have been created by celebrity favourite London-based perfume designer Azzi Glasser.
And you can dine well — although there’s plenty of choice, and the city’s sights, within walking distance too. The Garden, suitably bright and verdant, does a decent veggie version of a Scottish cooked breakfast as well as food all day. Or the eastern Mediterranean sharing plates at new addition BABA won’t break the bank.