The Principal Hotel (formerly The George) is located in the centre of the new town on George Street. Within walking distance to many places of interest, and with a wealth of bars and restaurants, some of the bedrooms at The Principle even enjoy panoramic views of Edinburgh and the castle.
It was a lovely sunny day as we strolled up George Street to check in, next door the church was holding an open air book sale. Despite being in the very centre of a capital city, Edinburgh can easily make you feel like you’re in a village.
The hotel has been welcoming guests since 1881 and is made up of five listed Georgian townhouses which were built in 1775 as homes for Edinburgh’s most prosperous citizens.
The whole hotel is smartly decorated with luxurious natural materials such as oak, marble and leather with a palette of colours inspired by the great 19th-century Scottish landscape painters.
The hotel, whilst lacking a spa or any kind of leisure facilities, boasts three very well thought out and executed eating and drinking facilities.
Burr & Co
The key to a successful dining experience in a hotel is to to make you feel like you’re not in a hotel, you want to feel that you’re immersed in the city you’re visiting. Burr & Co is the best example I’ve experienced of this. A fashionable coffee shop that’s a popular spot for Edinburgh’s locals making you feel you’re really a part of the city – and it’s fully integrated into the hotel! Very cool.
The Printing Press Bar
The Printing Press Bar & Kitchen is a nod to Edinburgh’s literary heritage and was once home to acclaimed novelist Susan Ferrier (an equal of Jane Austen, according to Sir Walter Scott). Records from the late 1840’s also show John Oliphant living here. Oliphant’s and Ferrier’s descendants also founded one of Scotland’s most prestigious publishing houses in history.
Steeped in history the bar is great place to enjoy a beer or a cocktail.
The Printing Press Kitchen
The room was impressive with five star furnishings and a panoramic view across the city which incorporated Edinburgh Castle.
The bathroom wasn’t as impressive as the one in The Principal’s sister hotel in Glasgow, The Blythswood – but the rest of the room, and THAT view, more than made up for it.
We really liked the Tuck Box feature – tins with Edinburgh Rock and other goodies – perfect for when you get peckish late at night.
The breakfast is served in The Printing Press Kitchen, and I must say, seeing everything beautifully laid out on the bar was very inviting. The vibe in the room was bustling and gave you a sense of being in a city and facing a busy day ahead.
As well as the buffet, there was a menu from which you could order a hot dish. Alex had the Full Scottish Breakfast and I had the The Principal Bacon Butty which apparently had undergone months of research and had been billed as the ‘perfect bacon butty’. Did it live up to the hype? Yes it did, I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact, I could have eaten another!
Ten Restaurants and Bars Within Walking Distance of The Principal
The Club Room at The Dome – modelled on L’Entrecote, enjoy a reasonably priced set menu featuring steak frites with unlimited fries.
Hard Rock Cafe Edinburgh – if you enjoy collecting Hard Rocks, the good news is Edinburgh’s Hard Rock Cafe is directly across the road from The Principle.
Tonic – Edinburgh’s cocktail scene is thriving, Tonic was one of the first cocktail bars in Edinburgh back in the late 90’s and is still a great place to enjoy a cocktail today.
Badger & Co – A very British restaurant based on the Wind In The Willows books. We recommend the pies!
The Queens Arms – a traditional Scottish pub on the cobbled streets of Frederick Street. We recommend the haggis lollipops.
Dough – enjoy a quick slice of authentic Italian pizza to eat on the move.
The Rosehip – Rose Street is a nice place to enjoy an evening meal. We recommend the very reasonably priced chateaubriand at The Rosehip.
Panda & Sons – Edinburgh’s speakeasy, behind the barber shop front is a basement bar worthy of a visit.
Cadiz – enjoy some of Scotland’s best seafood just a short walk from The Principle.
The Principal Hotel
Location: 19-21 George Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2PB
Rating Five Star
Facilities: Restaurant, Bar, High Speed Wifi, Coffee Shop
Family Friendly: More suited to adults
Selling Points: Central location, excellent coffee shop, building with history, panoramic views from some rooms
Things To Know: There are no spa facilities at the hotel.