breaking news

FOLLOW LIVE: Texas finishes regular season against Texas Tech

The hotel redefining Scottish style

The G&V Royal Mile Hotel Edinburgh surprises with sleek innovation

Forget tartan carpets, tobacco-stained wainscoting and paintings of shaggy Highland coos. The gloriously refurbished G&V Royal Mile Hotel Edinburgh — the only five-star hotel on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile — is a decidedly Scottish hotel, but not in the style you might expect.

Since taking over from the Missoni Hotel in 2014, the Quorvus Collection’s G&V has embarked on a multimillion-pound renovation, gradually revealing re-envisioned rooms and public spaces that were finally fully completed in November. Calling upon the talents of a cadre of Scottish artists, the hotel has created a cocoon of contemporary chic, located just down the hill from Edinburgh Castle.

The spacious, open lobby features a sleek eye-level slit of a fireplace, a communal marble worktable kitted out with electrical sockets and USB ports, and a coffee shop/florist manned by a young hunk in a kilt. A cubbyhole partition, illuminated by neon and filled with artsy books, framed photographs and sculptures, separates the lobby from the bustling new Epicurean bar.

“There’s 12th-century Edinburgh outside and modern Edinburgh inside,” explains Martin Scott, general manager. “People want modern luxury. They don’t want rickety carpets.”

All 136 rooms offer an iPod connection, high-speed internet access, rain-head shower and Scottish-made toiletries, but the most coveted accommodations are nine suites upon which individual Scottish artists have placed their own distinctive stamp. Fashion designer Judy R. Clark incorporates vintage details like velvet chairs and well-polished antiques in her suites, while her twin sister, painter Christine Clark, has created a clean-lined Rooftop Rest reached by a “secret” stone staircase. The Timorous Beasties Suite, from the Glasgow studio of Alistair McAuley and Paul Simmons, is swathed in ethereal thistle prints, and textile guru Hatti Pattisson’s Garden Paradise offers up riotous florals. Arthur’s Seat features skyline views over the city, a retractable television/movie screen and a mural of the University of Edinburgh’s New College by Jim Hamilton of Graven Images.

An outdoor drinks terrace and the G&V’s main restaurant, Cucina, are located on the second floor. Here, Timorous Beasties have made their mark with reams of mind-blowing wallpaper resembling Jackson Pollock’s paint-splattered version of a Rorschach test, evoking a menagerie of amorphous animals worthy of “The Island of Doctor Moreau.” Is that … a chicken? A butterfly? A beetle? Or a deer with a nosebleed? After a few glasses of strong, fruity red wine — the perfect accompaniment to chef Mattia Camorani’s sophisticated Italian fare — I’ve conjured almost every critter but pink elephants cavorting on Cucina’s walls.

There are wee (although perhaps not so timorous) beasties on the roof as well, populating the beehives that were installed here last September. Guests can even adopt a bee, as I discover upon returning to my room one night, where I find a little jar of G&V honey and a note congratulating me on bee-coming a mama. Admittedly, I’m not quite sure how I adopted a bee; I don’t recall any rigorous interview process or discussions regarding my commitment to its further education. I quickly decide he’ll remain boarded at the rooftop Hogwarts Hive (as I’ve dubbed it, anyway), although I’m still unsure whether I should send Buzz Jr. an annual birthday card or if it falls upon me to enlighten him about the birds and the, er, bees, as it were.

Apiaries are, of course, the hippest new hotel accessory, but the general manager insists that the G&V isn’t simply hopping on the beehive bandwagon. “We’re on a genuine eco-mission,” Scott maintains. In addition to the apiary, the hotel also accommodates a groovy, glowing Evogro hydroponic machine, where herbs and flowers are grown for the bar and restaurant, and a small spa offering treatments using Scottish products like “wild-harvested” plants and minerals and seaweed extracts.

The only real drawback to staying at the G&V? With so many decadent indulgences to enjoy within the hotel walls, it’s almost too tempting to eschew the city attractions that lie just beyond its doors.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Travel

Most air travelers say taking off your shoes is okay. An etiquette expert disagrees.

Unless you are ensconced in first class, sleeping on a plane is as intimate as dozing off in a waiting room on jury duty - everyone on the aircraft knows the decibel level of your snoring and the sad state of your socks.  To gauge how passengers perceive and handle nightmare flight scenarios, British Airways surveyed 1,500 travelers from the United...
For a longtime powder-chaser, still some lessons to learn
For a longtime powder-chaser, still some lessons to learn

Snow whips at my group of six from all directions. Having just left the warmth of the waffle shack at the top of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort's tram, it feels especially cold and wet. Still, standing in our skis, arranged in a line at the top of Rendezvous Bowl, we all begin disrobing our upper halves. Each of us is wearing between three and five layers...
Beauty rises from a Virginia prison where suffragists changed history
Beauty rises from a Virginia prison where suffragists changed history

LORTON, Va. — The windows in Martin Cervantez’s towering artworks never look the same, their gentle colors changing subtly with the arc of the sun. They also never look like what they once were: tower windows from which guards watched inmates at the notorious Lorton Reformatory. Those windows are emblematic of the change from correction...
Brooklyn beckons with new hotels, other perks
Brooklyn beckons with new hotels, other perks

Jake Gyllenhaal is walking into my New York hotel. It’s not on Fifth Avenue or one of the trendy corners of Lower Manhattan. It’s in Brooklyn. And it — the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge — might be the buzziest new hotel in the city, star sightings or no. Because the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, like the new William Vale Hotel and the...
Ireland by train: Luxurious travel from Belfast to Waterford
Ireland by train: Luxurious travel from Belfast to Waterford

There is something about trains that has captivated me since childhood. Maybe it’s the gentle rocking back and forth as it crisscrosses the country; maybe it’s the mournful sound of the train’s whistle in the night, with its promise of places yet to be seen — and perhaps, best of all, it’s the knowledge that I’m...
More Stories