A pair of stunningly well-preserved Georgian townhouses in Edinburgh’s New Town provides the setting for Nira Caledonia, a high-end boutique hotel that ticks all the boxes, from local color and historical character to luxe, thoughtful comforts and swanky contemporary style.
Are we making it sound too easy? You can’t fake style like this — beginning with the listed buildings, which mean unique floor plans, and no elevators, just a grand spiral staircase. Inside the rooms all the clichés of Scottish kitsch are studiously avoided — the décor is clean and contemporary, with subtle nods rather than full-blown bows to the past. Elegant, never precious. Small luxuries like Nespresso machines are universal; large ones like Jacuzzis are present at the top end.
And the public spaces hold up their end of the bargain. The restaurant is a fine exponent of contemporary Scottish cooking, which means first-rate ingredients and modern techniques — and some ancient techniques too, especially behind the bar, where you’ll find more than 25 varieties of Scotch whisky, including the hotel’s own bottle.