If you kept up with our trip via Instagram, you probably saw that we stayed at The Dunstane Houses while in Edinburgh. The hotel is split into two buildings–the main house and Hampton House–and we were lucky to be in room No. 9, which is The Dunstane Suite. It’s no secret that I love boutique hotels, but I was truly blown away with how well The Dunstane maintains its boutique nature (there are only 35 rooms!) and simultaneously provides a luxurious experience that I’ve really only felt at larger properties or chain hotels. It goes above and beyond in earning it’s five stars and I’m so excited to share this one with you–get ready for photo overload!
The Dunstane recently underwent massive renovations consisting of major overhauls and attention to the tiniest details. Each room is designed to be completely unique and while also coordinating–dare I say perfectly–with other rooms and the entire property. No two rooms or suites are the same and little luxuries include heated bathroom floors (not to mention the stunning tile you’ll see below), a fresh jar of homemade shortbread in your room every day, local candies at turndown, mattresses by the same company who supplies them for the Queen, and a personal favorite: each wardrobe is one of a kind! The Dunstane worked with a small business out of Germany that sources old wardrobes, refurbishes them, and builds them out for hotels (they add the necessary shelves for the mini bar contents, safe, etc.), so each piece is completely unique. I loved this touch and hearing it early on in our stay really helped set the tone for how much emphasis The Dunstane places on like-minded businesses and the value of a good aesthetic!
I loved the art on the right–it says “I think that I could fall madly in bed with you.”
The view from this room is so good, they added a telescope!
We checked out a few rooms (pictured above) and I was really impressed how regardless of the size–they have anything from a small single to a suite–they all possess the same level of luxury and character. The heated floors, mattresses, shortbread…they’re all there! Our suite–pictured below–was stunning and yes, I did test out the bathtub and it was every bit as fun as you’d think! The rooms are available at a range of prices–particularly in the off-season–but if you’re looking to indulge, I can’t recommend room No. 9 more.
Another unique feature that stood out to me was the lack of a reception desk when you enter the main house. They used to have one, but given the small staff and homey feel when you walk through the door, it felt unnecessary when most of the small staff (under 30 people, from several different countries) could be trained to handle guest requests and check-in. I’d never experienced something like this before but it’s a detail that again, really fit with the hotel’s brand and its casual yet professional nature. (On a similar note, the staff is dressed so well–women wear jeans, brown booties and a gorgeous Scottish tweed blazer.)
As you can imagine, I had major decor envy from the second we walked through the doors. The lounge area + bar will make you want to paint something navy!
One of my favorite things about traveling to Europe and staying in smaller properties is taking full advantage of a proper European breakfast. As expected, The Dunstane had a fantastic spread of cereals, oatmeal and toppings, fruit, breads (I ate two croissants with Nutella each morning), and you also have the option of ordering off the full menu. We did a combination of the two and fueled up for the day…I highly recommend booking a room that includes the breakfast package but you can also do this as an add-on if you’d prefer.
Aside from breakfast, there’s a dish of fresh shortbread in the lounge that I took advantage both nights before bed (since we tore through the batch in our own room) and if you’re a tea person, their selection is particularly impressive!
GETTING TO THE DUNSTANE HOUSES
Edinburgh itself is a very small city, which makes it really walkable and easy to navigate. I’ll go into that more next week but location-wise, The Dunstane is about a 35 minute walk from the main train station (Waverley) and a 20 minute walk from Edinburgh Castle. While there are many hotels located right in the city center, The Dunstane is still an easy walk from the main sights and the Haymarket train station is a 10 minute walk away. Our train from London arrived into Waverley and we just hopped onto a local train (in the same station), took it one stop to Haymarket, and walked to the hotel. There are also buses that stop right outside The Dunstane but we either walked everywhere or took an Uber since the latter was so inexpensive it almost equaled the cost of two bus tickets! If you’re in Edinburgh and are staying elsewhere, it’s no surprise that I’d recommend you stop in for a drink–not only are the interiors magazine-worthy, but they have an impressive selection of scotch and gin including their own that’s distilled just a few miles away.
One thing I’ll add…If you’ve been skeptical of boutique hotels–and I know many people who are accustomed to larger chains may feel this way–I think The Dunstane is a great place to try something new. Unfortunately the term “boutique” gets thrown around a lot, and seems to be a blanket word for glorified B&Bs all the way to the niche properties managed by major hotel brands. One of my first reactions upon entering The Dunstane was that it truly embodied what it means to be a “boutique hotel,” and that’s a very high compliment!
Shortbread + scotch
P.S.S. My favorite travel resources.
Dunstane Houses gave us one night complimentary and provided a media rate for the second night in exchange for a blog post. As always, all opinions are my own–thank you for supporting the businesses that support monicadutia.com! I’m so happy to be able to share these experiences with you.