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Prestonfield is a hotel in which a number of apparent paradoxes are resolved to produce something very, very close to perfection. It is very near Edinburgh city centre: yet it stands in beautiful open grounds and gardens that make it seem a million miles away. It has an upmarket opulence which makes you feel special and pampered: yet it has an open ethos and friendly service that makes it easy for anyone to feel comfortable here. And it has an incredible depth of history in the fabric of the building and the magnificent furnishings and decor: yet it somehow also manages to feel chic and, at times, contemporary. You can read our dining review for Prestonfield here.
Prestonfield started life in 1687 as the country mansion of Edinburgh's Lord Provost, Sir James Dick. The original three storey mansion was extended to the rear to provide larger reception rooms in the Georgian era, and notable visitors included Bonnie Prince Charlie and those early tourists Samuel Johnson and James Boswell, as well as most of the great and the good of the Scottish Enlightenment.
Today the hotel, further beautifully extended to the rear to provide additional guest rooms, stands in 20 acres of private gardens, secluded parkland and grounds. Yet, paradoxically, Prestonfield is just 1.4 miles as the crow flies from Edinburgh Castle and 1.3 miles from the Scottish Parliament. Edinburgh city centre is virtually on the doorstep, but feels as if it is a million miles away.
The main public rooms are a series of opulent lounges at the front of the hotel. Perhaps the most striking are the Tapestry Room, full of art and antiques and with an open fire, and the Leather Room, with original leather wall coverings and a huge amount of charm and character. The hotel's four private dining rooms can accommodate up to 50 diners or just 2: the remarkable Salon Privé, is a space tucked away in a corner of the original house just large enough for two to dine, and the venue for a number of wedding proposals...
The Georgian extension, added to provide extra space to entertain guests to the house, is home to Rhubarb, two beautifully proportioned oval rooms, one opening out either side the main corridor. The result is one of the best dining spaces you will find in Scotland. Beyond is the hotel reception. This is not usually a facility you find at the rear of a hotel's public rooms, but at Prestonfield the arrangement works very well indeed.
There are 18 en-suite guest bedrooms at Prestonfield, and 5 suites. Most of the accommodation is found in the annex tastefully added a couple of decades ago at the rear of the hotel, beyond the reception. The 18 bedrooms divide roughly evenly between luxury doubles or twins and large luxury doubles or twins. The only difference between them is, as the name suggests, one of some additional space. All the rooms at Prestonfield come with lashings of charm and character. The decor is warm and opulent, and all rooms are furnished with a charming collection of antiques and paintings or drawings. Comfortable beds and the quiet setting ensure a good night's sleep. The five suites at Prestonfield are especially stunning and offer separate sitting rooms and bedrooms.
Prestonfield's seclusion and privacy combine with its highly accessible location to make it an ideal place for a wide range of events, with the main function suite in the circular building just to the north of the hotel able to seat up to 500 people, and smaller meetings able to use the private dining rooms, one or more of the lounges, or part of Rhubarb. The romance and opulence of the interiors combine with the historic setting and 20 acres of gardens and grounds to ensure that Prestonfield is a popular wedding venue.
In terms of disabled access, the hotel notes: "Being a listed seventeenth-century building, Prestonfield presented some challenges, but we hope we have overcome them". There is a lift which gives access to the bedroom and restaurant floors, and to the ground floor which has level access from a convenient parking space and accessible toilets; and there is an accessible guest bedroom with a level entry wetroom.
The success of Prestonfield can be attributed to a number of factors, and in particular to clarity of vision and refusal to compromise by the owner and management team. Add in superb public lounges with great historical character; one of the best dining rooms you will find in Scotland; superb food; outstanding service from knowledgable and enthusiastic staff; 23 exquisite guest rooms and suites; and conference and events facilities that can seat up to 500 people, and it is no surprise to find that this is a hotel that has been awarded 5 Red Stars and 2 Rosettes by the AA and 5 Gold Stars by VisitScotland. You can read our dining review for Prestonfield here.