Balmoral Hotel

(North British Hotel)

Balmoral Hotel and Waverley Station, Edinburgh
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Balmoral Hotel and Waverley Station, Edinburgh

With the exclusive address of No. 1 Princes Street, the grand Balmoral Hotel is located on the corner of North Bridge, while its 59-m (195-foot) high clock-tower is one of Edinburgh's best-known landmarks. With 168 rooms and 20 suites, the 5-star Balmoral represents one of the city's top hotels. Originally known as the North British Hotel, this fine example of Edwardian opulence was opened in 1902 by the North British Railway Company above their Waverley Station terminus. The work of W. Hamilton Beattie (1842-98), the building mixes Gothic with Classical details. Inside the level of decoration is as would be expected for a luxury hotel, although the spaces are functional rather than extravagant and the domed Neo-Georgian Palm Court is disappointing, although the high-tea served there is an Edinburgh institution. It remained a railway hotel until it was finally sold by the state-owned British Transport Hotels in 1981, having suffered years of decline. Following a three-year closure for a £23 million refurbishment, the hotel opened in 1991 with its new name. In 1996 it was acquired by Sir Rocco Forte, forming the first property in his exclusive pan-European hotel Group.

Notable visitors include the comedy duo Laurel and Hardy, actresses Sophia Loren and Elizabeth Taylor, musicians Paul and Linda McCartney, and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. On 11th January 2007, it was here that the author J.K. Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - the seventh and final instalment in the Harry Potter series. To mark the occasion, the author signed an antique marble bust of Hermes in the room in which she stayed, now known as the J.K. Rowling Suite.

The clock on the tower is set three minutes fast throughout most of the year to ensure passengers do not miss their trains. However, on the 31st of December the correct time is restored for one day only, ensuring the New Year is celebrated accurately.

Use the tabs on the right of this page to see other parts of this entry arrow

If you have found this information useful please consider making
a donation to help maintain and improve this resource. More info...

By using our site you agree to accept cookies, which help us serve you better