The Principal Hotel on Edinburgh’s plush George Street has long been a favourite of mine. It’s been welcoming guests since 1881 so they definitely know a thing or 2 about hospitality. I first stayed there around 10 years ago when it was simply called The George Hotel and I instantly fell in love with the place. Since then, the hotel has gone through quite a number of changes (with more on the horizon soon) but one thing that has never faltered is the properties charm and the exceptional customer service they offer.
A few weeks back I was asked through to the Principal to experience the new winter menu at their restaurant, The Printing Press but I couldn’t make the pilgrimage to the Principal George Street, without spending the night in one of their beautifully cosy guest-rooms. The rooms mix quite a classic design with all the modern luxuries (including a welcome G&T) that you’d expect from a 5 star residence and the great thing is that almost every room is slightly different. Originally this building was actually five standalone Georgian homes, so the culmination of these together has created lots of little nooks and crannies that make for lots of interesting features. My room offered a great view across the cities rooftops, I could even see Edinburgh Castle to my left and down towards the Forth on my right, quite magical!
Before sampling the new dinner menu at the Printing Press Bar & Kitchen, I tried a couple of their festive cocktails that have just launched in the bar. They were really inventive and I liked that they made reference to pop culture favourites like the movie Home Alone and the musical Kinky Boots (which is playing in Edinburgh throughout the festive season). If cocktails are not your bag then the bar has a very impressive of gin and whisky too so I’m sure you will be able to find your perfect pre dinner tipple in any case.
The menu in the Printing Press is classic with lots of fresh Scottish flavours included. I started with the hand-dived scallops which were lovely but I cheekily tried some of the smoked haggis, pureed neeps and crispy potatoes from another plate on the table too. This is a slight twist on the traditional Scottish dish and one that you really must try if you are visiting Scotland for the first time. They do steaks really well in here so for the main I shared the Chateaubriand which I had cooked medium. It came out perfect, so succulent and tasty and was served with chips and veg. The portion was generous too so I had no room for dessert but having has a peek at the menu they sounded lovely – next time!
The Principal is a lovely property and an ideal base for a weekend break in Edinburgh. It’s just a couple of minutes’ walk from the train station, easy to get to from the airport (via the tram) and right bang in the middle of the new town. In fact with Edinburgh being such a compact city, you can get anywhere from here with little fuss at all. Even if you’re just passing through, I’d recommend having a coffee or snack at Burr & Co, their beautiful little coffee shop which has its own entrance on George Street.
For more information on the Principal Edinburgh George Street and to book click here to visit their website.
19-21 George Street, Edinburgh