Edinburgh is a cosmopolitan city, with a thriving café culture, vibrant and varied nightlife, great shopping and a strong contemporary arts scene. There’s no off season really; festivals – from film to jazz to food and beyond – happen every month, not to mention Hogmanay, International Festival and Fringe. While there are many incredible luxury hotels in and around the city centre that offer sumptuous bedrooms and excellent facilities, a handful are just as comfortable, arguably more characterful and equally as well-placed for exploring the city, but at an affordable price for those seeking a budget stay. Here's our ultimate guide to Edinburgh hotels that won't break the bank.
STAY Central Hotel
East London comes to East Scotland at this wildly imaginative hotel in the Cowgate, Edinburgh's club and party central. Inside, it's all polished cement, brash bold graphics and rough-chic, quirky furnishings, so if you're on a budget but want something more stylish and better equipped than a hostel – and more flighty, flexible and just plain bonkers than a traditional guest house or chain hotel – then this is for you. Furnishings and facilities are not scrimped on – rooms come with all the necessities, including lots of little extras, and quality as good as you will find in any hotel.
Rooms from £55; breakfast not included, costs from £7.
Read the full review: STAY Central Hotel
The Grassmarket Hotel
This labyrinthine, Listed building is a lesson in simple but stylish comfort – and there is nothing subtle about it; from the bright, bold graphics to the clean design it's for the young… and the young-at-heart. Décor in the rooms is on-trend, with cabin trunk wardrobes, Dandy comic book wallpaper and magnetic wall maps of the city to plan your sightseeing. Comfort hasn't been overlooked either, with good quality bed linen, rainfall showers, iPod docks with speakers in bedroom and bathroom, USB charging points and room safes.
Rooms from £60; breakfast not included, costs from £10.
Read the full review: The Grassmarket Hotel
Aparthotel Adagio Edinburgh Royal Mile
This well-designed hybrid is a winning alternative to budget hotels, cunningly concealed behind the façade of the Sailors Ark building. Once inside, all is light and spacious, with bold contemporary design – deep sea blue walls and burnt orange sofas – and the occasional injection of fun. The lounge offers a mix of seating for reading (books and games provided) or socialising, and a big enclosed white courtyard for sheltered sun-basking. A shop sells drinks, snacks and microwave meals and there’s a self-service laundry, a fitness room and special rates in a car park two minutes' walk away.
Studio apartments from £80; breakfast included.
Read the full review: Aparthotel Adagio Edinburgh Royal Mile
The Lane Boutique Hotel
The Lane Boutique Hotel is situated in the heart of Morningside: southside bastion of respectability and literary home of Miss Jean Brodie. From the outside the property is a solid stone villa, the sort built for Victorian bank managers with large families, echoes of which can be found in the décor. Rooms are impeccably kept – warm, bright and bandbox fresh – and so calming they could be offered on prescription. There are no public areas for guests (you go round the corner to the pub for that) but there is a pantry with snacks, soft-drinks and elements of a do-it-yourself continental breakfast.
Rooms from £100; breakfast included.
Read the full review: The Lane Boutique Hotel
The 72 studio apartments, designed by New York architect’s Grzywinski+Pons, are all Georgian Edinburgh outside, Shoreditch inside. Pale oak floors, plenty of pastels with the odd squirt of mustard and self-conscious quirkiness creates a light-hearted but seriously on-trend feel. The heart of it all is the pistachio and vanilla coffee lounge/bar, with seating largely occupied by people tapping at their tablets, spiky plants in terracotta pots and an abundance of light. It's firmly aimed at long-term as well as short-stay guests, with a big emphasis on cultural programmes and activities.
Studio apartment from £69; breakfast not included.
Read the full review: Eden Locke
Motel One Princes Street
A budget hotel with a terrific position on Princes Street and a strong design identity. Form follows function in the rooms: a clever drop-down flap doubles as a table with coffee/tea facilities hidden behind; hanging rails take up otherwise unused space. Don’t expect a cushioned headboard or even more than one pillow per person, but you do get a really comfortable king-sized bed. The showers are pleasingly powerful (and so are the hairdryers). Location is a boon too, directly opposite Waverley Station and a two-minute walk to a tram stop.
Rooms from £69; breakfast included.
Read the full review: Motel One Princes Street
The Royal Scots Club
Think country house hotel planted into the city – but with a beguiling price tag. This private club, near Queen Street Gardens, was founded in 1919 in honour of those in the Royal Scots Regiment who died in the First World War. The hotel is comfortably grand and soothingly traditional; the sort of place you expect to find a retired Major asleep behind his newspaper, glass of whisky at hand, secretly thrilled by the new-fangled coffee machine in his bedroom. Rooms combine warm rich colours and old-fashioned opulence with up-to-date facilities (there are even rolltop baths and rainfall showers).
Rooms from £81; breakfast included.
Read the full review: The Royal Scots Club
Although the modern rooms feel slightly at odds with the grandeur of this highest of high Victorian mansions, this affordable option, on Rothesay Terrace is utterly fascinating. Somehow many of its most distinctive features have survived: a grand staircase, ornate fireplaces, marble floors, leaded windows and enough marble to furnish a mausoleum, not to mention a truly fantastic galleried library. There is a bar, and you can grab a cup of complimentary coffee or tea and a biscuit in reception, as well as borrow a laptop or a bicycle from the helpful staff.
Rooms from £80; breakfast included.
Read the full review: B+B Edinburgh
All prices cited are starting rates for double rooms, based on two people sharing, in low season. These prices are subject to change in high season and during popular holidays and events.