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The new Dunstane House is unveiled as Edinburgh celebrates the 70th anniversary of its iconic festival

Dunstane House
This month, the Dunstane Houses proudly unveiled the new look of Dunstane House, a 16-room William Playfair-inspired Victorian town house in Edinburgh’s elegant West End. Following a six-month, million-pound renovation project, the re-branded, re-energised Dunstane House combines understated luxury accommodation with an inviting all-day restaurant and stylish cocktail bar, a first-of-its kind for Edinburgh.

The relaunch is part of a wider journey for the family-run Dunstane Houses, owned by Shirley and Derek Mowat, set to complete at the end of this year when twin property, Hampton House, unveils a further 8 renovated bedrooms and lounge.  

Variously occupied by merchants, musicians, doctors, distillers, bankers and newspapermen over the last 160 years, the Dunstane Houses have witnessed the evolution of modern-day Edinburgh. Today they begin a new journey as the city’s newest hangout for locals and the most highly anticipated revamp for visitors to the city.  

Honouring the owners’ Orkney Islands roots whilst highlighting the building’s Victorian history, interior designer, Hannah Lohan, — whose previous projects include The Fish and La Escondida — has created a contemporary urban sanctuary with an authentic Scottish soul. Subtly mixing the old and the new, the hotel’s evocative interiors combine the neoclassical design of old-town Edinburgh with a modern approach to pared-down luxury, creating the welcoming feel of a country house hotel; close to the action but away from the bustle.  

Neutral interiors punctuated by bold colours celebrate traditional features like stucco work, original fireplaces and ornate cornicing in the lounge, whilst bespoke furniture including over-sized arm chairs and deep blue velvet sofas create a sense of both decadence and comfort. Throughout the hotel, artworks curated by local artist, Nicky Brooks, of the iconic Red Door Gallery on Edinburgh’s Victoria Street, depict scenes of Edinburgh and Orkney, with a special Orkney collection curated by students of Edinburgh College of Art on show in the lounge.  

The three varying room types include two styles of suite, offering choices for independent travellers, couples and families. The largest room category, the light-filled ‘Dunstane House’ Suites, individually celebrate their Victorian past with features including bold Jane Churchill peacock print wallpaper, elaborate ornate chandeliers, reclaimed century-old wardrobes and free-standing copper bathtubs. Hailing from Iran and Afghanistan, original Persian rugs bedeck each room in homage to Edinburgh’s historic position on the Silk Road trail.  Throughout the hotel, traditional Orkney tweed, Scottish wool throws, stone-topped coffee tables and rustic muted tones continue to celebrate the Mowat’s Orkney heritage.  

A new, carefully considered all-day dining menu served in the lounge will offer residents and locals the finest Scottish produce with signature dishes including Cullen Skink, Crispy Ayrshire Clash Farm Pork Belly, Tender Seared Orkney Scallops and the Dunstane’s own Whisky-Slaked Cranachan, a traditional Scottish dessert made with whipped cream, whisky, honey and raspberries.  

The adjoining Ba’ Bar, named after the feisty street football game traditionally played in Orkney, has a contrasting deep blue interior with a sophisticated members’ club feel. Tartan curtains and a custom-made, dark wood bar create an intimate feel. The perfect setting for cocktails, Ba’ Bar’s tipples include Gin, Rhubarb and Pepper tonic, Whisky Spice and Ecosse Colada, as well as one of the widest selections of whisky in Edinburgh, carving a new destination for in-the-know locals and visitors alike.  

The hotel’s concierge will be on hand to fast-track guests into Edinburgh’s best restaurants, shows and museums, all just a short 10-minute walk from the hotel. Guided tours in one of owner Derek Mowat’s vintage cars will be available on request, and can take guests through old town Edinburgh, out to East Lothian or over to Fife, to explore some of Scotland’s beautiful wilderness spots.  

The Dunstane Houses’ welcoming, neighbourhood spirit and residential feel is a breath of fresh air in Edinburgh’s hotel scene, creating a unique boutique hotel experience in the city. Its intimate atmosphere and central location make it the perfect spot for exclusive family take-overs, events, business meetings or private parties.

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