The Balmoral's JK Rowling suite: Luxury with a touch of magic
The ultimate stay in Edinburgh for Harry Potter obsessives
Situated at the prestigious address of No 1 Prince's Street, The Balmoral Hotel is one of the Scottish capital's most iconic and imposing buildings. Kilted men welcome you at the door and as you enter you're immediately enveloped by the sweet scent of the breathtaking flower arrangements that dominate the lobby.
Over the past few years, the landmark hotel has undergone a stunning multi-million pound refurbishment and the jewel in their renovation crown is the purple-doored JK Rowling suite. The stylish rooms facing the castle have also been renovated to portray a Scottish woodland theme, but it's the Harry Potter author-themed luxury room that's the true star of the show.
JK Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was first published twenty ago. The seemingly modest yarn, whose protagonist is a schoolboy magician, went on to spawn a hugely lucrative series of follow-up novels, as well as films, stage shows and theme parks. Now it has spawned tailored luxury stays at one of Edinburgh's best hotels.
The Balmoral's link to the billionaire Hogwarts creator is an intriguing one – the hotel is where Rowling finished the last book in the series. In search of peace and quiet while writing Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, Rowling checked in to the hotel.
Recognising the near-fanatical devotion of legions of Potterheads both at home and abroad, the suite is designed as a sort of shrine to the Scottish author. Bookcases are crammed with Rowling's books, alongside the works of some of her favourite authors. The suite is decorated with owls and is the perfect place for a game of 'spot and attribute the Patronus' (if you don't know what this means, the suite may not be for you).
The hotel has also embraced its Potterlinks in the bar downstairs where it serves magical cocktails that include a Bloody Mary Jelly with Celery Air and Smoked Butter Beer (which I can confirm is delicious). Guests in the suite can also tour the streets of Edinburgh on a PotterTrail, which is a must for any serious Hogwarts fan. You'll discover how Rowling was influenced by Edinburgh's history and can visit some of the cafes where she did most of her writing.
If you're not a Harry Potter fan don't despair; there are plenty of things you will love at The Balmoral. In the whisky bar 'Scotch' you're surrounded by wall-to-wall bottles of Scotland's greatest export. Bartenders who describe themselves as 'walking menus' offer advice on what you might like to try. The dinner menu is also excellent – the hotel says that people travel for miles to buy sides of the Balmoral's very own smoked salmon and it's easy to see why. I was more excited by the smoked salmon trolley than I have ever been by a trolley laden with desserts.
Whether it's your first or 51st time visiting Edinburgh, the views, quality of service and food and drink at The Balmoral will delight muggles, witches and wizards alike.
The Magical Experience suite package at Edinburgh's Balmoral Hotel is available from £2,500. The newly-renovated super deluxe rooms that face the castle start at £450 per night for room only