Edinburgh’s Gleneagles Townhouse: A metropolis resort that is pricey however near perfection

It’s by no means a good suggestion to enter a resort evaluate with a preconceived notion, however I did simply that earlier this month heading into Gleneagles Townhouse — a cross between a Soho Home-style membership membership and a historic luxurious resort within the coronary heart of Edinburgh, Scotland.

The brand new Townhouse model is a part of Ennismore, a way of life resort assortment of which Paris-based Accor is a majority stakeholder. Previous to Accor taking a majority stake final yr, Ennismore was in all probability finest identified to American audiences for The Hoxton resort model. However a number of different Accor manufacturers like SLS, Mondrian and Delano now fall underneath the Ennismore umbrella. Moreover, the Townhouse is an offshoot of Gleneagles, an ultra-high-end Scottish nation property resort about an hour north of Edinburgh.

If the unique Gleneagles is about spa remedies, sporting and different actions finest loved whereas decked out in Barbour style, the Gleneagles Townhouse is the sultry metropolis sibling that is aware of find out how to have enjoyable into the wee hours of the morning — whereas retaining the standard design and repair components that make the unique Gleneagles so particular within the first place.

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I need to admit I went in with a wholesome dose of skepticism. Ennismore founder and co-CEO Sharan Pasricha has been making the journey convention rounds in current months boasting of how his firm does life-style resorts.

“Gleneagles Townhouse is a very thrilling development of the model after 100 years,” Pasricha (who was not conscious that I might be reviewing Gleneagles Townhouse) informed me at a New York College resort convention this summer time. “Our design group and our [operations] groups and our artistic groups have accomplished an exceptional job to type of re-imagine an city oasis for Gleneagles in what’s Gleneagles Townhouse.”

I’m at all times a bit of curious how a resort with a membership membership part can hold non-member visitors glad whereas cordoning off sure elements of the property only for members.

After two nights at Gleneagles Townhouse, I need to say that whereas Pasricha is perhaps boastful, he isn’t flawed. The property presents a stellar metropolis resort expertise with out being stuffy or impersonal.

The one draw back? All this luxurious comes with a excessive price ticket.


Reserving particulars

Once I began fascinated with reservations, Gleneagles Townhouse was not displaying up as an choice to guide by way of the Accor Stay Limitless loyalty platform, neither is it on reserving platforms like American Specific Positive Inns + Resorts, although it’s a member of Main Inns of the World, so should you’re a member of that affiliation’s Leaders Membership, you possibly can guide by way of there and earn factors and perks.

Accor Stay Limitless loyalists should not maintain their breath, both, sadly. An organization spokesperson informed me by way of e mail this week that almost all Ennismore manufacturers (Mama Shelter, 21c Museum resorts, Delano, SLS, Hyde, SO/, Mondrian, 25hours, Tribe, Jo&Joe) are presently collaborating in ALL, and The Hoxton is anticipated to combine subsequent yr. The Gleneagles model household is not anticipated to combine into ALL, and additional particulars weren’t offered.

I ended up reserving straight by way of the resort’s personal web site for a charge that was initially 550 British kilos an evening (round $676 on the time) for a Nook Room, essentially the most inexpensive lodging class on the resort.

Nevertheless, because of the pound plummeting in worth, by the point I arrived, a City Room (one tier up) averaged a barely extra inexpensive $646 per night time (though the nightly charge was 550 kilos the primary night time and 625 kilos the subsequent), together with taxes in addition to breakfast for 2 every morning. For comparability, City Rooms have been going for 625 kilos (about $767) an evening after I initially booked. Charges for the most important room on the resort — dubbed the Grasp Room — get as excessive as 850 kilos ($954) an evening, per the resort’s reserving platform, for later this yr and into the spring of 2023.

Vacationers ought to know {that a} deposit equal to the nightly charge is taken on the time of reserving and every part else is settled at checkout.


Getting there

My evaluate keep happened on the finish of a weeklong journey in Europe and the UK with my husband and some associates, and we drove into Edinburgh from the Scottish Highlands (ensuring to cease on the authentic Gleneagles for lunch alongside the way in which to make a comparability).

Nevertheless, the resort is a couple of half-hour drive from Edinburgh Airport and value us about 20 kilos ($25) in taxi fare the morning we flew out. Gleneagles Townhouse can also be solely two blocks away from the Edinburgh Waverley prepare station, the town’s primary rail hub.

Standout options

My main reference level for Edinburgh’s luxurious resort scene heading into this journey was The Balmoral, the place J.Okay. Rowling famously completed writing the “Harry Potter” collection from a collection. Simply from seeing that resort and its imposing clock tower across the nook and understanding a bit of little bit of the historical past of Gleneagles, I assumed Gleneagles Townhouse was going to be an expensive, albeit stuffy, type of place.

Strolling as much as the resort after dropping our rental automobile off on the prepare station, I used to be impressed by the breathtaking stonework and structure of the resort, which previously housed the British Linen Financial institution and finally the Royal Financial institution of Scotland. Gleneagles Townhouse actually is aware of find out how to make a primary impression, with ornate columns and classical statues adorning the facade’s roofline.

  • The Gleneagles Townhouse workers is by far among the best within the enterprise that I’ve encountered, particularly in the course of the pandemic restoration. Whether or not it was small particulars like remembering I had grapefruit the day prior in my gin and tonic or placing collectively a breakfast bag for us to take to the airport for a really early flight that departed nicely earlier than the resort restaurant opened, this can be a group that is aware of find out how to ship service with a smile. It felt like staying at a pal’s very stylish dwelling within the coronary heart of the town.
  • The Spence’s eating room is beautiful, with an enormous overhead dome, columns and comfy seating areas that make the big area really feel one way or the other intimate. The number of chef Jonny Wright’s menus all through the day — from hearty egg dishes within the morning to juicy deer haunches and roast pumpkin and feta filo tarts at dinner — means visitors are unlikely to get tired of typical resort fare.
  • The visitor rooms are cozy in each sense of the phrase. Thick, fluffy inexperienced robes and slippers have been snug to lounge in earlier than mattress whereas inexperienced tiles within the lavatory continued the colour theme. With solely 33 rooms throughout all the resort, it makes for a really unique keep — even should you aren’t a part of the Gleneagles Townhouse membership membership
  • It’s onerous to beat the St. Andrew Sq. location of the resort, as it’s handy to the prepare station in addition to a brief stroll from the Royal Mile and the Previous City part of the town. Friends can soak within the skyline and even the Firth of Forth within the distance whereas sipping drinks at Lamplighters, the cocktail bar on the resort rooftop.


  • The resort is unfold throughout two buildings which might be joined collectively, and this makes for some circuitous tromps up and down stairs or by way of varied elevators to get to sure visitor rooms, or the fitness center and spa amenities.
  • Nightly charges are excessive, even for the attic-like Nook Rooms, which have slanted ceilings and minimal views. Even the bigger rooms aren’t notably spacious. Excessive-end furnishings make these lodging cozy — however so does the small sq. footage.
  • There’s a sure a part of the resort reserved for members of the Gleneagles Townhouse membership, and these are rumored to be a number of the most lovely elements of the property. Alas, I couldn’t confirm this because of my non-member standing and “simply” being a resort visitor. Given how a lot enjoyable I had at Lamplighters, The Spence and even within the health amenities, I by no means thought I used to be getting the quick finish of the Gleneagles Townhouse stick — particularly since membership begins at 1,100 kilos ($1,240) for these underneath the age of 33 and jumps to 2,200 kilos ($2,480) for these 33 and over. It is barely increased should you resolve to pay month-to-month. That’ll get you entry to issues like a members-only lounge, rooftop bar, coworking area, visitor room reductions and invitations to unique occasions.

The vibe

Gleneagles often is the grande dame of this small-but-growing model household, however Gleneagles Townhouse is the trendy upstart that also is aware of find out how to execute luxurious (and may be extra simply replicated in different outposts all over the world, not like the 850-acre authentic within the Scottish countryside).

The service tradition on show was informal but skilled, very similar to workers uniforms of polo shirts and slacks. There was nothing snooty in regards to the ambiance, both, though a spot like this might in all probability get away with a complicated vibe bordering on off-putting. As an alternative, it is very approachable and hospitable because of pleasant interactions and a homey decor aesthetic … that’s, if your own home have been a chic Edinburgh pied-a-terre.

There was a various mixture of vacationers from younger households to older {couples}, in addition to a sprinkling of women weekend teams. I did get excited by the unintended style present traipsing by way of The Spence on our final night time. There was an engagement social gathering going down within the again backyard, and it felt like I used to be in an episode of “The Solely Manner Is Essex”: large hair and large personalities. Whereas approachable and unfussy, this nonetheless is a see-and-be-seen type of place.

The room

It was fairly an upstairs-downstairs journey to get to my City Room. Fortunately, a Townhouse staffer walked us from the foyer down a hallway and down a brief stairway to a different room that related to an elevator that took us again up a degree to the place the room was. Whereas this would possibly make you suppose the property isn’t very accessible, there are accessible visitor rooms nearer to the foyer reached by way of elevator and never requiring such a winding route.


The staffer shortly confirmed us the ropes of the room, from find out how to work the lights to the place to stow baggage (which one other attendant carried to our room). Our early night arrival meant the room had already obtained turndown service, with the lighting dimmed, shades drawn and slippers and robes out. If we hadn’t already scored a reservation for the night at The Spence, I might have been more than pleased to leap into the comfy mattress.

Whereas many luxurious resorts as of late seem like leaning into minimalism and brighter colours, Gleneagles Townhouse goes in a richer, darker coloration course.

This can be a metropolis resort, however the lavatory wallpaper of looking canine and greenery was clearly a nod to the model’s authentic embrace of outside sports activities. Actually, inexperienced was a number one hue all through, from darker glazed tiles to extra summery shades of paint on the bed room partitions.


“Ought to we re-tile our lavatory with inexperienced?” I’ve requested my husband a number of occasions since our departure — together with hinting how heated flooring like these within the resort lavatory could be so nice for our winters in Boston. Let’s simply say I’ll want to put in writing fairly a number of extra resort tales earlier than that enterprise is paid for.

The mattress was inviting with a thick comforter, fluffy pillows and cover crown headboard lined with pink tassels. There was a darkish wood chest of drawers for storing baggage and garments whereas a big piece of cabinetry reverse the mattress and underneath a big flat-screen tv housed the minibar, Nespresso machine, tea kettle and a welcome word and field of candies from the Gleneagles group.


Darkish wood flooring, golden curtains, a grey headboard and a feathered chandelier added good pops of coloration in distinction to the dominant inexperienced. It could sound like lots occurring all of sudden, nevertheless it all pulled collectively properly in a refined means.

The toilet was my favourite half: An infinite rainfall bathe head packed a punch with water strain within the spacious walk-in bathe. As talked about, the lavatory flooring tiles have been heated — nice to stroll on in the course of the crisp mornings of our autumn keep and sure a significantly better amenity throughout Edinburgh winters. The resort makes use of Scotch Heather lavatory facilities, sadly in bigger bottles, that means there have been no minibottles of those merchandise to take dwelling as a memento to my visitor lavatory.


Clearly, I’m not the one aficionado of resort lavatory facilities, because the Gleneagles group had a word within the visitor room noting that any toiletries discovered lacking could be charged to a closing invoice and inspiring visitors to purchase a contemporary provide down within the foyer. What toiletry social gathering poopers.

Again within the bed room, I discovered different nice touches like a hi fi to a easy jazz channel by turndown housekeeping, in addition to ceramic blue and white studying lamps on the nightstand. Trash and recycling bins have been hid inside a leather-bound container. There have been ample electrical retailers that included USB-A ports on each side of the mattress to maintain gadgets powered up throughout a keep (simply bear in mind to carry your U.Okay. energy adapter for any non-USB charging).

The view was not the best from our room — mainly we appeared over the roof and at different elements of the resort. It did make me marvel simply how dangerous the vistas are from the Nook Rooms, as these are marketed as not having any views in any respect.

Turndown service every night time was extremely attentive, from tidying garments that we left on prime of our baggage to leaving out glasses of water for us to maintain by the mattress. We even returned one night time to see a stuffed animal we obtained for our niece and had left on the desk was now holding courtroom on the turned-down mattress — a cute, humorous contact to make us really feel much more at dwelling.

Foods and drinks

Eating is clearly an space the place the Gleneagles group excels. The Spence is each a lovely area in addition to a scrumptious expertise. As soon as once more, I anticipated a level of stuffiness based mostly on how refined the eating room was: elaborate crown moldings, an opulent dome and hovering columns all pulled collectively within the middle by a bar adorned with profuse greenery and dramatic lighting.


The various menu is served by a pleasant, attentive wait workers well-versed in what The Spence is cooking up together with humorous tales that when once more made it really feel like we have been staying at a hospitable pal’s dwelling reasonably than an over-the-top luxurious resort. We met associates for dinner the primary night time, and it enabled us to get a real style of The Spence.

We deliberately confirmed up a bit of early to present us time to sit down on the bar in the midst of the restaurant and do some people-watching. Feeling fabulous amid the group at Edinburgh’s latest resort, we had glasses of Veuve Clicquot Champagne for 17 kilos ($19) apiece to kick off supper. Not essentially the most authentic bottle of fizz within the Champagne world, nevertheless it was enjoyable to sip whereas having fun with the ambiance of The Spence.


As soon as we made our method to the desk, a beef tartare (or “spicy uncooked beef,” as The Spence calls it — see? Unpretentious even in verbiage) for 16 kilos ($18) and ceviche for 21 kilos ($23.50) kicked off the meal. We have been consuming on the later aspect at 9 p.m., so a beef filet for 40 kilos ($45) that had been really useful was offered out by the point we put our order in. The waiter really useful my pal and I cut up the chateaubriand for 2 — which got here with hollandaise, roasted tomatoes and fries — off the sharing menu for 85 kilos ($95). It was an excellent suggestion, because the meat was seasoned completely and got here out with pretty flavoring cooked medium. All of us shared a roasted candy potato aspect for five kilos ($5.50) that got here with chimichurri and miso-honey butter.


Others on the desk loved a corn-fed hen breast for 25 kilos ($28) that got here with a confit leg scorching pot (mainly, the hen and seasonal greens have been bathed in a gravy) in addition to a seared salmon for 25 kilos ($28) with squash and different seasonal greens with an herb sauce. Each the hen and salmon obtained their sauce baths on the desk — a pleasant flourish of presentation for dishes that have been juicy and filling.

Breakfast at The Spence was a lovely begin to the day. Nevertheless, there have been some dishes that stood out greater than others. Whereas included in our nightly charge, this was no mere resort breakfast buffet. Starting from wholesome juices to hearty egg dishes, The Spence had one thing for everybody to bask in for a very powerful meal of the day. This keep got here on the finish of a really busy week of journey, so it was good to kick off the meal with an immune-boosting turmeric shot with cayenne, lemon and ginger earlier than transferring on to mains.


I had a “whole eggclipse” meal comprised of eggs cooked to order (I went with crispy fried) and grilled cornbread. My born-in-the-South self was tickled to see this on a menu in Scotland.

This is able to normally value 7.50 kilos ($8), and I then added three sides (spinach, grilled halloumi and sausages) that may value 11 kilos ($12) for these paying out of pocket. It was customary breakfast fare and nothing groundbreaking, however my husband’s eggs shakshuka for 9.50 kilos ($10.50) was the winner of the meal — runny eggs, tomato and harissa sauce and labneh made for a spicy begin to the day (and made me a bit of jealous I didn’t suppose to order it for myself).

Whereas The Spence wasn’t low-cost by any stretch (although breakfast was included and really inexpensive even should you have been paying out of pocket), I did discover the meals to be considerably extra bang for the buck than dinner on the just lately renovated Park Hyatt Chicago and nearly another high-end resort restaurant that I’ve been to in current reminiscence. Moreover, it was good to see a wine record that had fairly a number of choices for underneath 100 kilos ($110) — an rising rarity at resort bars and eating places. The Spence supplied a plethora of choices in any respect value factors, beginning at 28 kilos ($30) and transferring as much as 600 kilos ($680) for a bottle of 2003 Dom Perignon.

Bear in mind, the pound severely tanked in worth whereas the greenback remained sturdy once we have been there, so costs will not be as inexpensive for American vacationers sooner or later.

The opposite eating and ingesting spotlight of the keep was Lamplighters, the rooftop bar on the resort that’s open solely to members of the membership and resort visitors. As a result of it isn’t open to most of the people, Lamplighters felt like a particular retreat every of the 3 times I visited.


Bartenders and servers remembered small particulars about how everybody with me took their drinks, from the kind of gin we most popular to numerous fruit garnish preferences. Relying in your gin choice, an ordinary G&T at Lamplighters ranged from 9 to 14 kilos ($10-$15). A DJ performed music on the Friday night time we arrived whereas the Saturday afternoon crowd appeared extra like stylish mother-daughter duos unwinding with a drink after a day of buying subsequent door on the Harvey Nichols division retailer. I primarily caught to gin and tonics whereas at Lamplighters, which additionally supplied a play on the traditional cocktail with a libation known as “Incandescence” (13 kilos, or $14), which had Tanqueray, Rinquinquin peach liqueur, grapefruit, pink peppercorn and tonic.


Facilities and repair

The group at Gleneagles Townhouse reached out a couple of month earlier than my arrival to ask if I had any requests for my keep. Sadly, I forgot about this and solely remembered to make a dinner reservation at The Spence the day of my arrival, one thing the group fortunately managed to do and even initially snagged me a prime-time reservation at 7 p.m. (It was because of our personal delays with stopping on the authentic Gleneagles that made us push it again to 9 p.m.). The Gleneagles group additionally inspired me to go to the Telling Rooms Wine Bar, paying homage to a library and French nation kitchen, simply off the aspect of The Spence — sadly, our later dinner reservation did not permit us time to pop in. This money bar is open to resort visitors in addition to members.


The group at reception was very joyful to assist with something from making dinner suggestions round city to providing recommendations on what sights to discover. I used to be joyful to see the suggestions weren’t simply customary high-end locations most resort concierges normally level out. As an alternative, waiters at The Spence doled out recommendation on even off-the-beaten-path spots to seize a curry as an alternative of simply telling us to go to Dishoom throughout the road.

As a result of I used to be interested in what elements of the resort have been open to visitors and which have been just for membership members, I requested a number of members of the workers. One had me briefly panicked when it sounded just like the fitness center and spa have been just for membership members, however a entrance desk attendant was fast to notice the one restricted space was one flooring up. Once more, this would possibly annoy some individuals, nevertheless it was fairly faraway from every part else occurring on the resort, so I actually didn’t really feel all that disregarded.

The fitness center and spa space, collectively known as The Robust Rooms, have been very nicely stocked by resort fitness center requirements and felt like a stand-alone health facility that may match proper in inside any fashionable metropolis neighborhood. Treadmills, free weights, machines, spinning bikes and a health studio now make up what was the financial institution vault. Whereas I didn’t indulge, Gleneagles Townhouse presents a wide range of face and physique remedies within the spa. Facial remedies begin at 115 kilos ($130) for a 50-minute session whereas massages start at 95 kilos ($107) for a 50-minute personalised remedy.

For these seeking to refresh after a exercise or spa go to, there have been additionally very fairly hydration stations (suppose a bit of sunshine wooden cabinetry that may simply work as a backdrop on an episode of Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa” collection) with farmhouse sinks, reusable water bottles and dry and funky towels.

Out and about

The Royal Mile main as much as Edinburgh Fort is a couple of 10-minute stroll from the resort. I appreciated being a bit of faraway from this space, as there was a Scottish independence rally that weekend that made issues a bit of noisy the nearer you bought to this sightseeing stretch. However it’s a formidable boulevard to soak in Edinburgh’s structure and finally attain Edinburgh Fort, which has stood watch over the town for greater than 900 years.

The world straight round Gleneagles Townhouse is a high-end space for each buying and eating. Harvey Nichols subsequent to the resort is just one piece of the buying pie, as close by Princes Road and George Road each supplied a mixture of designer outlets, tony boutiques and extra mainstream retailers like Primark and Marks & Spencer. The close by Princes Road Gardens was a pleasant place to walk and seize Instagram-worthy pictures of Edinburgh Fort whereas Scotch drinkers will benefit from the Johnnie Walker Expertise (half reward store, half cocktail bar), additionally on Princes Road.



Whereas the resort would possibly appear to be a warren of stairways, most areas of the property are accessible by way of a wheelchair-accessible entrance and elevator. There are visitor rooms with accessible loos by request.


It was 3:45 within the morning once we sadly had to take a look at and head to the airport for our flight again to Boston. There was no purpose for the workers on the Gleneagles Townhouse to go above and past at this hour of the morning, nor would now we have anticipated them to.

But, the Gleneagles group was nonetheless at it, ensuring our go to was satisfying up till we hopped into our taxi. Wake-up calls and arranging airport transportation often is the baseline, however the group additionally made certain to pack us to-go juices and coffees because the resort restaurant was solely simply starting to prep for a busy day forward.

It was a reminder up till departure of simply how attentive this crew actually is. Whereas the query stays if the Gleneagles model can hold a agency grip on its status for stellar customer support as extra resorts get added to the portfolio, its first metropolis resort foray is a powerful begin for a model I anticipate will shortly turn into one many elements of the world covet and wish to have open in their very own yard.

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