Nestled in the shadow of Arthur's Seat and on the edges of Holyrood Park and Duddingston Golf Club, Prestonfield is set in an unassuming residential area of the City of Edinburgh. The very epitome of theatrical opulence, unapologetic luxury and decadence is the signature-style of hotelier James Thomson who made his name with the Witchery by the Castle, his flagship hotel and restaurant of the same name.
As we pull up the long drive, the grounds are up-lit with twinkling lights and the glow from the windows promises a warm and cosy welcome. We are greeted by a kilted-doorman who leads us down the hall to reception. Dark wood; deep plums, mauves and black; swathed, luxurious velvet drapes; a sumptuous carpet, deep underfoot; soft candle-light — if heaven is a place on earth we appear to have found it.
Our room continues in the same vein: an enormous carved wooden bed is covered in thick down pillows, crisp white bedding and velvet throw, while the en-suite bathroom features a marble Victorian suite complete with shower head the size of a dinner plate. The room is not without mod cons, and a large flat-screen television is discreetly hidden in an ornate wooden cabinet while a Bose sound-system allows you to add music to the proceedings.
There are several public rooms. The Tapestry Room was created by craftsmen working on the nearby Palace of Holyrood House in 1687 and amongst the ancient tapestries, gilded antiques and ancestral portraits you'll find a roaring log fire. The Leather Room is panelled with gilded 17th century leather from Cordoba, the Yellow Room features tactile golden velvet walls and gilded black lacquer furniture and the Whisky Room is filled with antler furniture and equestrian portraits. To say these rooms have character would be something of an understatement.
The restaurant, Rhubarb, offers contemporary British cuisine, using Scottish produce locally sourced from artisan suppliers, and boasts an impressive wine list. Private dining is also available in a choice of four very unique and dramatically styled rooms.
Impeccable service, and the cocktails we enjoyed before dinner were amongst the best I've ever had.
Quite honestly, not being able to stay for longer.
Prestonfield is an absolute haven for those wishing to hideaway from real life and pretend to be monarch for a day — even the peacocks that strut around the grounds have a regal-air.
Double rooms start from £295, including breakfast. Prestonfield House, Priestfield Road, Edinburgh EH16 5UT (+44 (0)131 225 7800; prestonfield.com)