Hillside, so named because of its location at the foot of Calton Hill, is one of the most desirable and trendy parts of Edinburgh. Studded with laid-back cafes and bars and independent specialist shops, the area owes its vibrancy to a strong sense of community. Its proximity to the Scottish Parliament and landmarks such as Arthur's Seat only add to its appeal and The Glasshouse Hotel, with its striking architecture, is a fitting part of the landscape.
The façade is that of 150-year-old Lady Glenorch Church, while a contemporary glass structure houses the hotel itself. It is a combination that shouldn't work but does, and to arresting effect. The design of the building is such that the reception is bathed in natural light from the floor-to-ceiling windows while tasteful modern furnishings let us know we're in a boutique hotel. Our room continues in much the same vein, quietly stylish and understated, with an enormous comfortable bed given pride of place in the middle. The sleek bathroom is kitted out with Highland Aromatics toiletries, a deep bath and a shower big enough for two.
Arguably one of the best features of the hotel is its two-acre rooftop garden, on to which our — and many of the other rooms — opens. On a sunny Edinburgh day, we made a beeline for the comfortable chairs and enjoyed the bottle of Prosecco and handmade petit fours that were awaiting us on arrival.
An extensive 24-hour room-service menu makes up for the lack of dining facilities and offers a good selection of food which is a cut above the usual in-room dining fare, while breakfast is either brought to your room, or served in the restaurant overlooking Calton Hill.
The rooftop garden is an oasis of calm and a suntrap when the mood takes the weather. Rooms on the other side of the hotel have large balconies with views over the Firth of Forth.
A wee decanter of the whisky after which your suite is named is a nice touch, as is the The Snug, an honesty bar.
Despite being open for nearly ten years, many of the furnishings still look current: however, some of the décor is a little stuck in the Nineties and could do with updating.
If you like your mod cons high-tech you may be a little disappointed — analogue radios could do with being swapped out for digital and iPod docks would make a welcome addition.
Cool and comfortable with friendly and helpful service — by making a few minor design tweaks, The Glasshouse Hotel would live up to its 'Most Stylish Hotel' accolade, given by the Scottish Style Awards not long after its opening.
Double rooms start at around £150 per night. The Glasshouse Hotel, 2 Greenside Place, Edinburgh EH1 3AA (+44 (0)131 525 8200; theetoncollection.co.uk)