In Travel

Edinburgh’s Historic Church Turned Five-Star (Whisky-Soaked) Hotel

Nothing screams Scottish opulence like a 170-year-old church turned luxury hotel.

As of 2003, Edinburgh’s famed Lady Glenorchy Church was officially converted into The Glasshouse Hotel, morphing ancient Edinburgh history into a modern-day icon.

Now regarded as one of the city’s most historic and luxurious lodging establishments, The Glasshouse is unmissable for those looking to see Edinburgh in style. For many, the defining factor of an unforgettable hotel stay is the desire to rest within its walls rather than explore a given cityscape.

This rings true at The Glasshouse, which brings together all of the best service, gastronomy and top-notch whisky that Scotland has to offer. The icing on the cake is the staff’s welcoming and unmatchable hospitality, which is perhaps the only thing warmer than the hotel’s on-site indoor fire pit.

The rooms

The Glasshouse is comprised of 77 on-site rooms, 17 of which are high-end private suites. Each suite is named after a particular Scotch Whisky or region, which pays homage to the country’s world-renowned booze-based influence. Four premium suites are also available for those looking to lounge lavishly.

Marked by king-size beds, waterfall showers, and bathtubs large enough to share, these rooms are perfect for couples looking for a bit of extra space. The premium suites are fittingly named after Scotland’s top-tier whisky regions: Highland, Lowland, Islay and Speyside – only the best for its premier accommodations.

Rooms start at £200 per night and are equipped with floor-to-ceiling windows, which offer some of the most breathtaking views of Edinburgh. Rooms with on-site terraces are also available, as well as accommodations with direct access to the hotel’s two-acre rooftop set against the dramatic backdrop of Calton Hill, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The amenities

Every room at The Glasshouse comes with plush bedding and toiletries from esteemed brand Aromatherapy Associates, as well as heated bathroom floors.

Booking directly through the hotel comes with a complimentary bottle of Prosecco, discounted parking, 20 per cent discount on all food consumed on-site and the lowest guaranteed room rates possible.

For those looking to stay fit during their stay, discounted passes to the Nuffield Gym (located just next door in the Omni Centre) are available for £10 per day.

For guests of one of The Glasshouse’s numerous suites, drams of whisky, specifically the one that your suite is named after, arrive in the early evening. At turndown service, a traditional Scottish poem and dried flower are left on the pillowcase. These personalised touches add another layer of unique hospitality to the overall hotel experience.

The food and drinks

glasshouse hotel

Guests can indulge in modern-day Scottish Cuisine at The Glasshouse’s Brasserie or get cosy at on-site bar, The Snug. Traditional Scottish breakfast is served every morning in the Brasserie from 7-11AM, equipped with breathtaking sunrise views over Calton Hill.

The Glasshouse’s on-site chefs source fresh and local ingredients to create the best seasonal menu possible at both of the hotel’s dining options. The kitchen’s curated seafood is sourced from quaysides on the Atlantic and North Sea, while all meat and poultry is supplied by Campbell Brothers.

For cosy on-site (and all-day) dining, The Snug is just the ticket. Equipped with numerous tables, velvet booths, and an open indoor fireplace, The Snug provides the perfect backdrop for taking a coffee break, snacking on something light, or best of all, sipping on a dram of your preferred whisky. Scottish Afternoon Tea is also available daily from 1-4PM.

glasshouse hotel

Fireplace aside, The Snug’s most iconic feature is its unmissable whisky collection. The Glasshouse now boasts over 160 Scotch whisky references, and the number is only growing. Later this year, guests will also be able to try The Glasshouse’s very own YTL Whisky, which will be available at all YTL properties within the United Kingdom.

Whether a dram, a flight, or a whisky-based cocktail is what gets you going, sipping your beverage inside of The Snug, particularly beside the fire pit, takes ‘warming up with a glass of whisky’ to a whole ‘nother level.

On warmer days, imbibing on the sunny roof garden with a premium cigar is simply spectacular. The Snug is open from 11AM until midnight, though late-night diners, fear not – 24-hour room service is also available.

The location 

glasshouse hotel

Whether arriving via plane, train, or automobile, accessing The Glasshouse is as easy as it gets. The hotel is a short 10-minute walk from Waverley Station, and the hotel tram is just across the street. A taxi ride to Edinburgh airport takes approximately 30 minutes.

For city explorers, The Glasshouse’s location is as good as it gets. Bustling Princes Street and the Royal Mile are both five minutes away on foot, and the famed Edinburgh Castle is just a short 1.5 kilometer walk.

For those looking to work their legs, Calton Hill is located directly behind the hotel (0.3 kilometers), perfect for an afternoon climb – and earning that early evening flight of whisky, of course.

(All images: The Glasshouse Hotel / supplied) 

Published 24 February, 2020