The Balmoral, a Rocco Forte Hotel in Edinburgh, is undergoing a multimillion pound refurbishment that will be unveiled in summer 2017. The three-month modernisation project is led by Olga Polizzi, Rocco Forte Hotels’ Director of Building & Design, and sister to Sir Rocco Forte. For over a century, The Balmoral has found a home at Edinburgh’s most prestigious address, No. 1 Princes Street. As Rocco Forte Hotels celebrates its 20th anniversary, it is only right that the attention is turned towards the hotel that marked the beginning of Sir Rocco’s distinguished portfolio in 1997.
The hotel is one of Scotland’s most recognised landmarks and its majestic clock tower dominates the capital’s skyline, while its castle views are some of the city’s most coveted. Focusing on these views, the hotel’s west wing, including its 37 castle-facing rooms, Deluxe Suites and the renowned JK Rowling Suite, is undergoing a restyle along with its three main function suites.
The Balmoral began life as a grand railway hotel in 1902 and Olga Polizzi, celebrated for her contemporary twists on traditional design, is respectful of the hotel’s history and location. Authenticity is at the heart of Rocco Forte Hotels and for Olga Polizzi it is fundamental to the “enlivening of some of the best rooms overlooking the castle and the Sir Walter Scott monument” – the largest monument to a writer in the world.
The new rooms and suites will embody a Scottish woodland theme that adds a touch of magic and romance to any stay in the city. A colour palette of blues, greens, greys and purples will evoke the lochs and heathers from the hills, bringing the Scottish landscape inside. The sylvan theme will extend to the wallpaper, set to feature trees and foliage, while the carved mirrors and tables will have bronze branch-like legs. Recessed window seats will allow guests to reflect and take a moment to enjoy some of the best views in the city.
The contemporary feel of the rooms will be matched with luxurious and timeless furniture, such as handmade beds by Glencraft, suppliers to the Queen at Balmoral Castle. Many of the fabrics have been sourced from the Scottish company Isle of Mill and the cushions from the irreverent Scottish brand Timorous Beasties. When speaking of these touches, Olga Polizzi says “The hares, owls and birds add fun and a touch of mischief to the rooms. I will love staying in them myself!”
The renovated rooms and suites are integral to Rocco Forte Hotels’ ongoing dedication to its suite offering. Rocco Forte Hotels has unveiled The Rocco Forte Suite Experience, a new concept across each of the eleven hotels, giving guests an indulgent stay from the moment of arrival to departure. In line with this, The Balmoral is set to unlock the secrets of the city with a range of new itineraries, including its Taste Of Scotland Experience during which guests can source and cook the very best of Scotland’s produce under the watchful eye of Brian Grigor, Head Chef at Michelin-starred restaurant Number One
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