Key Notes: Tigerlily, Edinburgh


Edinburgh already has a few top-end design hotels, but they mostly pander to nostalgic, tartan-clad tastes. If bagpipes, royal connections, and ghost stories are not to your taste, Tigerlily is refreshingly modern and international for this ancient city.

WHAT’S THE BIG WOW? Stunning design and spacious rooms that are beautifully appointed. The furniture is all top-quality and stylish, with vibrant Designers Guild fabrics, Venetian mirrors, and everything equipped to the highest standard; there’s even a place for you iPod wired into the room’s sound system. The ground floor bar-brasserie is also a looker, especially if you think more is more (chandeliers are encased in translucent plastic, room dividers are created from silver chains). The menu’s a modern international round-up and not bad at all. Table 56 is the best one to book for a small group.

LIKED BEST: Everything in the rooms is super-sized, from the beds to the giant dressing mirrors; even the largest of Americans won’t feel cramped. Every detail is just so, from the fresh limes in the minibar to the nice wine glasses. The location is also central, right in the heart of Edinburgh’s best shops and restaurants, at the top of the 18th-century New Town.

LIKED LEAST: If you’re looking for a uniquely Edinburgh atmosphere, you won’t find it here: Apart from the soft burr of Scottish accents, you could be in Madrid or Sydney. Some (mainly Scottish) people find the place pretentious and over-decorated; call me shallow, but I loved it.

WHO SHOULD STAY THERE? Travelers who adore modern design and are sick to death of Scottish hotels themed to attract Braveheart fans.

WOULD YOU GO BACK? Yes. Other hotels, such as Prestonfield and The Scotsman, are also excellent, but much more conservative in their style and more costly. At $350, Tigerlily is great value.

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