Overlooking the elegantly leafy and picturesque Drumsheugh Gardens in the West End of Edinburgh is one of the city’s hidden gems; The Bonham Hotel. Originally constructed as three separate townhouses in 1872, the 19th Century property has witnessed many transformations over the years. It wasn’t until 1998 that it was turned into the lavish Bonham Hotel, introducing the city to the boutique hotel concept.
The hotel recently went through extensive renovation and in 2019 it revealed its brand new look to its awe-inspiring guests. Interior designer Nigel Howard, who has also worked with other boutique hotels such as The Dylan Hotel in Dublin and New Road Hotel in London, had the task of designing The Bonham’s new style. Although every room caters to the modern market, there is a specific nod to the past where each has been decorated to reflect the Georgian and Victorian history of the building. I was keen to visit the hotel to explore its new design and to experience the rooms and facilities that The Bonham Hotel has to offer.
Being situated in the elegant area of the West End and only 10 minutes from the citycentre, the hotel is perfectly placed. As a resident of Edinburgh I have lived in many areas of the city and the West End has to be one that resonates with me the most. Its refined crescents, tall elegant buildings and cobbled streets are exactly what your mind conjures up when you think of Edinburgh. Therefore this hotel couldn’t have a better location for me.
As you enter the intimate hotel foyer you can’t help but be enchanted by the beautiful architectural features of the building. The calming decor, beautiful ceiling cornicing and wooden panelled staircase gives you a glimpse of what’s to come.
Due to the property being three separate townhouses the layout of the hotel is very quirky as this adds to the charm of the place. Whilst you walk around the corridors to your room you are greeted with numerous pieces of art that fit perfectly with the ambience of the hotel. Although the hotel has been recently refurbished you would almost think that it hasn’t been changed at all. This goes to show the interior designers ability to sensitively update the decor whilst respecting the surroundings and maintaining The Bonham’s historic charm.
There are 49 en-suite bedrooms in the hotel which are divided into different categories; Classic, Superior, Junior Suite and Executive Suite.
I stayed in one of only two executive suites known as the Rothesay Suite, named after Rothesay Terrace, a street located close to the hotel. As i entered into this first floor suite, It took my breath away. The lounge is an elegant space with a neutral palette accented by blue velvet sofas, dark antique furniture and a stunning wooden fireplace.
A large bay window fills the room with light, brightening the expansive space, even on a typically cloudy day in Edinburgh. The traditional sash windows are elegantly framed by luxurious floor to ceiling drapes and a large dining table is perfectly placed to sit and gaze into the nearby gardens.
Through double doors is the impressive king size bedroom attached to a very large bathroom. Again the room is beautifully decorated and manages to exude the perfect blend of both traditional and contemporary. A small desk provides the perfect area to work and a large cupboard gives plenty storage space.
The Hypnos bed is the focal point of the room, adorned with heavy embroidered cushions and luxurious throw. I can confirm that it was extremely comfortable and I especially loved the plump pillows which leads me to wonder where do they source these from?
The bathroom was a more contemporary space with white metro tiles, large mirror and separate bath and a shower. Although spacious and modern, I felt it did lack some of the elegance and tradition that emanated from the rest of the suite. That being said, extra luxurious touches such as robes and slippers were provided as well as a range of toiletries from The White Company. The monsoon shower was the perfect wakeup call in the morning before breakfast.
The Bonham’s restaurant named No 35 provides a range of European inspired food with a slight Scottish twist using local suppliers. There are lots of lovely design features in this space, most noticeable the parquet flooring with a central carpet of monochromatic tiles.
Again the restaurant houses a beautiful collection of art which is enhanced by the soft dusky lavender walls and dark wooden panelling. The occasional chandelier bestows a slice of glamour and the rich purple velvet of the chairs provides a pop of colour. I opted for the Bonham Burger which was moist and succulent and also the duck breast which was rich and full of flavour. If you are staying for a few days its good to experience what the hotel has to offer to its fullest.
The bar area of the hotel is intimate and cosy and has a sleek art deco design. It’s the perfect place to sit back and enjoy a pre-dinner drink as their is an extensive wine list to choose from.
The hotel also boasts many areas to relax and enjoy afternoon tea or to escape and read a book. The lounge area is cosy and is filled with dark furniture highlighted with a stunning shade of blue velvet.
Located just off the reception area is an intimate library with tranquil shades of green as if nature has been brought in from outside, the perfect place to relax and unwind.
Next morning I opted for breakfast in the room, why have a beautiful suite and have to leave for breakfast? The food promptly arrived at the time requested and I had the pleasure of sitting at my very own dining table looking out to the autumnal trees in the garden. We had both a vegetarian and meat breakfast which were equally delicious, along with pastries, toast and numerous condiments.
If you can prise yourself away from the hotel, guests have access to nearby private Drumsheugh Gardens which are the perfect place to relax and unwind. In the midst of the leafy trees it provides a perfect inner city sanctuary, so much so that you almost forget that you are stone’s throw away from the hotel and Edinburghs iconic West End buildings.
My stay at the Bonham Hotel was pleasantly surprising. After all these years in Edinburgh I have not visited the hotel, so I didn’t know what to expect. The hotel oozed a special charm and captured the very essence of what Edinburgh is about. The staff were extremely friendly, the room was exquisite and the whole ambience of the hotel was welcoming and warm. My only regret is not visiting The Bonham Hotel sooner.
Blu Blazer Guy Rating:
Location – 5/5 – Centrally Located and easy to get to.
Customer Service – 4.5/5 – Friendly and non-intrusive.
Rooms – 4.5/5 – Charming, spacious and stunning interior design.
Cleanliness – 4/5 – All areas of the room were spotless
Food/Drink – 3/5 – Food was okay.