Historic Hotel Showcases the Best of Auld Reekie’s Heritage
Thursday, January 21st, 2010
on behalf of Fraser Suites, Edinburgh
Travellers – particularly those of Scottish descent or lovers of Scots culture – now have the perfect place to immerse themselves in hundreds of years of Auld Reekie’s vibrant history during their next trip to Scotland.
Not only does Fraser Suites Edinburgh offer luxury accommodation, its location in one of the Scottish Capital’s most historic buildings and just steps away from some of Scotland’s most famous heritage sites, means guests can really step back and sample the history of one of the world’s great cities.
The hotel, which officially opened its doors last November, is located in the heart of the city’s Old Town – just a few hundred yards away from the ancestral home of Scotland’s kings and queens, the site of the city’s most notorious underground prison and the hunting grounds of some of Edinburgh’s nefarious criminals.
The Victorian-era building also sits directly above one of the city’s most haunted hidden streets, Mary King’s Close – a former plague-ridden thoroughfare in Edinburgh’s Old Town which has been the focus of numerous paranormal investigations and historical surveys in recent years.
Heather Gilchrist, Regional General Manager Frasers Hospitality Scotland, said: “There aren’t many venues in Scotland – let alone Edinburgh – that can boast as much history as our new hotel. It’s location in the heart of the oldest part of the city makes it the ideal place for visitors interested in Edinburgh’s heritage to come and stay.
“The building that Fraser Suites Edinburgh is actually located in was originally the home of some of the city’s major newspapers, and the street we are located on – St Giles Street – was often referred to as the Fleet Street of Scotland. It’s an area brimming with historical interest and that has graced many famous figures from throughout the ages.
“For those who like to explore things a little spookier, we’ve also got one of the city’s most haunted streets just a few yards away and our very own cellar could be harbouring a resident ghost or two. Some of our housekeeping staff have reported hearing strange thumps coming from behind the door a couple of times – and when you go into the old cellar there is a definitely strange chill at a certain spot in the room.
“I’m certain that anyone looking to explore the historical heart of Scotland’s capital city will not find a better place to stay than Fraser Suites Edinburgh.”
St Giles Street was initially created during the construction and subsequent remodelling of the Bank of Scotland Headquarters by renowned Scottish architect David Bryce in the 1860s.
The 12-18 St. Giles Street part of the hotel was designed by Bryce in 1871 as the head office for the Edinburgh Courant newspaper – one of the earliest regional newspapers in Britain which counted Robinson Crusoe author Daniel Defoe as one of its editors. Fraser Suites Edinburgh has now secured a rare early copy of a Courant which is to be put on display.
From the late 19th century until the middle of the 20th century, St. Giles Street was the ‘Fleet Street of Scotland’, hosting (over the years) the offices of not only the Edinburgh Courant and Edinburgh Daily Review, but also the Glasgow News, Glasgow Herald, Glasgow Evening Citizen, the Edinburgh Daily Mail and the Mercat Press.
During the refurbishment – in which much work was done to retain the original features, including restoring high ceilings and ornate cornicing – a number of long-forgotten features were discovered. These included a set of stained glass panels celebrating one of Scotland’s most famous sons, Sir Patrick Geddes, who was celebrated across the world for his innovative thinking in the fields of urban planning and education.
The central panel bears the inscription Vivendo Discimus (Latin for ‘by living we learn’) and historians now believe that building was pioneered by Geddes as student accommodation for the University of Edinburgh.
The new Fraser Suites Edinburgh hotel has 75 individual styled bedrooms which provide guests with the ultimate in comfort and sophistication.
Guests can choose from seven room types, ranging from classic rooms to plush one bedroom suites, including the hotel’s top-of-the-range four themed suites, such as the Princes Suite which overlooks Princes Street and boasts the Geddes stained glass panels. Published room rates start at £295 – although promotional rates are regularly available from £105.
Standard features in all rooms include kitchens or kitchenettes (all with microwave and fridge and some with full hobs), satellite television, designer furniture, Villeroy & Boch bathrooms, iPod docking stations and broadband access. Other features include an on-site gym, restaurant and complimentary city centre shuttle bus. The hotel also features bespoke art commissioned from Edinburgh College of Art throughout.
In a unique first for Edinburgh, the luxuriously appointed rooms provide kitchen amenities – offering all the facilities of a hotel whilst maintaining the comfort of home.