Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Luxury and decadence as Edinburgh returns to life after Covid

The Witchery

With two of my favourite things – travel and dining out – severely curtailed by the pandemic, getting the chance to finally do both in Edinburgh felt like having the best drink of water after the longest thirst.

It’s fair to say our first proper getaway in ages was a bit of a luxury affair – staying in two of the capital’s best hotels and eating out in two superb restaurants.

But since everyone has been saving money on meals out and travel for the last 18 months, maybe this was the perfect excuse to push the boat out.

The first night of our stay was in a place we’ve often gazed longingly at during previous visits to Edinburgh – The Witchery.

Cheerily named after the hundreds of women and men who burned at the stake as witches on Castlehill in the 16th and 17th Centuries, and just a stone’s throw from the castle gates, this Royal Mile institution is about as atmospheric as it gets.

Helpfully we were able to park our car at The Witchery’s sister hotel Prestonfield House – more about that later – and were provided with a free taxi to take us into the heart of the Old Town.

Our room for the night was the Turret Suite, which as the name suggests was up a stone spiral staircase that wouldn’t look out of place in a Hammer horror film (I mean that in a very good way). The only thing that was missing on our climb to the room was a little candle to hold.

Stepping into the Turret Suite the Hammer horror vibes gave way to extravagant opulence, with a space that seemed custom-designed to take my breath away (well, what little breath I had left after climbing three flights of stairs).

The Witchery’s Turret Suite

With its four-poster bed, gold-plated roll-top bath, eastern wallpaper and separate sitting room, there were almost too many delightful design details to take in.

Having a room decorated in such a grandiosely gothic style could easily come off as kitsch, but this was too beautiful and fairytale-like to criticise.

The Turret Suite

The fairytale atmosphere continued when we stepped into the candlelit Secret Garden  dining room.

Opened in 1990 on the spot of an abandoned schoolyard located next to the original Witchery dining room, we descended to the tables by a stone staircase and sat next to a terrace, where guests can dine out in the summer.

The Witchery is a stone’s throw from Edinburgh Castle

The meal – including oysters, crab, lamb and halibut – was a celebration of Scottish produce and pure luxury from start to finish.

When we arrived daylight was clinging on outside, but by the time we were clearing our dessert plates night had fallen and the dining room seemed to be lit solely by candle. It was absolutely magical.

The culinary delights didn’t end there. We awoke the next morning to discover a picnic hamper at our door that was filled with breakfast goodies such as pastries, fruit, cereal, cold meats and cheese.

After the huge meal the night before it was an indulgence – but one I was happy to get stuck into.

As we stepped out of The Witchery and on to the cobbled street, a foggy drizzle had descended, although I actually think that feels more in keeping with the Old Town vibe than bright sunshine.

Our destination was a 30-minute walk away – the perfect chance to work off some of that breakfast hamper.

Pre-Covid, one of our favourite restaurants in the capital was The Honours, a brasserie-style place run by Michelin-starred chef Martin Wishart.

Rico’s restaurant in Edinburgh

Disappointingly it was one of the casualties of the pandemic, but in its place is a wonderful new Italian restaurant called Rico’s.

This is an eatery that’s clearly striving for high-end excellence, so don’t expect rustic Italian dishes “like your mama used to make” – instead this is fine dining with attentive serving staff who talk you through, and sometimes even dish up, each course as it arrives at your table.

After enjoying starters of scallops and fried squid with saffron aioli, we shared our main course – Orata al Cartoccio, oven baked sea bream.

There’s nothing like the theatre and anticipation of seeing a fish being filleted up at the table.

Rico’s serves up high-end Italian food

On the recommendation of our friendly waiter, we finished our lunch with the tiramisu, a deconstructed affair but with all the flavours and textures of the traditional dessert.

The Honours may no longer be in this New Town spot, but Rico’s proved itself to be just as good, and we vowed to return next time we’re in the city.

Our second night in Edinburgh was spent in the luxurious embrace of Prestonfield House, a country house-style hotel set in 20-acres of private parkland in the shadow of Arthur’s Seat.

Prestonfield House is five-star luxury

Flitting between the two hotels couldn’t have been easier, thanks to the free taxi that was laid on.

To say we had a room for the night is a bit of an understatement.

The Lord Provost suite was the size of a small flat, complete with sitting room, two bathrooms and a gorgeous antique four-poster bed that was so high off the ground that a set of steps was helpfully supplied for guests of smaller stature.

The Lord Provost Suite

Reading the list of some of the famous names who have stayed at Prestonfield – Lauren Bacall, the Dali Lama, Elton John, Sean Connery – we felt very privileged and spoiled from the second we set foot inside.

The sitting room of the Lord Provost Suite

Although the hotel has a world-class restaurant called Rhubarb (Prestonfield was the first estate in Scotland to grow rhubarb in the 18th Century) we had a table booked elsewhere back in the city centre.

After sampling some feisty (and delicious) cocktails at Superico Bar & Lounge on Hanover Street, we walked a few doors up and arrived at its sister restaurant, Superico, for some South American-infused flavours.

Having started our day with a big breakfast, followed relatively swiftly by a rich Italian feast, Superico’s small plates of Latin-flavoured dishes were the perfect way to end our visit to Edinburgh.

The tiradito – a zingy Peruvian dish of sashimi cut seabream dressed in mango and blood orange juice – was perfect sharing food and set us up perfectly for the succulent confit chicken leg with a haggis croquette and mojo verde and flat iron steak with chimichurri.

As the taxi returned us to the warm embrace of Prestonfield House (and we discussed going on a diet over a night cap in one of the hotel’s cosy seating areas) I realised how much I’ve missed short breaks such as these.

Yes, this was luxury to an absurdly indulgent degree, but as we all slowly return to life as we knew it before Covid, I’m convinced it deserves celebrating in the most decadent way imaginable.



The Witchery

Castlehill, Royal Mile, EH1 2NF.
0131 225 5613

Prestonfield House

Priestfield Road, Edinburgh, EH16 5UT.
0131 225 7800



58a N Castle St, Edinburgh EH2 3LU.
0131 322 6750

Superico Bar & Lounge

99 Hanover St, Edinburgh EH2 1DJ
0131 225 8200

Superico Restaurant

83 Hanover St, Edinburgh EH2 1EE
0131 225 4862