The Raeburn: a casually sophisticated Restaurant with Rooms, Stockbridge, Edinburgh
Hoteliers and Restaurateurs can have the funding, innovative designers, architects, a champion chef and a brilliant bartender, but what you can’t buy is the perfect ambience.
What does help is preserving the heritage of a building through design and décor, tracing a link with the past to the present to create an authentic sense of place.
On the edge of the New Town in Edinburgh, Raeburn Place was built between 1814-25 in the estate owned by Henry Raeburn the portrait painter, featuring grand villas, one of which was Somerset Cottage. In the 1960s it was transformed into the Raeburn House Hotel, but after falling into disrepair, it finally closed in 2007.
Thankfully, the abandoned property was bought four years later by the Maclean family, undertaking a major refurbishment project to preserve and enhance the prime Georgian architecture. The Townhouse hotel opened again in April 2014 with ten bedrooms, bar, restaurant, beer garden and outdoor terrace, private dining room and conference suite.
Within a month, it was named Boutique Hotel of the Year, and given a special merit for Exceptional Achievement at the Scottish Hotel Awards.
My partner Ken and I stayed overnight to experience the new look Raeburn hotel, checking out every aspect of guest care from check in to interior design, pillow test, dinner and breakfast.
Our room Number 5 is stunningly designed with sumptuous tweed fabrics, cool grey painted bespoke wood panelling with fine attention to guest comfort and homely facilities. For those who cannot exist without gadgets and entertainment – Smart plasma television, Wi-Fi access point, Bose Airplay box + iPod (pre-loaded music). Your morning coffee fix is sorted with an espresso machine and mini bar is stocked with complimentary water, as well as drinks and snacks.
Be amazed by a huge walk in wardrobe with dressing table, hair dryer and GHD straighteners. Sleep under Egyptian cotton and indulge in the traditional bathroom with Rainforest shower and (in six rooms), a Roll top bath; quality toiletries, soft towels, slippers and gowns. I love the use of the R logo to signify a strong brand name of a design hotel.
Time to explore downstairs and as it was a glorious summer evening, we took a seat outside under a sunshade and were soon sipping a glass of crisp, refreshing Chenin Blanc. Thie first floor Terrace overlooks the historic Sports grounds – the first Rugby international between England and Scotland was played here in March 1871. The Royal Botanic Garden is just a short walk away too – such an excellent location to stay for a few days and explore all the visitor attractions of the city.
Stockbridge is an upmarket neigbourhood of families, students, young and retired couples. A clear vision for the reinvention of Raeburn House was key to its success: A Restaurant with Rooms appealing to city visitors and residents from around this cultural district of gift shops, galleries, quality food shops, pubs, cocktail bars and bistros. A farmer’s market on Sundays draws a huge crowd.
8.30pm – dinner in the Brasserie; thick stone walls, artisan wood flooring, tweed and leather fabrics, booths, armchairs and oak tables, it’s like a modern Urban Inn. With a small army of staff, service is friendly and knowledgeable; we settled in to study the menu, a wide choice of starters and mains as well as speciality Steaks.
Head Chef Pavel Broz and his team offer fresh and seasonal Scottish cuisine where the provenance of produce is clearly given. Limouson –Angus beef from the Tweed Valley, East Lothian vegetables, North Sea and West Coast seafood, fine cheese. The kitchen also supports the local neighbourhood fishmonger and butcher.
We dined on superb home-cured and smoked Trout, sweet Seared Scallops, an exceptional Cod dish, and a tasty Wild Mushroom ragout. The Cheese board as we finished off our soft, velvety French Pinot Noir.
The Bar serves lighter meals of everyone’s favourite dishes – soup, salads, burgers, steak, pasta. Drinks include classic cocktails, beers & craft ales from Scotland, Belgium and USA.
Thankfully, there’s no TV showing endless News and Sports – just occasional screenings of Rugby and Tennis. For a birthday party, leisure or business event, you can reserve the Library and Private Dining Room.
On Sundays, the Raeburn quite rightly reflects a lazy day of eating out with friends – Brunch and traditional Roast Beef as part of an all-day lunch menu. This is also a family, child and dog friendly place.
After a comfortable night’s sleep and power shower to wake us up, time for Breakfast: freshly baked croissants, healthy Granola with yogurt and berries, then perhaps Bacon Roll, Eggs Benedict or the delicious Vegetarian platter. Breakfast is popular with non-residents too, served from 7am to 12 noon.
The professional standard is exemplary, from a welcome smile on arrival to smooth, seamless service and Hospitality with a capital H. Creating the right ambience is an allusive ingredient. Here, the staff are having as much fun serving, as we are sipping our ice chilled Martinis…..
The Raeburn has been a smash hit since day one, a buzzing place to eat and drink, morning noon and night. With a touch of casual sophistication, it’s contemporary with vintage style. 3 F words to describe our experience = Fun, Fabulous, Faultless.
But what do other guests say?
We stayed at the Raeburn for one night during the festival; from the minute we were welcomed to the minute we left were treated like royalty.
I would recommend this hotel to anyone who enjoys the luxury of things a quality hotel should deliver. The Raeburn delighted with ease.
We cannot stress enough how great the service is; every detail of the hotel is sheer Perfection
The Raeburn Hotel is WONDERFUL!! I will totally stay here again!! Top notch.
So why not plan your visit soon …..
112 Raeburn Place
Edinburgh Eh4 1HG
tel. 0131 332 7000