In a city steeped in dark stories lies a unique hotel ideal for a Halloween escape. Named after the hundreds of women burned at the stake as witches on Castlehill in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, The Witchery by the Castle and the surrounding area remains shrouded in history to this day. Established by restauranteur-hotelier James Thomson OBE, The Witchery occupies Boswell’s Court, a sixteenth century building at the gates of Edinburgh Castle in the historic Old Town. Entered from a traditional close off of the Royal Mile, Edinburgh’s most infamous road, The Witchery building was built for merchant Thomas Lowiath in 1595 and still bears his initials and the motto ‘O Lord in thee is all my traist’ on the door.
Filled with curiosities and gothic glamour, the heraldic painted and gilded ceilings are inspired by those in the Palace of Holyrood House, whilst the tapestry hung walls are panelled from seventeenth century oak rescued from a fire at St Giles Cathedral. The Witchery offers two fine dining opportunities in the form of the original Witchery dining room and the elegant Secret Garden created on an abandoned schoolyard. Found via an ancient stone staircase from the courtyard above, the Secret Garden is a hidden, topiary filled terrace with a spectacular painted ceiling reminiscent of the much-loved Rossend Castle ceiling now displayed in the National Museum of Scotland.
Adorned with mischievous bagpipe playing cherubs, tarot imagery and further angelic creations, the attention grabbing ceiling is accompanied by panels and doors depicting the city’s ancient wine trade with France. Edinburgh’s historic wine trade is continued at The Witchery through its 800 bottle wine cellar which is the recipient of the rare Wine Spectator Best Award of Excellence and more accolades. The hotel and its two award winning restaurants delight and intrigue guests with exceptional dining experiences crafted from the finest Scottish produce. In addition to the Scottish seafood, beef, lamb and game dishes, there are also fresh specials to discover including seafood platters, award-winning haggis and The Witchery’s signature Angus steak tartare.
A stay at The Witchery is flamboyant, romantic and equally gothic with just nine sumptuously decorated suites. Each more decadent that the last, stepping into one of the individually designed suites transports you to a royal castle perfectly fitting Edinburgh’s colorful past. With names including the Vestry, the Sempill, the Inner Sanctum, the Heriot, the Armoury and the newest and largest suite the Turret, each space is complete with its own unique decor and antiques to offer guests a one of a kind stay. The opulence doesn’t end with the rooms’ trademark decor, and guests are treated to an array of extravagances upon arrival including a bottle of champagne, cookies, turn down services and the famous Witchery breakfast hamper served in the suite every morning of the stay.
Frequently heralded as one of the UK’s most unique hotels, The Witchery by the Castle combines historic splendor, five star service and a hint of the Scottish capital’s dark past to offer an unforgettable experience. For information and to book a stay, visit The Witchery website.