24 hours in Edinburgh: From a heavenly stay at House of Gods to foodie hot spots

Step through an unassuming doorway in Edinburgh’s bustling Cowgate and into a world where the grandeur of the Orient Express meets Great Gatsby meets Gucci.

Saturday, 19th March 2022, 8:10 am

Don’t let the modern, beige brick facade of House of Gods fool you: this relative newcomer to the Edinburgh hotel scene is one which is dressed head to toe in decadence, from its swish speakeasy-style bar, bedecked in a huge disco ball and designer wallpaper, to its rooms where all your dining demands are at your fingertips – literally thanks to its drinks buttons. The devil is in the detail at House of Gods.

Opened in 2019 in a city not short of hotels, the boutique accommodation has done much to set itself apart from its competitors, managing to imbue its modern site with more character than most of the more historic hotels.

Think oak panelled walls, fringed stools, marble bathrooms, four-poster beds dressed in rich velvet throws, curated artworks by the likes of fashion photographer Haris Nukem and a rich musk aroma that fills the hotel. It’s unashamedly boutique and boujee.

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24 hours in Edinburgh

There’s 22 rooms in total with three options, The Cabin, The Classic and The Suite. Space is at a premium in The Cabin which is designed, as the name would suggest, like a luxury Orient Express cabin, but it’s a very clever use of space with TVs hidden in mirrors, custom cocktail bars and Nespresso machines tucked behind make-up stations.

Not all rooms come with windows, but again, there’s clever design here with a light feature that mimics a cabin window. Floor space increases in The Classic with its swish marble wet room and vanity station mirrors that are just begging for a selfie.

For the ultimate in opulence, book the suite (if you can, it’s very in demand) with its free-standing Victorian bath, as well as its own wet room and bed that wouldn’t look out of place in a royal residence.

The service too will leave you feeling like an A Lister for the night. We were super impressed with the heavenly touches that come with a stay at House of Gods, such as buttons in the room where you can press for Prosecco or a button for bedtime cookies and milk. There’s no phones in the room, instead you contact reception through What’s app, which is very handy indeed – and they respond quick as a flash.

One of the bedrooms at House of Gods, Cowgate, Edinburgh

You can really live it up by boosting your stay with the Treat Me Like I’m Famous rider for £99, which is good value for money considering you’re greeted with rose petals and balloons on your bed, as well as handmade chocolate.

Rider holders can also summon the on-call butler to bring your bottle of House of Gods X San Samone DOCG Prosecco Superiore, as well as a Millionaire’s in-room cocktail service where the bar tender dramatically long pours the cocktail for you at your door. You can also indulge with cookies and milk at bedtime, mimosas for breakfast and a late check-out of 12noon.

If that wasn’t enough, the rider also includes a £50 bar tab at the hotel’s bar. Lillith’s Lounge is named after the she demon who was banished from the Garden of Eden – and it’s one hell of a bar.

Open to non-residents as well as hotel guests, you’ll need to book at this hot spot which is proving popular thanks to its atmospheric elegance and stylish cocktail menu, where drinks are adorned with everything from Turkish Delight to a mini origami crane.

The devil is in the detail at House of Gods where rooms are inspired by the Orient Express

If you like what you see, look out for new House of Gods sites set to bring its devilishly decadent offering to locations including Glasgow and Cardiff.

:: Prices at House of God Edinburgh are very competitive for the quality and location, just behind the Royal Mile, with room prices starting at £89. Book at www.houseofgodshotel.com

Food Hot Spots Not To Miss

::Wedgwood, Royal Mile

Lillith's Bar at House of Gods is a decadent affair.

The Royal Mile is a notorious tourist trap – with the prices to match, but Wedgwood offers arguably one of the best-value menus on the mile.

A charming restaurant towards the bottom of the mile with a doorway festooned in foliage, this is a restaurant that’s passionate about fine, Scottish produce.

Here, dishes are executed with real flair and their express lunch menu, in particular, is ridiculously good value at two courses for £20 and three courses for £25 – we’d have paid double that for the quality.

The menu changes daily, but on our visit included some classics from Scotland’s rich natural larder, such as monkfish, lamb rump and Douglas fir-cured salmon.

The French pastry chef has also brought a certain je ne sais quoi to proceedings and we couldn’t get enough of her moreish Brioche French toast dessert.

::Noto, Thistle Street

Small plates and big flavours in the sleek surroundings of Noto

Expect small plates and big flavours at this popular New Town hot spot, which takes its style cues from Scandinavian minimalism meets New York levels of cool.

Trailing twigs which span the walls are an effective aesthetic at this laid back gem, which is serving up some of the best dishes north of the border.

The food really shines with options such as a huge mound of creamy melt-in-the-mouth burrata, its smoothness given a kick with romesco and chilli.

Cured trout, served with cucumber, kohlrabi and tomato ponzu, meanwhile, is a masterclass in the art of seafood.

Prices, again, are very fair, with small plates ranging from around £4 – £14. They’re designed to share, but when the plates are this good you won’t want to.

::Ondine, George IV Bridge

If you’re a seafood fan, you’ll struggle to find a better catch than Ondine.

Expect a chill playlist, really knowledgeable service and a exemplary menu by head chef and owner Roy Brett which is brimming with sustainable seafood such as monkfish chop, fish and shellfish soup and Newhaven lobster thermidor.

It’s an elegant restaurant, without the stuffiness of some restaurants of this standard.

Roll up your sleeves and get stuck in to its oyster happy hour, every evening from 5.30pm-6.30pm, where you can knock back this moreish mollusc at a bargain price.

Getting There

The Newcastle to Edinburgh route is one of the finest rail routes in the country as you whizz through the Northumberland countryside.

LNER operates regular, direct daily services between Newcastle and Edinburgh, with journey times of around 90 minutes. Booked direct at lner.co.uk, Advance return fares start from £49.60 in First and £22 in Standard.

Customers travelling in First can enjoy a complimentary range of locally-sourced food and drink, including the famous LNER Full Breakfast – make sure to try the avocado and eggs, too!

Customers in Standard can order their refreshments to be delivered directly to their seat through LNER’s pioneering ‘Let’s Eat At Your Seat’ app.

Customers can also earn loyalty rewards by using the LNER app and signing up to LNER Perks.

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Travel Review: A guide to Ambleside and Grasmere in the Lake District
Burrata with a chilli kick at Noto
Wedgwood offers incredible value for quality on the Royal Mile
Douglas fir cured salmon with beetroot 'tartare', kombu, soy and sesame crumb from Wedgwood Restaurant
Desserts with a prime people-watching spot at Wedgwood
Lindisfarne oysters at Ondine
LNER Azuma