The Historical Milestones

Learn the story of The Balmoral Hotel ('majestic dwelling' in Gaelic). Opened in 1902, it was acclaimed as one of the great railway hotels.

1895

W. Hamilton Beattie and A.R. Scott won a competition to design The Balmoral – known then as The North British Station Hotel (The N.B.) and owned by the North British Railway Company.

1902

The hotel opened on 15 October 1902 as The North British Station Hotel – the only residential building ever erected on the south side of Princes Street – was pronounced one of the great railway hotels, described as a “free rendering of the renaissance period, linking the old Scottish architecture of the old town with the rather severe classical architecture of the new”. The hotel’s iconic clock was set three minutes fast, so that people wouldn’t miss their trains. This is still the case today. The only day that the clock runs on time is on 31st December (Hogmanay) for the city’s New Year celebrations.

1922

The North British Railway Company became part of the London and North Eastern Railway Company and the hotel started blending and bottling its own whisky, wine and port.

1932

In July, comedy duo Laurel and Hardy visited the North British Hotel as part of their visit to Edinburgh. Crowds gathered outside the hotel to catch a glimpse of the famous pair.

1947

The railways were nationalised by British Rail, and the hotel employees became members of the National Union of Railwaymen.

1960s

Over the years a regular galaxy of film and sports stars, princesses and politicians, have posed for photographs by the hotel pillars. Celebrity visitors to the hotel include Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, Paul and Linda McCartney.

1970s

The Queen Mother was a regular visitor to the hotel, where she liked to dine on plain roast lamb for lunch. Prime Ministers, Edward Heath and Harold Wilson, also visited.

1983

British Rail sold The North British Station Hotel to The Gleneagles Hotel Company.

1988

The hotel closed for a major refurbishment.

1990

Balmoral International Hotels - an Edinburgh-based company - bought The North British Station Hotel, with the intention of making it a flagship hotel for a new luxury international hotel group.

1991

In February the hotel reopened its doors to the public as The Balmoral Hotel, (Balmoral meaning “majestic dwelling” in Gaelic) following a £23-million refurbishment, recapturing its past splendour and majesty. 

1997

On 1st March Sir Rocco Forte purchased The Balmoral, which was the first hotel within his new Rocco Forte Collection.

2003

In January, The Balmoral’s Executive Chef, Jeff Bland, was first awarded a coveted Michelin Star for culinary excellence in the hotel’s Number One restaurant.

In December, The Balmoral appointed Debbie Taylor, the first female General Manager in its 101-year history.

2004

In March, the hotel completed a £7-million refurbishment programme. Olga Polizzi, Director of Building and Design at Rocco Forte Hotels, oversaw the complete refurbishment of the hotel, comprising its 188 bedrooms, The Sir Walter Scott Suite, seven further conference and banqueting suites, Hadrian's Brasserie, Number One restaurant and the lobby.

2005

In March, The Balmoral launched its Bollinger Bar in the hotel’s Palm Court.

2007

11th January, J.K. Rowling finished writing ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ (the seventh and final instalment in the Harry Potter series) at the hotel.  To mark the occasion, the author signed an antique bust in the room in which she stayed.

1st March, The Balmoral celebrates 10 years as a Rocco Forte Hotel, also marking the 10-year anniversary of The Rocco Forte Collection.

7th November, The Balmoral launched the chic and stylish Balmoral Bar after a complete refurbishment by Olga Polizzi.

 

2009

Bedrooms on the 5th and 6th floor of The Balmoral are fitted with new Italian marble bathrooms with iconic Sean Connery prints.

2011

In June, The Balmoral completes a soft refurbishment of its fourth floor bedrooms.

7th October, The Balmoral’s fine-dining restaurant, Number One, retains its Michelin star for the 10th successive year.

2012

In June, the Balmoral completes a soft refurbishment of the first, second and third floor bedrooms.

15th October, The Balmoral celebrates its 110th Anniversary.

2013

In September, The Balmoral launches SCOTCH – a new signature whisky bar.

In October, The Balmoral completes a full refurbishment of Palm Court.

2014

In October, The Balmoral’s fine-dining restaurant, Number One, retains its Michelin star for the 13th successive year.

2015

In January, The Balmoral completes a £200,000 refurbishment of Number One.

2017

In October, The Balmoral completes a refurbishment of Castle Facing bedrooms.

Rocco Forte Hotels marks its 20th year, The Balmoral carries out a refresh of its castle view rooms along with an upgrade of the hotel’s J.K. Rowling Suite.

2018

Brasserie Prince opens after a multi-million pound refurbishment of the hotel's bar and brasserie; the hotel's old town view rooms are refurbished including the Scone & Crombie suite, the hotel's presidential suite.

2019

The hotel's Princes St view rooms are upgraded, along with the hotel's royal suite, the Glamis Suite.

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The Balmoral, 1 Princes Street, where Old Town meets New, a legendary hotel and landmark clock tower: a symbol of its city

The Balmoral, 1 Princes Street, where Old Town meets New, a legendary hotel and landmark clock tower: a symbol of its city


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The Balmoral, 1 Princes Street, where Old Town meets New, a legendary hotel and landmark clock tower: a symbol of its city


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