At the Balmoral
The Balmoral 1 Princes Street, Edinburgh , EH2 2EQ
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.
2003 - 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.
2007 – 1st March, The Balmoral celebrates 10 years as a Rocco Forte Hotel, also marking the 10-year anniversary of The Rocco Forte Collection.
2007 – 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.
2011 – 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.
2012 – 15th October, The Balmoral celebrates its 110th Anniversary.
2013 – In September, The Balmoral launches SCOTCH – a new signature whisky bar.
2013 – 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
2017 - 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 by Alain Roux 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 North Bridge facing views are upgraded, along with the hotel's royal suite, the Glamis Suite