This article, "Fingal: The Luxury Hotel Experience Bringing to Life Memories of the Golden Age of Sail," was first published in our fourth Issue. Editing by Jose Morales
Visited by the Queen herself, Fingal has quickly become one of Edinburgh's best luxury hotels.
Edinburgh, Scotland – Located in the historic Port of Leith, in Edinburgh, is a unique establishment that has rocked the boat of Scotland’s hotel scene. Fingal, a former ship of the Northern Lighthouse Board, is a recently-opened £5 million development by The Royal Yacht Britannia. Only a short ride away from the center of Edinburgh, this magnificent ship has been transformed into Scotland’s first floating boutique hotel. Within its first six months, the luxurious hotel has unsurprisingly risen to the number one spot on Trip Advisor and received the accolade of being the best hotel in Edinburgh. Guild magazine had the opportunity to stay in one of Fingal’s 23 luxury cabins, and here, we bring you on board with us to learn more about this extraordinary hotel.
Walking towards this impressive nautical hotel, you cannot help but marvel at its sleek design. The blue exterior is accented with a contrasting red stripe, elegant gold writing, and its eye-catching trident logo. A red carpet at its entrance guides you into the foyer, giving you a brief sense of what to expect on board. A bespoke glass elevator, which is one of only nine in the world, whisks you away towards your cabin. The attention to detail with regards to the hotel’s interior design is astonishing, expertly exalting the unique features of the ship.
A gorgeously lit, wooden-clad hallway leads you to the cabins. Inspired by Fingal’s rich maritime heritage, each is named after Scottish Stevenson lighthouses. There is an array of cabin types to choose from; Classic & Luxury, Classic & Luxury Duplex, and the very impressive Skerryvore Suite with a private deck. Due to the unique shape and structure of the ship, no room is the same, and each cabin has been meticulously designed, cleverly relating to Fingal’s journey and connection to the sea.
The remarkably comfortable Hypnos beds in each room are backed by a sumptuous custom leather headboard embossed with a nautical map that shows the location of the Scottish lighthouse from which the cabin takes its name. Locally made tartan throws by Araminta Campbell adorn the beds, balancing all the colors of the room. The bespoke cupboards are encased in an elegant, sea-foam colored leather, emulating the color of the original engines. The bathrooms echo the same attention to detail with brushed brass accessories, iridescent green tiles, and Noble Isle toiletries, providing you with everything you need for a truly relaxing evening. As an extra unique feature, some of the cabins have direct access to the ship’s deck, enhancing your maritime experience.
As you wander around Fingal, there is plenty to explore; art, photography, and unique details all linking to the ship’s past. Located towards the bow of the vessel is an expansive room that seems to appear from nowhere: the Ballroom. Fingal’s spectacular Ballroom can accommodate up to 80 guests. It is enhanced with sweeping staircases, a fully stocked bar, and a removable skylight that floods the area with natural light.
Another engaging feature of the ship is the impressive engine room, which has been astutely encased in glass. A red walkway allows you to wander through the area where you can peer into the depths and discover the intricate engines which were built in 1963 by the Blythswood Shipbuilding Company.
The Lighthouse Bar, located on the top deck of the ship, offers a relaxed, yet luxurious vibe. So much so that it was visited by Her Majesty The Queen. With sumptuous leather seating, floor to ceiling windows and views of the deck, its a fantastic place to unwind and enjoy your choice of breakfast, afternoon tea or supper. The rippled ceiling is a fabulous addition as its reflective and metallic design provides a touch of decadence and emulates the waves that once lapped against this majestic ship.
The recently revamped supper and cocktails menu is astounding and offers a wide variety of delicious light dishes and unique nautical inspired cocktails. The Guild Team recommends the Herb-Crusted Lamb Loin, with boulangère potatoes, foraged mushrooms, and Swiss chard. Follow your meal with the mouth-watering Foraged Elderflower cheesecake. For a refreshing drink, try their signature cocktail, ‘The Lighthouse Martini.’ It is made with Britannia Gin, Wermod Great British Vermouth, grapefruit bitters, and pickled Amalfi lemon. All served from a frozen, lighthouse-shaped bottle.
It is incomprehensible to think that this retired ship could have ended up being yet another, disposed-of vessel. Thankfully, the team at The Royal Yacht Britannia has injected this ship with new vigor and created a luxury hotel that is entirely unique to Scotland. The remarkable customer service, opulent cabins, and delectable selection of food and beverages make this floating treasure an extraordinary addition to the world’s hotel scene. – GM
GUILD MAGAZINE - THE TRAVEL ISSUE