Spring is upon us, among other things, thoughts turn to city breaks. For those who like their weekends away to be hip and buzzing, here is our pick of some of Scotland's coolest urban hotels.

Eden Locke

Designed by uber-hip New York-based architects Grzywinski + Pons (doesn’t that plus sign tell you everything you need to know?), this apart-hotel slap bang in the middle of Edinburgh’s New Town offers 72 rooms as well as a café and bar. “We took an 18th century Georgian mansion and its 20th century extension down to their respective bones and created the hotel from there,” say the firm’s website. The result is cool, urban, light and spacious – so cool and spacious, in fact, that in 2019 it featured in a fashion shoot for The Herald. Princes Street is just a minute or so away, the chi-chi shops of George Street are almost within touching distance and a short stroll downhill takes you to Stockbridge, Edinburgh’s Notting Hill. Oh, and there are four beehives on the roof providing sweet stuff for breakfast.

127 George Street, Edinburgh


Z Hotel

Housed in an old printworks just off Glasgow’s George Square and boasting 104 bedrooms arranged around a central “lightwell” – a glass canopied roof which lets in oodles of light – Z Hotel is one of a portfolio of cool, urban establishments with other branches in hipster hot-spots such as Shoreditch in London. Funky without being fussy, and decently priced into the bargain.

36 North Frederick Street, Glasgow


Pentahotel Inverness

Five minutes from the station and handy for Eden Court Theatre as well as favourite Inverness hang-outs such as the Black Isle Bar, Leakey’s Bookshop and the Velocity Café And Bicycle Workshop, this reasonably-priced boutique hotel offers a defiantly urban feel in everything from its specially-curated playlist – no cheesy elevator music here – to the mood lighting and exposed brickwork of its bar area. You can even check in via the hotel’s own app. There are 90 rooms spread over five floors (the Penta Playerpad Room offers Playstation 4 consoles or, for old school gamers, Pac-Man and Space Invaders) and the food on offers falls into the cool-but-comforting bracket (there’s even a spaghetti Bolognese on the menu!).

61 Academy Street, Inverness


Gleneagles Townhouse

The good news, for fans of upmarket spots: for the first time in its 98 year history, the luxurious Gleneagles Hotel is branching out into an urban setting with this swanky establishment in Edinburgh, located in the former British Linen Bank (later the Bank of Scotland) in St Andrew Square. There are 33 rooms, a restaurant called The Spence, a rooftop bar which (it goes without saying) will have exceptional views of the city skyline – and a members’ club which offers everything from a running club to tutored wine tastings. You’ll need deep pockets, though: full annual membership is £2200, with a one-off joining fee of £350. Now the bad news: it hasn’t opened yet, though if the owners stick to their Spring 2022 promise, it should be any day now.

39 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh


Carmelite Hotel

Trading on its eclecticism, chic boutique vibe and its location in Aberdeen’s trendy Merchant Quarter (making it handy for the area’s bars, music venues and theatres), the Carmelite is owned by the Best Western Group and is part of an upmarket portfolio known as the Signature Collection. Among the themed rooms on offer are the Cabanel Suite (circular bed, cherubs on the ceiling), the Laundry Suite (you have your own private table football area) and the Antique Suite (original artworks, a sleigh bed and antique furniture and flooring).

Stirling Street, Aberdeen


Dakota Glasgow

One of a portfolio of Dakota establishments which includes hotels in Leeds and Manchester as well as two other Scottish sites – at Eurocentral in North Lanarkshire, and just outside South Queensferry, where it serves busy Edinburgh Airport – Dakota Glasgow (pictured below) was opened in 2016 by local hotelier Ken McCulloch, the man behind celebrity favourite One Devonshire Gardens. As the name suggests, the Dakota Grill is the place to go for steaks (though don’t despair if meat isn’t your thing: the a la carte menu currently boasts are yummy-sounding Charred January King Cabbage with miso, celeriac crumble, and trompette mushroom) and Jack’s Bar, with its heated, outdoor Cigar Terrace, specialises in cocktails.

179 West Regent Street, Glasgow


The Herald:

Malmaison Dundee

Another Ken McCulloch venture, though now owned by Singapore-based multinational Frasers Property, Malmaison’s Dundee branch opened in 2014 in the building which formerly housed a temperance hotel where alcohol was banned well into the 1950s. No longer, of course. Happily, the hotel is located just a few hundred metres from Dundee’s newest attraction, V&A Dundee, and a couple of minutes’ walk from the train station. It's also handy for the attraction which did so much to kick start Dundee's tourist renaissance, RRS Discovery, the ship which carried both Scott and Shackleton on their first expedition to the Antarctic. There are also views over the silvery Tay, 91 rooms to choose from spread over four floors, a sumptuous-looking brasserie (vegans will enjoy the beetroot patty with avocado: carnivores have their pick of steaks) and the cocktail bars is equally plush.

44 Whitehall Crescent, Dundee


Black Ivy

Located in a grand Victorian townhouse on the Marchmont side of Edinburgh’s Bruntsfield Links, Black Ivy was once the site of the student favourite the Links Hotel. Today it’s an independently owned boutique hotel offering 21 rooms, a bar and a restaurant. Launched in 2017 by Edinburgh hotelier and bar owner Billy Lowe, it certainly has an eye-catching interior: there are wall murals by Melbourne-based graffiti artist Rone (see below), a floor made entirely from American nickels – that’s five cents for the uninitiated – and another made with wood salvaged from 19th century French railway carriages.

4 Alvanley Terrace, Edinburgh


The Herald:

Kimpton Blythswood Square

Offering what it calls “historic glam”, this upmarket hotel is located in the Georgian pile in Glasgow’s Blythswood Square which once housed the Royal Scottish Automobile Club. One multi-million pound makeover later and it joins Glasgow’s ever-growing collection of super-hip hotels. There are 113 rooms and (because those Georgian architects knew what they were doing) each one is airy and bright. Expect marble and rich wood panelling throughout, and if you splash out for the Penthouse Suite you’ll find it has two double bedrooms, a wet room with a sunken bath tub, a separate kitchen and dining room with space for 10 guests and your very own private balcony and roof terrace. The first floor Salon cocktail bar is closed temporarily but downstairs is Iasg (Gaelic for fish), where among the Malt-glazed pig cheeks and roasted duck breast you’ll find speciality dishes such as Orkney scallops, Gigha halibut with a Riesling sauce and a lobster and salmon burger served with Thermidor sauce on a brioche bun.

11 Blythswood Square, Glasgow


Hotel Indigo Dundee

Operated by the IHG group and part of a portfolio of hotels which pride themselves on being “at the heart of vibrant neighbourhoods”, you’ll find Hotel Indigo outposts in cities such as Atlanta, Shanghai, Berlin and Barcelona. In the city of jute, jam and journalism where else could they set down but in an old textile mill? This one is in the Lower Dens Mills and the city’s industrial heritage is celebrated in a bar area which features tiles, exposed brickwork, plain wooden floors – think factory – and simple lighting. The Daisy Tasker bistro has two AA rosettes, there are 102 rooms and (just so you know) the hotel’s bell tower is modelled on the Santa Maria della Salute in Venice.

Constable Street, Dundee