The Glasshouse, Autograph Collection

Review of The Glasshouse, Autograph Collection review by Varun Sharma

With a host of awards and accolades to its credit, The Glasshouse, Edinburgh is one of the city’s most popular, historic yet at the same time contemporary boutique hotels. Combining the 170 plus-year-old surviving west façade elevation of Lady Glenorchy’s Free Church, all Victorian sandstone neo-perpendicular Gothic style, with a dramatic, modernist wall of glass and steel forming the rest of the building, once through the entrance, it is light, bright and unexpectedly comfortably contemporary.  

The Glasshouse’s 77 rooms and suites all enjoy floor to ceiling windows and some of the best vistas of Edinburgh with views of the city centre, Calton Hill or a spectacular two-acre rooftop garden. On the culinary front, there is The Brasserie serving a hearty Scottish breakfast from the best of available local produce and The Snug, perfectly positioned in the centre of the hotel, for a seasonal all-day dining menu, Afternoon Tea or a tempting dram of whisky from a selection of over 100 marques.

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Situated just a quarter of an hour’s walk from the Royal Mile and 2 kilometres from Edinburgh Castle, The Glasshouse enjoys one of the best locations for discovering the city. Set between Old Town and New Town, the hotel is a short walk from both Edinburgh Waverley Train Station and York Place tram stop with its direct service to Edinburgh Airport with a journey time of around 40 minutes. 

Edinburgh Airport is around a 30-minute drive to the property, dependent on traffic, with parking available at QPark adjacent to the hotel. Guests may validate their tickets at reception for a 20% discount. 

The Playhouse Theatre is next door to the hotel for theatre-lovers whilst a ten-minute walk will take you to Princes Street, famous for its shopping. The Palace of Holyroodhouse, one of the city’s main tourist attractions, is also easily accessible from the hotel. The property partners with the Royal Botanic Garden which are set in over 70 acres of beautiful landscape, also offering amazing views out over the city skyline. For royal lovers, the former Royal Yacht Britannia is moored at the docks.



To capitalise on the dramatic views over Edinburgh, Calton Hill or the two-acre rooftop garden, the 77 rooms and suites of The Glasshouse Hotel feature floor to ceiling windows in both the bed and bathrooms of this luxury three-story hotel. Some rooms feature spacious private terraces whilst others enjoy direct access to the rooftop gardens. 

All feature a contemporary style with luxurious bespoke bedding; full air-conditioning; writing desks; heated bathroom floors with iPod docking stations; flat-screen televisions; Roberts Radios with Bluetooth connectivity and complimentary fully stocked minibars. Other amenities include tea and Nespresso machines; laptop safes; Aromatherapy Associates toiletries; irons and ironing boards; umbrellas and a shoeshine service. There is also access to newspapers online via an app. 

The entry-level Signature Rooms offer an average 32.5 square metres of living space with either Queen or twin beds, the floor to ceiling windows flooding the rooms with light. The Calton Hill Rooms at an average of around 35 square metres are situated at the top of the hotel as you might expect with direct access to the rooftop gardens with each room enjoying its own outdoor table and seating. Situated in a U-shape around the gardens, these rooms offer superb views over Calton Hill. The next category up, the Autograph Rooms at 43 square metres are significantly larger and feature striking modern furnishings. The Greenside Terrace Rooms meanwhile are a similar size with all the facilities of the Signature Rooms but enjoying a large, private outdoor terrace with partial views over Calton Hill. 

Suite guests are welcomed to the hotel with a complimentary dram of whisky in The Snug relating to individual suite’s names which is a nice touch as the suites are named after some of the hotel’s favourite Scottish distilleries. 

The Calton Hill Suites at around 58 square metres of space take full advantage of their direct access to the rooftop gardens and enjoy stunning views over Calton Hill. For romance, head to one of two Glasshouse Suites with living spaces larger than the Calton Hill Suites at an average of 66 square metres of space. The crowning glory of these suites are the bathrooms with their waterfall showers, underfloor heating and huge bathtubs.  

The New Town Terrace Suites at 76 square metres of living space are particularly popular with repeat guests as they offer a huge outdoor terrace with views out over the Firth of Forth and Edinburgh’s New Town, a UNESCO heritage site. 

The largest suites at the hotel are the Lady Glenorchy Suites located on the corners of the property, making the most of the views of Calton Hill. At 89 square metres of living space, the vast rooms are named after Viscountess Willielma Campbell who commissioned the church façade of The Glasshouse over 170 years ago and was a well-known patroness of evangelical missionary work. The top floor suite offers a wrap-around terrace to make the most of its Calton Hill views whilst the suite below is slightly larger with a viewing area as well as a luxurious bathroom with a four-berth bathtub. 

The hotel offers a selection of accessible rooms for those with impaired mobility.

Service & Facilities


One of the most unique aspects of The Glasshouse Hotel is its magnificent, one-of-a-kind beautifully landscaped two-acre rooftop garden offering magnificent views over Edinburgh – one of the city’s best kept secrets. In the summer months, enjoy a private barbecue or indeed get married high above the city streets. It is also perfect for private parties and dancing in clement weather. 

The hotel does not feature a spa or a gym but the streets of Edinburgh is an excellent running track!



This is a little gem of a boutique hotel within an equally interesting mixed-use development in the heart of the city. A fabulous location close to all points of interest and an interesting architectural combination of the old with the new makes for great talking points.  The rooftop garden is a particularly unique, beautifully landscaped space which is unique in the city and is the hotel’s crowning glory. 

Designed by Allan Murray Architects and opening in 2003, the building links an historic façade with a contemporary glass and steel building in dramatic fashion. The Victorian façade was listed for its contribution to the streetscape of one of the city’s main thoroughfares and for its heritage links to the good works of Lady Glenorchy, who founded several independent chapels in Scotland and Wales. With contemporary furnishings, the hotel also features colourful bursts of modern art throughout the property.

Restaurants & Bars


There are two restaurants and bars at the hotel. The Brasserie is currently only open for breakfast, the perfect place to begin the day with a hearty Scottish breakfast looking out over Calton Hill. 

The cosy Snug meanwhile is open throughout the day, serving a constantly changing menu using the very best of seasonal local produce.  The Head Chef has hand-picked local suppliers who source only the highest-quality Scottish produce with Royal Warrant holders Campbell Brothers supplying all the meat and poultry. All the seafood is also locally sourced from the quaysides on both the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea. 

There is also a delicious Afternoon Tea showcasing traditional Scottish staples whilst in the evening, relax in an armchair next to the fire pit over a wee dram, choosing from a selection of 100 different Scotch whiskies, including the hotel’s own Adelphi Glenborrodale Batch Six, perhaps combining it with one of the bar’s premium cigars. If whisky is not your thing, do not stress as the Snug also features an extensive range of innovative cocktails and drinks, served with aplomb.


The Glasshouse Hotel Edinburgh is owned by YTL Group, a company which has an ongoing sustainability programme – Making a good future happen - which integrates green and environmental protection into their core business model to safeguard and improve the natural environment for future generations through responsible stewardship. 

The group is dedicated to protecting the environment, enriching communities, empowering their staff and embracing the marketplace. They aim to be carbon neutral in their operations by 2050, to have zero single use plastics in place by 2025 and to continue to empower and enrich local communities by supporting educational and outreach programmes. 

Their approach is to protect and conserve both land and marine biodiversity and ecosystems, to prioritise sustainable and efficient water usage and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through renewable energy and greater efficiency. They are also committed to managing their waste under the mantra – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle. Various old furniture and equipment has been repurposed rather than disposed of. They have also installed recyclable waste collection bins both on site and at employees’ quarters/offices to promote recycling behaviour. The group has replaced plastic straws with environmentally friendly alternatives saving approximately 132,000 straws annually. They have also replaced plastic water bottles with reusable glass bottles and filtration systems, water dispensers and in-house bottling systems saving approximately 800,000 bottles annually. Amenities and toiletries have been replaced with ecofriendly packaging where possible and refillable pumps, dispensers and the use of refillable ceramic bottles have been actioned saving approximately 530,000 miniature bottles annually. 

At their properties and with any new construction, they are committed to using sustainable materials to minimise any harmful impact on the environment.

What We Love

  • Accommodation: The Glasshouse has 77 delightful rooms and suites. They are all contemporary in style and are filled with inroom amenities including Nespresso coffee machines and Roberts Radios. Some have access to the rooftop gardens and some boast view of Calton Hill. The suites are particularly alluring and offer enormous bathrooms and superb views of the city and beyond.
  • History: The building itself is over 170 years old and started life as a church. When it opened in June 2003, The Glasshouse was hailed a gamechanger in Edinburgh – something new and different for the city. Over the years, it has not lost its lustre.
  • Service: The hotel is praised daily for the quality of its Staff. No request is too small or too big. Smiles all round and hearty Scottish friendliness is in abundance. A great city hotel.

    Varun Sharma

What They Love

  • Location: The five-star Glasshouse hotel is set in the heart of Edinburgh, just below the stunning landmark of Calton Hill, which offers amazing views over the city. These views can also be enjoyed from the hotel's two-acre rooftop garden which offers a quiet, green haven from the bustling atmosphere just outside.
  • The Finest Whisky: The Glasshouse boasts a world-class whisky offering, in The Snug which is a favourite among new and returning guests. Renovated in 2018, the award-winning snug is home to over 100 scotch whiskies. 
  • The Rooftop Garden: Our 2-acre rooftop garden with breathtaking views of Calton Hill is the perfect venue for weddings and events in the heart of Edinburgh. We have hosted rooftop yoga sessions, weddings, picnics, as well as pop up bar events on our rooftop garden. 

    Ignacio Sans Garcia
    General Manager
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