Edinburgh, nicknamed ‘Athens of the North’ is not just Scotland’s capital but also its cultural nucleus. Cobblestoned streets and medieval castles sit amidst a lush woodland landscape overlooking the Firth of Forth. The gorgeous city brims with nooks that entice you to explore just a bit further. Edinburgh also boasts a playful, down-to-earth vibe, which is what makes it very LGBTQ friendly. In fact, it’s one of the UK’s most amazing LGBTQ friendly cities, and the profusion of gay hotels in Edinburgh, Scotland is a testament to this. Thus, it’s only fitting that such an LGBTQ friendly city feature an equally fascinating gay neighborhood. Edinburgh’s gay quarter is aptly named the ‘Pink Triangle’ that transforms the city into a den of playful and wonderful endless possibilities. This rainbow flag-flying quarter is bursting with not just buzzing nightclubs, and cozy bars but many gay hotels too.
For a long time, gay travelers have thronged to Edinburgh to not only enjoy its vibrant gay scene but also its cultural delights. After all, Edinburgh is one of The 12 Best Preserved Medieval Cities In Europe. Further, it’s also home to the Edinburgh Castle, one of The 12 Largest Castles In The World and the city’s most-visited landmark. Additionally, there are historic thoroughfares, street markets, palaces, museums, and more just waiting to be discovered. And of course, just beyond the confines of the city lies the spectacular landscape of Scotland. So, a visit to gay Edinburgh should figure high on your gaycation list. To that end, here are the top 11 gay friendly hotels in Edinburgh, UK. Find some among the 11 Best Hotels in Edinburgh!
Apex Grassmarket Hotel
If you’re looking for gay hotels in Edinburgh UK to explore the city, then you couldn’t find a place better than the Apex Grassmarket Hotel. It lies right next to the Edinburgh Castle, as well as the lively scenic old marketplace, and is the perfect base for exploring the Top 7 Things To Do In Edinburgh. What’s more, you’re just a 20-minute walk from the Pink Triangle gay scene.
The hotel is part of a stylish Scottish chain, and it shows. Think stripy carpets, black tiles, and lots of bold colors with ochre yellow as the color theme. It’s soothing and airy at the same time, with floor-to-ceiling windows and a lush green courtyard overlooking the Grassmarket. There’s a lovely indoor swimming pool which is one of the 11 Best Hotel Pools in Edinburgh. Also, there are a fitness room and a sauna, which is a real treat. They feel wonderful to indulge in after having walked the cobblestoned streets of Edinburgh all day. Breakfast is one hearty affair featuring everything from smoked salmon with spinach and poached eggs to kippers. There’s room service too, and you’ll be able to dig into a pizza or a panini as early as 6 a.m. If you’re renting your own car, the small car park is a huge plus-point.
The rooms are equally bright and airy, with flatscreen TVs, lighting control from beds, bottled water, and nice bathrooms too. Since the Grassmarket area can get pretty raucous, the hotel ingeniously provides earplugs. For splurgers, we’d suggest one of the superior rooms for castle views or the deluxe rooms with everything we mentioned, plus a balcony.
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The Chester Residence
The Chester Residence is one of the best service-apartment options for gay friendly hotels in Edinburgh, Scotland. These sleek serviced apartments in a tranquil West End residential are not only close to city sights but also the Pink Triangle. What’s more, the blend privacy and space with the swank of a high-end design hotel, and have an imaginative range of special packages too.
The serviced apartments are actually a cluster of Georgian terraced townhouses. Once you step inside, it’s all hushed luxury; think moody lighting, plush designer furnishings modern artwork, and fireplaces. The service is top-notch, with the staff taking note of what you like and what you don’t. If you’re on your honeymoon, we’d suggest the romantic getaways package, complete with bubble baths and rose petals on the bed. Moreover, you can even customize one of your own. Furthermore, the hotel also enables ordering hampers/groceries as well as in-house spa treatments and more. There’s even a bar lounge on-site if you want to eat somewhere else other than your splendid apartment, but not far off.
23 room choices ranging from intimate garden hideaways to magnificent drawing room flats literally cater to all kinds of travelers. The immaculate suites have a bevy of high-tech mod-cons, cloud-like beds, and kitchens that are as functional as they’re sleek and sexy. Higher-end rooms even have private cinemas and spa-like bathrooms with bathtubs and TVs.
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The Inn on the Mile
Are you an LGBTQ culture buff looking for a characterful gay hotel in Edinburgh, UK? Then the Inn on the Mile is where you should be. With an impressive frontal pediment and colonnade facade, this former bank-turned-serene inn is one unique bolthole in town. It sits just south of the Edinburgh-Waverly train station, close to both the city’s attractions as well as the Pink Triangle. With a pub downstairs, nine boutique rooms, and a location right in the thick of things, this hotel ticks all boxes.
The hotel can be accessed both through the pub and from the street via a wide staircase papered in marvelous wallpaper which is different on each floor. Although there’s no lounge per se, the pub is perfect for all sitting-around jaunts. It’s always lively, buzzing with live bands, jam sessions, and quiz nights. Breakfast is a simple but delicious affair with a filled roll or fry-up and the main menu of international pub grub. And even though it’s a budget hotel in terms of amenities, there’s both laundry and room service, with the staff being warm and extremely efficient.
You have the choice of two kinds of bedrooms, Mile or the larger Royal Mile. They’re done up in neutral hues with bright splashes of color and with either Bridge or Royal Mile views. They’re all spacious and light with plush beds, desks, sleek mod-cons, and a well-stocked minibar. If you’re a couple, then the sexy black bathrooms in the Royal Mile rooms have freestanding bathtubs large enough for two.
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Are you a couple looking for a B&B to rekindle your romance? Then the Victorian guesthouse of 23 Mayfield should be your destination. This bed and breakfast is one of the dreamiest gay friendly hotels in Edinburgh and lies away from the bustle in serene Mayfield Gardens. It’s a short bus ride to both Edinburgh Old Town and Pink Triangle, as well as the city’s main attractions.
The B&B has a terrific set of hosts who’ve cleverly used rich texture and color to make the B&B atmospheric, no matter the season. One of the highlights here is breakfasting by candlelight, which is a great way to steam things up and keep the romance going. The hushed B&B is full of nooks to cozy up with your significant other and spend time together. You can laze in front of the fire in the club lounge or sip on a glass of wine while reading a book. Play a game of chess with your partner while listening to some music. Or, you can swathe yourself in a comforter and watch a classic black-and-white film too. Breakfast is a grand Scottish affair, which you can enjoy in the lovely garden. Think sausages, waffles, tattle scones, Clootie dumpling, and Stornaway black pudding.
Just like the rest of the house, bedrooms feature jewel-like hues and rich furnishings. Carefully curated artwork, writing desks, and handsome beds aside, the rooms also have small but modern bathrooms with for-two rainfall showers. It’s no wonder that this B&B features on many lists of romantic gay friendly hotels in Edinburgh, Scotland.
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LGBTQ couples looking for sensuous luxury will find it at the Nira Caledonia, one of the sexiest gay hotels in Edinburgh, UK. To put it quite simply, the hotel is ideal for gay couples whose tastes are very singular. Its Jacuzzi Suites, which are its most luxurious digs, come with a special Valentine’s package. It includes everything from an aphrodisiac tasting menu paired whiskey or wine to couple’s massages. The headline act, however, is a ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’-esque goody bag which contains a profusion of kinky curios. Think feather ticklers, masks, blindfolds, fluffy handcuffs, and – get this – a spanking ruler!
If you ever get out of this hedonistic headliner, you’ll see that the rest of the hotel sports the same distinctly pleasurable aesthetic. It sits in two picture-perfect Georgian townhouses tucked away in a peaceful corner of the New Town. If you want to extend the kink sprint, Pink Triangle and its bevy of gay offerings are a 20-minute walk down the road. besides the 24-hour room service, the offerings here are equally unusual – private charters, breakfast in bed, and even shoe cleaning. Dig into a lovely meal at the in-house restaurant which features both local and international fare. Moreover, breakfast is a nice continental spread that includes black pudding, smoked salmon, and scrambled eggs, and a full cooked breakfast.
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Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh – The Caledonian
Enjoy old-fashioned Scottish glamour at the Waldorf Astoria The Caledonian, one of the most luxurious gay friendly hotels in Edinburgh, Scotland. This hotel sits in a grand, historic building on Princes Street and is one of the most coveted addresses in a classy neighborhood. It sits right next to Edinburgh Castle and close to all major Edinburgh attractions. Plus, the Royal Mile shopping street is also close by. If its nightlife you’re wondering, about the gay area of Pink Triangle is a leisurely 20-minute stroll.
Gleaming marble and doormen in tartan trousers pay homage to the structure’s history as a great railway hotel. The place boasts a laundry list of amenities, including a superb indoor swimming pool with daybeds and beach chairs. After a swim, you can head to the soothing sauna and steam room. Moreover, the hotel even has the only Guerlain spa in the whole of the UK, with a complete roster of pampering beauty treatments and massages. Of the two restaurants and bars, the highlight is the pastel-hued, foliage-filled Pampadour, one of the prettiest restaurants in the city.
Rooms are all individually decked out, right from the historic Carriage rooms to the suites. Nevertheless, they all have lavish bathrooms, bespoke beds begging to be tried out, and mod-cons that’ll please the savvy traveler. For sweeping views of Edinburgh, splurge on one of the suites.
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Ballantrae Albany Hotel
The Ballantrae Albany Hotel is one of the most characterful budget gay hotels in Edinburgh, UK’s Pink Triangle. The boutique hotel sits in four Georgian townhouses that exude period-era charm, with some of Edinburgh’s best gay bars right down the street. A small, informal reception area welcomes you within the townhouse. The entire place is a nod to the glorious era in which the houses were built, complete with hand-painted wallpapers and handcrafted furniture. Despite being a budget hotel, Ballantrae boasts exemplary service, 24-hour room service, and free Wi-Fi. The highlight is the in-house restaurant which serves, apart from a sumptuous breakfast, contemporary delicacies, and a selection of cocktails and wines. Finally, the lovely terrace area is the perfect place to take in the vibe of the city, with panoramic views over New Town right up to Edinburgh Castle.
If you were impressed by the hotel’s public spaces, then wait till you see the bedrooms, which are a sanctuary of serenity and of indulgence and luxury. Each one is different from the other, with each paying homage to the city’s history in one way or another. Rooms mix original character with modern comforts like flatscreen TVs, contemporary marble bathrooms with bathtubs, and more. If you’re looking for a budget hotel in a Scottish setting in the heart of gay town, then this one is perfect.
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Royal Mile Backpackers
There are many hostels in Edinburgh, and the Royal Mile Backpackers cinches the top spot. One of the most gay friendly hotels in Edinburgh, it has a cracker of a location a 10-minute walk from Pink Triangle. Tram, bus, and rail connections are within a stone’s throw, as are many of the city’s main sights and attractions. Even though it sits right in the heart of Old Town, the cozy guesthouse feels positively bijou.
Don’t be put off by the entrance, for once you’re inside, the hostel feels comfortable and intimate. You’re greeted by cushy sofas and a traditional range fireplace in the reception that feels more like someone’s living room. The open-plan kitchen-cum-dining room sports lovely deep red walls and is open 24/7 with free tea/coffee. There’s also a wonderful continental breakfast on the offer for a wallet-friendly price of 2 GBP (2.6 USD). Join one of the free walking tours every day or the fantastic pub crawl every Thursday. Plus, the staff helps out with booking tours as well. Overall, the place is slightly quieter and it’s a welcome departure from the usual noisy hostel.
With just 38 beds in three dorms, staying here feels intimate too. You can choose from one female-only or four mixed dorms, all of which have standard but comfy bunk beds, lockers, and are nice and bright. If you get assigned a bed in the ‘Gotham City’ room, you can sit at its beautiful and huge bay window for hours.
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Views, style, and a stellar location right in the heart of the Pink Triangle – The Glasshouse has it all. It’s one of the best-located gay hotels in Edinburgh, UK, sandwiched between two of its most amazing gay bars, CC Blooms and Habana. Even the steamy gay sauna, The Pound, is two streets away. Gothic on the outside and mid-century-modern on the inside, this glamorous hideaway is just the stylish gay base you need in the Pink Triangle.
A contemporary cathedral-like reception with floor-to-ceiling windows frames gorgeous views of the surrounding region. The ceilings become lower in the bar, restaurant, and the rooms, lending them a cozy feeling. The Snug bar is a great place to enjoy a cocktail before your night of revelry. The real winner here is the roof garden, which is a two-acre-huge glory brimming with grass, shrubs, and trees – yes! When the sun shines bright, pull up a deckchair, sip on a cocktail, or enjoy a picnic tea. Service is endearingly delightful, just like the staff. The best part is that there’s room service, with breakfast in bed of eggs Florentine/Benedict, kippers, and a full Scottish fry-up. After a wild night out on the gay town, we think this will be necessary. If you want to keep the revelry going, top it with a mimosa.
Floor-to-ceiling windows take center-stage in the rooms, complete with angled plush beds, lattice screens, and cerulean bathroom panels. We’d highly recommend that you splash out on the upgraded rooms that open on to the rooftop garden or have huge secluded balconies.
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If all you want to do on your Scottish sojourn is shopping, drinking, and partying, then head to Edinburgh’s hottest boutique hotel, Tigerlily. The sexy designer’s dream of a dig is one of the most gay friendly hotels in Edinburgh, UK. Its LGBT friendly hosts always have an unending roster of entertainment lined up, while the rooms are downright sexy havens of indulgence. If that wasn’t enough, it’s home to one of Edinburgh’s most gay popular bars in the city!
The hotel has made for mingling and not for retiring – ever if they can help it. It’s decked out with shimmering chandeliers and seductive pink-hued interiors that scream bling. Pop art and walls of mirrored glass mosaic line the walls of the restaurant/bar. The staff is unfailingly efficient and can arrange for all kinds of fun outings like garden photoshoots and cocktail classes. The fact that there’s room service with cooker-to-order breakfast in bed will help you enormously the next day. The crown jewel is the bar, where you can let your hair down, meeting gorgeous gays, and dance the night away. And of course, the rooms are right upstairs.
The hotel sets the perfect score with the 33 rooms, all of which feature glamorous pops of colors like pink, turquoise, purple, scarlet, and hot pink. Extra-soft bathrobes, king-sized beds, and minibars full of dark chocolate and drinks like champagne make the rooms suggestively amazing. If you can, go for the suites that have loveseat-like sofas, decadent bathrooms with music, and bathtubs for two.
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If drinking, eating and hanging out are high priorities on your gay Edinburgh sojourn, then the Black Ivy is the place to do it. It’s one of the most sociable boutique gay hotels in Edinburgh, UK right in Bruntsfield, a short walk or bus ride into Old Town and Pink Triangle. Moreover, it allows you to explore the equally buzzing suburbs of Morningside and the Victorian-era neighborhood of Blackford.
This all-day destination screams style, right from its reception to rooms to the restaurant/pub. Think bare-brick walls, fireplaces, chandeliers, an olive-tree-filled garden bedecked with fairy lights, and more. Wall-to-wall art photographs of women in various stages of elegant exposure are peppered everywhere – ladies, take note, this one’s for you. The highlight is the series of lounge areas around a central bar, aptly named Drafthouse. It’s where you can strike conversations or indulge in a game of ping-pong or enjoy a drink with them. The jazz brunch on Sundays is a great way to meet people, as is the romantic ambiance of the terrace fire pits where you can roast marshmallows. Although there’s room service, you’d like heading downstairs if you’re a social butterfly and are looking to have fun in Edinburgh. Finally, begin your day with a smashing breakfast of pancakes, eggs ‘Bennies’ Benedict, filled rolls, fry-ups, and more.
The rooms are a welcome departure from the visual excitement of downstairs, with chalk-white walls and pops of purples, reds, and pinks. Graphics and florals make an appearance here and there, adding to the cozy feel. The gorgeous views of the Bruntsfield Link out of the windows adds to its charm. Super-king beds, mod-cons, and sexy masculine-like bathrooms make up the rest of the place.
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Just So You Know:
- Scotland’s first Pride parade took place in 1993 in Edinburgh.
Get Some Culture in Edinburgh:
- Pride Edinburgh – This is Edinburgh’s biggest gay event held annually in June. Throughout Pride week, there are workshops, culture and art sessions, picnics, and, of course, parties.
- BearScotFest – This is the biggest bear event in Britain in the month of October. Whether you’re a bear, otter, chaser, cub, or an admirer, you’re most welcome. There are lots of brunches, parties, and a Mr. BearScot competition, ending with a raunchy and risqué pool party!
- Gaily Tour in Edinburgh: Explore the gay neighborhood and the rest of gorgeous Edinburgh with a gay/lesbian-friendly driver and/or tour guide.
Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Edinburgh:
- CC Blooms – This long-standing Edinburgh gay club is also its biggest. It’s a restaurant/bar by day and a sweaty, hot, and raging gay club by night.
- Habana Edinburgh – This upscale gay bar is a very popular gay meet-up spot in town.
- Tigerlily – This bar in the Tigerlily hotel is one raging, Instagram-worthy space. It’s very gay-popular, what with the fabulous gay friendly hotel just upstairs.
Best Gay Saunas in Edinburgh:
- The Pound – This two-story gay sauna sits right in the heart of the Pink Triangle and is filled with beautiful Scotsmen. There are also private cabins, a maze, a dry sauna, and a steamy steam room.