The four star Hotel Du Vin Edinburgh is one of the capital’s most luxurious hotels.
With elegant rooms, fine dining, a cigar bothy, whisky snug and wine cellar, the boutique hotel offers one of the cosiest and most enjoyable stays in Edinburgh.
Which is a wee bit ironic when you take a look at the building’s history.
Listen to Michael Musgrove, General Manager of Hotel du Vin Edinburgh talking about the building’s curious history in the video below.
The Hotel Du Vin and Malmaison hotel group have a determination to find quirky sites for their hotels.
At Malmaison Oxford, guests can spend the night in former prison cells. Birmingham Hotel du Vin is housed in what was once the city’s eye hospital.
And Edinburgh’s Hotel Du Vin is housed in what in the 18th century was known as “Bedlam” – the city’s “lunatic asylum” where conditions were notoriously horrific.
While those with psychiatric illness from well-to-do backgrounds relied on family assistance for help, the poor were locked up in Bedlam.
Patients were treated as inmates, locked in cold cells with straw for bedding.
At one point Bedlam housed Robert Fergusson, considered to be one of Scotland’s greatest ever poets, who is believed to have suffered from depression. He died tragically aged 24 after only a few weeks inside the hosital.
His friend, a young doctor named Dr Andrew Duncan was so horrified by the conditions, he went on to campaign for better treatment for the mentally ill which resulted in all Bedlam patients being moved to the West House for paupers where patients were treated much more humanely (by Victorian standards it has to be said).
The building’s gory history continued as it became a science laboratory during the World Wars then Edinburgh’s Blood Donation Centre before falling into disrepair in the late Nineties until its purchase by Hotel Du Vin in 2006.
Some of the delicious food on the menu at Hotel du Vin.
With monsoon showers, Egyptian bed linen, well stocked mini bars and plasma tv screens the building’s less salubrious past could not be further away from its current incarnation as a luxurious boutique hotel.
However, Hotel du Vin have recognised its history with several touches throughout the hotel. The smaller private dining or meeting room is named Bedlam and is one one of the oldest parts of the building.
The larger private room is named “Burke & Hare” after Edinburgh’s notorious 19th century murderers who sold the corpses of their 17 victims to the Edinburgh Medical College for dissection.
A large mural on the wall of the room depicts the killers wheeling away their latest victim while Edinburgh’s most famous dog, Greyfriars Bobby, looks on.
(Although a few of the hotel’s customers have noted one of the killers bears a striking resemblance to popstar Robbie Williams. Listen to Michael talk us through the mural here and see what you think.)
Whether it’s dining al fresco in the hotel’s courtyard, wine tasting with the head sommelier in the glass wine tasting room, or enjoying a dram in the whisky snug, a meal or stay in Edinburgh’s Hotel du Vin will always be an experience of ultimate enjoyable luxury.
A hotel which respects its past while focusing on the future, it is a unique tribute to an influential chapter in Edinburgh’s history.
5pm has a number of dining offers in Edinburgh’s Hotel du Vin.