Edinburgh is not a place which is short on monuments. It’s no surprise that such an ancient city has so many, though the number which have survived the ravages of time is impressive.

Tourism to the city is massive business, but not a new industry – at the dawn of the railway age Edinburgh was one of the most popular destinations for wealthy Victorians on holiday.

A crop of grand railway hotels sprang up to cater for them – as they did in many cities across Scotland and England – and today a handful remain as luxury boltholes for visitors to the city.

Proudly placed at the western end of Princes Street, with one of the most recognisable frontages in the whole city, is The Caledonian.

Why Stay Here?

Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh The Caledonian Hotel

The location of The Caley (as it’s known) is almost impeccable. The convenience of the railway remains, with Waverly station only five minutes’ walk away, and the airport is only a half-hour in a cab.

Once checked in, the whole city is on your doorstep, with just about every part worth visiting in a walkable area.

The castle? You can see it from your window. The epic views from the top of Calton Hill? Walk a straight line from the door for 10 minutes to find the gates to the park. Shops of the New Town, bars and restaurants of the West End and the traditional tourist hotspots along the Royal Mile are all within easy reach, meaning whatever your reason for visiting Edinburgh, The Caley is the ideal base.

Even the Johnnie Walker Experience, a recent opening which is already extremely popular, is right across the street – perfect staggering distance after a long afternoon of whisky tasting.

The hotel itself can also serve as a reason to visit the city. There’s a lot of space in this old building, and it has been used extremely well.

View from Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh The Caledonian Hotel

Most impressive is the spa and fitness area – it’s much larger than many other luxury hotels (thanks to all that extra space) and comprises treatment rooms, a two-floor gym and a substantial pool with views over the castle.

In conjunction with the sauna and steam this makes for a comprehensive relaxation centre, which will be well-needed after a bit of time marching up and down Edinburgh’s Seven Hills.

How’s the Food?

Restaurant in Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh The Caledonian Hotel

Extensive, and exceptional. There are a few different options here for eating and drinking, and all are impressive. Days begin in Peacock Alley, an area in the centre of the hotel built on the area once home to a railway platform.

Nowadays it is an expansive space, awash with natural light, where possibly the most epic hotel breakfast I’ve ever encountered is served. The usual continental offering is done well, but the star is the Full Scottish. It’s not for the faint of heart, but the combination of Lorne sausage, haggis, and much more is the ideal fuel for the exertions of exploring Scotland’s capital. In the afternoon Peacock Alley serves an afternoon tea, with a couple of local twists to the usual sweet treats.

In the evening guests have the choice of two restaurants, and it’s worth staying long enough to try both. Dean Banks at The Pompadour is a celebration of Scotland’s own cuisine, with seasonal ingredients all coming from the magnificent local larder. This celebration of Scottish produce extends to the bar, which only stocks Scottish spirits.

As well as the whisky, which one would expect to be Scottish as it’s the best, the gin and vodka used for house cocktails are also locally-made. When enjoyed in a private dining room with unhindered views of the iconic castle, this combination becomes quintessentially Scottish.

Over on the other side of the building, Grazing by Mark Greenaway delivers a menu which combines wonderful local seafood with traditional, warming dishes and some innovative snacks, served as amuse-bouches during the meal. The foodie scene in Edinburgh has exploded in the last few years, and these two restaurants rank highly in a now-crowded field.

What are the Rooms Like?

There’s certainly plenty of choice. The corridors of this wonderful old edifice seem to stretch for miles (perhaps a touch too Shining-esque, or maybe that’s just after a few drams) and contain everything from snug single rooms for solo wanderers to expansive suites with majestic bay windows.

The best are on the east of the building, perfect for the sunrise in the morning and views of the castle at any time. Clearly the most recognisable of Edinburgh’s many landmarks, Edinburgh Castle is rarely more beautiful than when lit up at night and viewed from your bed over a glass of champagne.

Scotland’s capital is a global player in the tourism market, attracting millions of visitors each year. The legends of the haunted Wynds, the stunning beauty of the panorama from Arthur’s Seat and the eclectic shows of the Festival all play a part in that attraction.

Key to making sure the reality matches the expectations are the luxury hotels which will house Edinburgh’s most demanding guests – at The Caley, they will find a wonderful representation of the best of Scottish hospitality.

Rooms from £198. hilton.com