A Long History
In 2006, Salisbury Green, owned and managed by the University of Edinburgh, opened as a hotel and conference centre. This is the just the latest chapter in the long history of the fascinating building.
The original house at Salisbury Green (Mansion House) was built for an Edinburgh merchant, Alexander Scott, in the 1750s. Despite the size, the original building probably had just two rooms on the ground floor and a maximum of three on the first and second floors. There also appears to have been servants’ accommodation in the attic, as indicated by the topmost pair of windows (which can still be seen) in the gable walls.
In 1770 the house was purchased by the Dick family of Prestonfield House as a residence for Lady Dick-Cunningham. Soon after, a single-storey drawing room extension was built, its bowed design possibly inspired by a pair of two-storey bowed extensions at Prestonfield House. The room is still known as the Drawing room.
Adding a tower house
When publisher William Nelson acquired the house in 1860, he commissioned the architect John Lessels to make alterations. Lessels designed a single-storey extension to the rear and created a new ‘tower’ block on the north side of the building. The façade of the original house was completely encased in new stonework and lavishly carved with Scots Renaissance detail.
Since the tower block emulated a tower house of the 15th Century, it gave the appearance that the main part of the house was added later.
Within the house
The entrance hall is lined with Jacobean-style oak panelling.
The red velvet-lined room (the Red Room) is now used as a meeting room but remains almost unchanged since the house was originally built. Some of the original paintwork remains intact and the extravagant marble chimneypiece is likely to have been imported from Italy.
Interestingly, bedroom 35 is approached through a panelled corridor which is a few steps higher than the rest of the second floor, showing the transition from the original house to the Victorian extension.
Student residence days
In 1942, Sir Donald Pollock bought Salisbury Green and its grounds which he gifted to the University of Edinburgh as residences for students. The house was a male only residence until the first new halls were built on the grounds in the 1960s. Males moved into the newer buildings allowing female students to move into the Salisbury Green. In the 1970s, with increasing demand for student accommodation, a two-storey annex was added to the rear of the house, the style in-keeping with the rest of the building.
The latest chapter
And so to the latest phase in this fine building’s story – the conversion, carried out in 2006, from the student residence to Salisbury Green Hotel and Bistro.
The sympathetic refurbishment has retained all the period features within the building, providing 36 en-suite twin, double and single bedrooms, with disabled access to some rooms. All rooms include free WiFi, tea and coffee making facilities and TVs.
There is another, more modern building next door (Masson House) which is comprised of the remaining 72 rooms of Salisbury Green Hotel and Bistro, all recently refurbished to a high standard. Breakfast and dinner are served in the Bistro, also within Masson House, serving local produce daily. The lounge offers drinks and a separate bar menu from 14.30 every day.
The hotel sits in peaceful landscaped grounds adjacent to Holyrood Park, nestled at the foot of Arthur’s Seat. Within easy walking distance of the Old Town and the city’s main attractions, Salisbury Green Hotel and Bistro is an ideal place to relax after a day of exploring Scotland’s capital city.
For more information and to book a room at Salisbury Green Hotel and Bistro please visit https://www.edinburghfirst.co.uk/accommodation/salisbury-green-hotel-and-bistro/ or call 0131 651 2198.
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