Although he is not a native of the city, Gerald Della-Porta is one of those B&B owners to whom Edinburgh owes so much. Forget the clichés—you really are welcomed into his home and treated like a most honored guest (welcome hug included). A block beyond Queen Street, this lodging is very central, and Gerald's tips will help you feel like a true local. It's a little tricky to find, though: head down the stairs off the street to what seems like a basement flat (there's no sign - ring the bell), and Gerald will usher you in and show you how the building actually extends down the hill at the back for several floors.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Gerald believes guests need four days at least to experience Edinburgh properly, so tends to only accept four day bookings. He can sometimes break his own rules, though.
The two rooms are furnished in classic style, with huge, top-of-the-range beds, fresh flowers, and original artwork, much of which is for sale. There are small-ish TVs and the little chest of drawers holds amenities like a mending kit, lint brush and maps of Edinburgh (printed in Canada - apparently the local versions aren't as good).
Groups can take over the whole floor if they book both rooms, which is a good option for families.
One of the rooms is en suite, and the other has a separate bathroom. Both are clean and the facilities all work well.
Who needs a lobby when instead you get a tour of the warren-like house, crammed with artworks and pictures of Gerald's family?
Breakfast around the big table is a communal affair, and the food is healthier than at most places.
Gerald provides coffee, 12 teas, chocolates, shortbread and whisky (if you're staying for a while, he'll even top it up) in the rooms, as well as a bottle of wine.
Almost all of Edinburgh's sights are close by, or buses stop close to the B&B.
Splash out at the Michelin-starred Number One (11-minute walk) for fancy modern Scottish fare, or try the more relaxed The Wee Restaurant (6-minute walk) for simple food and good wine nearby.
Sophisticated cocktails are on offer at Panda & Sons (9-minute walk) or The Queen's Arms (7-minute walk) is a lovely pub on the cobbles just around the corner.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Proper old-school hospitality at a proper old-school gentleman's house in the heart of Edinburgh. B&Bs don't get better than this.