History & Awards
Edinburgh The George
Experience the heritage
The address for InterContinental Edinburgh The George is a collection of five, fine Georgian townhouses that were originally built in the 18th century but the property has been a grand hotel, historically known as “The George Hotel”, since 1881.
Over the past two hundred years, in the New Town area of Edinburgh, this elegant establishment was enjoyed by literary legends such as the iconic Scottish poet Robert Burns and author Sir Walter Scott and one of the townhouses was even home to Scotland’s answer to Jane Austin – Susan Ferrier. The celebrity endorsements continued with the likes of Hollywood great, Elizabeth Taylor, and pop queen Kylie Minogue. Over time the buildings changed in use from gracious living, grand insurance offices, artist’s studio and now, the stunning InterContinental Edinburgh The George.
Edinburgh’s new town development in 1766 enlisted architect James Craig who chose George Street, named after King George III, to serve as the principal road. The houses in this stylish new area were considered some of finest in the city – attracting the most esteemed professionals of the day. Prominent lawyer, James Ferrier, Scotland’s Principal Clerk of Session moved into No 25 and it was here that the famous poet Robert Burns and author Sir Walter Scott were entertained. It was Ferrier’s daughter, Susan, who continued the legacy of literary masterpieces within this prestigious cluster of homes. Ignited by Sir Walter Scott’s promotion of her, Susan Ferrier became known as the Jane Austin of Scotland and, after a successful writing career, Susan eventually founded the powerful publishing house Oliphant, Anderson and Ferrier.
1840 – 1880
In time, the homes were turned over to commercial use and in 1840 the main building was occupied by the Caledonian Insurance Company who deployed the services of architect David Bryce to design a distinctive and impressive façade – the restoration of such is the main entrance to the hotel today. Marking the ownership was a large stone carving which today still stands proudly at the entrance. The space designated as a vast banking hall is now the majestic ballroom called The King’s Hall, used for celebration occasions such as galas and weddings. The first hotel operated in a smaller section of buildings – numbers 18-21 in 1860 and by 1880 the establishment became known as The George Hotel.
In 1905 The George Hotel upgraded the building by remodelling the first floor into a suite of public rooms offering guests superior dining and leisure facilities. Around this time Edinburgh was becoming internationally recognised as a significant commercial centre for retail, artwork and publishing.
1940 – 1974
By 1940 the Caledonian Insurance business had moved out allowing The George Hotel to plan greater expansion and refurbishment, but as the Second World War worsened, the government had other ideas. The ground floor was requisitioned for the Navy, Army and Air Force Institute and was occupied throughout the war. At the original site of No. 19 George Street, millions of parcels were sorted and packaged to give home comforts to the serving officers abroad. It wasn’t until 1950 that the ground floor area was redesigned into the welcoming reception area the hotel provides today and in 1974 the whole site was granted A-List protection.
We are very proud of our hotel’s achievements in recent years, the success of our colleagues and the character of this unique property are the reasons we make an award-winning team. Our love for creating memorable hotel stays and delivering outstanding hospitality continues to inspire us all.
Winner of Luxury Brand of the Year in the 2019 Scottish Hotel Awards.
2019 Regional winner for Luxury Business Hotel of the Year in the Scottish Hotel Awards for the Edinburgh & The Lothians Region.