The Scots know the meaning of a nightcap. Not for them the little chocolate on the turn-down. At The Scotsman Hotel, there's a small decanter of whisky beside each bed.

In fact, it's the attention to detail that makes The Scotsman such a revelation. If you fancy breakfast in bed, you can choose whether or not it's brought in to you or left in your own service hatch. There's a Scottish Monopoly board in every room (where Park Lane and Mayfair become Princes Street and the Castle). The minibar is stocked with white wine and champagne next to a wine-rack full of red. If you want a G&T, you have to call room service – so that they can provide you with a proper bartender-made one. There's even a little carton of fresh milk in the fridge so you don't need to suffer the usual UHT horror. Design-wise it's got male handwriting all over it, right down to the ergonomic door handles. The rooms feel solid and masculine and gadget-based; a fusion of contemporary design with a no-nonsense Scottish sense of humour.

This may be a designer hotel, it seems to say, but let's not take ourselves too seriously. In the drawing-room, a glass table-top is perched on a reclining woman, while in the Penthouse, three upturned ducks form the legs of another.

The building was until last year the home of The Scotsman newspaper and, as far as possible, the original features have been retained, including the magnificent marble staircase and wooden panelling.

In the breakfast room, the bespoke crockery even has a newsprint design. The bar, called Room 399, has 399 malt whiskies displayed in glory behind glass doors. And if you have one dram too many, you can recuperate the next day in the hotel's state-of-the-art Escape Health Club and Spa, which boasts Scotland's first stainless-steel swimming-pool.

Location, location, location

The Scotsman is at 20 North Bridge, Edinburgh (0131-556 5565; between the Royal Mile and Princes Street, overlooking Waverley station.

Time to international airport: Edinburgh airport is 30 minutes by taxi (about £13) or airport bus (£3.30), which leaves Waverley station every 15 minutes.


Oh yes... Many hotels concentrate on design rather than comfort. Not The Scotsman. Climbing into bed was like sinking into a giant marshmallow. The sheets are Egyptian cotton, the pillows filled with the softest feathers, the headboards padded tweed. All 68 rooms are individually designed, with a different tweed in each. The Editor's Room still has the original wood-panelling, and the old newspaper pledge on a plaque on the wall.

Freebies: Six full-size Molton Brown shower and bath gels were strapped to the wall. The miniatures you can pocket.

Keeping in touch: Scarily high-tech, with digital TV and an interactive television from which you can access the Net, DVD-player, CD-player and business software, printer (not on the scale of the old Scotsman presses) and modem point and telephone with voicemail.

The bottom line

Study rooms start at £149, while the Penthouse Suite is £800 a night. There are still rooms available during the festival.

I'm not paying that: Hotel Ibis (0131-240 7000) costs £70 per room during July and August.