Alex Fisher visits this unusual floating hotel in Scotland

WHAT’S THE BUZZ? Opened earlier this year, Fingal is a former Northern Lighthouse Board ship that has been transformed into a unique, floating hotel. Now permanently berthed in the trendy Port of Leith, Edinburgh, this historic vessel offers 23 luxury cabins, excellent dining and even a dramatic ballroom with a sweeping staircase in the former hold of the ship. The £5m-pound refurbishment was carried out by The Royal Yacht Britannia, which is berthed just across the harbour, and the pair now offer the perfect package for all those with an interest in British nautical history.

ANY LUXURIOUS TOUCHES? The level of craftsmanship in the refurbishment of what was, for many years, a working ship, is extraordinary. Each cabin and all furniture has been individually designed to follow the camber of the ship. The leather for the sea green and heather seats, wardrobe panels and headboards is from Andrew Muirhead of Glasgow, who holds a Low Carbon Leather logo. These have then been finished by Transcal, the leather interior designer for brands such as Rolls-Royce. Textiles have been individually handwoven and designed to reflect the history of the ship by Araminta Campbell (, whose studio sits just opposite Fingal, and makes for a fascinating visit.

WHAT ARE THE ROOMS LIKE? The rooms are a testament to Scottish craftsmanship: sublimely luxurious and yet still retaining original features of the vessel where possible. The entry level classic cabins have a king-sized bed, porthole windows and a rain-shower with engineered brass taps. The luxury duplex cabins are on two floors, with an upstairs lounge, free-standing baths, beautiful green tiles and a separate shower.

BEST SEA VIEW? The cabins look out through original portholes onto Leith Harbour. The Skerryvore Suite, set on the Upper Deck, has incredible views and its own private deck and dining area.

HOW ABOUT THE FOOD? The Lighthouse Bar offers relaxed light dining, fabulous cocktails and divine afternoon tea. The slick Art Deco interiors make this a great place for a romantic liaison or a family celebration. Get dressed up and have fun! Enjoy salmon smoked on the ship with fromage blanc, pickled cucumber, malthouse loaf (£12), or a few oysters (£2.50 each) with a glass of Champagne. Alternatively, step back in time and enjoy afternoon tea, which includes truffled potato and herb croustade, cucumber sandwiches and caramelised apple choux bun, among other delights, (£40 per head).

WHAT WILL IT COST? Cabins are priced from £300 per night for two people, full Scottish breakfast included.

HOW DO I BOOK? Call 0131 3575000 or visit

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