It was the former home of John Wilson, writer and friend of William Wordsworth, who adopted the pen-name Christopher North, commemorated by a plaque on the wall.
For some years the building designed by the renowned architect William Playfair in 1823 has been an upmarket boutique hotel, the Nira Caledonia, appealing to a clientele attracted by its handy location in one of the New Town’s elegant corners.
A fire last year ravaged the building in Gloucester Place and prompted an extensive renovation which has just been completed at a cost of £1.4 million.
Painstaking work to restore the original period cornicing and plasterwork and refurbish its 28 bedrooms has effectively created a new hotel.
Staff and those involved in the work gathered to mark the reopening of the hotel and relaunch of its Blackwood Bar & Grill. Among them was Filip Boyen, chief executive of Small Luxury Hotels of the World which promotes only those which met an exacting 730 quality standards. The Nira is one of only three Scottish hotel members.
Every one of its 525 members is inspected every year and must reach a minimum score on each standard. Defaulters are given a reminder and a deadline to improve.
“If they fail they are out,” said Mr Boyen, confirming that 40 have been kicked out in the past two and a half years.
He spent 18 years with Orient Express Trains and Cruises, latterly as chief operating officer before moving to Small Luxury Hotels of the World three years ago.
“Nira became a member before my time,” he says “Now I can see why. It is unique and personal. The city is incredible and the location is central yet quiet.”
Mr Boyen was using his trip north to visit the two other members of the organisation: Sir Andy Murray’s Cromlix in Dunblane and the Crossbasket Castle in East Kilbride.
Nira is part of Shanti Hospitality and one of only three in the portfolio, the others being Nira Alpine in St Moritz and Shanti Maurice in Mauritius.
Each of the Edinburgh bedrooms and suites is individually styled, combining Georgian elegance with modern comforts. The 14 newly renovated rooms feature interior design by Jeffrey’s Interiors. It also offers a Jacuzzi suite, thought to be the only one of its kind, a two-room hideaway with its own garden.
Chris Lynch, general manager, said: “Expect an easy-going style blending Bohemian chic with contemporary living.”