Edinburgh’s Chic New Look

The city’s new Hotel Missoni brings some Italian pop to the gray stones of Scotland.

Scotland’s capital city is known for its staunchly elegant buildings; medieval, Gothic, and classical architecture; and a palette that might be described—kindly—as gray grandeur. It’s certainly not the first place to come to mind as a match for Missoni’s wildly colorful patterns and prints. But it is here, on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, that the Italian fashion family debuted their first hotel last June. “I love Edinburgh,” explains Rosita Missoni, the family’s 78-year-old matriarch and the hotel’s chief designer. “It has a certain severe charm.”

Since its start in women’s knitwear, in 1953, Missoni has expanded into menswear, fragrance, and a home collection. The Hotel Missoni reflects the company’s partnership with Rezidor, a Belgian hotel group. Rezidor was looking to work with a fashion brand; consulting architect and Missoni family friend Mattheo Thun recommended Missoni. The family decided that Rosita, the vision behind the home collection, should mastermind this project as well.

Anyone who has ever donned a pink, purple, and blue Missoni bikini or a turquoise-and-yellow Missoni cardigan will immediately feel at home. Two enormous urns—one in a black-and-white zigzag print, the other in stripes—sit at the lobby entrance. (An instant trademark, they will also appear at the next Missoni hotel, a resort scheduled to open this May in Kuwait City.) Elevators are a riot of color and patterns; hallways are painted acid green, bathrooms neon pink, stairwells bright purple. All 127 standard rooms and nine suites are done in Missoni checkerboards and bright solids. The rooms, each about 700 square feet, are, says Rosita, “not big but have just what they need: very nice linens and very comfortable beds.”

The Edinburgh property reflects the Missoni family’s personal travel peeves and preferences as much as it does the label’s signature aesthetic. No carpets in the bedrooms—only wood floors with Missoni throw rugs. “The first thing you want in a hotel room is a feeling of cleanliness,” Rosita explains. “I like rugs but hate carpets. You never know what is spread all over them.” There was also a matter of the right lighting: Here, adjustable fixtures are close to the headboards. “We like to read in bed,” she says.

Cucina, the hotel restaurant, is overseen by chef Giorgio Locatelli, who runs London’s Locanda Locatelli, and, it so happens, was born just miles from the Missonis’ hometown. The decor is a mix of Missoni prints and porcelain dinnerware with furniture from Marcel Wanders and Arne Jacobsen, and light fixtures by Ernesto Gismondi. The crowd is a combination of hotel guests and locals (with rumored appearances by the likes of Bono and Lady Gaga). The vibe is pure high-fashion Italian famiglia. “Our idea of elegance is very understated,” says Rosita. “Our friends like to come to our Sunday lunches; they find we have a way of doing things that is relaxed and happy but with a special identity. We care about friends, and we care about people.” A motto, we’d like to add, that has not been lost in translation.

The Details

The Hotel Missoni is at 1 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh. Rooms begin at $330. For more information, call 44-131/220-6666 or go to hotelmissoni.com.