Time To Check-In At The Floating Palace

By  Article & Images by Natasha Bazika

The sunshine, spilling through the porthole, tickled my eyelids awake. I stretched, feeling the yacht bob gently beneath me. The air is alive with the cries of gulls circling the working harbor where cranes hover above large ships. But it’s away from here, where Fingal, is tucked into a sliver of peace in her own berth, 10 minutes from the city center of Edinburgh.

Fingal, once a Northern Lighthouse Board tender, has been reborn under the Royal Yacht Britannia Trust as Scotland’s first luxury floating hotel. Tucked into a quiet corner of the Port of Leith, she’s a five-minute walk from charming, cobbled streets lined with cafes, boutiques, bakeries, and even a Michelin-starred haven, The Kitchin, where Scottish produce takes center stage in a cozy setting.  

Nearby rests Fingal’s regal sister, The Royal Yacht Britannia, a perfectly preserved museum highlighting life aboard Queen Elizabeth II’s former floating palace. But here, on Fingal, you get to experience your own slice of royal luxury. 

Fingal’s 22 cabins are a world away from the cramped cabins we associate with yachts. There are five options to choose from, starting with a classic cabin and ending with the luxury penthouse Skerryvore Suite. For a middle ground, request a luxury duplex. These suites feature hand-carved staircases that separate the living area from the bedroom, and a showstopping bathroom, with a free-standing grey tub set against a shimmery sea-green wall that will make you feel like you’re submerged in the ocean itself. Brass accents gleam like polished treasure and the toiletries whisper of Scotland with a hint of peaty whisky.

Some cabins have private access to the teak walkways, allowing you to greet the day with sunshine on your face (a rare treat in Scotland, some might say, but all the more delightful for it). But for me, the best days begin and end in the restaurant.

In the morning, The Lighthouse Restaurant & Bar is a casual affair, where plates of royale eggs and a robust Scottish breakfast are served with glittering harbor views. Come nightfall, the space shimmers with a touch of glam. Soft jazz sets the mood as you peruse an extensive wine list, all leading up to the true star – simple, seasonal Scottish produce elevated to a culinary art form. Don’t be fooled by the lack of Michelin stars; the restaurant boasts a prestigious 2 AA Rosette award, a testament to the explosion of flavors that await your taste buds. While a Michelin experience might be a stone’s throw away, here, at Fingal, you’ll find an atmosphere unlike any other—a taste of true luxury that’s as unique as having your own private yacht (well almost).

For more information on Scotland’s Fingal, visit

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