Tempted by The Devil’s Advocate down Edinburgh’s medieval closes

One of our aims is to create an atmosphere of discovery every time someone walks around Edinburgh’s medieval closes. The design of the redevelopment in which the Old Town Chambers sit, offers new vistas through to Princes Street, the green space of Roxburgh Court is a haven of tranquillity and now we have The Devil’s Advocate, the latest edition to Edinburgh’s bar scene.

Run by the same people who operate the award winning Bon Vivant, The Devil’s Advocate opened earlier this month. The reviews and comments online have been phenomenal. A ‘hidden gem’, ‘reminiscent of a French underground bar’, ‘the place has a very cool vibe about it’ and ‘love the bare walls, the excellent use of space, the cosy, under the mezzanine booths and the lovely ladies toilets’ and ‘something special and unique for this end of town’ are just a few.

The bar’s interior design reflects the historic character of the area with exposed brick walls, rich wood floors and an almost industrial look to the ceiling lighting – the building once housed the printing presses for the Edinburgh Evening News. It has a wide and inviting glass frontage with the bar’s approximate 300 whiskies from all over the world on show against the back wall. It’s on two levels and has lots of nooks and crannies, low lights, and atmosphere. For guests of Old Town Chambers, it is a great place for something to eat (including breakfast) and to enjoy a drink; for people in Edinburgh it’s creating a new buzz of excitement about the Old Town.

Just off the Royal Mile, Advocate’s Close, Roxburgh’s Close and Warriston’s Close not only offer a sense of something new and exciting to be discovered with the Old Town Chambers serviced apartments, Zizzi and The Devil’s Advocate, but they also act as a catalyst to inspire greater appreciation of the historic character of this part of Edinburgh. We sit within an area of great historic importance and staying here, working or enjoying an evening out, is something people have been doing for centuries, I am so glad we have been able to return the closes to their proper uses.


Julie Grieve  


Breathing new life into Edinburgh’s oldest townhouse

One of the most exciting developments at the Old Town Chambers Edinburgh is the transformation of a 15th Century townhouse on Advocate’s Close into a stunningly contemporary living space.

Chambers Apartments 33

The building itself has seen many uses over the centuries, but at its heart it is a family home and it is our aim to combine its historic characteristics with modern day luxury to create that same sense of domestic comfort and ease.

Records show that the townhouse pre-dates 1490 and was first occupied by wealthy merchants who would have carried out their business on the Royal Mile. The building’s solid stone walls, original fireplaces and even painted wall panels and beams have now all been restored and will feature in its renewed form as a unique city centre serviced apartment.

The new internal design will remain true to the period, but because we like to think differently, we are introducing many complimentary contemporary fixtures and fittings, including a free standing bath in the principle bedroom and the most beautiful smoked oak wide board timber flooring.

The open plan living area on the first floor has two original stone fireplaces and the plan is to fit one with a stove fire and have a couple of high backed arm chairs by the fireside. We are also adding a magnificent long solid oak topped banquet style dining table adjacent to the kitchen, with benches and chairs to seat eight.

The layout of the kitchen and finishes used here have been detailed to blend into the room and appear more ‘furniture like’ than kitchen and has a tall handle-less storage wall which conceals majority of the appliances.

Breathing new life into the buildings of Edinburgh’s historic, medieval Closes is what we are all about. Advocate’s, Roxburgh’s and Warriston’s Close have long been neglected and yet represent a rich and fascinating part of Edinburgh’s past. Now we are opening up the Closes, bringing in new restaurants such as Zizzi and by designing in open spaces and new vistas all the way out over Princes Street Gardens, this is once again a dynamic part of the city centre.

Capturing the uniqueness

One of the best ways to capture the uniqueness and style of our apartments is through photography and I’ve spent an amazing few days with Richard Mountney, one of Scotland’s top interior photographers, to create a gallery of amazing images of the Old Town Chambers.

The shoot involved Richard, his assistant, a designer, ten bags of equipment and over 50 props, many courtesy of Harvey Nichols! Having visited the apartments the week before the guys at Harvey Nichols could not have been more enthusiastic, supplying everything from Jimmy Choos through to luxury biscuits.

Because of the vast range of guests welcomed at the Old Town Chambers, from business people and families to international actors and musicians, we had to show the range of possibilities the apartments offer.  We even enlisted the help of the chef from our neighbour in Roxburgh’s Close, Zizzi, to rustle up a meal using the top of the range kitchen equipment.

But best of all, we got to really show off the beautiful quality of the furniture and furnishings, the double smoked oak wooden flooring, Italian tiling and exposed stone walls, along with the stunning views our apartments have over the Edinburgh skyline.

The quality of light in Edinburgh – whether it is the early morning or late afternoon sun, the inky night skies or even the mist – always takes people by surprise and I think our pictures begin to give you a sense of that.

These will be used on our new website, being designed as we build up to our official launch in January. After a very successful few months, as we have learned about all the quirks and special traits of these unique properties, we are looking forward to welcoming the travel and hospitality community to see what we have created.

Julie Grieve