Or does it? In fact, the boom years saw Edinburgh discovering a taste for the fashionably nice things in life, including a slew of smartly imaginative design hotels. The Missoni Hotel, which opened in August, is a place of multi-coloured razzmatazz, and joins others like The Glasshouse, Prestonfield House and Tigerlilly in turning posh old Edinburgh into a place with justifiable claims towards hipness.
It’s in a brand new building in one of the grandest locations in the Old Town, adjoining the Royal Mile and overlooking the colourful little shops of Victoria Street as it curls downwards. The building itself looks flat-packed, and stands uneasily in such splendid surroundings – but once you get inside, it’s a different story.
Like the fashion house behind it, the Missoni hotel is a celebration of colour – crazy colour and crazy patterns, with gaudy greens, purples and crimsons all over the place, as well as a strong black and white theme. It’s fun, and has a definite tip towards the Swinging Sixties, but just about stays on the right side of kitsch.
The rooms are on the small side and a bit functional, but lifted by the design – a mixture of minimalist ingenuity and maximalist vibrancy. You can’t open the windows, which means you must live with the air-con always on, but the beds are comfortable – with first-rate Italian linen, naturally – and the fact that the mini-bar is free as well as the wi-fi is a welcome bonus.
There’s a buzzy, retro-futuristic bar adjoining the lobby and the restaurant, La Cucina, serves fine Italian food in similarly funky surroundings. Its long sharing table, where you can sit with other guests if you choose, reflects the hotel’s upbeat, cosmopolitan feel – you can as easily imagine this place in Barcelona or Milan as in Edinburgh. And perhaps that’s the point.
Hotel Missoni, 1 George IV Bridge, EH1 1AD. From £210 for a double room, with breakfast, two items of laundry, wi-fi, free minibar, free local calls and movies on demand all included in the cost of the room.