Fingal: A Unique Maritime Retreat in Scotland

ByAndrea Thompson

April 23, 2024

Moored permanently on Edinburgh’s lively waterfront, Fingal stands as Scotland’s sole luxury floating hotel. Once a Northern Lighthouse Board vessel, it has been converted into an exceptional destination that melds the allure of a superyacht with the charm of bygone sophistication.

The Fingal was commissioned by the Northern Lighthouse Board in 1963, serving as a support vessel for lighthouses along the rugged coast of Scotland. For many years, it transported lighthouse keepers, supplies, and maintenance crews to isolated areas. Upon retirement from NLB service, the Fingal was sold to a private owner and subsequently renamed “Windsor Castle.”

In 2008, the owner, initiated discussions with The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust, and following six years of negotiations, the Trust took possession of the ship in 2014. It was then towed to Leith, where it was restored to its original name. The ship has since undergone a thorough restoration and conversion, upholding its maritime heritage and transforming into the luxury floating hotel that it is known as today.

The interior design of Fingal is the brainchild of Alan Pedley and Stephen Flanagan. Their meticulous attention to detail and the use of rich hues and sleek curves transport guests back to the glamorous era of ocean liners. Gleaming brass, polished wood, and Art Deco lighting create an ambiance of timeless elegance, while corridors adorned with lighthouse images add a nautical touch. The circular lift, a standout feature, epitomizes luxury, and the sunken ballroom beckons guests to indulge in stylish revelry.

The 22 elegantly designed cabins, each bearing the name of a Stevenson lighthouse, range from luxury cabins with deck access to the exquisite Skerryvore Suite—Princess Anne’s preferred choice—featuring a harmonious mix of nautical elements, refined wood finishes, and luxurious Scottish leather. They are also equipped with espresso machines, teapots, and Noble Isle toiletries, allowing guests to gaze at the stars from private decks or unwind in sophisticated living areas.

The Lighthouse Restaurant & Bar, awarded 2 AA Rosettes, presents a relaxed yet luxurious dining ambiance. Expansive floor-to-ceiling windows offer breath taking views. Treat yourself to a lavish five-course Afternoon Tea or enjoy a seasonal dinner menu that showcases the best of Scotland’s produce. The cocktails, both lively and elegant, infuse a maritime flair into the dining experience.

Fingal is available for exclusive hire, catering to events such as weddings and corporate celebrations. The sophisticated Ballroom features grand, sweeping staircases and can host up to 60 guests for dinner. The ambiance is further elevated by its removable skylight and raised gallery.

Fingal’s distinctive heritage and exceptional service have garnered prestigious accolades. Whether you are a contemporary traveller in pursuit of luxury or a history buff fascinated by nautical stories, Fingal offers an unparalleled experience in Edinburgh. Embark and explore the enchantment of this floating treasure.