Derek and Shirley Mowat are the proud owners of The Dunstane, Edinburgh’s boutique hotel located heart of the West End.
Shirley tells us their story so far….
Myself and my husband Derek moved down from the Orkney Isles 26 years ago at a very young age, and we have dedicated ourselves to building up a very successful business. Along with our 2 children, Andrew, 21, studying at Heriot Watt University and working in The Dunstane for some extra pennies and Isla, 18, who is working through a 5 year school leavers apprenticeship with BDO to become a chartered accountant; we are involved in every aspect of the hotel and restaurant on a daily basis. In our spare time we travel the country with Isla attending show jumping competitions.
My own hospitality career in Edinburgh started with a diploma in Hotel Management, followed by working at The Caledonian Hotel on Princes Street. Myself and Derek decided to take a big risk in 1991 and buy our first guest house, The 39 Steps, with 7 letting guest bedrooms. Hard work prevailed and The 39 Steps grew from a 2 star commended to 3 star highly commended guest house. After a few years we expanded and purchased two 3 bedroom cottages in Trinity, which originally belonged to the Crawford whisky family. They were both located opposite the 39 Steps and we were able to again build up to successful 4 star holiday homes.
Derek has always been fascinated by cars and planes from a very young age. Derek now has a very successful Classic and Prestige car sales business here in Edinburgh and people travel all over the world to view his unique collection. Derek’s other passion in his spare time is flying and he loves his Chipmunk, an old RAF training plane. For more information see www.derekcmowat.co.uk
In 1998, we purchased Dunstane House. We had had our eye on the building for a good few years prior to purchasing it, taken in by Dunstane’s unique character and original features. The Dunstane was a 2 star commended hotel when we purchased the business and now we are in procession of a quality 4 Star luxury hotel. The Dunstane dates all the way back to 1852 to a design of William Playfair, one of Edinburgh’s most famous architects. We have turned it into a luxury boutique hotel in Edinburgh with all the facilities and in room amenities expected by today’s modern traveller. Guests can look forward to restful nights in four-poster beds with subtle accents of current style. Or stretch out king-size and enjoy all the period details and in-room features of our City or Deluxe rooms.
In 2001, we developed the hotel further by opening The Skerries Restaurant and The Stane Bar. Skerries provides the best of seafood and meats from the Orkney & Shetland Isles to compliment the best of local produce to reflect the best that Scotland has to offer in our menus. The Stane Bar boasts over 70 malt whiskys and great selection of Scottish beer from Scotland’s microbrewers, including beers from the Orkney Isles and Loch Fyne. Black & white photographs of Orkney from years gone by cover the walls in the reception area giving guests a unique insight into the owners own heritage.
Dunstane House was joined by an eighteen-bedroom sister hotel which was originally called Dunstane City which is located directly opposite in 2007. Dunstane was closed on purchase and totally refurbished to become the 4 star luxury townhouse we know and love today. We have created a modern luxury boutique hotel, with 18 stylish and contemporary bedrooms to further complement the The Dunstane.
From 2012 to 2014 we underwent another complete refurbishment and a small rebrand – the two hotels are now under one banner and are now called just The Dunstane, Edinburgh’s Boutique Hotel with 38 luxury bedrooms and a quality restaurant, The Skerries. We have 2 stunning Victorian Townhouses and location just right opposite each other. Check in is at 4 West Coates in the original house where our front of house team are happy to assist with showing you to your room. Though they differ in look, both townhouses provide the same warmth of welcome and level of personal attention. At Dunstane, we know you by name, not by room number.