“Oh what a night…” I can’t think of House of Gods without this classic playing out in my head.
If the hype was to be believed, I was lined up for an exceptional experience at Edinburgh’s very own indulgent extravagance, belting out opulence from the very unassuming Cowgate, in the literal depths of the city’s Old Town.
Advance communications were cleverly spun, cunningly disguising a genius ‘no stone left unturned’, sleek marketing machine with a unique and interestingly subterranean approach, leaving the about to be guest, more and more curious.
And everything about HOG hints towards an invitingly underworld, seedy establishment – in the nicest possible sense of the word of course. Think dark corridors, plush velvets, and extravagant fittings; a wicked sense of humour and some belting tunes; roll this into one and throw in some seriously good actors and you may come close to envisaging House of Gods.
I really can’t begin to do the experience any justice, I was literally blown away by the sheer contrast to typical hotel stays; their refreshing, unbounded angle on just about everything and the resulting and unavoidable desire to return, again and again, whenever a night of pure unadulterated gratification is required.
The much-applauded HOG ‘Treat Me Like I’m Famous’ package falls nothing short of exceptional; from the moment I arrived, I felt like a player on a movie set, the staff, giving their best performances, cast in starring roles, pivotal to the action and drama which unfolds as the night plays out.
Each played their part believably and with such passion and enthusiasm that, by morning, it would be more difficult to convince me that these exceptionally talented, warm, quirky and genuinely unique players, were in fact, employees of this boutique hotel.
Welcomed to their space with a glass of fizz whilst listening to a run through of how my stay would be staged, from a butler button; to call upon cocktails, more fizz, bedtime cookies and milk, an indulgently hampered breakfast and pretty much anything said, extremely personable butler, could deliver to the door; including a performance of exceptional skill at cocktail hour. Nothing was a tall order.
Backstage from the pretty magnificent bar, complete with disco ball and all the ostentatious trappings of a Parisian bordello, the darkly panelled corridor leads to the tapestried doorways, of the main set; that of the 22 wildly decadent boudoirs, complete with luxuriously draped 4 poster and the most novel use of space I have probably experienced…ever, expertly modelled around Versailles and the Orient Express’ cabins. Forget anything resembling past experiences of hotel stays; House of Gods has thrown away the guidebook, replacing the blueprint with a carefully crafted, uniquely hedonistic experience. I was on a mystical travel trip.
Overjoyed at one full length mirror, a second was a cleverly disguised TV – no-one needs the practicalities of modern appliances to spoil this décor! Speaking of which; look out for the Nespresso machine hiding within a wall panel and the artful hooks and clever hanging space; all you need for your glad rags. Putting the spotlight firmly on the guest, a dressing room mirror allowed for the necessary glamming up for the night ahead; the wet room style en-suite, of course, a marble clad domain, thoughtfully fitted with an additional low light for night-time visits. Space saving measures are genius with the pleasures of the mini bar artfully placed around the room, taking their place too within this movie set. I unashamedly admit to looking for secret doorways in the luxuriously panelled walls, prepared for more surprising revelations.
Space is precious here; who needs windows when the view indoors is a visual feast, and the resulting atmosphere lends itself to an escape from reality; shutting the world firmly outside the cocoon of House of Gods.
Escapism is real with zero room phone to clutter up the surfaces which are saved for intricate lamps (loving the personalisation); instead, WhatsApp is the preferred method of communication with the team; simple, informative, exceptionally well executed, and entertaining, with apt use of GIFs to accompany deliveries to your room.
As has been the necessity of late with bars and restaurants creating outside space, HOG have only gone and trumped them on that front too. This isn’t just an outside space but a cosy, yet fittingly luxurious set up to match the interior, fitted out with interior fabrics, lamps and music and shielded from the weather, nestling into a neuk created by the unique architecture of Edinburgh’s Old Town.
There are rumblings of a restaurant opening soon at House of Gods; the Casablanca Cocktail Club; this I must see, and I would imagine it will be a hot ticket in town as soon as the doors are dramatically thrown open, later this Summer. License until 3am? I’m in!
Think Great Gatsby meets Studio 54, where beige is blasphemy and escapism is real. Experience the decadence and immerse yourself in broken rules and unapologetic extravagance, where, in the words of House of Gods; “More is More”
(Do I have to go back to real life?)