Local media were treated to a champagne and canapé reception on board ‘Scotland’s first floating hotel’ this week.
Journalists were given a sneak peak of Fingal – the new five star luxury sister ship to the Royal Yacht Britannia – which opened earlier this month.
The 23-suite ship, a former lighthouse tender, is berthed in Alexandra Dock in Leith, just a short distance from the Britannia, and is being marketed at the high-end traveller – with the most expensive Skerryvore Suite going for £1,500-a-night.
It was bought several years ago by the Trust that owns and operates the Queen’s former ship as a way of generating additional revenue, but also to provide guests who attend evening events the option of overnight accommodation in keeping with the opulence of the vessel. There are even plans to ferry guests to and from the Britannia via a water taxi, to complete the experience.
Now, painted in the rich white and blue livery of the Royal Yacht, Fingal is set to start its own journey in the highly competetive hotels market in Edinburgh and Scotland.
“There is nothing like it in Scotland, it is unique,” said Andrew Thomson, Britannia’s Head of Hospitality & Events.
On board, Thomson escorted us around suites, the dining hall and main events space, as well as the engine room – which has been preserved to show off to guests – and also the art deco style restaurant; each of the suites has been named after a Stevenson lighthouse in keeping with its role as a former supply ship to the lighthouses for the Northern Lighthouse Board. Authenticity is also maintained with original log books preserved in the wheelhouse – along with the original wheel itself – and also original pictures of the lighthouses which decorate the walls.
Fingal came out of service in the early 90s when supply methods evolved and had been kept in south-west England by an owner who at one point had planned to turn it into a superyacht, before it was eventually acquired by the Britannia trust. Princess Anne, who is patron of the Northern Lighthouse Board, fittingly, and even had a room on board MV Fingal, was welcomed back to the vessel last summer amidst a £5m restoration project.
Carefully considered design offers the highest specifications of craftsmanship and finish, with nautical touches and polished woods. Sumptuous Scottish leathers and the finest linens are in colour palates inspired by Fingal’s journey from land and sea.
Launched in 1963, Fingal was the last ship to be built by the prestigious Blythswood Ship Building Company in Glasgow. She spent most of her service life working out of Oban helping maintain lighthouses and transporting their keepers, equipment and supplies to some of the most treacherous locations in Scotland. Fingal was originally registered in Leith and has now returned home to Edinburgh’s vibrant waterfront, the largest deep-water port in Scotland.
Read our previous story for the full background on Fingal’s story.