Norton House

(Norton House Hotel)

A country house hotel situated in 22 ha (55 acres) of parkland and woodland at Ratho, lying between the A8 and M8, 7 miles (11 km) west of the centre of Edinburgh. This two-storey sandstone ashlar mansion was built in 1838-40 for Alexander Berwick, an Edinburgh brewer. The estate had been the property of Baron Norton in 1813. In 1883, it was bought by whisky blender Sir John Usher (1828 - 1904), who recast the house in a restrained Jacobean style. Entrance is through a delicate porch, to a hall with marble columns and a fine oak staircase. The principal rooms include Adamesque plasterwork and fine chimney-pieces. William de Morgan tiles feature on the chimney-piece in the Garden Room, which was previously the Dining Room. The house remained in the Usher family until the death of Colonel Sir John Usher, the 3rd Baronet, in 1951, when it was sold to become a hotel. The estate farms were retained by the family.

The property was bought by Virgin Hotels in 1988 and the house was B-listed in 1991, owing to its architectural and historical importance. It was sold to the Hand Picked Hotels group in 1999. A modern extension to the west by Fletcher Joseph Architects was constructed in 2008 to provide 36 additional bedrooms. At the same time the architects brought the B-listed walled garden up to date, building a pair of modern pavilions, providing a conference room, sports facilities which extend below ground, an orchard, water garden, terraces and lawns. The total cost of these projects was £13 million.

It was awarded the status of AA Hotel of the Year in Scotland in 2008.

Today, the hotel includes 83 bedrooms and suites, with the main rooms named after prominent Scottish families, including the Usher Room.

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