MOST buildings in Edinburgh have stories to tell. If The Bonham could talk, it would regale you for hours with its history.

It opened as a hotel, one of the city’s first boutique hotels, in 1998, on the site overlooking Drumsheugh Gardens edging towards the West End. It started life as three separate 19th Century townhouses and the grand splendour of their 1872 construction is evident today.

At the start of World War Two they were sold to become a private maternity medical clinic. Those born there are known as “Bonham Babies” and many still visit today. It then became part of the university, housing students from 1951 before the hotel opening some 21 years ago.

Today it’s a recently-refurbished 49-room hotel, with fine dining on offer. And it’s only a couple of hours from the North-East, so ideal for a charming weekend break.

Unlike most cities, Edinburgh has a closeness about it. It doesn’t take long to walk from one end, where the Bonham is located, to the opposite, taking in the sights and sounds along the way. Congestion isn’t a factor in Scotland’s capital, either. "Half a capital and half a country town, the whole city leads a double existence,” once mused Robert Louis Stevenson.

From The Bonham’s quiet location, you can spent hours exploring and enjoying the city. Just ten minutes walk away is Stockbridge, a busy village full of delightful restaurants and bars. Think Yarm and upgrade it.

There is, of course, the rich city history to discover and the Royal Mile is within strolling distance. The Edinburgh Christmas Markets are open for business now, full of festivities. You can spend hours milling and musing around the site in Princess Street Gardens, picking up gifts and Christmas crafts and decorations.

The Bonham doesn’t have the big soulless hotel feel many places do. This is full of charm and character, a building keeping in with its history and tradition. It’s personal and warm from check-in to checkout.

During a recent refurbishment, all the traditional beams, wood panelling and stonework were restored to the grand splendour of old. “Old buildings tell us where we came from – both architecturally and socially,” says Bonham owner Richard H Driehaus. “Preserving their beauty enhances our lives, our environments and respects our heritage. So it is with The Bonham.”

We stayed in a junior suite, with large bay window offering views over the city towards Leith. The large bathroom, with sunken bath and rain shower, was put to good use after a morning run. All the facilities you need are at hand, with coffee machine and fine shortbread.

Following drinks – a healthy menu of malts is on offer in the speakeasy-style Consulting Room – we dined in No 35 at The Bonham, a restaurant under the eye of head chef Marco Drumond Nobrega.

Winter was kicking in on a braw Edinburgh night. Thorough, solid warming food was the order of the day from the a la carte menu. Orkney scallops – November and December is the ideal time for scallops after they have fattened up during the summer months – were juicy and plump, with a perfect slice of black pudding. The cherry smoked pigeon breast with artichoke and spinach was full of meaty goodness.

For the main course, roasted venison followed pigeon – a hearty double helping of game. The 240g rib eye from the grill was sourced from the Borders. It came with crisp, chunky, fluffy chips which are worth a visit on their own.

As is often the case after such a fine meal, desserts were tempting, but we opted to share a treacle tart, one with pumpkin ice cream.

With a couple of bottles of wine from the extensive list, the meal was up there with Edinburgh’s finest. You don’t have to stay at The Bonham to eat and it’s worth a visit for the food alone. A market menu of two courses at £18.50, three for £24.95 is fine value.

Breakfast comes in various forms – continental, and hot included. The full Scottish option, tattie scones and haggis naturally included, sets you up for a day exploring the sights.