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James Thomson
Edinburgh's star restaurateur James Thomson

James Thomson OBE

Prestonfield's indulgent owner, James Thomson OBE, is probably Scotland's best-known hotelier-restaurateur and is a recent holder of the national accolade of "Restaurateur of the Year" to add to his many other awards.

Born and educated in Edinburgh at George Heriot's, James' acquisition of Prestonfield in 2003 was a long-held dream. He'd been captivated by its charms when working here as a waiter whilst studying at college.

His bold and lavish restoration saw decades of decline quickly reversed and a revitalized Prestonfield soon gained coveted five-star status, a swathe of accolades and became one of Britain's most talked-about hotels.

The aspiration was to create an alternative to the mass of bland uniform hotels that proliferate - most would agree that with Prestonfield's uniquely indulgent style, he has succeeded. Now, 13 years later, Prestonfield's unique style remains much-talked-about and frequently imitated.

Alongside Prestonfield, his collection includes the Witchery by the Castle, the world-renowned restaurant-with-rooms, and the city's first and finest rooftop restaurant, the Tower. An active ambassador for Scottish tourism, he is involved in a range of industry, educational and charitable organisations. In 2005 he received an OBE for services to hospitality and the Scottish Tourism Industry.

Prestonfield is a very personal passion for James, he can be seen each day, adding many of the personal touches that make his hotel so unique.