James Thomson's leanings towards the theatrical were given free reign in his second hotel and mini country estate on the outskirts of the city. He rescued this 17th-century baroque pad in 2003 and turned it into a lavishly opulent five–star boutique hotel with 18 rooms and five suites in his signature overblown style. Bathrooms are clad in Venetian glass mosaic while public rooms—Tapestry, Yellow, Leather and Whisky—tempt you to lounge over afternoon tea or cocktails, surrounded by ornate antiques and tasseled frippery. Built in 1687 for the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, the estate also has a rare culinary claim to fame. It was owner Sir Alexander Dick who introduced rhubarb to Scotland in the 18th century—hence the name of the hotel restaurant and the frequency with which it pops up on the menu. Surrounded by 20 acres of gardens and parkland, yet only five minutes by taxi from the Royal Mile, the Prestonfield represents the best of both worlds.