“ 4 Royal Terrace / Edinburgh EH7 5AH / Tel: 0044 131 556 6055 / Fax: 0044 131 556 1022. „
An old friend recently got married in Edinburgh, and as we live in London, at least an overnight stay was on the books. In the end, we decided to stay for a few days, and while looking out for a cheapish hotel to stay in, I came across this one and was so impressed by the courteous way with which I was treated when I rang to enquire about a room that I booked it on the spot.
This could not have been better. The hotel is situated on Royal Terrace (which is exactly as it sounds a terrace fit for royalty), which is on Calton Hill and just ten minutes walk away from the Royal Mile. It is also very close to Waverley Station, St James Bus Station and Holyrood Palace.
24 Royal Terrace
Telephone: 0131 556 6055
The hotel has no parking, but it is possible to park along the Royal Terrace itself. This is on a meter, but at just £1 per hour between 8.30 and 5.30 Monday to Friday, I didnt think it was too bad. We had no trouble parking at all and as we were out for most of the day and anyway, there is no charge on weekends, we ended up paying just £2 for the whole four days we were there.
Built in 1820 as a townhouse, from the outside, the hotel looks very grand, with the grey-yellow coloured stone work so typical of most of Edinburghs buildings. There are a number of hotels in Royal Terrace, but the Ailsa Craig was clearly signed, and although we arrived at 2.30am in the morning, we had no difficulty finding it.
My first impression on entering the hotel was that it was huge. The ceilings are very high and in the centre of the building, it is possible to see the sky through a huge skylight on the top floor of the building. The public areas of the hotel have been fairly recently refurbished in blue and gold, which looks very effective. The walls could do with a coat of paint, but for a three star hotel, I was quite happy.
There are 18 hotel rooms in all over three floors. The ground floor mainly consists of the dining room and bar, and the lobby, in which there were leaflets for just about every tourist attraction in Scotland.
We had a double ensuite room on the top floor, although as we discovered when we went in, there was a double bed and a single, which would have been perfect for a family. The room was enormous and high-ceilinged. It was decorated in a deep pink and cream, which was attractive enough, with matching curtains and bedcover, which looked very new. All in all, it looked homely and comfortable, although someone had left the window open and it was freezing!
The furniture was functional and again relatively new; bedside tables, a desk/dressing table, two chairs and a wardrobe. Basic facilities were provided, such as a hairdryer, kettle, tea and coffee (without any milk), a television and a number of tourist and food guides.
The bathroom was very clean, decorated all in white. Unfortunately, there was no bath, which I would have appreciated. Toiletries were included.
What I appreciated most about the hotel was that it was really quiet. Behind the hotel is a park; to the front was an expanse of green hill, so we were well away from the noise of the main roads. The only noise we really heard was from cars going over the cobbled surface of Royal Terrace. The walls of the hotel are very thick, which was great, because we heard very little noise from our neighbours lucky, because there was a group of schoolchildren and some women on a hen night while we were there!
Breakfast was included in the price of the hotel. Porridge was available on request, although we always had the cooked breakfast. It wasnt the biggest breakfast I have ever seen, but it was more than adequate, consisting of bacon, eggs (poached, fried or scrambled), hash browns, sausage, beans and tomato. We also had the choice of white and brown toast and tea or coffee (proper filter coffee, not freeze dried). Fruit was available for those on a diet.
I was more than impressed with the service. Knowing we were going to be arriving very late, I phoned the day of our arrival to ensure that the staff were aware of this and to check that someone would be in to open up for us. The manager, Peter, was extremely helpful and told us to ring the buzzer on arrival and someone would come down. Sure enough, on arrival at 2.30 in the morning, Peter himself came down to let us in and to complete the necessary paperwork. Although we had obviously woken him up, he was extremely courteous. His partner, Yvonne, was also very helpful when we had any questions.
The waitresses/cleaners were also very helpful and polite. One girl in particular deserves a mention I think she is Polish she went out of her way to help us and was always smiling, despite the large number of other guests. Our rooms were cleaned on a daily basis to a very high standard.
In the evenings, there seemed to be two older ladies on duty downstairs. We didnt stay in the hotel for drinks in the evening, but I did see some people drinking at the bar, which seemed to be well-stocked.
The hotel staff were also on hand to arrange bookings for tourist destinations and tours, should they have been required. We didnt, but I did see a couple of guests booking trips.
There is free Wifi access. I was not able to use it, unfortunately, although I think this was because my computer has recently been reconfigured rather than there was a lack of signal I certainly saw other people using it. The signal at the top of the building was weak though, so I would recommend going to the dining room to use it.
We paid £75 per night. Compared to other hotels I looked at, this seems very reasonable. There is much cheaper accommodation available in Edinburgh there are a number of hostels with beds from £13 and bed and breakfast is a cheaper alternative (although not in the centre of Edinburgh) but for a three star hotel with excellent service and well located to boot, I thought this was very good.
Apart from the minor niggles no bath etc I can really recommend this hotel. There really is a personal touch from the management and we were made to feel very welcome. The short distance from the City Centre was also very welcome. If you are expecting five star standards, then you may be disappointed, but then as we all know, you pay for what you get and I certainly think we got full value for our money here.
Originally a traditional Georgian family townhouse designed by the renowned architect William Playfair, built in 1820, the Ailsa Craig Hotel, at number 24 Royal Terrace, is situated in a quiet tree-lined terrace in the city centre. The Hotel has been tastefully refurbished throughout whilst retaining many of the original fine architectural features. Situated in an elegant tree-lined terrace, overlooking the Firth of Forth, is the Ailsa Craig Hotel. Designed by the renowned architect William Playfair as a family town house for a wealthy merchant, this is a traditional Georgian building, built in 1820, which has been tastefully refurbished throughout, whilst retaining many of the original fine architectural features.