“ Address: 34 / Gilmore Place EH3 9NQ / Edinburgh „
Balmore Guest House, Edinburgh
I stayed in this lovely guest house near Edinburgh Castle back in March with my girlfriend, soon to be fiancé and now wife. We paid 45 pounds per night for a two night stay in an en-suite double room with breakfast included. As always, I used booking.com to make a reservation.
Balmore Guest house is perhaps a ten minute walk from Edinburgh's Royal Mile. The only downside was that it wasn't near to any train or bus routes (okay, had I been alone I would have hauled my suitcase the kilometre or so to the airport bus stop, but my wife isn't so hardy) so we had to take a taxi. It cost 14 pounds to and from the airport, although this might vary a little depending on traffic conditions. The journey took perhaps twenty minutes.
For the Royal Mile, though, the main tourist thoroughfare in Edinburgh, it is very well located. Five minutes brought us in sight of the towering bluff with Edinburgh Castle on its top, and ten minutes had us on the Royal Mile itself. Obviously the Royal Mile is the tourist centre, but there were plenty of banks, shops and restaurants within a couple of hundred metres of the hotel.
The Guest House
A converted terraced house in a row of other terraced houses converted into guest houses, and run by a very friendly Iranian ex-pat, Balmore Guest House was very homey and pretty inside, with a wide entrance/lobby with nice carpets and decoration. The breakfast room opened out at its back, while stairs led up to the rooms on the left.
We stayed in a double en-suite. The room was very big and spacious, with a comfortable bed, a big TV and a desk with a couple of chairs. It was a lot more than I'd expected. The bathroom was in a little room that appeared to have been separately built in the corner of the original room, and was clean and well presented. I couldn't really fault the room at all. The old style décor made it very much resemble a bedroom in a private house, though obviously one a lot bigger than I've ever stayed in before.
Our inclusive breakfast, taken in a summer-house annex at the back of the guest house, was very impressive. You chose from several different cooked breakfasts (submitted on a form the night before) but the rest - cereal, toast, fruit, tea, coffee, etc - was buffet-style. The only downside was that we couldn't quite see Edinburgh Castle from the window, however the staff were very friendly (offering us extra toast, etc.) and the room was clean, bright and airy.
Only one - there wasn't a night porter on duty and you couldn't check in after 9pm without prior arrangement by ringing a special telephone number. Our flight arrived later than expected, so I called from the airport and a member of staff was there to let us in, but at about 10pm another group of tourists turned up and couldn't get in. They were ringing on the door for a long time and clearly didn't have the after hours number. Eventually I went downstairs and passed it through the door to them (I felt really bad leaving them outside, especially as it was a bit chilly, but I really didn't feel it was my responsibility to be letting in the hotel's guests, plus, if something had happened it would have been my fault) and after another twenty minutes or so the same member of staff turned up to let them in. Once you had checked in of course, you were given a door key but I felt it really would be a good idea to have a live-in member of staff.
Despite the issue above, I would definitely stay here again. It was highly rated and didn't disappoint. Recommended - just make sure you arrange with the hotel if you're going to be arriving late at night!