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No Earplugs Required!
Member Name: Picasso
Date: 15/01/07, updated on 04/01/10 (199 review reads)
Advantages: Food, choice of dining, great location and excellent value
For the last four years I have had a free stay in the wonderful city of Edinburgh. This is because my husband has had to attend annual conferences there and with a double room being available at no extra cost to his company, I shop while he works. Seems like a good idea to me! I was delighted when I heard that the November 2006 meeting was to be held at the Caledonian Hotel. Now owned by the Hilton chain, this is somewhere that I had always wanted to stay. Situated on Princess Street in central Edinburgh, it is within walking distance to the shops, the castle and the Royal Mile.
RECEPTION AND ROOMS
We arrived at the hotel arrived at the hotel around 8.30pm after parking in the hotel's car park which is free to residents and a great bonus in this capital city where parking is expensive. Check in was easy and the staff friendly. The reception area like the rest the rest of this old hotel has lots of character.
Although our room was a standard double, it contained a king-sized bed, which had just enough room for a bedside cabinet plus lamp at either side. The usual tea making facilities plus mini bar, trouser press and hair dyer and Internet access. The bathroom was delightful and spacious and like the room was decorated in neutral colours. A selection of Crabtree and Elevyn toiletries was provided. I was surprised but very please to find that our standard room provided chunky, soft bathrobes and slippers. In previous stays in hotels, such luxuries have only been provided in superior rooms.
Because of our late arrival, we decided to dine in the hotel. After a quick shower we checked out both of the hotel's restaurants and bar. The Pompadour is situated on the top floor. It is the more formal of the two, has fantastic views and is ideal for special occasions. It is open to non-residents. During our stay in Edinburgh, I bought a copy of "List" which is a magazine listing over 800 recommended eateries in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Of the Pompadour it says "The grand dining room remains one of the city's most spectacular, with perhaps Edinburgh's best restaurant table offering sweeping views of the castle. If you book one table in Edinburgh this year, make it number 5 at the Pompadour" We felt a little under dressed for this and so reserved a table at the brassiere type Chisholms which is situated on the ground floor. Here a 3 course table d'hôte meal plus wine costs us a little over £80, half of which was being met by my husband's company. On a cold nice, the pea and mint soup was very warming. This was followed by chicken breast with pesto and rounded off with a selection of Scottish cheeses. Before retiring to our room, we enjoyed a night-cap in the hotel's Caley Bar which boasts 140 different whiskies. Relaxing in one of the very comfortable leather armchairs, we sampled a couple of them.
We both enjoyed a good night's sleep. I couldn't believe how quiet the place was. Our room faced the west end of the city and I had expected some noise. Usually in city centre hotels I rely on earplugs, but they were not needed on our 2-night stay.
One of the most enjoyable parts of our stay had to be the splendid breakfast. I haven't witnessed such a wonderful spread in a British hotel before. Served in the Chisholm restaurant, this buffet style feast was divided into four different sections, Continental, Traditional Scottish, Healthy and Caledonian. There is no limit to the amount and you can mix the areas. For example, I chose a starter of wonderful fresh fruit from the Healthy section, whilst hubby had the porridge served with a dram of whisky (optional) from the Traditional Scottish. This could be followed with a full Scottish breakfast including haggis and black pudding or a minute fillet steak from the Caledonian range. On top of this, eggs of any type, Finnan Haddock or Loch Fyne kippers could be ordered at your table at no extra costs. There was also a great variety of vegetarian food including sausages and haggis. With a bread and pastry chef on hand, both had to be sampled and were delicious.
The hotel has a wonderful swimming pool, which I used both days of my stay. There is also a well-equipped gym and lots of pamper sessions to be had at the spa. There are lots of corporate facilities too.
The cost of our stay was expensive, but then it was a corporate booking. The price was £212 per room per night and included breakfast and use of the facilities. However there are lots of special offers to be had. A 2 day stay including breakfast for 2 people will costs you £229 and for a little more will include an evening meal. Children under15 go free when accompanying 2 adults or will be charged at half price should they require a separate room.
Despite the fact that my husband was working, we both enjoyed our stay so much that we are planning on either a spring or autumn break there. I feel that the special deals are reasonable when you consider the location, free parking, use of facilities plus the fabulous breakfasts. March brings my birthday and November our anniversary. For a special occasion, I think that a reservation of table 5 might just be the icing on the cake!
Summary: A quiet stay in a city centre hotel
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