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Not The Ritz, But More Than Adequate.
Jury's Inn (Edinburgh)
Member Name: kenjohn
Jury's Inn (Edinburgh)
Date: 02/12/07, updated on 02/12/07 (194 review reads)
Advantages: Price, central location, clean and comfortable.
Disadvantages: Raw rashers. Expensive ancilliary charges.
Our needs were simple enough. The hotel had to have a fairly central location as the wedding was taking place in the 5-star Glasshouse Hotel at the top of Leith Walk, it had to be clean and with an ensuite bathroom, and it had to be fairly inexpensive. There's no shortage of hotel accommodation in Edinburgh that would meet the first two requirements, but the price of decent hotels in Edinburgh (in my experience) can vary from very expensive to totally extortionate!
Our problem was solved when I logged onto "lastminute.com" on the web and discovered that the Irish hotel group Jury's have a Jury's Inn based in Jeffrey Street in Edinburgh city centre. I know Jury's Inns fairly well, as they have no fewer than four here in Dublin, so I knew I could rely on them to be clean and reasonably priced. Minutes later the booking was complete at an excellent price of £288 Sterling for our three night weekend stay for three people. (Breakfast not included) That works out at less than £30 Sterling per head per night, and I honestly think we would have been hard pushed to find 3-star hotel accommodation in Edinburgh for anything less.
So what did we get for our money?
A basic double room, with a fold-down settee bed for our teenage daughter, with an ensuite bathroom. Basically that's it. Jury's let rooms in their Inns on a no frills basis, which I suppose is how they can make the prices so reasonable, so no real complaints there.
We arrived late on the Friday evening (11.30PM) and after the minimum of fuss were allocated our room on the sixth floor of the hotel. It was on the smallish side, especially with the fold-down bed settee taking up so much of the floor space, but it was clean and functional, with a comfortable double bed for me and my better half. Plenty of discreet lighting, which I like as I can't stand a harsh overhead light in a room. Wardrobe and storage space was adequate for the three of us, but we were travelling fairly light (one suitcase) apart from our finery for the wedding.
There were the usual tea and coffee making facilities, which were welcome after our flight from Dublin, but as per usual there wasn't enough sachets of tea or coffee, or wee cartons of milk, as both my wife and myself are big beverage drinkers.
A large radiator ran the full length of the large picture window, and the central heating was constantly on and toasty warm. (Very important in Edinburgh at the end of November!) You could also turn it on and off, which is also very important from my point of view as I *HATE* sleeping in a warm room.
A standard television, with the basic terrestrial stations sat on the dressing table.
The bathroom and toilet was small but again had all the essentials, with a choice of bath or overhead shower. Plenty of toilet paper and a few sachets of shampoo and conditioner.
One complaint I would have was the shower. It had one of those dreadful plastic pull over curtains, and every time you were taking a shower it would stick to your body like a second skin. Why do they use these things, when a glass partition is so much better and far more hygienic? The shower itself was of the mixer type and when someone in an adjacent room flushed the toilet or turned on a tap you either got scalded or frozen!
Also watch out for the chambermaids if you're having a wee rest or nap during the day. On the Sunday my two ladies were off bending the plastic in the shops, and I returned for a bit of a lie down. (Well, I'm not getting any younger you know!) About three different chambermaids walked into the room after only a cursory tap on the door, until I realised I had a "Do Not Disturb" sign I could hang on the outside. (Doh!)
One of the big plusses of this hotel, at least from my point of view, was the view.
Our room was high up (6th floor) and we had a fantastic vista out over the top of Waverley railway station to Princess Street, Calton Hill, South Bridge, etc. It even had the effect of making me nostalgic for the city of my birth, even though I know I'd never really consider living here again. If you want the view, then I'd suggest you stipulate a front facing room when you book, or ring the hotel directly afterwards if you book online, as the rooms on the other side of the corridor from ours look out onto nothing except the back of old tenement buildings on the Royal Mile!
Another big plus of the hotel is its very central location. You are literally a few minutes walk from great shopping areas like Princess Street, the Royal Mile, the Saint James Shopping Centre (top of Leith Walk) and a host of tourist attractions like Edinburgh Castle, the Walter Scott Monument, John Knox's House, the Museum of Childhood, Holyrood Palace and park, and the new Scottish Parliament Building. (By the way, talking about parliaments, it's interesting to note that this hotel was once the Scottish Office when Scotland was ruled solely from Westminster!) In fact, when you come out the side door of the hotel, you simply walk (or should I say climb!) up one of the myriad of wee closes that link Jeffrey Street with the Royal Mile, and you're right in the middle of one of the most famous streets in the city. There's also a busy taxi rank just where you emerge onto the Royal Mile if you need a cab to get to another location in the city.
Generally speaking you would tend to pay a high price for a hotel with such a central and convenient location, which makes the £30 a night price tag we paid even more attractive.
As I mentioned earlier, the cost of a breakfast or meal is not included in the nightly rate, so if you want to eat something in the hotel you'll have to fork out a bit extra.
There's a fairly functional restaurant called the "Innfusion" on the ground floor. I say functional, because its ambience wouldn't really attract you for say an evening meal. It resembles a school dining hall more than a restaurant, with linoleum on the floor, cheap, fixed formica topped tables and plastic seating, and a buffet style self service counter where you pick up your grub. No waiter service, at least not for breakfast, which was the only meal we ate there.
A full Irish/English/Scottish Breakfast (fry-up) costs an extra £9.95 a head, although for that price you could eat as much as you wanted. Continental breakfast will cost you about an extra £3.99. (If memory serves) We had the full breakfast for two out of the three days we stayed, and it was OK and edible, if not remarkable in any way. I like my rashers (bacon) crispy, and the rashers here looked like they'd been baked rather than fried. (Practically raw!! On reflection, I suspect they are cooked in some sort of industrial microwave.) Likewise, the eggs were sunny side up, (runny) which again is not the way I like them, so the second morning I plumped for scrambled.
Coffee was out of a machine, but was fresh, hot and tasty.
One wee tip. If you go up the close towards the Royal Mile, you'll be able to find a choice of breakfast venues at a more reasonable price than the hotel. There's a nice looking small restaurant about halfway up the steps on the right hand side, but the one morning we went to use it, (Sunday) it was full and would have entailed waiting, so we didn't bother.
We didn't use the restaurant for an evening meal, but did use it to get a sandwiches delivered to our room one evening. They were tasty, and came along with salad, crisps and garnish. Only complaint here was that they didn't have the open prawn sandwich I fancied, so I had to go for cheese and ham.
The hotel also has a busy public lounge bar that fronts onto Jeffrey Street itself, and which appears to be comfortable and welcoming. We're not drinkers so didn't have occasion to use it, but I went in one evening to get myself and my daughter a soft drink to take to our room. Prices were reasonable, and the barman on duty was a very pleasant young Irish lad from Waterford. It was full of very drunk (and loud) Scotsman on the Saturday night though, as it was the evening of the recent European Championship qualifying game against Italy. (Soccer and Scotland lost 2-1. Bah!!)
When you first enter the hotel there's a large reception area with a sort of lounge with chairs, sofas, and tables where you can sit and read a book or newspaper, and get yourself a coffee from what they call the "Il Barista Coffee Bar". This coffee bar is really just a large self-service coffee machine, and I can't comment on what it's like as it was never in operation for the duration of our three day stay.
At the side of the coffee contraption there's a single "pay as you go" computer console. My daughter and I used this a couple of times to check our emails, etc, but at 50p for 10 minutes I thought it was a complete rip off! You also have a plug-in internet connection in your room, but at a £5 a night I don't think I would have been bothering, even if I'd had my laptop with me. Also watch out for the hotel phone charges from your room, which are completely over the top. Personally I never use hotel phones, as I get 30 cent a minute calls home to Ireland on my mobile from anywhere in Europe.
Last but not least is car parking facilities. This was something that was really concerning me before our visit, as I know Edinburgh (in common with most other modern cities) now has very limited free parking, and very enthusiastic traffic wardens and clampers! We had a hire car for the weekend (Volvo V70 diesel estate; very nice!) and I didn't want to get a whopping parking fine or clamping charge.
I needn't have concerned myself. There's meter parking in nearly all the streets around the hotel, and if you can't find a meter there's a NCP multi-storey car park only five minutes walk away in St. John's Hill. They offer a £8.80 discounted rate for a 12 to 24 hour stay for Jury's Inn guests, but I never had to actually use it, as I managed to nick a space in the small staff car park at the rear of the hotel all the time I was there. (Naughty I know, but it saved a few bob and was very handy!)
So all things considered I was more than happy with this Jury's Inn. It wasn't five-star standard, but I got what I expected, and it was more than adequate for a weekend break or short stay. I'd use it again in the future.
PS. Hotel contact details are available on the Jury's website, or in the dooyoo description at the top of this review.
© KenJ November 2007.
Summary: Good quality three star hotel in an excellent central location.
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