“ 18 Royal Terrace, Edinburgh, EH7 5AQ. Tel = 0131 557 3222 „
Edinburgh is one of those cities near enough for us to visit for a weekend, and with enough attractions and shops to keep us all busy. So, we tend to go a couple of times a year.
I usually book online, and because I don't know the city well, it's usually a bit of a feat finding the hotel. Last time we went, our hotel was very difficult to find, and because it was at the opposite side of the city to "our side" (Newcastle side), we had to negotiate the city centre- not good for anyone who doesn't know the city.
This hotel, by contrast, was incredibly easy to find. Armed with my route finder directions, we set off, and it seemed that no sooner had we entered the city than we were there.
The hotel itself is located on a beautiful tree lined street of Georgian terraces- very stately. Our one problem when we first arrived is that there is a hotel with a similar name. We tried to get in (it was locked) and even buzzed for the porter- too late we noticed the sign telling us that this was not the Royal Terrace Hotel.
We found our hotel a bit further down the street, and after parking the car, went in. I have to mention that a down side to this hotel is that it doesn't have a car park, and the car has to be parked on the street. We aren't "precious" about the car, but didn't fancy having it towed a way, although the man assured us that over the weekend it would be fine...it was!
~~Address and Location~~
18 Royal Terrace
It is actually situated a very short walk from the city centre, so no need to get taxis or buses.
~~Entrance and checking in~~
The entrance to the hotel is very modern- all brown and cream, very clean, with sofas and tables dotted around. Handy if you have lots of cases, there is an automatic door, so no fighting with bags and the pushing and pulling of doors. At one side of the entrance area is a small bar with bar stools round the bar area, and three or four small tables with comfy chairs. We were to discover later that this serves food.
Near the door are the toilets which again are clean and modern.
We checked in quickly at the long checking in area, and the staff were very helpful and quickly gave us directions to our room. I say directions and I mean directions. The place is like a tardis!
After the modern and obviously newly refurbished entrance hall, the walk to the bedroom was very disappointing. The corridors were very gloomy, with wall paper peeling off the walls, lots of steps to negotiate as the corridors changed level, and no signs. I think we stumbled on the room by change; we had apparently been upgraded, so it wasn't on the main drag.
Unfortunately, the décor of the room followed the theme of the corridors, not the entrance area. The wallpaper, carpets and paintwork all looked as though they could do with a bit of tlc, or failing that, a complete overhaul!
There was asmall unit in the corner by the window, containing tea and coffee making facilities, a chair, dressing table, and bed with a canopy over it. Given the age of everything, I wasn't overly keen on that canopy thing.
Grouches aside, the bedlinen was clean, and the bathroom, whilst small and pretty basic, had clean towels, and a few freebie toiletries. Other room facilities included a hairdryer, iron and ironing board (no thanks!), modem connection, internet access and satellite tv and movie channel.
The view from the bedroom window was impressive- straight over the Firth of Forth and since it was a clear day, it was fantastic.
~~Restaurant, bar, dining~~
There is a restaurant, where breakfast and evening meals are served and a bar, where more snack like food can be eaten. We chose the latter, because we were going out for the night, and in usual disorganised fashion, had forgotten to book a table in a restaurant, and didn't fancy our chances on a Saturday night.
The bar has a good menu,serving light sandwich type meals, and these came quickly, nicely presented, and cost about £15 for two plentiful stomach fillers.
Guests can also eat al fresco in the private gardens, but we decided not to chance it when it was cold and dark.
The hotel also offers very tastefully done leisure facilities including a sauna, and a swimming pool, although using them wasn't high on my list of priorities.
Expect to pay about £90 for a double room, and breakfast, although it's always good to check out special offers.
~~What I thought of the hotel~~
Once we had established that the car wasn't going to get towed away, first impressions were very promising. The entrance area is quite impressive, and certainly encourages you to think the rest of the hotel will live up to the same standards. However, as I said, the rest of the hotel was quite disappointing. It seems that once you are out of the areas which can be seen by people other than paying guests, then the state of repair or disrepair ceases to matter. The place really could do with an overhaul, not only of the downstairs, but everywhere. On the standard of the bedrooms, I can't imagine people booking and re booking.
So, while everything was clean, not a lot of updating had gone on, apart from ion the more easily noticeable (ground floor level).
The bar area, which is apparently the cocktail bar is well stocked, comfortable and very pleasant to sit in to while away an hour or so. The staff are pleasant and helpful, food is good, breakfast plentiful. So, it begs the question- why not refurbish?
For a 4 star hotel, the corridors, bedrooms and general décor lets this place down badly. It has a great location, and I really think that if something was done to improve the whole place then people would return time and time again.
Thanks for reading
The Royal Terrace Hotel is a member of the Principal Hotels chain. It is located in the Royal Terrace which you will find on the other side of the mount (the one with the Grecian folly on top of it) at the end of Princes Street. This is more or less in the centre of a row of Georgian terraced properties. It is ideally located for access to the sites and attractions of the city. The views from the rooms at the front of the hotel are spectacular, overlooking, as they do, the city and the Firth of Forth beyond. The views at the rear are less overwhelming, overlooking only the hotel’s gardens. One drawback is that it has no car park but, overnight cars can be parked on the road outside without charge. Cars must be moved by 8.30am the following morning. I have stayed at the Royal Terrace several times. Although superficially “well-appointed”, sadly I have to report that the level of quality offered is very unreliable. I have been offered good, attractive rooms and I have been offered rooms which clearly are below an acceptable standard of maintenance. For example, on my most recent visit the shower had loose tiles which permitted water to seep into the underfloor space. Now, clearly, this is not my problem but, had I been the occupant of the room below, I would have been less than happy! Rooms are supposed to offer a dedicated data port for connecting computers for those, like myself, who need to connect to office facilities to work in the evening. I have never yet been able to get this to work at the Royal Terrace. The restaurant in-house, The Conservatory, offers an agreeable menu but is quite small. I was unable to obtain a table at 7.30pm until 9.00pm on my most recent visit. I believe this is not unusual. We ate out. I have previously eaten there and the menu and quality of food is acceptable. The hotel also offers a Health and Leisure Club with an indoor heated pool, sauna
, whirlpool and steamroom. I cannot comment on these as I have never used them. There are also conference and banqueting facilities as well as a Business Centre which offers secretarial services, although in this day and age, I suspect that most people do there own on their laptops. Generally the Royal Terrace ought to offer above-average accommodation but instead it disappoints. By all means give it a try but if your experiences are similar to mine then it might pay dividends to kick up a fuss. I chose the cowards way out and wrote copious comments on the comments form. I even spilled onto an additional sheet, such were the problems that I experienced. You may be luckier but I wouldn’t count on it. Standard price is around £75 per person/per night, including breakfast. UPDATE 13/4/2001 Well, seems they do read those comment forms. Got a letter today from the General Manager no less. She says that my observations on the state of repair (or lack of it) of the room I occupied last time I was there, have been investigated and corrected. Well, that at least is something. No comment about all of the other deficiencies (not repair issues) so, if I go back again I'll have to see if there is any improvment on that front. Perhaps if you go there you can comment yourself? No change in rating of hotel overall at this time.