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Sheraton Grand Hotel in general

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5***** / 3 rosettes. 1 Festival Square, EH3 9SR. Tel: +44 (0)131 229 9131. Fax: +44 (0)131 228 4510. Email: sue_finlay@sheraton.com AVAILABLE FACILITIES: 260 en-suite rooms; non-smoking/smoking rooms; family rooms; TV/Satellite TV; lift; night-porter; ope

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      01.01.2006 22:43
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      well placed hotel for city centre amblings

      Having decided on Edinburgh for our anniversary/get away from the builders weekend, the next thing I had to do was book a hotel.
      My needs were small…somewhere away from dust, damp and grime, fairly close to the centre but not on the main shopping "drag".
      So, there I was one evening after work, trawling through the thousands of offers on offer on the internet.
      I have my own thoughts on these search engines…Good or bad? For great deals I am a HUGE fan and for sheer frustration value you cannot beat it.
      Why oh why when I find a great deal do I book it, find a better deal, by which time I have forgotten where the first deal was…?
      I digress…
      The point of this is The Sheraton.
      I eventually found a good deal for the Sheraton through www.travelocity.co.uk…executive suite for about £140…not bad I thought when on another site a normal room was this price.
      Anyway, it was for only one night, so off we went.

      FINDING THE HOTEL
      I do like Edinburgh as a city but, like any big city, if you don't know where you are going then you are a major danger on the road.
      After irritating several drivers, we saw Festival Square.
      Excellent!
      We were there!
      Or were we?
      It transpired that whilst we could see the hotel, there was no way we were going to get to it with ease.
      A sign…we saw a sign for the hotel but then nothing more, and ended up in a car park which belonged to another hotel.
      By keeping the hotel in our sights and with a lot of positive thought, we got to the car park, and in we went.
      At first sights, it was not encouraging. The car park is one of those very dark very dingy car parks…very square and not at all easy to drive round…the kind where there are 3 spaces the a column on each side so you always think someone's car will get scraped.

      LOCAL AREA
      Once we were out and about and got our bearings, it was obvious that we had made a good choice.
      The exterior is well mainatined with a fairly imposing entrance and the hotel is close to many local amenities:
      City Centre 0.1km
      Princes Street Gardens 0.1km
      Museum of Scotland 1km
      The Royal Mile 1km
      Museum of Childhood 2km
      Ediunburgh Castle 1km
      So...not far to walk!

      RECEPTION:
      Once inside, the reception was light and airy with just the right number of very comfortable looking tables and chairs scattered about what was obviously a non smoking area…not an ash tray in sight.
      The thing I noticed straight away was the lovely wooden floor and fabulous fire place, with the curving staircase to the first floor.
      It was quite tricky at first when they explained how to get in and out of the hotel...one of the entrances is on the ground floor and the other on the first floor-all explained by a rather helpful concierge situated right at the entrance (think it was the "back entrance")
      The reception desk itself was manned by 4 people…all of whom were working, so in no time at all we were checked in and on our way to our "suite". One thing to poit out...if like me you always want to go to the ladies when you arrive somewhere, then this is not a grand design...you have to walk to the first floor where the restaurant is; not too big a deal but toilets in the entrance would be handy.
      When we left, there was a HUGE queue of people all trying to check out and the fact that there were 4 staff manning reception meant that the queue moved quickly...no complaints there!

      ACCOMMODATION
      I never quite know what to expect when I book into a suite but I think it's something from a Hollywood movie, which obviously never happens…hey this is real life.
      Firstly, although the blurb boasts that many of the rooms face the castle, ours didn't, but not a problem, it was all pleasant enough.
      Our suite had a HUGE kingsize bed, tv, sofa, table, desk, mini bar, iron, lots of coathangers (always a plus), hair dryer, bathrobes (which you were able to buy should you wish), and tea/coffee making facilities.
      The room was a good size (you got the impression of space and didn't feel that if you left your bag on the floor you would fall over it!) tastefully decorated in a pseudo "we're trying to be Scottish " style, and had enough but not too many magazines, brochures etc.
      There was all the usual information about the hotel, and some advertising leaflets but nothing that made me feel that this was some kind of advertising campaign.
      The bathroom was clean, but, for what was a "suite", very very small. They just about managed to fit in a bath sink and toilet and there was NO room to swing the proverbial cat should the mood have taken me!
      However, size aside, and not being a complainer by nature, there was a lovely selection of toiletries…soap, o, conditioner, bath and shower gel,mouthwash, moisturising lotion. Plus that useful little sewing kit and the shoe buffer I never use but always put in my bag to take home with me.
      There was also an ironing board and iron lurking in the cupboard which never came out when we were there but gave me some security should I have chosen to have a home experience.
      Also available but not made use of were things like:
      24 hour room service
      cot
      trouser press
      air conditioning
      maid service
      All good stuff if you need these things!

      FOOD
      The hotel boasts 5 restaurants but since we were there for only one night we obviously didn't sample them all.
      We did eat in the bar area... nice sandwiches but at a £20 bill for the two of them, a tad steep I thought.
      The GRILL ROOM features locally produced fresh food with an international twist,.
      SANTINI restaurant is smaller and more intimate, serving Italian food .
      EXCHANGE BAR is apparantly popular for afternoon tea with its relaxed atmoshere.
      THE CRUSH BAR serves an International buffet
      SANTINI BIS serves contemporary Italian food in a casual setting

      SPA
      The hotel boasts Europe's most advanced city spa and whilst we didn't use it, guests are offered greatly reduced rates.
      We did have a peep in and it looked great...all high tech and spa like in a relaxing kind of way.
      You walk along a walkway to a blue cube to the spa-ONE.
      There are spa waters and a 19m swimming pool with indoor hydropools.
      There is a state of the art fitness studio
      Also available:
      Cleopatra baths
      rock and bio saunas
      thermal suite
      Steam bath
      I can't comment on them as I don't know much (anything!!) about them but it did look inviting if I had more time

      MEETING AND EVENT FACILITIES
      As I would expect in this type of hotel, there were lots of business type people and meeting/business centres.
      10 meeting rooms apparantly, with all the latest high tech equipment

      ADDRESS:
      1 Festival Square
      Edinburgh
      EH3 9SR

      TELEPHONE:
      (44) (131) 2299131
      WEBSITE
      www.sheraton.com/grandedinburgh


      THE LAST WORD...WOULD I GO AGAIN?
      Yes, definitely.
      On Sunday, Santa Claus and his reindeer flew across the square right outside the hotel, lifted into the air by a giant crane and landing on a fabulous stage just big enough for a sleigh...magical
      We are booking for this time next year with little one!

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