3 Brunstane Road North, Edinburgh, EH15 2DL.
tel = 0131 669 5580 / Fax 0131 657 2517.
E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org „
My wife and I stayed here for a few days two years ago and we loved it. Scots in general are very, very nice and the owners here are no exception. The neighborhood is quiet and residential, not far from an "interesting" beach. It's not the most scenic area we visited but it was safe and quiet. We did most of our dining out in the city and can't verify the restaurant situation in the immediate area. There are a few pubs down the boardwalk, very smoky even when nearly deserted. I understand that smoking is now prohibited in all of Scotland's pubs, thank God. Europeans smoke more than the rest of the Earth put together. Anyway, the breakfast here is generous and tasty. Comfortable room and bath, nothing exceptional...you won't spend that much time there anyway. The house is 2 minutes from the bus stop to town, about a 20 minute ride. Buy a return ticket (round-trip) or a day pass. You save some serious money by staying in a suburb of Edinburgh. Transportation is not an issue...if we didn't get lost, nobody will. Scots are friendly, helpful people and the country is beautiful. It is a little expensive because of the exchange rate but worth it. We plan to go back in '07 for a month and might try to get to St Kilda for a day or two. Just a note, when we first arrived here, I left my camera case in the cab. Later that evening, while we were gone, the cab driver returned it to Straven's owners, on his own time and expense. When you figure the distance he probably drove and the extra gas (Scotland has, I hear, the highest gas prices in Europe), this was awfully nice of him but quite typical of Scots. We never met anyone rude there, they seem to actually like Americans! I think this suburb is called Joppa or something like that.
A clean, spacious, well-decorated room with en-suite shower. Tasty, generous breakfasts. A beach mere metres away. A genuinely warm, friendly welcome. What more could you want in a B&B? How about a conscious effort to reduce their (and your) impact on the environment? At the Stra'ven Guest House, that's exactly what you get. Not only do the owners, Mac and Marian McCool, give you a warm and friendly welcome, but they encourage you to think about the resources you use while staying with them. A good number of B&Bs (at least the ones I've seen) now have a sign in the bathroom asking guests to consider reusing their towels, rather than having fresh ones each day, and Stra'ven is no exception. This is great - it saves water and detergent, and of course it also saves the establishment money. However, it's other touches like energy-saving lightbulbs, and a request to separate recyclable rubbish, that set it a little apart from the rest. The welcome notice in the room explains all this, and also asks for consideration in things like turning lights and the TV off when not in use, as well as returning any reusable tourist leaflets. It's not much to ask, and it's not done in a preachy way, but just think what would happen if every B&B did it! Also, as mentioned on their website, efforts are also made to choose suppliers and other businesses who share Stra'ven's environmental commitment, and the impression I got as a guest is that is is just that - a genuine commitment. Indeed, thanks to their efforts, Mac and Marian are the proud holders of the Gold Standard award from the Green Tourism Scheme. Other things to note about the guest house are that it's entirely no smoking, and they do not cater for children. Both of these are just fine by me, but might be unsuitable for others. The "green" aspects of Stra'ven, however, are really the icing on the cake. It is a
lovely place to stay, despite being a good 15-20 minutes out of Edinburgh by bus (served by a frequent route, though, that runs until late). The distance is further offset by the fact that the B&B is effectively nextdoor-but-one to a nice, sandy beach, which runs along to Portobello and beyond, and seems to be quite clean and well-kept. It's perfect for evening walks, as the sunset is directly along it (at least, it is in June...) Upon arrival we were greeted warmly by Mac, and throughout the stay, we got the impression that nothing was too much trouble. There's even a supply of change for the exact-money-only buses. The house itself is immaculately kept, with fresh flowers in the hallway, and (breaking my mental "mould" of a B&B), a distinct lack of chintz and flocked wallpaper. Our room was simple but comfortable, with everything we needed - ensuite shower and loo, hairdryer, tea and coffee facilities (with Cadbury's hot chocolate, and biscuits no less :), a big wardrobe, and a comfy bed with enough pillows to hold the world pillow-fighting championships. Even the rather uninspiring view from the window, a white-painted wall, had been enlivened with bedding plants. If I was to make any complaints at all, there would be two teensy ones: one, the towel rail wasn't big enough to hold two towels and let them dry, and two, the over-bed lights were a tad harsh. But if that's all I can find, then (a) the B&B is really good, and (b) I'm really picky :) Okay, that's bed; now for breakfast. I say breakfast, but in fact we barely needed lunch after eating it! There is no shortage of food. Fruit juices, about six different cereals, yogurts, tinned grapefuit/oranges, and even prunes were all available to help yourself. You're welcome to unlimited toast, too, with real butter and a choice of two jams on your table. The cooked breakfast is ordered the evening before via a form you leave at the front d
esk, and covers all the usual: eggs, sausage, tomatoes, mushrooms, and "tattie scones" - these are thin discs of a potato mixture, which have been cooked along with the breakfast. I guess I was thinking of the more traditional sweet scones when I imagined them to be larger. It was all irresistibly delicious, brought out fresh a little while after we sat down, with unlimited tea or coffee to wash it down. Served in the sunny, pastel-painted dining room, with the strains of Enya playing softly in the background, it was a great way to start the day. (Unless maybe you don't like Enya... :) So, given the excellent, friendly service, good food, and the standard of the accommodation, we thought we had a bargain at £24 per person per night. If it's nightlife you're after, it may not be the place for you, but for a great B&B in a peaceful location, with easy access to Edinburgh, you'd be hard-pushed to beat the Stra'ven.