“ Address: 19 North Bridge / Edinburgh / EH1 1SD / Scotland „
I recently returned to Edinburgh for a couple of nights and ended up staying in the Barceló Carlton.
~ Location ~
The Carlton is a 4 star rated hotel located on North Bridge Street in Edinburgh. It is a massive, grand looking hotel which cant be missed! It is located a few minutes walk away from the main shopping district (Princess Street) and Waverley train station. There are bus stops located near the hotel and the Royal Mile is just a stones throw away. Although you can drive to the hotel (it has a car park) unless you like driving through busy city centre roads I wouldn't really recommend it!
~ The Room ~
After checking in to my room, in the very impressive looking hotel reception, I made my way to my room. I wasn't directed which way to go which I thought it would have been a nice (I always find myself easily getting lost!). However, I found my room easily enough as it was very close to the lifts.
The room itself had a massive corridor which was very dim and gloomy. This opened up in to a reasonable sized room which was luckily a lot lighter. The room had all the basics including a fridge, a desk and small table with a couple of tub chairs and at a first glance over seemed pleasant enough. The bathroom was large with a bath and shower. However, it was on closer inspection and just staying in the room that I began to notice all the little things that weren't quite right.
The room was very warm and the air conditioning was obviously not working. Instead the room had been given two fans (not exactly the same as air con). However, when I trailed through the room looking for plugs I could only find one! All of their 'normal' fixtures and fittings had been placed in special plugs which were covered up so you couldn't unplug them. I plugged in one of the fans and it didn't work and when I plugged the other one in I discovered I wouldn't be able to choose the setting of the fan. It seemed to have been set to level three (the highest) and was very noisy so I didn't bother with it for very long.
I was in what I presume would be a twin room as it was two single beds, though I was in the room on my own. However, the two single beds were pushed together. If you were given this as a double you would be annoyed as its not a double bed and if you shared the room as twin you would probably not like to be sleeping quite so close to the other person. Although the bedding was fine, the top cover (I'm not sure what they are called!). which covered the bottom half of the bed on both sides were really tatty with lots of rips and snags.
The bathroom had lots of dark black hairs on various different surfaces. This could easily have been the cleaners but even so it wasn't very nice and made me wonder how well things were cleaned. On closer inspection the shower curtain smelt and the tap had a lot of brown dried gunk around its base. The freebie smellies given with the room were a bit rubbish and I wasn't given a small bottle of hair conditioner, just a shower gel and shampoo, which I think should almost be a given in a 4 star hotel (or maybe I'm just being picky?).
I'd say that everything in the room (but not the bathroom as that felt slightly more modern) was just beginning to look a little tired and dated and just needed a refresh and a proper look at. Simple things like a random shelf being left under the desk, the hair dryer stand being broken could easily be fixed. Where as looking at updating the old TV to a flat screen and providing more channels, fixing the air con and improving the bedding could probably easily be done with a little investment, making the room actually feel like a 4 star room.
Just to note on the cleaning of the room while I was there. As I already mentioned I was a bit dubious of it after seeing the bathroom (and also an opinion card was left for me on the bed that had already half been filled in kind of proves a lack of attention to detail). When I came back to my room on my second night it must have been just before 5pm, I found that the room still hadn't been cleaned. I was thinking of going out to look at the shops in Edinburgh and set about getting changed. However, no longer had I kicked off my shoes then there was a knock on the door which I presumed was the cleaner (I had noticed one in the corridor before getting in to my room). I couldn't even get to the door before she had opened it herself (this annoyed me as I think she knew I was in there and she shouldn't really just be letting herself in - what if I had have been half way through getting changed?). She said she wanted to clean my room which I said was fine but I wanted to get changed first so I asked if she could wait to clean for a couple of minutes. She just stared blankly at me and repeated that she needed to clean. She basically didn't speak English and after a few minutes of trying to explain to her I wanted 5 minutes and then she could clean she had to go and find someone else to translate what I had said to her. This really annoyed me because not only should she really have understood the words come back in 5 minutes (she's likely to come across it a few times cleaning in a hotel) this was all over cleaning which should have really have been done before 5pm!
~ Food glorious food ~
There are two options for eating in the hotel. There is the Bridge Bar and the Bridge Restaurant.
~ The Bridge Restaurant ~
If dinner is included with your stay then this is where you eat. It is open to all guests and I presume also non guests. It is located next to the Bridge Bar but since this bar during my stay was quite quiet this wasn't an issue. The menu in the restaurant is fairly small and there isn't a massive choice. This is fine if you wanted to eat here for a couple of nights but if you had booked yourself in for a week with your dinner included then the likelihood is that you would get bored with the lack of choice. If your dinner isn't included then you will probably find the restaurant quite expensive (even if it is included there were a few meals that included supplements you needed to pay). Starters vary from £5.00 to £6.00, mains from £14.00 to £25.00 and desserts £5.00 - £7.00.
An example of a meal you could have in the restaurant:
Goats cheese and cranberry cheesecake with a beetroot syrup £5.95
Grilled fillet of sea bass with pak choi and sweet peppers drizzled with a sesame and ginger dressing £14.50
Chocolate Brownie Brule £5.25
I had a couple of meals in the restaurant and it was nice. However, I did feel it was over priced and for the amount you were paying, not very filling. The service in the restaurant was good and everything was served in a timely manner, I didn't feel rushed but nor did it feel really slow (which can often happen when you eat on your own). After you place your order you are served a bread roll I was disappointed that these were part baked rolls, surely in a 4 star hotel it wouldn't be difficult to source some fresh bread. In fairness I'm a fan of part baked rolls and they are nice if you get a fresh one but ones that have cooled down are chewy and hard. However, if my other half had been with me, he really wouldn't have been impressed as he really dislikes part baked rolls.
I had the meal mentioned above and although I loved the cheesecake starter (it was very goats cheesy, something that's often not present in food with goats cheese in it!) I think that was the best bit of the meal. The sea bass was nice but it wasn't good enough for the price as the sauce was lacking flavour and there just wasn't enough of it. I did wonder if this might be the case when I ordered it but I refused to pay nearly £4.00 for a side of fries. The dessert should have been heavenly as it mixes my two favourite desserts and although it was tasty it really wasn't anything special.
If you stay in the hotel and cant be bothered looking for somewhere to eat then I would say try the restaurant as it is ok and the staff in there are friendly but don't expect anything too much from it. Also remember to book as although the restaurant was never full when I went to eat there I was always asked if I had booked and on one occasion had to wait about half and hour before I could be seated.
~ The Bridge Bar ~
I chose to eat here on the second night wanting to avoid the formality of the restaurant. The bar itself is quite nice but is, like most hotel bars, hideously over priced, with a pint of Carlsberg and a small bottle of Magners each costing well over £3.00. The food in the bar is quite simple consisting of sandwiches, jacket potatoes and a selection of more substantial meals such as curry, pizzas and burgers. Sandwiches and the like cost around £9.00. Main meals cost around the £15.00 mark. However, I ordered a meal from a promotional menu which was slightly cheaper with a range of 'basic' pub style (though nothing to get excited about) main meals for £11.00. I opted for some simple fish and chips as I wanted something quick and filling.
I felt that by choosing to eat in the bar that I was putting the bar staff out, even though it wasn't particularly busy. For example; my cutlery was just placed on a napkin in front of me rather than being placed to my side. Maybe I'm being picky but for the prices in the bar and the fact that it's a 4 star hotel I was expecting a bit better. The fish and chips were presented nicely (though without any tartar sauce!) but that was about the only good thing about it. The chips were undercooked, there weren't many of them and around half had weird dark brown bits on them. The fish tasted and looked just like it had came out of box in the freezer. Frankly I could have done a better job at home.
With the main leaving me less than satisfied I opted for a pudding as one of my favourites was on the menu: Chocolate Brownie. This cost just short of £7.00 so I thought it might be something special. I can safely say it was not. Again the food looked nice there was a reasonable square of brownie with a small scoop of ice cream on top, garnished with a strawberry and mint leaf and drizzled with white chocolate sauce and then sprinkled with icing sugar. My first annoyance with the pudding came with the strawberry as it wasn't even one strawberry, in fact it wasn't even a half. I had two small slices of strawberry! When you pay that much for a dessert I think they can afford to give you at least half a strawberry, especially at this time of year when they are in season and cheap as chips! The brownie itself was really hard and I had to use both the fork and spoon to be able to break in to it. Although it tasted good, I was glad I had the ice cream to give it some moisture.
All in all the bar left me completely unsatisfied. It was a complete rip off and I would only recommend it for a drink if you really don't want to leave the hotel. However, your so close to lots of other bars that you would have to be pretty lazy to not want to leave. Put it this way: To avoid the prices I ran through the pouring rain without an umbrella to a pub that's less than a minute away with a much better atmosphere (there are plenty of pubs a couple of minutes away that have live music) and the prices are much more reasonable
~ And so to bed ~
I'm afraid to say that over the three nights I stayed in the Carlton I didn't have the best nights sleep. I was so tired on the third night that I had a few pints in a short space of time to make sure I would get to sleep and sleep through the night.
The bed itself was fairly comfy though it had that dip on the end, which you get with a lot of hotel beds, where everyone has sat to watch the TV. I ended up trying to sleep sideways. However, because the room was a double made up of two single beds, they were two different heights so it wasn't the most comfortable way to sleep.
I also unfortunately had a room that faced the street and this at first caused me a bit of a dilemma. The room itself was ridiculously warm and although the window wasn't open much it did let in a nice breeze. However, the noise from the traffic outside was quite loud (especially since I'm used to very quiet nights out in the countryside). The problem was solved for me as when I tried to shut the window, I couldn't. I don't know whether it just wouldn't shut or if it was me just being a bit dumb but I just dealt with it as the breeze was nice and since the windows weren't double glazed I presumed shutting it wouldn't make that much difference.
During the first two nights of my stay I was woken up throughout the night by various different things. Outside when the traffic stopped quite late at night, the drunks began and after a couple of hours the traffic would begin again with bin men, lorries and buses. Inside being near the lift meant there were a few times I was woken up by inconsiderate people returning to their rooms but worryingly one night someone tried to get in to my room. Although I had put the extra lock on the door being on my own it really freaked me out.
At the end of the day no matter how tatty bits and pieces are a hotel is ultimately there to give you a decent night sleep. This hotel couldnt even do that.
~ Breakfast ~
Breakfast is served in the restaurant and is a self serve buffet. You are initially given a table and at some stage someone will come round to offer coffee. The breakfast itself was...interesting. The choice available was the usual, hot food (bacon, egg etc), pastries, bread, cereals, juices and fruit. The fruit selection I found a little strange with lots of prunes and oranges. I did try some of the melon they had but it was over ripe and was just tasteless and mushy. The juice they served was warm and I couldn't understand why it wasn't just kept in a fridge. The pastries were nice enough but were very crusty and I do wonder if they were part-baked pastries (if you can get those or something similar?) rather than being freshly baked. The hot food was pretty disgusting. I'm not a huge fan of breakfast served in a buffet style anyway as I don't think it ever really tastes very nice. However, the only part of the hot selection I liked was the grilled tomato. The bacon was extremely chewy and the sausage was almost inedible. There also didn't seem to be enough staff around at breakfast as items often ran out and took a little while to be replaced.
All in all I wouldnt recommend breakfast and with McDonalds and other places open for breakfast nearby I would opt for going to those instead.
~ Other facilities and info ~
The hotel does have a health spa and leisure centre. This was not something I visited but I believe the pool and gym were free to guests of the hotel (though I found no literature in the room to 100% confirm this.) Health spa treatment prices varied and although perhaps a little expensive didn't seem too over priced.
They cater for business meetings and events, short golfing holidays and weddings
Price: The prices for the hotel do seem to vary quite a lot and obviously depend on the time of year and how far in advance you book. The prices for a double guest room seem to be between £100 - £150 per night but I just searched the Barceló website today for a room in exactly a months time in August and got the following result for a double guest room:
Room only: £260.00
Inc. Breakfast: £284.00
Inc Breakfast and Dinner: £324.00
Address: 19 North Bridge Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SD
~ Overall ~
As you can probably tell I'm not this hotels biggest fan and I probably wouldn't recommend it. The hotel is good for its location and although I didn't use it I liked the fact it had a swimming pool. I think it might be more enjoyable if you stay in a more expensive room, which might be kitted out a bit better or make sure you get a room that's away from the road so you can sleep. However, I just feel that the hotel is not at all worth the price and its 4 star rating is not at all justified judging by my stay (in fact I would love to see the room/rooms that were judged at that standard).
(Sorry this has been a bit of a monster review but I hope it has been helpful!)
We booked into this hotel in May this year for a little break to Edinburgh. I wanted something near the castel and close to town so this Hotel seemed ideal, it's just round the corner from the royale mile. They catered for familes in large family rooms so this was the Hotel i chose. Was I wrong to choose this Hotel... errr yeah! Nightmare!
The Hotel itself looks grand, charming with a lovely reception. We were located in a room quite high up, the decor was dated. Thick long velvet curtains that were very old and smelly. The beds were not great but comfortable. Very dated television and generally the room was in need of a refurbishment. The hotel is a 4 star but in my views it's definitely at the low end scale of 4, bordering on a 3 star. It has 189 rooms and has a leisure club/health spa.
Anyway the fun began at 2 am in the morning of our first night, we were awoke buy the very noisy fire alarms. We had to trail down this old spiral stair case at the back of the Hotel and i had 3 children with me 2 of which were asleep. So i had to carry my 1 year old and my husband carried the 5 year old. Anyway once we got the all clear to go back into the Hotel, low and behold we were awoke an hour later by the fire alarm. So off we went trailing down all the stairs to the back of the Hotel. I was in my PJ's and there was heaps of nightclubbers passing by us laughing. God i wish i hole swallowed us up there and then.
The next night the same thing happened re the fire alarms, obviously they had some issues with this alarm but I wasn't getting up out of my bed with 3 children for another false alarm. It was a complete joke. We laugh about it now but it certainly wasn't funny at the time.
So overall we had a very unpleasant few nights at the Carlton, not relaxing at all!! Very stressful with 3 kids and those stairs as you can imagine.
It is so worth complaining though as I wrote them a letter explaining about our break and how unpleasant the whole ordeal was. We were given a free weekend break which i gave to my Mum and Dad as a treat. They loved it and were apparently in a 'posh' room compared to our dated one. HUH...
You always take a gamble when booking a hotel online in a city you are not familiar with. I spent last weekend in Edinburgh for my first time and booked this hotel a few months before going. As you would expect there were both good and bad points.
The location has got to be the best thing about the hotel. It is situated on North Bridge, a stones throw from the Royal Mile, closer to the Castle end than the Palace end. We spent a lot of our time walking up and down the Royal Mile and going on tours just off it. It is the main tourist area, so the hotel is perfectly located for it.
Price was also quite good. We paid £250.00 for a Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, which I think was quite good for a weekend and for the standard of hotel that we were looking for. The Carlton is apparently a four star hotel and it was at least £120.00 cheaper than any other similar starred hotel in Edinburgh for that weekend when I was looking to book.
We arrived early in the morning and were able to leave our bags at the hotel while we went off around the sites. This was great as we did not have to lug them round with us. We were also able to leave our bags at the hotel when we checked out as our flight was in the evening.
Some of the things in the room were quite useful, such as the trouser press, iron and welcome book.
The concierge guy Mike, was very enthusiastic and very helpful. He advised us what tours were best and where to go and what to do. he was smiley and friendly and seemed as though he genuinely wanted to help - thanks Mike!
There is no way that this hotel is four star, I am sorry. A four star hotel for me should be damn near perfect, a little bit short of a five star. So I (perhaps unwisely) expect the rooms to be finished to a very high standard at the very least. When we got to our room, it was facing onto the street, which was busy and noisy and instead of a double bed we had two singles pushed together - not what we wanted for our first anniversary! So we asked to be moved to a double room in a quieter part of the hotel. Thankfully, this was done quickly, although the porter looked as if we had disturbed his sleep, as he was none too pleased.
Our new room, although having a double bed, was still a bit basic. Some of the decor was dated and peeling and we had a big old television. The website claimed to have satelitte and cable tv, but we only had 9 channels.
The bathroom was ok, but when the maids were making up our room, they did not replace the showerg gel and shampoo - ok, I know it is only a little thing, but it was supposedly a four star hotel.
Our air conditioning knob was missing, so we could not control the temperature in the room. As we had already moved room once, we did not want to change rooms, but wondered if something could be done. The porter (a different one this time) came to the room and he suggested either (a) opening a window if we were hot, or (b) turning on the radiator if we were cold. The window one did not really work, as they only opened a tiny amount as we were on the fifth floor. So he gave us a big loud electric fan to blow the hot air around the room. Not ideal.
We were asked if we wanted a newspaper in the morning. I though that this would be complimentary, but we were charged for them. Only a small thing, but any other 4 star hotel I had stayed in had given complimentary papers.
With the exception of Mike (see above) the staff were pretty sour and unhelpful, as if when we asked for coffee at breakfast we were greatly putting them out, even though I think it was their job. Or when asking for a fresh egg for the breakfast buffet, we were told tha the chef was very busy.
As hotel guests we had use of the leisure centre. It was not all that good, as it seemed dirty and had puddles of old water everywhere. A good clean would have been helpful.
Perhaps in hindsight, a more romantic and not business hotel should have been booked, but the location of the Carlton was excellent
This hotel is situated on North Bridge in Edinburgh, equidistant from both the Royal Mile and Princes Street, the main shopping street in the city. Reaching the castle takes about 5 minutes on foot and Holyrood Palace and the Scottish Parliament are about the same distance in the opposite direction. It is clearly therefore in a fantastic location - in fact, it could not be more perfectly situated if you are a tourist, coming to Edinburgh for the tourist attractions.
The hotel itself is what you might expect from a city centre hotel. The staff are friendly at the reception and the rooms are clean, airy and spacious. The staff are happy to help at all times and the housekeeping team are non-intrusive and will happily return to your room later if you are just on your way out and need just a few more minutes.
The bar is very well stocked and will stay open as long as residents are in the bar area. The bar staff are helpful and were willing to make me cocktails that were not on the menu - and they were made with a high level of skill. The restaurant is on the same level as the bar and the food is of a high standard. Breakfast is served buffet style with waiting staff helping out where necessary. Dinner is always very nice and indeed local people from Edinburgh were eating in the restaurant every night that I was there so it must have a good reputation.
I would recommend this hotel to anyone coming to Edinburgh. It is easily accessible by train (the station is a few hundred metres away) and there is a valet service for cars from the front door. Once at the hotel, getting around the city could not be easier. As I said above, some of the main attractions are within walking distance and others can be accessed either by walking a little further or by catching one of the many buses stopping near the hotel or indeed by catching a cab from the rank outside the front of the hotel. I would stay here again.
The Barceló Edinburgh Carlton Hotel is on the Royal Mile, just minutes from the world-famous Princes Street.