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Best Western Bruntsfield Hotel (Edinburgh)

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1 Review

Address: 69 Bruntsfield Place / Edinburgh / Lothian / EH10 4HH / Scotland

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      26.04.2009 16:16
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      Good base for sightseeing but food not great!

      ---Intro---

      Having decided to walk on fire (best laid plans) and having decided to make a weekend of it in Edinburgh I had the task of finding a hotel. Initially I was going to use our Tesco Clubcard vouchers, but it seemed to be too much hassle as you had to pick specific rates, and it looked like it wouldn't have ended up being much of a bargain after all. Plus, we specifically wanted a hotel with car parking facilities (preferably free) which made the search a bit harder.

      So off I went trawling the Internet to see what I could find....and having trawled through the various hotels, their prices and their facilities, the Bruntsfield Hotel was what I chose. It's always good for hubby if I book the hotel, after all if it's not up to scratch then it can be my fault! Being a Best Western chain I was reasonably confident that it would be acceptable.



      ---Booking---

      I booked online and it was all very quick and simple. The cost was £270 for the two of us in a double room for two night's bed and breakfast. Not cheap (next weekend my three nights in Blackpool is less), but it is Edinburgh, and it was a good price compared to some of the hotels I was looking at!

      However, perhaps I should mention that was the last transaction I made on my credit card before it was used fraudulently to pay for a mobile phone top up in Slough and a £60 bouquet of flowers among various other attempts....and then I had to go through the hassle of speaking to people in India to get it sorted out - I was not impressed. Anyway, more about that in a minute.



      ---Marymoose doesn't walk on fire---

      Unfortunately with less than a week to go until the firewalking challenge, it was postponed until October due to low numbers. However, with the hotel already paid for, and plans for a nice romantic-ish weekend with a visit to a Michelin Star restaurant on the Saturday night and trips to visit the castle and the Scottish Whisky Experience during the day, off we went to Edinburgh anyway!



      ---Getting there---

      Living in Cumbria we're not far from Scotland, and it's about a 3 hour journey. We decided to visit the zoo prior to check into the hotel so that I could visit the koalas, taking a number of wrong turnings along the way - Sat Nav woman's fault of course! A review of the zoo will perhaps follow...have to say we were feeling a bit down really after seen how depressed/insane the polar bear and big cats were.

      Anyway, getting to the hotel from the zoo involved various detours as they're currently digging up Edinburgh to put in a tram, but otherwise it was reasonably easy to find, although hubby doesn't really like city driving.

      The details are as follows:
      Address: 69 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh, Lothian, EH10 4HH, Scotland
      Telephone: (0131) 2291393

      The hotel's website doesn't seem to work at the moment so I won't put in the link.



      ---Parking---

      On arrival at the hotel at about 3:30pm (you can check in from 2pm) we had to wait what seemed like ages for an irritating taxi to get out of the way so that we could get into the one available parking space (parking is round the front of the hotel). Everyone else seemed to have avoided this space as it really needed a long reverse to get into it.

      On going into reception the woman seemed surprised that we had managed to get a space in the carpark, and gave us a resident's permit. So, although we were lucky to get a space, I wouldn't necessarily expect to get one. I suppose it must depend on when you arrive really. If you don't get a space you will have to pay to park in the road.



      ---Checking in---

      The reception area was pleasant enough, nothing special. There is also a lounge room where people can sit and wait if they need to after checking out, or whatever.

      The receptionist lady was French, and while her English was good, I really don't think she understood when I tried to tell her about the fact that my credit card was most likely cloned after I used it to pay for the hotel. She kept on saying that sometimes she might put a transaction through twice by mistake and then cancel one. I couldn't really get her to understand that that wasn't my point, that the point was that someone has fraudulently used my card details for transactions elsewhere. I thought it would be something the hotel would like to know, in case they do have a member of staff who's selling card details to people or whatever (NOT that I was accusing - because it was possibly more likely to be something to do with the online booking process), but there you go!

      I filled in a form, saying that if we smoked in the room we'd be fined £150, gave them the details of hubby's card (fingers crossed with that one). We could have ordered a newspaper, but it would have cost us. We were given two card keys to our room - 234 and a map of Edinburgh which was very useful (and the lady on reception gave us some directions).

      We also booked a table at the restaurant for 8pm, as we were told that there would be in a party of 18 at 7pm and were advised to go later.



      ---The Lift---

      I wouldn't normally write a section in a review about a lift, but the hotel's lift was really annoying. Poor hubby managed to get a static shock off it every time (I don't think we can blame the hotel for that though). But most annoyingly it was just so slow, we seemed to spend half of our time waiting for the lift - in retrospect we should have just taken the stairs maybe. There are only 2 floors, and there are 67 rooms.



      ---Our room---

      Our room was a Classic room - aka bog standard. If we'd paid more we could have had a room which looked like this - http://www.thebruntsfield.co.uk/GuestRooms.asp

      However, I don't think I could fault the room really. The bed (which was two singles joined together) was huge, and very comfortable. I slept like a koala (without the tree).

      The bathroom was basic but clean (and yes I checked the bin to make sure it had been emptied - after reading a recent hotel review where the bin had not been emptied!) - the shower (in the bath) was powerful and came out at the right temperature which is always a bonus.

      Slight niggle was that although there was shower gel, shampoo, etc, I think we could have done with the shower gel being replenished the next day.

      The TV had a reasonable picture, although it could have been bigger. There were the usual tea/coffee making facilities, a hairdryer, a fan (which we had on at night) - all we needed really, although unfortunately no free Wifi. No mini bar, not that we'd have used it anyway.

      The view out of the window was of the building across the road. If we'd been at the front of the hotel we'd have been looking out over a park. Being at the back of the hotel we weren't bothered by any noise at all.

      The room was cleaned well while we were out, and they took away the towel I'd dyed red (dyed my hair the other day!)



      ---The area---

      Having dumped our stuff hubby and I went for a potter. We headed towards Grassmarket which was about a mile away where we went to a couple of pubs sitting outside and watching the world go by. Then we headed back going into a nice pub called The Cuckoo's Nest which we went back to the next day as well (their cheesy chips were lovely). The Bruntsfield hotel is within easy walking distance of the city centre if you like a little bit of a walk which I think is usually nice on a weekend away!




      ---The Bisque Bar & Brasserie---

      Having freshened up, hubby and I headed to the Bisque Bar and Brasserie for our dinner. We were really hungry by this point, and having seen the menu we were looking forward to a really nice meal.

      I could probably write a whole review about our dining experience, but I will just talk through the main points. The restaurant is open to the public, so it wasn't mainly hotel guests eating there. There is a large seating area, including the option to eat outside.

      My first gripe was that they didn't bring us any bread...we weren't even offered any at a cost. I thought this was a bit much really. Second gripe was that they didn't have the wine which we wanted on the menu, so we had to have a £24 one rather than £18 (there's no cheap wine). When you're paying £24 for a bottle of red wine you'd expect them to at least let the wine breathe for a bit, but the waiter poured it straight away.

      For starter I chose the whitebait which was ok, but just ok. For the price (over £6) I'd have expected something a bit better. Similarly hubby went for the crab and crayfish which was just alright.

      The starters were brought to us almost immediately. I'm not a fan of long waits, but this was just too immediate for me. Our main courses were also brought quickly - it was like they were trying to hurry us up. I went for the pheasant and venison casserole which was very nice (and at £12 odd it should be), although a distinct lack of vegetables. Luckily hubby had ordered some cabbage as an accompaniment. Hubby's main course was less than impressive - chicken stuffed with haggis (which was nice), but some weird peppery carrot thing, and no potatoes or any kind of staple food.

      They were slower coming with the desserts - you'd expect that to be the bit they were quick with. My sticky toffee pudding was tasty but stodgy (and was pretty much like one out of a tin). Hubby went for the cheese, and he did enjoy that. We then followed our meals with some port.

      While the meal wasn't bad, and on the whole the service was good it was certainly not worth the money (came to £87 in total). If it had been half the price it would have been worth it, but for the price it was a big disappointment. We were given a feedback form, and hubby completed it. To the restaurant's credit they read our feedback, and we were given an apology and complimentary glasses of port. However, I don't think I could recommend it!

      The bar does have an excellent selection of drinks, and they are not too excessively priced.




      ---Breakfast---

      We were staying on a Bed and Breakfast basis, and breakfast was served in the Bisque.

      There was a selection of cereals, fruits, ham and cheese, pastries, breads (and toaster) and fruit juices (along with tea/coffee). However, I don't think it was a particularly wonderful selection at all. I noticed that there were no oatcakes, which I have found there normally are in Scotland. There wasn't a great deal of choice.

      Hubby and I both went for the full Scottish breakfast - Pork and Apple Sausage (or veggie option), bacon, black pudding, haggis, grilled tomato, mushrooms, potato pancake, and choice of egg. I went for scrambled, hubby went for fried. Scrambled was clearly better as it must have involved 2 eggs, rather than one. Although hubby's egg was ok, on the second day his fried egg was overcooked.

      On the second day I opted for the smoked salmon and scrambled egg which was served on soggy burnt toast but was otherwise ok. Hubby had a grilled breakfast again, but was a bit annoyed as he really wanted baked beans instead of the pretty rubbishy tomato, but they didn't do beans.

      Other options available were poached haddock, or omelette. The woman on the table next to us was given a very undercooked omelette which she sent back.

      If you aren't staying B & B, the breakfast would set you back £12.50, which is not good value for money at all.



      ---Other---

      On the Saturday we spent the day sightseeing. It's about one and a half miles to the castle, but it's uphill. The castle was well worth seeing, and even better that it was free to us being members of English Heritage. The Scottish Whisky experience can cost a bit, but was worth a visit, and a review on that will follow. We walked down, and then back up the Royal Mile, and visited various free attractions - the Museum on the Mound, the National Gallery, and a museum of Edinburgh. While you could end up spending a lot of money, there are lots and lots of attractions which cost nothing, so it doesn't have to be expensive.

      We did walk a fair distance over the day, and I was glad of the comfy bed back at the hotel for a kip, before getting a taxi (booked by hotel) to The Plumed Horse restaurant which I will also be reviewing, and would not hesitate to recommend despite the price!

      I haven't mentioned anything about the clientele...I would say that probably most of the guests were aged 50+. However, there were some families there with small children, mainly foreign.


      ---Checkout---

      Checkout time is 11am. However, we left straight after breakfast at 10am. Since we hadn't spent any money and had pre-paid it was a quick process!



      ---Concluding remarks---

      I think I have come across as quite negative, however the experiences in Bisque really let the visit down. The hotel itself though is reasonable enough, but nothing special. But it is in a good location, and the price seemed to be fairly competitive. We were also lucky to be able to park - I think there might have been tears if we couldn't have. On the whole I would recommend the hotel, but would recommend that you eat elsewhere - there are loads of reasonably priced restaurants nearby.

      Overall we had a lovely weekend in Edinburgh, and will definitely visit again as there is a lot to see! The same review can be found with photos on Ciao.co.uk

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