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In July 2008 we spent two nights at the Marriott Hotel in Edinburgh. We had booked through the Tesco Clubcard Deals scheme and intended to use the hotel as a base for visiting Edinburgh Zoo and Deep Sea World.
The hotel is located on the western edge of Edinburgh, on Glasgow Road, a mere two miles from the airport, and only 4 miles from Edinburgh city centre. It has ample free on-site parking and is just off the A8. It is also only 5 minutes walk from the Gyle Shopping Centre.
The bus-stops outside the hotel are frequented by a number of buses bound for both the city centre and the airport.
We took short of an hour to drive from our home in Glasgow to the hotel (and found it without SatNav or bickering - result!)
It's a modern looking building, not offensive but with no real architectural charm. White with the red "Marriott" branding, lots of glass and clean lines, the only thing that really detracted from our first view of the hotel were the colonies of rabbits camped out on the grass round the building. Seriously, they were everywhere. (And our girls loved chasing them, although I'm not sure what they would have done had they actually caught one of the blighters!)
Reception was through the large revolving door (disabled access also available with a push button). A friendly concierge wished us a good afternoon.
Check-in was painless. I was asked for my surname, a swipe of a credit card, how many room keys did we require and did we need a hand with any luggage? Directions were given to the lift and our room and off we went.
The swipe card for our room worked first time - always a bonus. My heart sank when I opened the door, however. Only one double bed when we had requested a family room. But wait a minute, what was this? It was actually a very nifty "L"-shaped room, and round the corner, hidden from view were two single beds!
This for us was a huge bonus. This ingenious room layout meant that our two toddlers could be sleeping round the corner while we watched the TV or read and enjoyed a glass of wine, without fear of disturbing them.
The room was tastefully decorated and well equipped. Hairdryer, iron and ironing board, satellite TV, internet access, tea and coffee making facilities (with Cadbury's instant hot chocolate - whoo hoo! - and biscuits), air conditioning, mini bar, writing desk, arm chairs, safe, ample wardrobe and hanging space.
The beds were very comfortable, there were loads of pillows, and if anything the bedding was too cosy.
The bathroom was clean and well appointed with a full size bath and over bath shower. The usual compliment of toiletries was also available. I was also pleased that we were provided with four bath towels, four hand towels and four face cloths.
We used the leisure facilities twice during our stay. On both occasions the pool was very quiet and we had the place to ourselves some of the time. Staff did tell us that the pool had been VERY crowded earlier as there had been two hen parties as well as leisure club members, so I guess we were lucky.
The changing rooms were on the small side, but were clean and well appointed with good quality wooden lockers. Towels are supplied at the Leisure Club reception desk.
There is a fifteen metre swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room.
There is also a gym which looked very well appointed, but which we did not use.
Other facilities available which we did not use include a beautician/hairdresser, a business centre, foreign exchange and room service.
The hotel also has a number of meeting rooms and is apparently a popular location for weddings and other functions.
There are two places to eat in the hotel - The Mediterrano Restaurant serves breakfast and dinner and Chats Café Bar serves breakfast, lunch and dinner on a snack-style basis. Chats Café Bar also has an outdoor decked seating area.
We only ate breakfast in the Mediterrano Restaurant. Now, my husband considers himself something of a seasoned connoisseur when it comes to cooked breakfasts and he declared that this particular offering easily ranked in his all-time top three. Believe me, high praise indeed.
As well as the full monty on the hot plate - sausage, smoked back bacon, streaky bacon, mushrooms, scrambled eggs, potato scones, black pudding, hash browns, waffles, tomatoes, haggis, pancakes - there was a generous and fresh selection of fruit, cereals, breads, cold meat, cheese, jam, pastries, muffins and juices.
The staff were attentive in offering and topping up your tea, coffee or hot chocolate and the chef was on hand to cook your eggs to order.
When one of our daughters burst into tears (Daddy had eaten one of her mushrooms - disaster!!) one waitress even offered to fetch her some chocolate ice cream!
We didn't eat an evening meal in the restaurant, nor did we sample the snacks in the café bar, so I can't comment on these.
The hotel was ideal for our purposes. It is conveniently located for getting in to Edinburgh city centre and is extremely close to the Zoo. The room layout was perfect for a family with small children. The room was clean, well-appointed and a good size. The pool in particular was a great facility for us, and we probably would have used it more if the weather hadn't been so good.
Slight sleepers may have found the traffic noise disturbed them but the double glazing was efficient and this didn't affect us. The air conditioning was a wee bit noisy though so we switched it off at night - consequently our room was a bit on the warm side overnight.
But what made this hotel a standout for us was the attitude and service from the staff. They were extremely polite and obliging, friendly and knowledgeable, nothing was too much trouble.
My husband couldn't get the ice machine outside our room to work. A passing member of staff took the ice bucket down to the bar to fill it for us.
A member of staff not only recommended a Chinese Restaurant, but told us which bus to take, how much our tickets would cost, made a reservation for us and called our room to confirm that our table was booked.
I had a bit of a wait to check out as we were leaving due to another guest insisting on noting down the e-mail addresses of various members of staff so he could contact them personally to thank them for their help. Naturally the member of staff on reception was most apologetic for the delay.
Our room with breakfast was £99 per night. This is fully payable with your Tesco Deals tokens if you have enough, otherwise you can do what I did and part pay with the vouchers you have. The staff accepted my £170 of Deals tokens without question or awkwardness. (To use your Tesco vouchers you do have to stay two consecutive nights, one of which has to be a Saturday night.)
Looking on their website, they offer a variety of deals and packages from approximately £90 a night per room.
Five stars from me, I can't honestly deduct marks for the rabbits and it really was faultless otherwise.
I've started saving my Tesco points for the next time already!
241 rooms & 4 suites over four floors
Check-in 2pm, check-out 12 noon
This review has been preiously posted on Ciao by me under the same name carcraig (but with photographs!)