We visited Edinburgh this week in 70mph gales, wearing waterproofs and determined not to let the delights of being blown across the road dampen our spirits.
The Holiday Inn in Picardy Place, Edinburgh was a delightful hotel to stay in and kept us smiling. It is situated on a busy main road in the Leith area of the city centre, just a 5 minute walk to Princes St. Considering it's position, it is nice and quiet in the hotel. It is directly opposite the Omni Centre, which houses a wide range of restaurants and a Cinema and also the Playhouse Theatre is opposite.
The reception area is bright and welcoming and when checking in, we were dealt with promptly and it was pretty painless. To the left of the reception area, there are a couple of computers for those who wish to go online. This is a paid for service. However, there is free wi-fi connection in the room. To the right of the reception is a very comfortable bar area, which not only serves alcohol, but coffee, tea and snacks such as paninis, with a variety of fillings. They are reasonably priced for a hotel within a capital city.
We booked our room over the telephone, after seeing their website online and as we avoided the weekend, as prices tend to be more expensive in most hotels of a weekend, we paid just £125 for a double room, with a sofa bed, for a two night stay. This included a complimentary breakfast. Not a bad deal considering the room rate was £133 per night, which was clearly displayed at the entrance.
Parking is very limited in the hotel with only around 9 spaces available. We were lucky, as we checked in fairly early and managed to get a space. However, the hotel does charge £10 per night for a space, and if none are available, there is a car park near the Omni centre, opposite the hotel.
I was very pleasantly surprised at the plush room in which we stayed. It was larger than average and the bed even had a choice of soft or firm pillows, clearly marked with a ribbon around them. This was a nice touch, and my partner and i each had one soft and one firm pillow. The bed was extremely comfortable and soft, with fresh, crisp white linen. Above the bed, there were two reading lights and a light that ran across the top of the substantial head board.
The lights are operated by a key card, which is the card used to enter your room. Once in the room, it is inserted into a box near the door, and this then operates the lighting. It was a very clever idea, as once removed it turns off all the lights, saving on energy.
The bathroom was the cleanest i think i have seen, and consisted of a lovely power shower, complete with body wash, nice deep basin, surrounded by granite and complimenary body wash, mounted on the wall. The good sized towels were fluffy and new and a box of tissues were also provided.
You will not find a wardrobe or bedside cabinets, but there is ample hanging space within a fixed unit, which houses a fan, hairdryer and empty open shelves to place your bits and bobs on. The television was HD and even a pen and paper were provided by the bed. A desk is also provided, where the television is housed, for business people visiting the hotel.
Breakfast is on the first floor and is served between 6am to 9am. It is self service and has a good selection of cereals, juices, fresh fruit, yoghurts, croissants and pan au chocolates, toast, egg and bacon, or egg and sausage, bacon one day, sausage the next. There is plenty of coffee and tea to be had and you can help yourself. It can get busy as a lot of business people stay at the Holiday Inn.
I slept well, and actually enjoyed being in the room. A wonderful hotel for a few nights break away and in a great position, handy for all the main attractions that Edinburgh has to offer. I will stay again.
Holiday Inn Edinburgh Waterfront
Located a little out of the centre, in Leith, right by the Ocean Terminal.
In my opinion, a great location. You avoid the busy traffic of the city centre, the hotel has plenty of free car parking, and there is a bus stop literally in front of the hotel. A bus to the city centre takes about 10 minutes and a Day ticket offering unlimited travel costs only £3.
The Ocean Terminal is across the road, 5 minutes walk from the hotel. This houses a Vue cinema, a selection of restaurants and plenty of shopping on 3 levels. Shops are open til 8pm, cinema and restaurants until 11pm so there is plenty to amuse yourself.
We stayed 2 nights. The first night we were in a 4 person room which had a double bed and a sofa bed. The second night we were in a twin room. Both rooms were nice and spacious and felt cosy. Rooms are provided with tea and coffee making facilities, a TV with some Sky channels and pay per view films and en suite bathroom. The bathroom consists of toilet, washbasin and power shower. The shower was great, one of the best I have had in a hotel! No toiletries are provided but there are shower gel/soap dispensers on the wall.
If necessary, reception provides a selection of complimentary items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, razor etc.
This is a Holiday Inn Express so facilities are kept to a minimum. The hotel doesn't have a restaurant but does have a bar serving hot and cold drinks. There is a widescreen TV in the lounge area which was showing football matches during our stay.
There is an internet computer in the lobby charged at £1 for 30 minutes. Faxing and photocopying are also available.
Breakfast is included with all rooms and is a self-service continental affair. There is a wide choice of items including cereals, fruit, croissants, muffins, cheese, yogurts. You can eat in the lobby or take a tray up to your room at no extra charge.
All the members of staff we encountered were very friendly. The hotel had a very welcoming feel, everything was very well kept and rooms were to a high standard. Staff seemed eager to help and were approachable. We had only booked for one night and I enquired if we could stay another night at the same rate I had booked on the internet. This was not a problem at all and the manager sorted it out straight away. He was very very friendly and went out of his way to help me out.
Value for money
I managed to book a special internet rate of £48 per room per night including breakfast which I thought was excellent value for money. The hotel is very modern and everything is well kept. The breakfast is more than substantial and free car parking is an added bonus.
Overall this is a brilliant base for visiting Edinburgh, especially if you have a car. It enables you to avoid the busy traffic in the city centre, and access to the centre is very easy by bus. Customer service is to a very high standard, rooms are spacious and comfortable. Breakfast is great with plenty of choice. The Ocean Terminal is very close and a good place to visit in the evenings. I would certainly recommend Holiday Inn Waterfront for a stay in Edinburgh, suitable for both leisure and business.
I have stayed at this hotel on a number of occasions as love to visit Scotland!
Whenever I visit Edinburgh I book this hotel via the Holiday Inn Express website, as there are often cheaper rates available, and I am a member of their Priority Club Rewards scheme which gives you points for every stay which you can redeem for free nights at any of their hotels.
I have had a few free nights now and am about to redeem another. Being a member of this scheme also entitles you to priority check in , extended check out times, comlimentary newspapers as well as bonus points offers.
It is completely free to join and a great scheme.
I last visited at the beginning of February where I paid £35 for a double room for myself and partner - bargain!
I always find that these hotels are clean, modern and comfortable with Continental Breakfast included in the price , you really can't go wrong.
This particular hotel is situated on Ocean Drive, Leith, which is an area of Edinburgh which has benefitted from a lot of upgrading and new bars, restaurants, shops and visitor attractions in recent years.
It overlooks the Firth of Forth and Ocean Terminal, which is a large indoor shopping centre on the waterfront, and also where the Royal Yacht Britannia is situated.
You can enjoy a meal, a drink or coffee in one of the many cafe bars/restaurants enjoying the view of the Firth of Forth, the Yacht and often naval frigates which dock here regularly.
The hotel itself is clean and comfortable in modern surroundings. Every room has an en suite bathroom with power shower, a TV, air-conditioning, hair dryer and tea/coffee making facilities.
The beds are large and comfortable with plenty of pillows, though if you want more, all you have to do is ask at reception and they are happy to help.
Likewise, if you have forgotten an essential toiletry item, they are happy to provide you with a replacement free of charge. Shower gel and handwash are provided in the bathroom.
The reception area has a bar area with television and plenty of seating for Continental breakfast, although you can collect a tray and take this to your room if you prefer.
The breakfast is self-service and offers a good choice of cereals, toast,croissants, pastries, fruit, yoghurt and juice/tea/coffee.
There are plenty of places to eat out in Ocean Terminal and Leith itself. An award winning Indian restaurant (Spice) is right next to the hotel and I would definately recommend it. Prices are quite reasonable.
Or if you prefer, the hotel will provide you with take away menus where you can arrange for food to be delivered.
Buses stop every few minutes right outside the hotel for you to explore the rest of Edinburgh.
This is probably one of my favourite hotels because not only is it a Holiday Inn Express but it is in a great location with everything you need within walking distance for a great weekend away!