CHANNINGS HOTEL, EDINBURGH;
Arriving in Edinburgh, for full on rugby, our focus was on supporting New Zealand All Blacks, we had to beat Scotland in the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
Id booked the accommodation months in advance and told anyone who would listen that I was incredulous at the price we had to pay on match- night to stay in Edinburgh after the game.
Channings Hotel changed our rugby weekend focus the minute we walked through the door. First impressions were of truly upmarket accommodation. The reception is tidily tucked to one side with the comfortable sofas as the main feature in this ever so important welcoming area to any hotel.
We arrived after staying several nights in hostels and I have to say we felt like we had arrived at Buckingham Palace. Parched from travelling we asked for a cup of coffee as we were too early to go to our room. This was served to us in one of the three or four reception rooms and we certainly enjoyed both the drink and the decor. I thought it would be complementary, due to what I percieve to be the high cost of the hotel room: 150GBP for one night, bed and breakfast - the most I have ever paid for accommodation, but the next day I noticed an add-on of around five pounds for this tray.
That is one half of the only little niggle I have about our stay there - we were asked did we want a paper next day and I said yes and I saw that the 45p was also added on - once again I expected it to be complementary - well, included in the price wed paid to stay in the room.
Never mind, every other aspect of hospitality was superb, helping me to smooth over the two small charges - the friendliness of staff, willingness to go that extra mile, superb food, overall cleanliness and opulent presentation were faultless.
Some examples of what impressed me were not life-changing but most appreciated when you are away from home and little things present themselves. We came back from the rugby (New Zealand won in case you are interested) and asked what time the restaurant opened, the receptionist asked had we booked and we said we hadnt. She said it was full but she would talk to the restaurant manager and see if we could be fitted in somewhere. A short time later the phone rang in our sumptuous room and she asked would we like to dine at 8pm. We were delighted as we thought an upmarket meal after a week of hostel self-catering and in-house meals would be a treat.
While we were enjoying pre-dinner drinks in the modern-art-walled bar my partner and I had a discussion about where a certain English town was and neither of us could think. I asked the waiter if they had an atlas and within minutes he returned and we settled the question as we supped on our delicious drinks.
The dinner was just amazing. The ambience matches the selection of diverse dishes. Our taste buds were tempted by the options and we finally settled on entree, main course and were to make a decision about a dessert after partaking of the first two treats. Well, we were so sated with the extremely well presented, tasty meals and our fine wine that dessert was not a possibility no matter how much we wanted to taste some of the fare we saw other diners savour.
Channings advise that it uses only high quality, local and organic produce when arranging the menu for all meals. We had the dinner and next morning a great, wholesome breakfast. You are invited to partake of several cereals, at least eight fresh fruits, dairy products and fresh juices before you can choose from cooked meals. I believe they also offer lunches. You get a peek out to the garden from the breakfast restaurant, we were not there long enough to have a sit out there but guests are apparently welcome to do so.
By the way: in case you wonder how the dinner priced out - we both had two courses and a fine wine and we paid around 60 GBP. A very good investment in a romantic, comfortable dining experience.
Our suite was one of 41 individually decorated, elegant rooms. It was really delightful. The single beds were huge, groaning with stylish pillows. There was a plasma television, arm chairs beside a little occasional table and I spied an iron and ironing board - I can assure you that I had no intention of using such mundane household pieces in my luxurious surroundings. There was tea and coffee making facilities and a pack of Scottish shortbread - we did use these while we waited for our dinner date.
Now the white, huge bathroom was out of this world. A bath and shower with the most inviting lotions and soaps to lure you into a relaxing soak which I definitely did. I luxuriated in a deep, warm bubbly bath for a good half hour before dressing for our ever so romantic dinner.
After all, a girl has to unwind when shes spent the afternoon yelling, cheering madly and being an enthusiastic member of the massive Mexican wave at an international rugby match - along with over 54,000 other rugby fans. I bet many of them would have liked to spend their after-match evening at Channings Hotel in Edinburgh.
If you go to Channings Hotel, you can sit a while and muse about a former owner of the house: history records that Polar explorer, Ernest Shackleton once owned the home from 1904 until 1910. There certainly is plenty of historic pieces placed about. I spied a library there and a room set up for meeting so guess these are on offer to you whether you visit as an individual or for conference, seminar or the like.
Its a wee way out of town but we walked in and out, following the map the receptionist gave us and so willingly advised the route to take. Before we took off for the rugby we asked her to book us a taxi but one of the young male staff said could he make a suggestion. If I was you, I would walk down to Murrayfield. You will experience all the atmosphere as you get there, a taxi wont get you close to the stadium. Good enough for us - we took his advice and were both delighted we did so - what a walk, there and back, what a huge rugby day.
Most certainly for me, returning to four-star Channings Hotel for a night of opulence, fine wining and dining and of course the good old soak in the bath will be a memory to remain with me for ever.
(Dont know about bus routes out to Channings, we took a taxi from the Railway Station and it cost around 6 GBP). Perhaps if you go on to its site you may learn about buses: www.channings.co.uk
Name: Aarajura Guest House
Location: Gilmore Place, off Gorgie Road, Edinburgh
Star rating: **** AA rating
* MY REVIEW *
What a fabulous birthday treat I had a couple of months ago. My boyfriend's mother, who I now LOVE, by the way, booked he and I into a guest house in Edinburgh for the weekend, during which we were also lucky enough to get an aromatherapy massage. This aforementioned guest house was the Aarajura, booked only on the basis that when generous Beth typed in the search engine for guest houses, the Aarajura popped up first, what with it being in alphabetical order. I'm certainly glad it did.
With a 4 star rating from the AA guide, it seemed destined for us to enjoy our stay in this fabulous guest house. Only problem was, we had to get there first in order to reap the benefits! Driving through late in the evening due to my boyfriend's work committments, we were lucky enough to avoid the heavy Edinburgh traffic, as you have to travel through the town centre to reach the guest house. Edinburgh being the confusing labyrinth that it is, we did get lost, as our directions seemed to be aimed at people who knew the area well. After an hour and a half of futile turnings, we stumbled upon the guest house by accident! Luckily, it looked really nice from the outside, which made our effort seem worth it.
The first thing to commend about this establishment was that, despite our late arrival, the owners Lorna and Neil were waiting for us, and had been willing to leave us a key outside despite the burglary danger! It was very nice to be welcomed by the owners, who were very friendly despite being from abroad (don't ask where, I was too ashamed to admit I couldn't recognise their accents, so I kept quiet!) and so having a bit of a language barrier. After signing in, Lorna chatted to us about our plans and gave us some stellar advice on the guest house surroundings and the best mode of travel. This advice came in very handy to us, because we don't have a clue about our capital, which is terrible, I know.
The fact that Aarajura was fully booked out of season was a very good sign. I noticed every other guest house in the area had vacancies, and so I was quite impressed that the Aarajura seemed to have such a good and popular reputation.
Our room was on the first floor and was really very nice. Each room has an en-suite bathroom with a shower, television and tea and coffee facilities. Since the building is a traditional sandstone tenement, the walls were also thick enough so that we didn't have to spend the whole evening earwigging into other people's conversations (or whatever else they may have been doing!).
In the morning you are treated to either breakfast downstairs, or breakfast in bed. The standard of food was absolutely top notch, and we were extremely surpsied at the wide variety on offer. From mere cereal to scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, there was something to suit every taste or mood. The only drawback was that breakfast is only served between 7am and 9am, meaning you have to make sure you don't sleep in, but I guess you can't ask for everything!!
Travelling from the guest house turned out to be very easy and hassle-free. Taxis arrived promptly whenever we called them, but you could also walk into the busy town centre within ten minutes, and it's a nice walk. There is alternatively a bus stop a mere 300m away, but I'm afraid of buses, believe it or not, so we didn't choose that easy option!
At the end of our weekend stay, we only had to pay a measly £100 in total, which is great value, especially after tasting those breakfasts! I'd recommend this guest house to anyone staying in Edinburgh who wants a high quality accommodation, close to all ammenities. And while you're there, I'd also say pop down to the Edinburgh Floatarium, where a woman named Ailsa gives the most amazing aromoatherapy massage in the world!
Thanks for reading!
This year my family and I had booked tickets to the Scotland V Ireland rugby game at murrayfield unfortunately due to the foot and mouth outbreak this trip was postponed until September. We had booked our tickets and a 2 night stay with dinner bed and breakfast at the Murrayfield Hotel, for a family of four this cost around £500. The Murrayfield had always been a firm favorite with us and we always stay there when in Edinburgh. So as usual we expected a high standard of service, how disappointed we where. When we arrived we where given the keys to our rooms. Our bedroom was comfortable but the bathroom floor was not the cleanest which I put down to the maid having overlooked as previously we had not had any complaints. However on further inspection there where quite a few cobwebs in the room which led us to believe that the room had not been cleaned thoroughly for quite some time. Now I realise certain times of the year the Edinburgh hotels are very busy but I really feel there is no excuse for lack of cleanliness. My sons room was better but looked out onto the back of the kitchens. To my horror I noticed that the fresh vegetables where stored outside on a rusting set of shelves, open to the elements, and a freshly peeled bucket of potatoes where sitting outside the kitchen door. I do not think that environmental health officers would agree to this practice. The restaurant staff as usual where friendly but there was an air of one hand not knowing what the other hand was doing and service was relatively slow and not very professional and I was not completely sure that I wanted to eat here after seeing the view from the upstairs bedroom. On our way back from dinner I complained to the receptionist about the state of our bedroom to which she informed me this would be dealt with. However on the day we left the bathroom was still in the same condition except I had washed the bath out myself so that we could have a shower
. On the evening after the match, in which Scotland beat us very well, much to my husbands delight! entry to the hotel was supposedly for residents only and was by pass only. However the hotel was so crowded it was obvious that it was not just for residents. Although this created quite a good atmosphere, I was disgusted to wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of someone urinating outside my bedroom door. I was deeply disappointed in the standards at the Murrayfield Hotel and I will not be back there again as there are cheaper hotels in Edinburgh which provide a much better service. I believe that management have changed since my previous visits but this is really no excuse considering the prices they charge, which are only justified by their convenience to Murrayfield.
Edinburgh's premier hotel is looking tired. Once an exclusive destination, now tour busses line up outside disgorging weary tourists 'doing' Scotland. Rooms and fittings show resulting signs of wear from frequent turnover. The George in George Street has been my address in Edinburgh for some ten years. It is in the centre of town by St Andrews Square, convenient for my work, close to restaurants and shops and just off Princess Street. The staff show true Scot's hospitality, even though, as part of the Intercontinental group they are an international team. Reception and hall staff are welcoming and friendly. After your room is allocated you turn either to the left or right. To the right is the new wing, the old wing is on the left. Usually I turn right. The one time I went left I had an unpleasant single room in the roof, long and thin with a small window above eye level. The new wing rooms are comfy, with good-sized bed, two armchairs, coffee table and desk and office chair. A wooden unit houses TV, mini-bar, clothes drawers. Drawers on the top left are fake: the fascia opens out to reveal kettle and tea/coffee making facilities. The bathroom is compact, with a good range of toiletries including a neat pack of cotton buds, emery boards etc. But special mention must be made of the soap. The bath soap is presented in a classy dark green and gold cardboard box about 3 inches, by one and a half by 1. Inside, wrapped in tissue paper is a large bar curved to fit in the palm of ones hand and round legs and arms. It's a pleasure to use after the micro tablets offered in most hotels. And they're replaced every day. Soundproofing could be better and the placing of the TV encourages people to have the volume raised. But the windows can be opened wide so one can sleep breathing fresh Scottish air. You must go in the restaurant. It was originally a stock exchange and is a high hall marvellous
ly decorated. Dinner is a carvery, breakfast is a buffet. I think over the years the carvery meal has declined but I cannot report on it this trip. On Sunday night with just a few guests and acres of empty tables I waited a long time before being seated. They were seating everyone close together in one area although all tables were laid even down to dinner rolls on plates. The tables are very close together, with only a couple of inches between them on one side. When I asked for a more secluded table (I didn't want to sit next to a group of voluble arm-waving Spanish tourists) I was told the only other seats were in the smoking area - a palpable untruth. So I left to eat dinner elsewhere. Breakfast was good. Tea and toast arrived promptly. The influence of American tourists can be seen on the buffet with two fried egg platters, one sunny side up, the other 'over easy', but unfortunately their excellent back bacon has been replaced by American style streaky bacon cooked to a crisp. If they'd also offer back bacon it'd be perfect. The hotel has pleasant lounges where you can order tea and scones, comfy leather chaired bar with a great selection of malt whiskies and an up market French restaurant with a separate entrance. I will definitely stay at The George again. But to maintain it's luxury hotel rating it should revamp the tired rooms and look at the restaurant from a customers point of view.
Finding accomodation in Edinburgh is a bit of a lottery - we decided to leave it until we arrived and chance it, we went to the tourist office and they suggested the Roxburgh, right in the shadow of the Castle. The cost was a little on the high side....£140 for the room (2+1 infant) but we were told that it had just been refurbished so decided to take it. It's set in a lovely part of Endinburgh, a very short walk from the centre, the people there were very friendly (a quality we found throughout Edinburgh!), there is a big glass area in the centre of the hotel which gives lovely natural light during day time. They put us on the 5th floor, when we got to the room we were very impressed, it was a very large room...more of a suite, with a living room area and a Queen size bed on the side, there was a balcony with beautiful views across the town and the whole room felt like quality - very impressive. Downstairs you have access to a modern and well equipped leisure centre with a pool (bit on the cold side), steam room, dry sauna, aerobics room and a gym - no Spa though. While we were there we did notice that they operate a membership card scheme for £100 which gives you amongst other things a nights acomodation for 2...so if we had known about that then we could have sliced £40 off the bill....It might be an idea if anyone is considering this hotel to give them a ring about this beforehand. Breakfast was good quality, there was a pretty good selection of continental and cooked food in a buffet. Service was quick and efficient, but suffering from an over enthusiastic Maitre'd ordering his staff around. My only complaint was that there was a wedding on downstairs and it was a bit rowdy if you leave the window open...but we closed it and our boy got to sleep fine. Overall a very pleasent stay, a friendly atmosphere which is important and somewhere I will definately stay again, just next time i
39;ll join their club and save a few quid.