“ Address: 30-31 Queen Street / Edinburgh EH2 1JX „
Me and my boyfriend decided this year that we'd like to have a short break together. We weren't really that fussy about where we went, we just really wanted to be able to spend some time together away from our hometowns. After a bit of research online we decided on Edinburgh, and chose to stay at a Travelodge as we didn't need anything fancy and wanted it to be a cheap break as we're saving hard to move in together. When booking I chose this particular Travelodge simply because out of the more central ones they had the cheapest prices for the dates we needed. We paid in total £118.50 for 2 people staying in a double room for 3 nights.
=== Location ===
The hotel is situated on Queen Street, which is 0.4 miles from Edinburgh Waverly Train Station. There are plenty of shops, restaurants and fast food outlets within easy walking distance (though not if you believe Google maps which told us the closest fast food outlet was about 5 miles away!), as well as attractions including Edinburgh Castle, Scott Monument, and the National Gallery of Scotland.
Other attractions including Edinburgh Zoo and Edinburgh Botanic Gardens are easily reached by bus, which can be taken from the bus station just 0.3 miles away.
=== Facilities ===
The hotel offers a choice of double or family rooms.
Although some Travelodges do have café-bars, this one does not, and the only on-site food available is a breakfast bag which you can order from reception or at the time of booking for £4.50 per bag, or snacks from a vending machine in the lobby.
There are some facilities which are not provided in the rooms but are available from the reception on request, including hair dryers, irons and ironing boards and extra pillows, sheets or towels. Toiletries are another luxury not provided in the rooms but these are available to purchase from a vending machine.
Early check-in or late check-out is available for a fee of £10.
There is no parking available at the hotel, so they suggest you use the nearby Edinburgh St James Centre Car Park which charges £19.90 for 24 hours.
=== Arrival ===
The front of the Hotel is not particularly 'hotel-like', there's no big sign or awning or anything else really to stop it looking just like one of a row of houses, it is simply marked as a Travelodge by a flag and sandwich board out front. There are 2 small flights of stairs leading up to the entrance so it would not be suitable for wheelchair users. Once up the steps you enter through a small foyer area with a stand in the corner housing all sorts of leaflets about things to do in Edinburgh. Then turn right through some automatic doors and you're at reception, which houses only the reception desk and a vending machine.
We arrived at the hotel at about 4.30pm and were greeted at the reception by a lovely lady who I assumed to be the receptionist, but later turned out to be the duty manager. She quickly checked us into our room, handed over 2 key cards and explained how to get to the room, before asking if we were expecting to be out past 10pm and explaining that the hotel doors close at this time but the key cards for our room could also be used for the main doors. She noticed my boyfriend looking at the map which was taped to the desk and spent a while chatting with him about how best to get to various places in the area. She was very friendly and seemed keen to do anything she could to help.
There are 2 lifts to take you to your floor, or alternatively you can use the stairs located just next to the lifts. We were both surprised how quick the lifts were, and thought we'd been taken to the wrong floor the first time we used them as we were at the 4th floor in what seemed like a second.
=== The Room ===
Opening the door to the room we were presented with a short, narrow corridor leading through to the bedroom, with the bathroom to the left. First impressions of the room were excellent, although it was fairly small and basic it was immaculately presented.
The first thing I noticed was the flat-screen TV mounted on the wall opposite the bed; a luxury I hadn't been expecting from a 'basic' hotel. We found out later that, unlike most, it is mounted at the perfect height for comfortable TV viewing from sitting/lying in bed.
The next thing my boyfriend noticed was that he could see into people's flats from the window. There wasn't much distance between the hotel and the building opposite and you could literally see straight into people's kitchens and bathrooms, so we had to remember to keep the curtains shut when we were getting changed etc. as obviously we didn't want people looking in at us.
Underneath the window was a long desk with a travel kettle and a small tray with 2 mugs and teaspoons, and the usual sachets of teas, coffees, sugars and UHT milk. Storage-wise there was a single shelf on the same wall as the TV, with a hanging rail and hangers underneath. This was perfectly sufficient for us but would not be ideal for longer stays as you really have to live out of your suitcase due to the lack of storage space available.
The bathroom was fairly small with no bath but a nice large shower that was easily big enough to fit 2 people. The only complaint I have was that the shower curtain was about an inch too short, not reaching the top of the shower tray and thus making it impossible not to get water all over the bathroom. There was a little bin under the sink which was handy, and a large, well-lit mirror above, which I found perfect for applying my make-up.
The bed was very interesting for a 'basic' room as it seemed anything but basic, with lights built in to it; a strip of mood lighting across the top of the headboard which glowed with a dim yellowish light, and a very bright reading light at either side, along with the switches and a little cubby-hole just big enough for a drink. I was actually thinking I'd love a bed like that for at home.
=== Our Stay ===
Our plans for our first night in Edinburgh had been to have a wander around and have a look where everything was, then get something to eat, but it was so busy (turned out the Queen was there) that we gave that up as a bad job and popped to KFC for some dinner before returning to the hotel by about 6.45pm. We were pleased to find that the TV offered most of the usual Freeview channels, so we weren't stuck for something to watch while we were avoiding the crowds.
We found the bed comfortable, though the mattress would definitely be too soft for many people's taste and on a few occasions it made a horrible noise that sounded like it was ready to break when my boyfriend sat on the bottom of it (we eventually concluded it was just noisy springs). The sheets where crisp white, fresh and clean, but the duvet cover was very bizarre, with extra flaps of material that got in the way every time we moved and were so annoying that we ended up taking the cover off and just using the bare duvet.
There was quite a lot of noise from outside as there were bars and restaurants on the street opposite our room so there were regularly large groups of people stood talking right outside, and every so often the sound of loads of glass being emptied into the bins, and this went on pretty much all through the night. This didn't really bother us as I barely sleep anyway and my boyfriend is a very heavy sleeper, but it's something to keep in mind if you're easily disturbed.
On the first morning we didn't want to be up early and didn't need the room cleaning so we put the 'do not disturb' sign on the door and the cleaners took notice and didn't bother us. The next morning we were out early to let the cleaners do their work and they did an excellent job, changed all the sheets (though they did leave the duvet cover which we'd left on the shelf after the debacle with it the previous night) and left clean towels on the end of the bed, and the whole place was left spotless. My boyfriend was slightly annoyed when he realised they hadn't put any more UHT milk in our drinks tray, but this was probably because they'd seen the carton of UHT Soya milk we'd bought for him to use (he's lactose intolerant) and assumed we didn't need any.
At about 5pm on the third day of our stay, when we'd just settled down in our room with some food, the fire alarm sounded and we ventured outside where we waited along with the other guests. The duty manager (the same lady who'd greeted us on arrival) dealt with the situation very professionally, making sure everyone was ok and keeping us informed of what was going on. After about 20 minutes and a quick investigation by the fire department it transpired that a Chinese family staying on the second floor had been trying to heat up food on the electric heater in their room (!!??!!), and she warned everyone that the second floor was consequently a bit smoky before letting us all back into the hotel.
On a few occasions throughout our stay my boyfriend nipped down to reception to make quick enquiries and the staff he dealt with were always friendly and happy to help. Checkout was as quick and simple as handing back the key cards and the receptionist asking if we enjoyed our stay, so we were able to get straight off without having to hang around.
=== The Conclusion ===
I have to say this was the best hotel experience I've had in a long while. The rooms may be basic but all the essentials are there and they are kept perfectly clean and tidy. All the staff we encountered were friendly and helpful, and the service we received was nothing short of excellent. For the price we paid we were very happy and I would definitely recommend this hotel. We weren't impressed with Edinburgh but we'll definitely be using Travelodge for short breaks in the future.