Great Places to Stay
- Best Western Bruntsfield Hotel, Edinburgh
On the southside of Edinburgh is a lively, upmarket neighbourhood community called Bruntsfield, near Morningside. At its heart are the Meadows, a huge parkland of lawns and trees where people relax on the grass, stroll around and children play. The illustration shows Melville Terrace, overlooking the Meadows. Right opposite the Meadows is the Best Western Bruntsfield Hotel. Within easy walking distance are shops, theatres, cinemas, bars and restaurants, with Princes Street and the city centre itself a short bus ride away.
Best Western is a very different kind of group of hotels because it is not a chain of identical style of accommodation. Best Western Hotels have been hand picked to form a collection of 300 independent, privately owned hotels across Britain (and thousands more worldwide). It all started around 60 years ago when M K Guertin decided to form a partnership between a small number of hotels with the aim to recommend each other to their guests. Today the company is the world's largest hotel group.
The Best Western Bruntsfield Hotel (graded 4 star) is an attractive terrace of four interlinked townhouses. Dating from 1860 and converted into a hotel in the 1920s, it's a light sandstone building with pillared frontage, steep gabled roofs and is an important B listed building. There are 73 bedrooms, comfortable resident lounges, the cosy King's bar pub, private hospitality rooms and the Cardoon conservatory restaurant looking out on to a flower garden. Extensive renovation has taken place in recent months (Spring 2005) providing a magnificent new entrance porch for easy covered access by guests from the car park. The beauty of the hotel is its quiet, hideaway location although within a short distance to the city centre.
The owner of the hotel takes a personal and dedicated interest in the design and furnishings of the hotel. Refurbishment goes on annually to ensure bedrooms and public areas are freshly decorated. Bedrooms come in all shapes and sizes from vast bay window suites, family rooms, and four-poster beds to quaint and quiet attic floor accommodation with combed ceilings. The outlook from many rooms is superb, across the Meadows.
What is most impressive is the quality and colour scheme of wallpaper, drapes, bedspreads and chair fabrics. Every room is different with a choice of pretty flower chintz, Aztec woven tweed bedspreads, soft tartan check, delicate green silk or black and gold striped taffeta curtains with tiebacks. The attention to detail of the interior design is exquisite. This is someone who loves to experiment with colours, patterns and fabrics. Expect polished pine furniture, co-ordinating bedside lights, contrasting scatter cushions on the bed and comfortable armchairs or a sofa to give a real homely atmosphere. Throughout there is a clever balance between traditional furnishings and a bold contemporary style.
The hotel caters very well for couples, families, disabled guests and business travellers and all facilities are offered. Bedrooms, all with private bathroom or shower-room, Satellite TV, direct telephone and voicemail, hospitality tray, trouser press, work desk with datapoint and power sockets. Recent upgrading of bathrooms has provided in many rooms a separate power shower unit as well as a bathtub. Sheer Luxury! Bathrooms are creatively designed with marble tiles, quality toiletries and towels. As I say, I was very impressed.
Wining and Dining
The King's Bar on the ground floor of the hotel is a great place for a coffee, drink or snack at any time. It's a popular local "pub" so has a lively, buzzing atmosphere as non- residents are sure to pop in. The bar has local cask ales, premium beers, quality wines, spirits and cocktails. There's an all day menu for a light lunch, salads, sandwiches, and good pub suppers.
Alternatively reserve a table at the Cardoon Conservatory restaurant next door to the bar. A Cardoon is a wild artichoke thistle, which grows in the hotel garden, and it is an edible plant. This casual bistro style restaurant is ideal winter and summer, whether it's a light summer evening or a chilly wintry night, the conservatory is a warm, romantic place to dine with flowers and candles on the tables. There's a small lounge bar at the entrance if you wish an aperitif before your meal. You'll need time to study the extensive menu with sections on starters, light dishes, pasta, salads, mains, grills, and side orders, not forgetting desserts and cheese. Yes, you're right, I was very impressed again, taken by surprise by the good choice and contemporary international cuisine to suit all guests.
Begin perhaps with warm confit of duck with puy lentils, or a lightly cooked fillet of seabass on a bed of stir fried oriental vegetables with lime dressing - almost a main course in itself. Excellent salads too such as crayfish, avocado and asparagus salad and for vegetarians a feta cheese and sweet potato ravioli. The chef clearly enjoys a fusion style of cooking which is certainly in fashion. A tuna steak is spiced up with a sweet pepper salsa and served with egg noodles, while the Caesar Salad is topped with Cajun chicken. Quality Scottish produce is on offer for the main course, including Borders lamb, venison and grilled salmon as well as a good Grill menu of Scotch fillet and sirloin beef. Finish with a classic pudding such as cranachan, sticky toffee pudding or poached pear and chocolate ice-cream. The cheese board features an all-Scottish selection such as Ice of Mull farmhouse cheddar, Dunsyre Blue and Howgate Brie, served with oatcakes.
Breakfast next morning was very well presented and served with a smile. Buffet table for cereals, fruit, juice, and pastries. Then expect a good choice of hot dishes, from a classic fry up with bacon, black pudding and beans to healthier scrambled or poached eggs, which will set you up for a busy day in town.
Conferences, Weddings and Private Parties
The hotel also welcomes private and corporate events with a range of function rooms and suites to cater for business meetings, conferences, weddings and private lunches and dinners. Every year the Muriel Spark Birthday lunch is held here for the Muriel Spark Society. (The novelist Muriel Spark grew up nearby on Bruntsfield Place). With free car parking and good catering options, it's the ideal venue for all kinds of events.
Rather than heading for the rush and bustle of Edinburgh's city centre, it makes perfect sense to stay a mile or so away in the leafy suburb of Bruntsfield. This beautifully modernised, privately owned, charming townhouse hotel offers everything for the visitor, whether on business or leisure break. Access to the city centre by foot, car or bus is quick and convenient while cinemas and theatres are a short walk down the road. I would thoroughly recommend the Best Western Bruntsfield hotel with its very comfortable and deliciously decorated bedrooms, excellent bar and restaurant and good friendly service.
Yes, I was certainly impressed!
Best Western Bruntsfield Hotel is located at 69 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh EH 10 4HH (Telephone 00 44 (0) 131 229 1393). For more information or to make a reservation see the Bruntsfield Hotel Web site.
Return to the Index of Great Places to Stay in Scotland>.
Where else would you like to go in Scotland?
News & Views>
All Features Index>
Search This Site>
Scottish Pictorial Calendar>
Places to Visit>