Great Places to Stay
- The Edinburgh Residence
The Townhouse Company collection of very special and individually styled 'boutique' hotels in Edinburgh - Channings, The Bonham and The Howard - has built up an exceptionally fine reputation over recent years with glittering awards and many guests returning time after time booking into their favourite room. The Bonham and The Howard are both recognised by the AA with four Red stars and included in the top 200 hotels in the UK. We are talking about superb hospitality and comfort which on the small scale, (between 18 and 50 rooms) staying at one of these Townhouse hotels is all the more welcoming and personal.
Now there is a fourth Townhouse property, the Edinburgh Residence which offers guests superior accommodation in a choice of 29 Suites and Apartments. If you are seeking a true home-from-home, and a peaceful retreat for leisure, work or romance, this is the place to stay.
On arrival, you will find no colourful banners, red carpet or uniformed doorman but simply a discreet brass plate and a closed front door - this is a very private and exclusive address indeed. Situated on a tree lined crescent, in the elegant West End of Edinburgh, the Residence is in fact three linked Georgian townhouses, 7-9 Rothesay Terrace, built in the 1890s. Number 7 was the home of Andrew Graham Murray, QC and Member of Parliament, who later became Lord Advocate of Scotland, a man of style and influence reflected in the standard and quality of interior design of his former home which can still be admired to this day.
The Residence is just a few minutes walk from the hustle and bustle of Princes Street traffic, shops and city centre life. But walk through the heavy oak front door and you enter another world, tranquil and full of old-worlde charm and genuine character. The reception and hallway is beautifully panelled in a rich oak wood, through to the pretty drawing room with its attractive plasterwork ceiling and comfortable sofas and armchairs. Books, magazines and newspapers are available here for a leisurely read over a cup of tea and there`s also an honesty bar for guests, perfect for an early evening drink or nightcap. And unlike many hotels, where non -residents flock in and out for coffee, lunch and dinner, this private house is exclusively for residents only.
The accommodation offers a selection of Classic suites, Grand suites and the larger Townhouse apartments. I was staying in Room 16 on the first floor, [ highly recommended] with its graciously elegant living room, featuring lovely furnishings, original wood panelled walls, wide bay window, two sofas and coffee table, separate dining table and chairs, good soft lighting from table lamps and a standard lamp and even a gas coal effect fire.
From here an almost invisible door leads through to the equally grand bedroom with Emperor size bed, fine fabrics, adequate wardrobe and drawer space and dressing table. There is a second television in the bedroom for added homely comfort.
Next door again is a huge luxurious bathroom, beautifully tiled with traditional, very deep and long claw foot bath, perched up a couple of steps on a mezzanine level, together with a separate power shower cubicle. Piles of towels on heated rails, bathrobes, basket of toiletries and - luxury of all luxuries - two wash hand basins.
In the living room, hidden within an armoire are tea and coffee making facilities, a fridge, minibar and even a microwave. Entertainment at the switch of a button with Cable TV, DVD and CD systems with a selection of discs available from reception. 24 Hour Room service is offered - there is no dining room as the whole emphasis is on creating your own private residence. Breakfast is served in your room while dinner can be ordered and served, course by course, or perhaps just snack at any time of day or night. Alternatively the sister hotel, the Bonham is just a few doors down the crescent with its own excellent restaurant.
Each beautifully furnished suite is completely individual in size, design and colour scheme such as soft blue, floral, terracotta, dark green or classic Georgian gold stripe, and everywhere unique features, ornate cornicing, paintings and prints, fireplaces or perhaps a jacuzzi bath. There are delightful views whether over the gardens at the front of the house, or across the Dean Village with its church spires, Dean Bridge and the river, the Water of Leith, flowing below.
As one regular guest describes staying at the Edinburgh Residence -"It's like staying in a five star hotel but with all the comforts of home and with service you may only dream about. It seems no request is too much trouble. A 24 hour butler caters for everything from a late night cup of cocoa to a full 'a la carte' dinner served in your suite."
Dinner In Your Suite
An intimate dinner a deux served in the privacy of our suite was an experience I was looking forward to very much. What a treat to be offered such personal butler service akin perhaps to a celebrity or royal lifestyle.
Last orders for dinner is 9pm, so by about 8.30pm we selected from the room service dinner menu and following a quick phone call, our meal was ordered. We were informed that ten minutes before the starter arrived, someone would arrive to lay the table. And so it wasn`t long before our "private dining room" was ready for us to take our seats - white linen tablecloth and napkins, glistening glasses, sparkling cutlery, bottle of red wine open and ready to taste, and basket of warmed bread and butter. The coal fire added a warming glow to the room.
I began with a delicate Timbale of Crab and Avocado with gazpacho dressing, a tasty white and green tower, beautifully presented. My dining companion dug into a Saffron and Tiger Prawn Risotto, drizzled with pesto - rich and creamy and a substantial dish as an appetiser. Other choices that evening were soup of the day, and Pan Fried Wood pigeon with chorizo mash. The cuisine is certainly innovative, contemporary Scottish created with artistic flair. An `Expect the Unexpected` menu.
Our waiter said he would return within about 20 minutes to take away the plates and then return with the main course. Service is immaculate and carried out unobtrusively, efficiently and with close attention to detail. Talk about a romantic and special setting for a meal. No dress code, no formalities to worry about, no waiters buzzing about interrupting conversation. Simply relax and indulge in the setting and hospitality.
Soon the main courses arrived under large silver domes to keep everything hot. [ And you do have the microwave to heat a dish up if necessary]. I enjoyed a lightly Grilled pave of Salmon, with roasted new potatoes and green asparagus, all dressed in a black olive and tomato butter sauce. Such a wonderful combination of flavours and colours. Alternative dishes include Fillet of Beef with Dauphinoise potato and smoked cherry salad, or Pan Fried Chicken Supreme with fresh tagliatelle and also a vegetarian option of Fricasse of wild mushroom and yellow courgette.
To complete the feast there was a choice of creamy, chocolatey desserts as well as a platter of fine cheeses. We sat by the fire light, sipping the wine, music playing on the CD, and enjoyed every delicious minute of our in-room dining experience. Apart from the full dinner menu there`s a wide choice of "light bites" available 24 hours a day, including Caesar Salad, gourmet sandwiches, and smoked fish platter.
Breakfast in Bed
A choice of Continental or full Scottish breakfast will be brought to your room at your preferred time - just complete the form with your selection the night before and leave outside your door. A large tray piled high with bowls of fruit and porridge, coffee and tea pots, toast and croissants, poached eggs and mushrooms arrived bang on time the next morning, together with the newspaper.
Unlike the dinner service, the butler does not linger long to lay the table formally in order to offer guests more privacy. So lounge on the sofa in your bathrobe or take the opportunity to take the tray through to the bedroom for a cosy, lazy breakfast in bed.
The Edinburgh Residence is certainly unlike any other hotel. Here you really do appreciate the luxury of complete privacy and seclusion in your get-away-from-it-all retreat. In most hotels, a Do Not Disturb sign does not always keep out housekeeping staff nor the annoying drone of the hoover outside your door at 8am. At the Residence you don`t require a Do not Disturb sign because no one will knock on the door unrequested or unexpectedly. Housekeeping takes place only when you leave the room and your key is returned to reception. There is no turndown service at around 7pm when you are in the bath or trying to dress for dinner.
I stayed in Room 16 at the Residence for just one night. Sadly. I could quite easily have stayed on here for a few days, a week, a month, venturing out for a spot of shopping, visit a gallery, or walk in the Botanical gardens. Then back to my temporary home to relax, read, work, eat and drink like a princess. If you prefer a good standard of accommodation and service, you don't have to stay in a large, anonymous 5 star city hotel amongst a few hundred other guests. At the Edinburgh Residence, with only 29 suites, this is an exclusive address offering the perfect alternative to conventional hotel life: an elegant private apartment matched by the ultimate experience in personal service. This is luxury 6 star living on the small scale - and it works a treat.
"A luxurious home from home in the heart of the city"
"A taste of the high living that many of us hanker after"
For more information or to make a reservation see the The Edinburgh Residence Web site.
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