Great Places to Stay
- Motel One Edinburgh-Royal

Motel One Edinburgh-Royal

Lobby, Motel One Edinburgh-Royal

Brand new to the UK is the launch in 2013 of the Motel One collection of Budget Designer hotels.

This German hospitality brand (with 42 hotels in Germany and Austria) has opened in Edinburgh, right in the city centre just a two minute walk from Waverley Train Station, and the Airport bus terminus on Waverley Bridge.

Motel one Edinburgh-Royal overlooks East Princes Street Gardens and the Scott Monument (see illustration) and only a few minutes' walk away are the Royal Mile and St Giles' Cathedral, (more properly termed the High Kirk of Edinburgh) so the hotel could hardly be more central.


The Motel One building is part of a £45m redevelopment project of Advocate’s Close - one of the many narrow access lanes in the Old Town world heritage site. The 208 bed hotel, extending to over 85,000 sq ft links five separate buildings to capitalise on the historic character of the site and some of the great views across the city’s Princes Street Gardens. Advocate’s Close is steep and narrow and believed to date from 1544 and the building is thought to be the oldest surviving townhouse in Edinburgh. It offers attractive views to Princes Street and the Scott's Monument. It takes its name from Sir James Stewart of Goodtrees, the last Advocate of Scotland in office during the time of the Restoration, Revolution and Union. Its stone walls, original fireplaces and wall panels and beams are being restored as part of the redevelopment project. One 16th century owner, Clement Cor, a merchant, was a very prominent figure in both the burgh and national administration and the high standard of internal decoration at that time can be attributed to his desire to have a home equal to his status. There is an inscription and armorial relating to Cor dated 1590 above the doors at the top of the close.

The tag line for Motel One hotels, is "great design for little money". As I come through the door into the Lounge - Lobby area, the first impression is "Wow!." Furnished with bucket chairs and window seats with soft fabrics in tweed, leather and sheepskin, this is a place to relax day and night. See illustrations at the top of this page and on the left.

A recurring colour scheme throughout the hotel is the signature Turquoise-blue and Mushroom-taupe - cool and contemporary. Johnstone's Cashmere were commissioned to create the Motel One tartan for the Edinburgh hotel. The colour links through to the fashionable staff uniform too. A neat touch.

The Lobby - with two gorgeous Jacobsen Egg chairs - for a welcoming check-in - then up to my minimalist but freshly decorated, white, blue and taupe bedroom on the 7th floor, overlooking Princes Street Gardens.

Furniture is practical with desk, stool and armchair which you can move to where you wish to sit. Brilliant idea. Shower-room, TV (multi-channels), Tea/coffee tray, proper (not fixed) hangers, soft pillows/duvet, air conditioning controls, and well positioned lighting.

Eating and Drinking
One Lounge (pictured on the left), the café bar on the ground floor, is where a self service Continental breakfast is served - cereals, apples, toast, croissants, cheese, boiled eggs, tea/coffee machine.

The intimate Bar (pictured here on the right) has a good selection of beers, wine, whisky and a snack menu and is dressed in a snazzy style featuring vintage crystal glass lampshades, tartan tweed stools and quirky drinks tables made from old whisky casks. Open to non-residents too, so I shall return!

Like Ryanair, Motel One offers No Frills - no telephone or Mini Bar for example, but what it lacks in 5 star facilities is made up for by smart design and exceptionally low room rates for the city visitor. (Summer 2014 - £ 69 single/£84 double). There are 208 bedrooms within this tall, turreted Old Town building, of all shapes, sizes and views, including a spacious Accessible room with Wet Room, alarm cord.

City life and Eating Out? Restaurants, pubs, prime heritage sites from the Castle to Palace, art galleries, shopping and night clubs are all to be found nearby.

Just open for 6 months at the time of this review, Motel-One Edinburgh Royal has already proved to be an innovative, trendy, affordable concept for international leisure and business visitors. A second Motel One will open here on Princes Street later in 2013. Future hotel plans are London in 2014, then other UK and European cities.

Browsing through guest reviews, the recurring verdict is the same: great deal, excellent location, comfort, friendly staff.

A Swiss couple wrote " We will stay in no other Edinburgh hotel from now on. Love it!."

Having experience an overnight stay here, Motel One Edinburgh-Royal passes the good sleep Pillow Test. I also enjoyed a relaxing glass of wine before going out for dinner in the cosy bar, and the casual DIY breakfast was fun. The smart, savvy world traveller should certainly plan to stay here for a budget tariff and spend the money saved on having a fabulous time around the city.

Further Information
Motel One's address is 18-21 Market Street, Edinburgh EH1 1BL. It is located at the corner of Market Street and Cockburn Street at Advocate's Close. The hotel is a few yards from Waverley Station and overlooks East Princes Street Gardens. The hotel's own Web pages are at Motel One Edinburgh-Royal. You can book online via the Web page or phone 0131 220 0730.

Motel one Edinburgh-Princes at the east end of Princes Street, opposite the Balmoral Hotel and near the St James Shopping Centre, will have similar decor and prices, and is scheduled to open in summer 2013.

Vivien Devlin, Travel Writer
July 2013

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