Great Places to Stay
- Princes Street Suites, Edinburgh
This exclusive, luxury Aparthotel is just a five minute walk from Waverley Station and the Airport AirLink bus on Waverley Bridge, just a hop, skip and jump from Princes Street. You could not be more central to explore the city. What a perfect place to stay, equidistant between the Old Town up the hill to the Castle, Royal Mile, cobbled old closes and taverns, as well as the Georgian New Town, for designer shopping, art galleries, wine bars and restaurants.
The Princes Street Suites were in fact initially designed and built to be regular apartments for private ownership, but with the 2009 financial downturn it was decided to transform the property into 37 self catering, fully serviced, holiday suites. Choose from studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments, ideal for leisure visitors and business travellers for flexible stays from a weekend or a week to a month or two.
Take a Showground …
We stayed in Suite 37 with two bright and sunny double bedrooms, bathroom (bathtub with shower), and a fabulous living room, with an open plan design featuring a fully fitted kitchen and a dining table by the window seating four guests. The lounge has a comfy soft tweed sofa and arm chairs, coffee table, flat screen TV, with excellent Freeview choice of channels, and also a DVD /CD player. The suites have direct dial phones, iPod dock and free wifi for internet access. Overall design and colour scheme is fresh and contemporary, with brown and cream furnishings complemented by turquoise rugs and cushions with smart art work on all the walls. I loved the high stools beside the kitchen worktop, serving as a breakfast bar. You will find everything you need to cater for all meals with fridge, oven, hob, microwave, dishwasher, pots and pans, utensils, crockery, glasses and the essential cork screw. Many guests are likely to eat out much of the time, with 101 restaurants, bars and bistros within easy walking distance.
The beds are very comfortable with fluffy duvets, fat pillows, colourful throws; plenty wardrobe and drawer space too. Each bedroom has its own TV too. My major quibble is that there is no mirror in the bedroom. - ladies like to do their makeup in a leisurely manner and one could be placed on the chest of drawers to serve as a dressing table. There is just one mirror in the bathroom (shared by up to four people). While my partner Ken was showering and shaving in the bathroom, I was in the bedroom trying to apply makeup with a tiny compact mirror. Meanwhile Ken's complaint is that there is, surprisingly, no electric shaver point. He said if he had stayed for more than one night he would be growing a beard.
Unlike many self-catering apartments, the Princes Street suites supply quality Gilchrist and Soames toiletries - soap, shower gel, shampoo and a pile of soft cappuccino coloured towels. Staying here you can pack light for your city break as there's a washing machine and ironing board.
All the suites have different outlooks and views. Suite 37 looks down over the very quiet Calton Road and the brand new Ingleby Art Gallery, up the hill to the higgledy piggledy buildings lining the High Street and over to the Balmoral Hotel Clock Tower on Princes Street. At least we would always know the time. Be aware that the clock is set 3 minutes fast to assist travellers rushing to the station!
Treat yourself - whether as a couple, family or friends - to a few nights in the luxury three-bedroom Penthouse Suite (no. 36). This has the Wow Factor the moment you enter the front door into the elegant hall way. The master bedroom has an en suite bathroom and the lavish living room is furnished with glamorous style, including a ponyskin- wrapped chaise longue and a gorgeous red sofa. There's a private balcony with table and chairs, and the views up to the Castle and Arthur's Seat are fantastic.
Eating Out and Eating In
On arrival, guests are offered just a few kitchen supplies - instant coffee, tea bags, long life milk sachets and sugar. In development, coming soon, will be the option to purchase a Breakfast pack, mineral water or bottle of wine so that if you do arrive late at night, without the chance to go food shopping, then you can make sure you have fresh milk, bread, eggs for the next morning or a welcome glass of vino. A small convenience store is located on Waterloo Place and Sainsbury's supermarket about 10 minutes walk on Rose Street.
My advice would be to come prepared with a bottle of wine or two and enjoy the fantastic private Rooftop Terrace on the fourth floor, or plan this for your second evening. With large party tables and bench seating, this is the place for an alfresco drink with panoramic views across the city and beyond. This is utterly unique for an Edinburgh hotel and what a place to be for the Fireworks at the end of the Edinburgh Festival and Hogmanay. Book your suite now!
Edinburgh is renowned for a diverse range of places to eat whatever your budget - from good pub grub, excellent seafood diners and no less than four Michelin star restaurants. The Princes Street Suites website offers suggestions of a few fine places to dine.
Most conveniently the Apex Waterloo Hotel, which opened in June 2009 and located opposite the Suites, has an excellent restaurant called Elliot's. To save cooking in your suite, you could come here for breakfast, lunch and dinner! The space is very attractive with a long banquette with quirky giant angle poise lamps overhead, as well as neat round tables along the window. This is brand new, chic and sleek hotel within in a classic Georgian building, retaining the fine architectural features and decorative cornicing. The menu too is fresh and contemporary with extensive range of starters - gourmet salads, Carpaccio of beef, smoked salmon. I selected Antipasto vegetables and mozzarella - a summery platter of grilled aubergines, peppers and soft buffalo mozzarella. Ken enjoyed Baby Leek Confit decorated with tiny quails' eggs. For main course, what to choose - Roast whole baby chicken with sweet potato, Aberdeen Angus beef with béarnaise sauce and fries, grilled sea bass? I opted for Papparedelle, delicious fat pasta ribbons with delicate tasty asparagus and grilled zucchini, while my partner quickly devoured his Crab Risotto with a salsa verde. Good range of side orders too such as chunky chips and tomato and basil salad. If you enjoy pudding, this is where to come: Rhubarb crumble, crème brulée and homemade ice creams. We shared a selection of British cheese, served with crisp biscuits and Selkirk bannock (traditional Scottish fruit cake). Elliot's is warmly recommended to guests at Princes Street Suites - what could be easier, just a 60 second walk directly across the road.
Elliot's is also the place for a relaxing drink in the lounge bar, (serving light meals and snacks) or pop over the road for Breakfast! The buffet presents tinned fruit, (disappointing) fresh fruit selection - hard green Granny Smith apples and oranges, cereals, cheese, pastries then order from your waiter, coffee, tea, toast, porridge, pancakes, omelettes, full Scottish bacon and egg, or Eggs Benedict.
When is a Hotel not a Hotel …?
The Princes Street Suites have recently been taken over by new owners with Maurice Plommer, the enthusiastic General Manager in charge. Mr Plommer has had wide international experience in the hospitality and travel business, and views the serviced Apartments as a Hotel - except there is no restaurant. The standard of accommodation, reception service and housekeeping offered here is the same - if not even more private, spacious and luxurious - as a 5 star city hotel.
Further improved guest facilities, in suite information /city guides, and hospitality (such as the breakfast, food and drink pack options), are now on track. Also due to open is a Fitness suite with cardiovascular equipment and weights while a private trainer can be arranged to push you through a keep fit regime. Executive business travellers can use the suites for business meetings and private dinners. The concierge can assist with travel plans, what to see and do and restaurant reservations while Reception is staffed 24/7, with a permanently closed street door: guests have electronic key fobs with a secure door buzzer entry system for each suite.
What other Guests Say ….
For couples, friends, girlfriends, families with children, business travellers, this is a hidden gem (yet in the city centre), where sharing an apartment is an economical alternative to a conventional hotel. Don't just take my word for it - check out Trip advisor for feedback from recent guests.
"Just like being at home really except with better views - brilliant location and awesome views from the roof top terrace". "Wow, Wow Wow! We were absolutely impressed with these apartments - they are fantastic!!"
Princes Street Suites is located at 16 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh EH1 3EG, telephone number 0131 558 1600. For more information or to make a reservation see the Princes Street Suites Web site.
Vivien Devlin, British Guild of Travel Writers
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