Great Places to Stay
9b Scotland Street, Edinburgh
Starting in Scotland Street
Scotland Street in Edinburgh is part of the historic New Town which was built between 1790 and 1840. Its residents include an eclectic mix of people who enjoy living in a central part of Edinburgh.
The Edinburgh novelist Alexander McCall Smith used a fictional address – 44 Scotland Street – to tell the stories of a group of people who lived in apartments off a central stair in a traditional tenement building. The book was a hit throughout the world with readers enjoying the gentle satire of a slice of contemporary Edinburgh.
Archie Bouverie came to 9b Scotland Street in 1999 as a bachelor. Within a few years he had married and converted the property into an upmarket bed & breakfast which he and his wife Cassie continue to run.
The Homely Touch
The owners of this type of accommodation always put their own personal stamp onto their business. The Bouveries wanted to make 9b Scotland Street a ‘home away from home.’ “We gave guests the sort of thing you would expect to find in a normal home. If someone wanted an aspirin, it would be available. We had a range of mobile phone chargers in case people had forgotten their own. We really wanted to create a homely feel and that continues to be appreciated by our guests,” explains Archie Bouverie.
Archie is passionate about Edinburgh as a tourist destination. “You can walk just about everywhere. We are only eight minutes walk away from Waverley Station. Obviously Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace are big attractions, but there are a whole range of parks, museums and galleries all within easy reach. There is no need for a car at all.”
As the Bouverie Bed & Breakfast became more established, the family was finding it difficult to juggle the work/life balance. ” Archie Bouverie says: “In the early days we never seemed to be able to finish a meal without people coming on the phone asking about availability. It was tremendously disruptive.”
The solution was to commission a software specialist to come up with an availability calendar linked to the website. This was followed with another program which checked credit card details and took online reservations.
The Bouveries shared their web-based systems with other independently run small hotels in the Edinburgh area. Where to then? “We decided to roll it out throughout Scotland. We commissioned a website which would allow people to plan a road trip throughout the country."
Tech and the Breakfast Cook
"At Privatehousestays.com visitors can click on a map of Scotland which gives them details of visitor attractions as well as members’ boutique hotels, bed and breakfasts or guest houses,” explains Archie Bouverie.
I find it a rather heartening tale. A case of small businesses collaborating to innovate and use technology so that they can use the Web to promote their local areas and businesses. It also is a counterbalance to the multinational hotel reservations systems that are financed from commissions from hotel owners.
Archie and Cassie Bouverie are innovators. I was intrigued to hear Archie’s recipe for an alternative to the traditional bacon and egg breakfast. The Bouverie Special has mushroom cooked in tomato in an omelette as its base, but there are some other ingredients which remain secret. It is the sort of quirky touch which could have been included in the 44 Scotland Street novel.
Links and More Information
Bouverie Bed and Breakfast accommodation is at 9b Scotland Street, in the Georgian 'New Town' of Edinburgh. The Web site for Bouverie Bed and Breakfast itself is at 9b Scotland Street/. Email contact is via firstname.lastname@example.org. But the informative Web site and smooth online booking system reduces the need for such direct communications.
Private House Stays is the Web site that provides accommodation details and online booking for lots of high quality accommodation across Scotland.
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