Edinburgh – Ibis Edinburgh Centre South Bridge Royal Mile

Accor have several hotels in Edinburgh, hence the rather long name to identify this from other nearby locations. It’s just a short walk from the central railway station and also from the heart of Edinburgh action. The city isn’t exactly quiet at the moment, but there certainly aren’t anywhere near the number of leisure visitors that would usually be expected.

I haven’t seen a Platinum Accor envelope like this before and it’s a handy little concept, place for the welcome drink and for the room key. And I should add that I very much liked when I e-mailed this hotel about an early check-in that they responded quickly and with a really helpful answer. The staff member at check-in was helpful, engaging and welcoming, really all very personable. The lobby felt an inviting place to visit as well, so my first impressions were all positive.

As another of my random asides, this leads me to start being annoyed at some of the London Accor hotels who are making no effort to do anything and in some cases aren’t even responding to e-mails. The quality of Ibis hotels in the UK is all over the place, not least because of all of the different operators. At least in Poland there is just one operator of Ibis hotels, Orbis, meaning that the quality is consistent. Anyway, I digress, but I’d mention that this hotel isn’t taking any short cuts (or none that I noticed anyway).

This is an enhanced room the staff member mentioned and other than the generic bathroom that Ibis use, it doesn’t feel like the usual Ibis room layout. I thought that it was all very light and modern, with the designers making use of the architecture of the historic building that the hotel is located in. I’m not a big advocate for losing large desks in hotel rooms, as I find these useful, but I accept that it would have looked rather out of place in this room and I assume that the hotel usually gets a lot of leisure guests. For my needs, the table and chair that they had were entirely sufficient. The room was spotlessly clean, fully stocked and the temperature was easy to control with the air conditioning. The windows were entirely sealed for guests (although the hotel can open them), which is a slight shame as I’m one of those strange guests who likes to hear street noise and traffic in the background.

The view was really lovely, that’s Arthur’s Seat and I very much enjoyed sitting there looking at that late in the evening (I had forgotten it gets dark in Scotland much later than down south…..) As another aside, shortly after check-in, a staff member offered a dressing gown, which isn’t something that I want, but I really can’t recall any other Ibis trying to offer me this, so I was suitably impressed.

And full marks for actually producing this, which is information about the hotel and something that many locations seem to entirely neglect. I’m never sure how hotels expect guests to actually know what is available as it often seems to be something of a secret, but everything was clearly laid out here. It’s a different way of doing things in these Covid times, but nice to see that the hotel has actually thought about it.

The menu for the hotel’s bar and restaurant is easy to find and is clearly displayed. The hotel is located across several floors and because of the nature of the building’s architecture that means the reception desk is on the fourth floor (although that’s also at street level) and the bar is on the third floor. My room was on the top floor, which was the ninth.

The welcome drink and I chose Innis and Gunn as that’s a nod towards localism. OK, in an ideal world there would have been some decadent craft beer, but they did offer me any beer that I wanted and so there were no limits placed on me. I visited before going back out into the city and I was the only one in the bar, but it was still welcoming and laid-back, a nicely set-out environment. The staff here were again friendly, especially when I realised that I had forgotten my room number (it was written on the drinks voucher which I handed over, forgetting I had meant to take a note of it before doing that) and the poor guy had to open the till to remind me. I expect they’re usually used to more competent guests.

All told, this was one of the best run Ibis hotels that I can remember staying in. Punching above its Ibis weight a little, the welcome was genuine, the rooms clean and the quality of the experience high. I’d be very pleased to come here again and I liked the farewell where the staff member seemed genuinely interested if I had enjoyed my stay. Really all very well managed and I appreciate their help with the early check-in after my arrival into the city on the sleeper train.