Posted by - 26 December 2009 - No comments

Cool place to stay in Edinburgh


To B&B or not B&B, that was the question I asked myself when deliberating what type of accomodation to book for a weekend in Edinburgh with the AB and his mum.   I've previously had only two experiences of staying in a bed and breakfast.  One good.  One bad.  The first was in basic, prison-like but clean establishment in Bournemouth that was stuck in a perma-60's time warp, complete with paisley print carpet and avocado green bathsuite.  The second was a welcoming and tastefully decorated place in Brighton called Whitburn Lodge (check out the room with a free standing bath in the attic).  Whitburn Lodge challenged all my negative preconceptions of B&Bs.  So it was my thoughts full of memories of a blissful weekend in Brighton, that I happily booked 94DR.


Where
94DR is a Victoria townhouse located on Dalkeith Road which is a short 5-10 minute bus or cab ride from the city centre.   The guesthouse is run by couple, Paul Lightfoot and John MacEwan, who live at 94DR with their labradoodle Molli.

The 94DR family: Paul, John & Mollie
One of the things I love about staying in guesthouse and boutique hotels is the personal touch you receive.  The reception we got at 94DR was exceptional.   On arrival Paul, quickly made us feel at home.  After giving us an induction to the accomodation and the city, he told us that there was only one rule that we had to adhere to at that was 'we want you to make yourself feel at home'.  After a five hour journey from London, it was music to our ears. 

The rooms
Aberlour: compact & stylish

94DR houses six rooms all named after Scottish whiskies: the Bowmore, Caol Lla, Lagavulin, Macallan, Aberlour and Wee Dram, with a choice of either a view of Arthur's Seat, or the walled garden view.  All the rooms are beautifully furnished in white and grey with accents of colour, and include a spacious ensuite bathroom with underfloor heating, power shower, fluffy white towels and White Company toiletries.   There's even a proper hairdryer.  Result!


The rooms we stayed in (Aberlour and Lagavulin) are on the small side, but were packed with everything we needed.  A local guide to the city that the guesthouse replace every year, a complimentary tray of tea, coffee, hot chocolate, bottles of water and snack which changed daily and included during our stay Turnock's Teacakes and slices of chocolate cake.  There's also free wifi, a flatscreen TV and DVD player (Paul and John have quite an extensive DVD collection that guests a free to borrow from).

The beds were comfortable, but my only complaint about them is the size.  They're shorter than normal size beds and even at 5'3", I did find my feet perched precariously on the edge of the bed several times throughout the night.

The breakfast
Scottish cooked breakfast
I've stayed in lots of hotels, and the breakfast at 94DR is as good as perhaps better than in any 5 star hotel I've stayed in.   Firstly, there's a menu and daily specials board.  For starters on the menu, there was a choice of yoghurt with homemade fruit compote or porridge.   And for the main a beautifully cooked breakfast comprising succulent sausages, Macsween haggis, black pudding, grilled tomatoes, very crispy bacon and eggs.    

Yoghurt with homemade compote
Eggs Benedict

Main specials during our stay included blueberry pancakes served with bacon and Eggs Benedict.  Paul who is in the kitchen is a trained chef, and it really shows.  The food was delicious and beautifully presented.

Blueberry pancakes

Extra room
There is a lounge area open to all guests which includes an honesty bar, laptop with free access to the internet, ipod fully loaded with music, board games and magazines providing a great spot to meet up before a night out.

Verdict
94DR  a must-stay for a stylish and relaxing weekend in Edinburgh.  It was recently named as one of five fab new hotels by The Guardian, and I'm not suprised.   Hotels can learn a thing or two privately owned guesthouses like 94DR.
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