I have a confession to make. I love hotels!
As the owner of an Edinburgh self-catering apartment, that may seem strange. Hotels and serviced apartments, while both providing a place to sleep, offer quite different experiences. Hotels may be more likely to be located in the most central areas, with in-house bars and restaurants. They generally emphasise the “service” element of the stay. A 24 hour concierge and room service can be great! Serviced apartments may be less focussed on location and more on the space and facilities offered for guests’ exclusive use. The services provided here are a thorough clean and changeover between bookings, although you can usually request extra cleaning and linen changes during a longer stay. While a serviced apartment is primarily self-catering, most provide tea, coffee and possibly cereal and a fruit bowl. You can choose to eat out for most meals, or advance book a supermarket delivery to fill the fridge.
Which is right for you?
It depends on the needs of your group and the purpose of your trip. Cost will also be a factor. The price per night with a hotel stay will be considerably higher once you factor in meals and drinks at premium prices. If you want to be pampered and go straight from a spa to your own room, hotels are hard to beat. Likewise if you are attending a wedding, conference or function in a hotel, the convenience of having a room there will save time and transport costs. The luxurious Norton House Hotel and spa is one of my favourities. Radisson Blu just off the Royal Mile, is a good choice for families. But for anything longer than 1 night, a serviced apartment is worth considering.
What is a Serviced Apartment?
Firstly, “serviced apartment” is another term for self catering. They usually offer kitchens and living rooms, giving you freedom and flexibility to eat when and what you like. Having your own living space gives you the option to stay home and relax, so you don’t have to be out, on the go, all of the time. A comfortable seating and dining area can give families and groups more quality time together, rather than everyone being spread out in different hotel bedrooms. Remember, just because there is a kitchen, you don’t have to cook in it! You can choose to order everyone’s favourite take out and have it delivered to the door. Open the wine and settle in for a stress-free evening, at the fraction of the cost in a hotel restaurant.
All bedding and towels should be provided in a self-catering apartment. Kitchens vary from small kitchenettes to large open plan rooms designed for entertaining. You’ll definitely get plates and cutlery! However, if you are looking for anything fancy, such as a food mixer or steamer, check first. Basic toiletries, such as such as soap and toilet paper, are definites. Many apartments will have washing machines, although you may need to take your own detergent. This is a huge bonus on a longer trip! If you are travelling with babies or toddlers, check before booking if a travel cot and highchair are available. At Rosebank Apartments, our kitchens are well-equipped and we are happy to make arrangements for special celebrations such as christmas dinner.
Apartments are available in most areas, not just city centres. This means you can choose to stay in a quirky neighbourhood and avoid the tourist traps. Ask your host for recommendations of places to visit during your stay. Locals know where the hidden gems are!
Edinburgh Self-Catering options
Although it’s a small city, Edinburgh packs a lot in. The Old Town is dominated by Edinburgh Castle and a labyrinth of winding alleys leading down to the The Royal Mile and the Grassmarket. This area boasts some incredible apartments with breathtaking castle views, but they are pricey as this is the most “touristy” area. If you’d prefer somewhere more chilled, look east to Leith. Formerly the city’s industrial port, Leith has reinvented itself as a cool food and drink hotspot on the water’s edge.
The West End of the city is known for its elegant Georgian architecture and fantastic shopping. Princes Street offers all the well-known names, with amazing views thrown in. George Street is a more upscale choice. West End Village has a host of small quirky shops and boutiques. Haymarket train station, the tram network and an express airport bus route make it easy to get around. Murrayfield Stadium hosts concerts and international rugby. Edinburgh Zoo is a great family day out with its giant pandas and huge penguin pool.
Located just around the corner from Murrayfield Stadium, Roseburn Apartment provides a luxurious space for up to 7 people. There are 3 comfortable bedrooms with hotel linens and original fireplaces. The large kitchen/dining room is equipped with everything you need, from a pick-me-up espresso to a long, leisurely dinner. A high-ceilinged, traditional living room provides a great place to relax after a busy day. It’s a 7 minute walk to Haymarket, or take the scenic route along the Water of Leith walkway (or cycleway). There are several entry points to the walkway, one immediately opposite Roseburn Apartment. This route is like a green corridor, giving glimpses of heron and kingfishers. It winds past the Gallery of Modern Art, beautiful Dean Village, local’s favourite Stockbridge and finally ends at Leith docks. Prices from £70 per night. Visit rosebankapartments.com to book.