Stay at the Carlton Hotel

How Good Is This Contemporary Hotel in Edinburgh?

Why Stay at the Carlton Hotel,
4-star Contemporary Hotel on North Bridge, near Royal Mile

  • Extensive leisure facilities including swimming pool, sauna, Jacuzzi and gym.
  • Beautiful views of Princes Street, Calton Hill or Arthur's Seat.
  • Traditional yet contemporary hotel, though in need of refurbishment.
  • Location: Located on North Bridge, right in the city centre and just around the corner from the Royal Mile.
  • Rates: Average room price per night: £87-£210 ($137-$330) but special deals can save you up to 50%.

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Are you considering a stay at the Carlton Hotel in Edinburgh? It's a tempting choice as this traditional hotel, part of the Barcelo Group of hotels, is located right on North Bridge and boasts a leisure suite with pool, sauna and Jacuzzi facilities plus two squash courts. But is the Carlton Hotel a better choice than other 4 star hotels close to the City Centre? And does it offer good value for money?

I've read hundreds of reviews from guests who have stayed at the Carlton over the years and the following is a clear and unbiased summary of what these guests really thought of their stay at this hotel.

What's special about the Carlton Hotel?

  • It offers extensive leisure facilities including swimming pool, sauna, Jacuzzi, two squash courts and a gym, incredibly unusual in such a central hotel.
  • The hotel also offers a hair and beauty salon, with aromatherapists and a massage service.
  • It offers great value for money in the form of a two for the price of one breakfast.
  • Location: Located on North Bridge, the Carlton is perfectly situated for the shops, restaurants and attractions of Edinburgh.

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What do guests really think?

Although there were some criticisms of the hotel, the majority of reviews were positive and many guests said that they would happily return to the Carlton Hotel.

  • Although many appreciated having the extensive leisure facilities in such a well-located hotel, the majority of the guests who commented on them said that they were extremely dirty and badly in need of refurbishment.
  • Quite a few guests thought that the hotel charges far too much for extras such as internet, drinks and room service food.
  • Quite a few guests said that they had received value for money as they had booked discounted room rates, but that they would not have been happy to pay the full rate.
  • Many guests felt that the rooms were too small and in urgent need of refurbishment.
  • A few guests did not think that the Carlton offers a 4-star service or facilities.

The Carlton Hotel in Edinburgh New Town

Scottish Tourist Board Rated 4 Star Hotel

19 North Bridge,
Edinburgh,
Postcode: EH1 1SD
Official Carlton Website

How far is the Carlton Hotel from the bus and train stations?

The Carlton is located on North Bridge, next to the Royal Mile and right in the city centre.

Visit Scotland star rating: 4 star Hotel
Hotel Reviews: Carlton reviews

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My Recommendation

Many guests enjoyed their stay at the Carlton and would return or recommend it to others but there were several who would not return due the problems highlighted. The management seem to be aware of the problem and are assuring guests that a refurbishment programme is underway, but there are other areas of concern such as the level of service and the high charges for extras.

However, the Carlton enjoys a great location and many people would return for that alone. I would hesitate to recommend the hotel outright due to the negative comments from so many previous guests, but it does have its good points and equally as many guests did have an enjoyable stay. If you book, I would recommend asking for a quiet room at the back of the hotel rather than one overlooking North Bridge, despite the beautiful views.

luxury hotel deals in Edinburgh.

In Depth Review of Carlton Hotel in Edinburgh

Traditional, good value hotel. Located on North Bridge, near the Royal Mile.
Average room price per night: £87-£210 ($137-$330)

What is the Carlton Hotel like?

The Carlton was bought by the Barcelo group of hotels in 2008 and is a traditional yet contemporary hotel in an excellent location. The hotel has started a refurbishment programme in both the guest rooms and the leisure suite.

Four Star Carlton Hotel in Edinburgh

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Building and room design

  • There are 189 rooms at the Carlton with views over Princes Street, the Royal Mile, Arthur's Seat or Calton Hill.
  • Although many guests were happy with their room, there were many who said that the rooms were badly in need of updating and refurbishment.
  • The rooms seem to differ in quality and size for the same grade of room.
  • Some said that the furnishings were old-fashioned and complained that the TVs were of the older style rather than flat-screen.
  • Some guests said that the bathrooms seem to have been recently renovated and many loved the large bath.
  • Several guests said that the public areas and reception have been renovated and are very pleasant.
  • A few guests complained that the rooms were not cleaned properly and were badly maintained including peeling wallpaper.
  • Many guests liked the fact that there are fridges in the rooms.
  • Some guests said that the rooms were unbearably hot while others said that they were too cold.
  • Many guests complained that the rooms in the front of the hotel are very noisy and some recommended requesting a room at the back.
  • The layout of the breakfast area means that there are some stairs involved which may not suit those with less mobility.

Staff and level of service

  • There were mixed reviews on the level of service. Some reviewers were extremely happy with the staff and level of service but others found them patronising and unhelpful.
  • Some also though that the hotel lacked a personal touch.
  • Several criticised the attitude of the receptionists which they said was poor and even rude. Some also reported unacceptable queues at reception.
  • There seemed to be a few problems with the booking system and there were a few examples of guests being given keys to occupied rooms.
  • Several also said that there was not enough waiting staff on duty during breakfast and that it was disorganised.
  • Many guests praised the professionalism and the attitude of the staff in the spa area.

Food and drink

  • There is a restaurant at the Carlton. There were not many reviews of the restaurant although they seemed positive overall.
  • Many guests were pleased with the discounted breakfast offer if bought at the time of checking in, and many felt that it represented good value for money.
  • Several guests found the breakfast good quality with a wide choice of food; others however were extremely disappointed with the quality of breakfast, mentioning tinned fruit and badly cooked food.

Location and parking

  • The Carlton is situated nexr to the Royal Mile and most guests thought that it enjoyed a perfect central location.
  • Princes Street is just 800 metres away and Waverley Station is a 10-minute walk.
  • There is no parking on-site but guests have discounted rates at a secure car-park a 10-minute walk away. Many guests felt that this was not acceptable and some felt misled as they had thought that there was parking available.
  • There was also some confusion in the reviews as to where the nearest car park actually was.
  • There is a low-level entrance in Market Street which is quicker for those guests arriving from Waverley Station.

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