Edinburgh City Centre Hotels
When to consider staying at a City Centre hotel?
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Before you go ahead and book a city centre hotel in Scotland's capital, which can often work out one of the more expensive options, you should consider the layout of Edinburgh's City Centre. Compared to most European capitals, Edinburgh is a small city with a population of just under 500,000 and it is notable for its compact layout, with the main tourist attractions to be found in the historic and atmospheric Old Town and elegant new Town. It is also unusual for its very distinct geography, formed by volcanic and glacial activity, with dramatic craggy formations such as Castle Rock, which is home to Edinburgh Castle, and Arthur's Seat.
Edinburgh is not just for those who can afford to stay in a centrally located luxury five-star hotel and there are many inexpensive hotels and serviced apartments a short walk from the centre. All major tourist attractions and the best pubs, restaurants and shops are located in the very compact City Centre instead of being scattered around as they are in many other cities.
Edinburgh City Centre can be reached very easily from most directions via public transport or on foot. It literally takes a few minutes to walk from Edinburgh Castle to Princes Street, the main shopping area and back to the Old Town. Due to the geography of the city, though, there are many hills in the city centre and some of the streets such as the Royal Mile can be steep in places.
- Because Edinburgh is so compact you don't really have to choose a hotel in the City Centre to be close to attractions, shops and restaurants. Consider a hotel 5-10 minutes away from Edinburgh City Centre as hotels just outside of the centre are still easy to access but are usually less expensive and are often in quieter locations. Edinburgh is well served with regular and inexpensive public transport and it only takes a few minutes to get to Princes Street from many of the outlying hotels.
- Edinburgh's train station, bus station and airport express bus stop are all located in the same area of the City Centre. Just hop on a bus for a 5-10 minute ride to your hotel accommodation.
- Most tourists believe they save on taxis by choosing a hotel right in the centre of the city but because Edinburgh is so compact taxis work out fairly inexpensive and in any case, most of the times taxis are unnecessary thanks to the excellent public transport. Work out how much you would potentially save on choosing a hotel further away from the centre and weigh this up against additional taxi or bus costs.
Choosing hotel accommodation away from Edinburgh City Centre is not really a compromise on location but more of a sensible decision. These types of hotels have the same easy access to everything that Edinburgh has to offer but at a discount.
The hotels in Edinburgh City Centre
It's no wonder that there are so many hotels in the heart of Edinburgh, but what is generally considered the a City Centre hotel?
- Hotel accommodation at the very heart of Edinburgh - Hotels on Princes Street itself, North Bridge, the Royal Mile and the west end of Princes Street. These are usually the most expensive hotels to stay in.
- Other hotels in the City Centre - Hotels in parts of the Old Town such as the Grassmarket, Holyrood and in the New Town on George Street, Queen Street and streets connecting with Princes Street.
City Centre hotel accommodation in Edinburgh is generally where you have views of Edinburgh Castle and the Old Town.
Most of the hotels in the City Centre are five and four star accommodation but you do occasionally find the odd three star hotel. As you would expect, staying in the centre of Edinburgh is very expensive and unless you can find a good deal on the internet, you would be better off in most cases going for hotel a short walk or bus ride away which offers far better value for money.
The advantages of central hotel accommodation
- Some of the hotels on Princes Street such as the 5 star Balmoral Hotel and Caledonian Hilton Hotel and the 3 star Old Waverley Hotel have stunning views of Edinburgh Castle and Edinburgh's skyline that you just can't find anywhere else. You not only pay for the hotel's location but also for the views.
- As Edinburgh has such a rich past, many of the hotels in the centre have been converted from old, historic buildings. One of Edinburgh's most famous hotels, the Balmoral, is a landmark in itself, the Grande Dame of Edinburgh with its famous clock tower. You'll stay in a historic 5 star railway hotel that offers some of the best views - and most luxurious accommodation - in the city. Other hotels in historic buildings include the Caledonian Hilton Hotel, another railway hotel, and the Scotsman, which is converted from the old premises of the Scotsman newspaper.
- Events in Edinburgh such as the Fireworks Concert, Hogmanay, Festival Cavalcade and Candlelit Procession become a unique experience when watched from some of these central hotels.
The disadvantages of central hotel accommodation
- The hotels in Edinburgh City Centre can afford to charge premium prices for the location and views and you will often find that you can expect better facilities and a higher quality of service for the same or less money if you choose a comparable hotel just outside of the centre.
- Staying in City Centre accommodation means that parking is expensive and scarce. You may have to budget for valet parking which many luxury hotels in the very centre offer. If you are driving up to Edinburgh, you may well find it more convenient and far cheaper to choose a hotel just outside of the centre where you can leave your car and walk or take a bus to the centre itself.
- Many of the hotels in the heart of the Old Town and New Town, particularly in and around Princes Street, George Street and the Royal Mile can be very noisy both during the day and at night. Many of the 4 and 5 star hotels do have double or triple glazing to combat the noise, but it is difficult to eliminate it altogether. A hotel or serviced apartment in one of the quiet streets a short walk from the centre is likely to be far less noisy.
Edinburgh City Centre hotels - the Bottom line
It is worth paying premium prices for staying in a luxury hotel on Princes Street or the Royal Mile only if it provides a unique experience, such as views over the City Centre or Edinburgh Castle or if the hotel has a particular feature that makes it worth paying extra, such as the Spa at the Sheraton Hotel in Edinburgh's West End, or the high level of service offered at some of the 5-star hotels such as the elegant Balmoral, quirky Scotsman or designer Missoni.