Stay at the Howard Hotel

How Good Is This Small, Luxury Townhouse Hotel in Edinburgh?

Why Stay at the Howard Hotel,
5-star Boutique Hotel near Edinburgh City Centre

  • The only Scottish hotel in the Top 25 European Hotels section of the Tripadvisor Travelers' Choice 2010.
  • Dedicated 24 hour butler service and very attentive and warm staff.
  • Small, traditional townhouse hotel of classic Georgian design, very romantic and charming.
  • Free valet parking
  • Location: Secluded residential area in the New Town area of Edinburgh, a short walk from Princes Street.
  • Rates: Average room price per night: £182-£230 ($286-$361) but special deals can save you up to 50%.

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Are you considering a stay at the Howard Hotel in Edinburgh? It's a tempting choice as the Howard is one of the best-rated hotels in Edinburgh, a peaceful haven where classic Georgian elegance and comfort meet a very high level of personal service and meticulous attention to detail. Is it a better choice than other five stars hotels, though?

I've read hundreds of reviews from guests who have stayed at the Howard 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 Howard Hotel?

  • Voted number 13 in the Top 25 European Hotels section in the prestigious Tripadvisor Travelers' Choice 2010. It's one of only two UK establishments (and the only Scottish one) to be included.
  • A dedicated 24 hour butler service is included in the room price. These are professionals who are eager to assist guests with their every need, from booking a restaurant to ironing of clothes.
  • An incredible choice of accommodation for such a small hotel, from spacious and well-appointed standard guest rooms through to opulent suites with private entrance and patio.
  • Location: An elegant Georgian townhouse, located in a secluded residential area in the New Town area of Edinburgh, yet less than a 10 minute walk to the shops and restaurants of Princes Street.

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What do guests really think?

The reviews of the Howard Hotel were extremely consistent, and very complimentary, across several sites. The vast majority were written by guests who were already looking forward to their next stay at the Howard! The very few average or negative comments were either written by guests who were staying in the single rooms or by a very small number of reviewers who would have maybe preferred a more modern hotel. The majority of reviews suggest that:

  • The 24 hour butler service provides an exceptional service, and is included in the basic price, which makes the whole experience extremely good value for money. What is more, the butlers' professional yet friendly manner puts guests at their ease and they provide a whole range of tasks willingly and efficiently.
  • The Howard is a charming and romantic Georgian hotel which is considered a home from home by many of their guests. It is luxurious, and richly decorated, yet loses none of the personal service and friendliness which one might expect from an establishment of this standard. Many comments suggest that it makes a welcome change from the anonymous hotels often found in city centres, although the decor of the public rooms is not to everybody's taste.
  • The vast majority of guests are extremely happy with the quality, decoration and especially the size of the bedrooms, with frequent mention of the luxurious bathrooms and especially the roll top baths which were universally admired. However a small number of guests believe that the bedrooms are in need of refurbishment.

The Howard Hotel in Edinburgh New Town

Scottish Tourist Board Rated 5 Star Hotel

32-36 Great King Street,
Postcode: EH3 6QH
Tel: +44 (0) 131 557 3500
Official Howard Website

How far is the Howard Hotel from the bus and train stations?
0.8 miles (1.2 km) approx

The Howard is in the heart of the New Town, close to Queen Street and Princes Street.

Visit Scotland star rating: 5 star Townhouse Hotel
Hotel Reviews: Howard reviews

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My Recommendation

Based on the reviews I have read on this hotel I would definitely recommend The Howard if you are looking for a discreet yet elegant hotel, with a high emphasis on service. So many services charged for in other hotels are included in the base rate, so whilst The Howard may not be one of the least expensive hotels, it would seem to be excellent value for money.

Due to the steep walk into Edinburgh city centre, I would be wary of recommending the Howard to anybody with mobility problems.

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In Depth Review at the Howard Hotel in Edinburgh

Small luxury hotel in New Town area. Free valet parking and 24 hour butler.
Average room price per night: £182-£230 ($286-$361)

What is the Howard Hotel like?

One of the key aspects of the Howard Hotel (part of the renowned Townhouse Group) and frequently commented on, are its warm and relaxed atmosphere, despite the opulent surroundings and exceptionally high level of service.

Five Star Howard Hotel in Edinburgh

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Building and room design

  • The Howard consists of three Georgian terraced houses, originally built for local wealthy families in the nineteenth century, and now converted into a small luxury hotel, with just 18 guest rooms in various categories, from Luxury Bedrooms and Superior Rooms, through to Junior and Terrace Suites.
  • The spacious rooms are rich and elegant, each one individually decorated. The antique furniture and traditional style are seamlessly integrated with the latest technology including an LCD flat screen e-TV. with built in entertainment system including Internet access. The opulent yet understated style of decor is appreciated by most guests, but is not to everybody's liking. There were occasional reviews of the decor being a little dark and shabby and in need of refurbishment.
  • Some single room occupants recommended paying extra to upgrade to a double room, and it was a noticeable trend that those reviewers in single rooms were also less happy with the upkeep and decoration of the rooms. Rooms close to the lift were also reportedly somewhat noisy.
  • Many guests opt for one of the Suites which are especially spacious, as they have a separate living room. They also boast four-poster beds, and some are even equipped with a jacuzzi. They also offer a higher degree of privacy with their own street access and private patio.
  • The bathrooms in all guest rooms deserve a special mention as they seem to be a feature loved by most reviewers! Many come with a antique-style claw foot tub, some with separate shower, and are unusually spacious. Penhaligon's toiletries are on offer.
  • Public rooms include the Drawing Room, again elaborately decorated, with gilt mirrors, antiques and chandeliers. And yet, despite this elegance and luxury, it somehow manages to make guests feel comfortable and at home, a place to take afternoon tea, read the newspapers and relax after a day of sightseeing.

Staff and level of service

  • The Howard experience starts from the moment you make use of the valet parking. The traditional check-in procedure is dispensed with, and makes way for a more relaxed (and luxurious) check-in process, where the formalities are completed over a pot of tea, whilst your personal butler takes charge of your cases immediately, even offering to unpack them if required!
  • The staff and quality of service is repeatedly reported as one of the Howard's key assets, and in particular the butler service. Although available at any time, its presence is unobtrusive and puts the guests at ease. Some guests even reported that they arrived never having considered any need for a personal butler and subsequently checked out not knowing how they had ever lived without one! The range of services that they provide is seemingly inexhaustible, and their local knowledge is rated as excellent.
  • The Howard seems to buck the trend of many 5 star boutique hotels, and the staff come across in the reviews as friendly yet professional, ready to assist at any time, yet discreet and respectful. There are a very small minority of guests who did not rate the quality of service this highly, and felt that their requests and even complaints were treated indifferently but these were few and far between. The service at the Howard Hotel was even described more than once as faultless, and many reviewers seem to be repeat visitors.

Food and drink

  • The Howard Hotel has one restaurant, the small but atmospheric Atholl, which seats 14 people and is also open to the public. This can mean that it becomes a little crowded at times, but in-room dining is also a very popular option.
  • Breakfast can be taken either in the Atholl or in your room (at no extra charge) and the reviews were extremely complimentary, with the emphasis being on fresh, well-cooked food, prepared with high-quality local ingredients, and delivered to your table.
  • There are no tea or coffee making facilities in the hotel rooms, but these can be brought to your room free of charge at any time by your butler, as can bottled water.
  • Dinner reviews were for the main part very good, and as with breakfast the quality and preparation of the local produce is generally rated as excellent. It was remarked however that the menu is only changed monthly, although other dishes can be prepared on request. Again, you can choose to dine in your room, brought to you by your butler. A small number of reviewers found the menu expensive, but only one person actively disliked the food.
  • Afternoon tea, comprising of finger sandwiches, scones and pastries with tea and coffee (or champagne!), is particularly popular with guests and locals alike.

Location and parking

  • The Howard is located in the heart of the New Town, approximately a 10 minutes walk from Princes Street. The walk to the centre is a fairly steep walk uphill. Most guests do not seem to mind this, but some felt that although they were very happy with the actual hotel, they would have preferred to stay in the city centre itself.
  • There is on-site free valet parking, which was considered a plus by some reviewers as many hotels in the centre charge for parking.
  • Although the Howard Hotel is situated primarily in a residential area, it is close to cafes and art galleries. It is within walking distance of the train station, or just 6 minutes drive.
  • Edinburgh airport is approximately 9 miles away, and the hotel can provide airport transfer upon request.

Nice touches

  • Always welcome is the personal touch! Many of the guests reported small services over and above that which you would expect from your personal butler, such as being offered Lemsip when ill.
  • There are various experience packages available, catering for an excellent selection of occasions, from Whisky Weekends to a Ferrari Driving Experience.

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