A POSTCARD FROM - Edinburgh, Scotland
I must start this post by saying that this is not an ad, because I think I’m going to be so gushy about how very wonderful the hotel experience was that it’s going to seem like one. But seriously, Edinburgh is amazing but what made it so special was staying at Principal Hotel Charlotte Square. The location, the staff, the decor, the comfort - just about everything was wow wow wow for me. And for those who follow me on Instagram Stories, you’ll know this is often not the case. I stay in hotels all the time and it’s very rare I think they are brilliant (remember the one in London where the lock was broken so I had to barricade the door with my case and a chair, or the double bed with a single duvet, or the one that had a viewing window at the end of the pool so people could watch you swim underwater?).
I was in Edinburgh to illustrate for Hush at their pop-up and whilst the event was in Leith I knew I wanted to stay somewhere more central, and nowadays due to issues with my shoulder I try to find places with a pool so I can swim. So I did my usual online research, found The Principal and saw it was cheaper to book directly on their website. I paid £167 for a non-refundable double room including breakfast.
The only flight from Bristol to Edinburgh was at 7am, so it meant I arrived super early. But I had the warmest welcome and thankfully I was able to check in to my room by 11. The room was incredibly comfortable. Unusual enough in design to not feel generic, but not at all gimmicky or full of Scottish cliches. Woven wool cushions, unique artwork, a box of complimentary snacks and cosy lighting - not a bagpipe in sight. And when I got in from my work later on, there was a small ice bucket, a miniature of Rhubarb & Ginger gin from Edinburgh Gin Distillery, a lemon with a knife, and a note to say there was Fever Tree tonic water in the fridge. I enjoyed it so much that I bought myself a bottle in duty free on the way home.
The pool area was great. I spent a couple of hours there when I arrived and the same the following day. It’s big enough that you can swim properly and the steam room was super hot. I didn’t like how bright the sauna was and it overlooks the pool which I always find a little odd, but that’s a personal thing. The changing rooms were good, the only really thing I’d say is the organic shampoo and conditioner in there were useless on my (rather huge) hair and I had to go back to my room and shower, but that was no hardship when my bathroom was so nice and the products in there were brilliant. There were treatments available in the spa but I didn’t have time for one, but next time for sure.
I ate in both The Garden and Baba. Baba was stunning, a really gorgeous setting and the food was delicious. I had cauliflower fitters, labneh and a squash beetroot and halloumi dukkah all for £14.50. I’d go back to Edinburgh again purely for the fritters, they were incredible. My only criticism really was the open kitchen which I had a view directly of. This is fine if things are harmonious, but someone working in there was pretty pissed off that day and I was at that point the only customer, so it was a little strange. The Garden was so super pretty and I totally expected to find Erica Davies sitting in the corner on a rattan chair caressing a palm print cushion. Loads of plants, huge natural lampshades and great spaces for big groups and solo diners. Unfortunately though my food experience here wasn’t the best. I can only think it was bad luck, and my complaint were handled so well. They had no idea I would blog about my experience yet I wasn’t asked to pay for anything despite the fact I’d also had a lovely glass of prosecco with my meal..
The staff were really helpful. The usual stuff, like helping with transport and offering me an umbrella, but also with tips on where would be a good spot to go and paint the cityscape. The feeling reminded me of the times I’ve stayed at Babington House, it’s that laid back service where nothing is too much trouble but they aren’t buzzing around you aiming to please - it’s very natural.
One staff member suggested I head up to Calton Hill where I did some urban sketching. It was windy up there but so beautiful. I then found a little corner in the lovely Cairngorm Coffee to add some watercolour. I’m pretty happy with the end result and it’s a great keepsake of a really memorable couple of days in Edinburgh. Take me back!
If you decide to head to Edinburgh for a stay at my new favourite hotel then do let me know how you get on.
Thanks for reading,
HOTEL Principal Hotel Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, Scotland.