Advantages Stylish, comfortable surroundings, good food and service
Disadvantages Quality of rooms varies - those at the front suffer with noise
|Value for Money|
It wasn’t until I was browsing for somewhere new and exciting to stay in Edinburgh that I realised that Hotel Du Vin formed part of a chain. I stayed in one in Bristol a few years back and (wrongly) assumed it was an independent boutique hotel, but a look at the company web site tells me that there are now fourteen of them around the UK, albeit all true to the boutique style and fine food and wine themes of that Bristol restaurant I visited. The locations are all reasonably historic places and (notably) there isn’t one in London at all.
The location is good for sight seeing. It’s definitely walking distance of the Royal Mile and castle and a perfect base for some of the more cultural aspects of the city, such as the Fringe Festival or the city museum. Due to Edinburgh’s rather hilly nature, a taxi is advised from the main Waverley station, or you’ll find yourself dragging your luggage up a lot of steps and/or hills. It’s located next to a reasonably busy bus route, but as it’s a one way street, buses going past are really only going out of the city. Shuttle buses from the Edinburgh airport stop relatively close by, but you still might find yourself investing in a taxi if you have a lot of luggage.The hotel is not targeted at the budget traveller. The fittings are relatively luxurious, sumptuous and tasteful and there’s something of a calming air about the place. The bistro attracts Edinburgh’s fine diners and the courtyard is a popular place for anyone to drink a glass of champagne before a visit to the theatre. It’s something of a luxury hotel, with prices to match and ideally suited to a special weekend away, where you might not be disinclined to lounge in bed on the Sunday morning or before you go out for a romantic meal and some sightseeing. It’s perfect for the business traveller too. It’s comfortable, welcoming and has high service standards to look after you whilst you’re away from home.
The Edinburgh hotel has 47 bedrooms, so is never particularly ‘over-run’ with guests. It’s a relative rabbit warren of corridors and stairways, largely as a result of the way that the building has been converted. A modest atrium occupies the central core of the hotel, with the bistro and meeting rooms occupying the ground floor, and the bedrooms taking up the other floors. If you’ve got heavy bags, you may wish to ask for assistance in getting to your room. Whilst there is a lift, there are small staircases within each of the floors that can take you by surprise. There’s also another complication to hinder navigation and that’s the fact that the bedrooms aren’t numbered. Instead, the rooms are rather quirkily named after famous wines. This is fine if you’re in ‘Krug’ but if you’re in Chateau de la Roulerie, let me tell you that the novelty soon wears off. When requesting room keys or asking for things to be charged to my room, I simply brandish my check in slip because I just can’t remember which room I’ve been given.Note also that the rooms vary quite considerably and when booking, if you are a light sleeper, you may wish to discuss this with the hotel. Rooms on the Bristo Place side of the building can suffer reasonably significant noise pollution from the road and from a rather noisy student bar that sits opposite the front of the hotel, replete with singers and guitar players that spill onto the pavement at the height of merriment. Go for rooms at the back, if at all possible, would be my advice.
I would describe the staff members here as ‘gentle and welcoming’. They don’t have the brash efficiency of their peers at the Radisson Blu just down the road, but that works to their advantage in that they’ll sincerely pass the time of day with you and offer more than basic pleasantries. Even though I’m a bloke (no, really) they’ll still offer me assistance with my baggage and they always offer to show you to your room (in recognition of the stupid naming system). The keys are real keys too. It makes a change to be given a huge lump of metal rather than one of those plastic cards that never works.
The beds are extremely comfortable. The mattresses are expensive and you know this as soon as you sit/lie down. They’re made a little better by having those thinner mattress covers on, which soften the mattress a little and I have to say that once you lie down, it’s hard to scrape yourself up and out to do anything else. Flat screen television sets are positioned on one wall and DVD players are provided too. There’s usually a huge double wardrobe, complete with bathrobes and plenty of drawers of you’re staying a bit longer. I have to say that the desks in these rooms are a little bit small for my liking, too narrow to sit at comfortably and work for any length of time, but fine for short periods.All the rooms come with a safe and (more importantly) an iron and ironing board and it’s not a ridiculously cheap ineffective iron either. One thing I really hate in hotel rooms is having to ask for an iron because you nearly always only notice it’s not there when you’re in a state of undress or impatient to go out. The rooms are air-conditioned, though I have to say the air conditioning is quite feeble and it also creates that horrible damp/cold air that you always get in hotels, so I end up opening the window instead. The minibar has a reasonably good range of drinks and snacks, particularly in the soft drink selection which is much better than just cans of Coke and bottles of lemonade – but all hellishly priced and to be avoided unless you’re desperate.
The bathrooms are lovely. All the baths are fitted with glorious monsoon showers, with fantastic water pressure and, again, you’ll need prising out once you get underneath. The sinks are modelled like a very shallow Belfast sink, and whilst this looks good, it makes them very difficult to use where you want/need any depth of water. Shaving, for example, is more difficult in these sinks. The bathrooms are nicely lit too, with varying combinations of spotlights that can be dimmed according to how bright you need it. I like the fact that they tend to have upholstered benches in the bathrooms. It’s lovely to have something comfortable to sit on if you’re drying or styling/straightening (cough) your hair, for example. The rooms generally seem very well sound insulated against each other, although I do find that when the doors close, if they’re allowed to slam, it sounds as though the wall is going to collapse.I should point out that the rooms vary in size according to the price. In larger rooms, for example, the shower is walk-in and there is a separate bath. I’ve only stayed in one of the standard rooms.
All meals are served in the bistro, on the ground floor, at the front of the building. The bistro is lovely; high, vaulted ceilings make the room extremely airy, light and spacious and even when it’s quite hot, the room is very cool. The walls are covered in photographs, pictures, and prints and even pressed empty bottles of wine. I wouldn’t like to say the period on which the bistro is styled – it’s not contemporary but doesn’t immediately conjure up a certain interior design style. Unlike other hotels, I love the fact that there are no television screens in here, so even breakfast is uninterrupted, save for some gentle classical music playing in the background.Service in the bistro is smart and attentive. The waiting staff members are vastly superior to many of their colleagues in other hotels of this calibre, with full silver service standards and they genuinely seem to enjoy doing it. I understand that there are often weekend deals in the hotel whereby if two of you spend £75 or more in the bistro, then you can get a room for something like £20, which seems like a great deal and a perfect ‘getaway’.
The French modern menu is something of an acquired taste. Their idea of a simple classic is a starter of wild garlic and poached duck egg soup or roast calf’s brain, beurre noisette and toasted bloomer. The menu changes regularly and comprises probably ten starters and main courses, which cater reasonably well for carnivores and vegetarians alike. I’ve tried a couple of dishes here, including some beetroot fritters, which were surprisingly tasty, and a lovely mushroom burger. Some of the meat dishes are not so appealing – they still serve foie gras and there’s no mention of sourcing policy on the menu when it comes to the meat dishes. Unsurprisingly, the menu isn’t cheap. A starter and main course is unlikely to give you much change from £25 per head, although they do offer fixed menu and lunch deals. The room service menu is a little more down to earth, with things like bacon butties and cheese or beans on toast. Of course, the wine selection here is impressive; I mean really impressive. It’s what they specialise in after all. The waiting staff will happily recommend particular wines for you (as well as tasting notes on the menus) and there is an enormous selection to suit most tastes (but only really quite affluent budgets.) I’m not really very knowledgeable about wine, although I’d probably happily attend one of their wine tasting events, which I think they would at least try and make a little accessible.I must comment on a room service disaster I had on my most recent visit, where I suddenly had an overwhelming urge for something sweet later one evening. I eventually ordered a cola flavoured jelly, with home made strawberry ice cream and a fresh fruit salad. It was all decidedly average (I’m not quite sure what I expected) and with the £2.50 tray charge, cost me £17.95. So be warned; I’d unplug the phone if I were you.
Breakfast is of a high standard. It’s buffet style for the usual suspects of juice, fruit and pastries, with a full cooked breakfast brought to your table if you require it. At £13.95 per head, it’s not cheap but the standards are high compared with other hotels charging the same amount. I’d also have to say that Id happily have a corporate event or meal here. They have a lovely private dining room that has a real sense of occasion about it and I can’t think of anywhere nicer for a Christmas meal.
These are the standard tariffs currently:Standard double from: £125
Internet access was previously charged by the day, incidentally but they do now at least give you unlimited internet access, although you still have to get a new password every day, which can be a nuisance (and is really long and unwieldy). Needless to say, telephone calls are hideously expensive.
Contact DetailsAddress: 19/11 Bristo Place, Edinburgh, Midlothian, EH1 1EZ
Telephone: 0131 247 4900Web site: www.hotelduvin.com/hotels/edinburgh
Attention, this is the first review from this author
Instead of giving a negative rating, consider:
Help this member by giving your advice
Report fraud (for example plagiarism) or other issue with the review to the Ciao support team
Add your comment
In Edinburghs historic Old Town, this Hotel Du Vin has uniquely styled bedrooms in a former city asylum. At the hotels heart is a French Bistro...
Shipping: refer to website
Availability: Price is per double room per night and may vary depending on date booked