Background The boutique Hotel Indigo brand from Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) debuted in the UK in 2009, with a 64-room property in London’s Paddington. Since then a second hotel has been added in the capital in Tower Hill, along with properties in Birmingham, Liverpool and Newcastle, the last of which opened on June 1. Plans for a property in Cardiff and London’s Earl’s Court have also been announced. Glasgow welcomed its first Indigo in Scotland last year, followed by Edinburgh in March this year (for a review of the Glasgow hotel, visit businesstraveller.com/tried-and-tested).
What’s it like? Five residential townhouses have been combined to create the hotel, along with a new extension at the back. This gives it a somewhat higgledy-piggledy feel, with twisting corridors and small banks of steps here and there, but a good job has been done with the signage, and original features such as a decorative stairwell give the property an individual feel.
The ground floor comprises Turquoise Thistle restaurant and bar, with its own street entrance, and the reception and adjacent lounge area, with several sofas and chairs upholstered in a tartan design, and photographs of Edinburgh landmarks on the walls. The lounge also has a small library with books by Arthur Conan Doyle, the author having been born across the road from the hotel at 11 Picardy Place. Staff were friendly, in particular the receptionist who checked me in, who suggested museums and attractions to visit.
Where is it? On York Place, about ten minutes’ walk north from Waverley station and the Royal Mile. The Scottish National Portrait Gallery is just west of the hotel, where York Place becomes Queen Street.
Room facilities Owing to the nature of the building, there is no standard room size. Like the Hotel Indigo Glasgow, the rooms come in three different colourways – in this case, teal, turquoise and orange. I was staying in an orange suite – if that sounds like it might be garish, it was anything but. It was stylishly decorated with dark wood flooring, a floral patterned feature wall, and splashes of orange in the lampshades, cushions and chaise longue. In keeping with the brand’s aim to create properties with a sense of place, another feature wall had a large print of an old map of Edinburgh, showing streets around the hotel.
Facilities in all rooms include a flatscreen TV (in my suite this was located at the end of the bed and was attached to a pole so that it could be swivelled around to face the lounge area), a media hub allowing MP3 players to connect through the TV, a workdesk, which I found a little on the small side, tea and coffee facilities, a safe, an iron and ironing board, a hairdryer and robes. Other amenities included free wifi and a free “minibar” containing water, soft drinks, popcorn, a caramel wafer bar and a small carton of fresh milk. Most rooms have king-size beds. Bathrooms have large walk-in showers only (except for three, which have bathtubs). The most interesting views are from rooms looking on to Queen Street at the front of the property.
Restaurants and bars All-day eatery Turquoise Thistle is headed up by Daniel Mellor, a former Masterchef contestant, and serves “traditional Scottish dishes with a contemporary twist”, with examples including rump of Scottish borders lamb, and pan-seared Scottish sea bass (both £19). The adjacent bar offers a number of cocktails based on the popular and ubiquitous Scottish dessert cranachan (made using whipped cream, whisky, honey and raspberries). I used the restaurant twice for breakfast during my stay. On the first morning I ordered a full Scottish breakfast from the à la carte menu – fruit, cereals and pastries are also available from the self-service buffet. On the second morning, I tried a takeaway option, ordering a hot BLT bagel – it arrived within minutes packed in a cardboard box, and was accompanied with a small glass jar of tomato ketchup.
Business and meeting facilities There are no dedicated meeting facilities, nor a business centre, which is not unusual for this brand, but the hotel does provide laptops for guest use where requested, and printing and faxing is possible via the front desk.
Leisure facilities There is a small 24-hour gym in the basement.
Verdict While its business facilities are limited, the hotel’s excellent service and stylish, well-equipped rooms make this a good choice for those looking for a boutique property but still wishing to benefit from IHG’s Priority Club loyalty programme.
- How many rooms? There are 60 in total, of which five are Standard Double rooms, 36 are King rooms, 16 are Executive rooms, and three are Junior suites.
- Room highlights The large walk-in shower, free wifi and complimentary minibar.
- Price Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in September started from £169 for a Standard Double or King room.
- Contact Hotel Indigo Edinburgh, 51-59 York Place; tel +44 (0)131 556 5577; hotelindigo.com