BACKGROUND Marriott’s extended stay concept is well established in the US, where it has almost 600 properties, but it is only just starting to be rolled out in Europe. The first opened in Munich in October last year, followed by Edinburgh in November. The offering is not to be mistaken with Marriott’s luxury Executive Apartments brand, which has a UK presence at London’s West India Quay. Colin Richards, general manager of the Edinburgh property, described the Residence Inn concept as “somewhere between serviced apartments and a hotel”, with no minimum stay, and in-room facilities such as a kitchenette.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? The property is in the regenerated city-centre Quartermile development, formerly the location of the Royal Infirmary and now a mixture of office, retail and residential space. Listed buildings have been retained alongside new-builds, of which the Residence Inn is one. The area is gradually coming to life, with cafés and a supermarket located close to the hotel, but there is still a fair amount of construction work going on. The property’s public areas are all on the ground floor, with an open-plan reception, a small 24-hour convenience store, a lobby lounge, bar, communal work counter with power sockets, and a breakfast area. It’s a smart, modern hotel with light wood, yellow and grey décor, and photographs of Edinburgh landmarks in the public areas and guestrooms.
WHERE IS IT? The Quartermile district is just north of the Meadows public park, about a ten-minute walk from Princes Street, Edinburgh’s main shopping thoroughfare, and the city’s mainline Waverley train station.
ROOM FACILITIES There are three room types – the 28 sqm studio, the larger Superior studio and one-bedroom suites – although there is some variation within each category, the result of Marriott having taken over the management contract from a serviced apartment provider partway through construction. Consequently, some larger one-bedroom suites have baths with showers overhead instead of showers only, while west-facing rooms on the seventh floor have balconies – several with views of Edinburgh Castle. Suites with connecting rooms are available for larger parties. All rooms have a kitchenette with a Bosch dishwasher, a fridge, microwave, kettle, toaster, crockery and cutlery. Guests also receive a welcome pack with tea and coffee, UHT milk sachets and a few snacks. Workdesks have UK and US power sockets, and there is free wifi in all rooms and public areas, which worked well throughout my stay.
Most apartments have a separate room with a shower and toilet, and a basin area open to the bedroom with a mirror and space for storing towels – this might not be to your taste if you are looking for privacy from a partner or friend while getting ready. The studios have an armchair, ottoman and coffee table, while the one-bedroom suites have a separate lounge with a sofa and TV. The bedroom in my suite was comfortable, if a little small, with not a great deal of space around the bed. Facilities included a TV, a small dressing table, an iPod dock and radio alarm clock, a wardrobe, an iron/ironing board and a safe. There were striped yellow cushions on the sofas and beds, and yellow and brown rugs in the living room. A guest laundry area on the ground floor is free to use, though you have to bring your own washing detergent.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS A free hot buffet breakfast is served from the bar area between 6.30am and 9.30am on weekdays and 7am and 11am on weekends – a bag of breakfast items can be prepared for you to take away if you are in a hurry. There is no other dining offering, but the hotel promotes local restaurant and grocery delivery services, with menus at reception for the former and in-room order forms for the latter.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES There is a boardroom on the ground floor with natural daylight and space for ten delegates.
LEISURE FACILITIES A small fitness centre is located opposite the boardroom and is accessible 24 hours via guestroom keys. There is also a recently opened Pure Gym around the corner from the property, with day passes available for £6.
VERDICT A welcome addition to the Edinburgh hotel scene. The concept is suitable for both short and extended stays, and the location works for travellers looking to be within walking distance of the city centre and mainline rail station
- HOW MANY ROOMS? There are 107 rooms in total, of which 22 are studios, 54 are Superior studios and 31 are one-bedroom suites.
- ROOM HIGHLIGHTS The modern kitchen appliances, bright décor and free wifi.
- PRICE Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in April started from £105 for a studio.
- CONTACT Residence Inn Edinburgh, 36 Simpson Loan Quartermile; tel +44 (0)131 229 7150; marriott.co.uk