Tried & Tested

Serviced apartment check: The Knight Residence

23 Nov 2012 by Rose Dykins

BACKGROUND An independent serviced apartment based in the Scottish capital, the Knight Residence is a member of the Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (theasap.org.uk). It’s possible to book one-night stays, apart from Saturday nights, and bookings can be made via the property’s website.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? Discreetly located in a terraced street, guests enter the ground floor reception area with a key fob. Upon my arrival, a friendly member of staff greeted me and showed me to my room, where he gave me a tour, showed me how to adjust the central heating and answered any questions I had.

The 28 apartments come in two categories – Superior and Comfort – and are housed in separate parts of the building. Superior apartments are within the main building, while Comfort ones are located in adjoining annex. The facilities and interiors of the two categories are similar, the difference being that Comfort targets longer stays of a minimum of four nights. While Superior apartments receive a daily maid service, Comfort residence are only cleaned Mondays to Fridays.

WHERE IS IT? On Lauriston Street – a five-minute walk down the road from cobbled Grassmarket, a historical part of the city situated at the base of the castle. A taxi from Edinburgh Waverley train station takes less than five minutes, and Princes Street can be reached in under 15 minutes on foot. 

ROOM FACILITIES I stayed in a two-bedroom, 54 sqm Superior apartment on the fifth (top) floor. The main door opened on to a long corridor with the living room and connecting kitchen at the opposite end, the two bedrooms on the right-hand side and the bathroom on the left. A soft blue carpet and pale walls ran throughout the apartment – the overall décor was rather traditional and simple, which in a way made you more able to make the space your own, rather than feeling like you’d walked into a high-end hotel room.

The living area was roomy – there were French windows to one side that let in plenty of light but looked out to a car park. There was a Philips flatscreen TV within a wooden cabinet, plus a Philips iPod dock and a Sony DVD player. Furniture included a grey double sofa, two armchairs and a footstool, and to the right of this lounge area was a dining table with placemats and coasters for four people.

I was really impressed with the kitchen facilities, and appreciated the welcome pack, which included a variety of cereals, shortbread biscuits, tea, coffee, sugar, jam and bread, and there was milk, butter and juice in the fridge. During my stay, I had more than enough cooking utensils to prepare a meal and clean up afterwards. Facilities included an electric oven with a hob, a kettle, a French press, a mini dishwasher, and a washing machine – washing up liquid, dishwasher tablets, washing powder and cleaning items such as a dustpan and brush and washcloths were also supplied.

There were mugs, glasses, wine glasses, plates, bowls, plenty of cutlery and egg cups, as well as pots, frying pans, a tin opener, cheese grater, sieve, chopping boards, and range of utensils including a wooden spoon and potato masher. Salt and pepper were also provided, and there was also a selection of local takeaway menus. There is a Sainsbury’s Local around the corner should guests want to buy supplies.

The bathroom had a more modern feel than the rest of the apartment – it had beige tiled walls, wooden surfaces and a mirror with a steam resistant square in the centre, which was convenient after showering. The shower over the bath worked well, and the Bee Kind toiletries by Gilchrist and Soames in eco-friendly packaging had a lovely honey smell.

Both of the bedrooms had a small flatscreen TV, a hairdryer, wardrobe and dressing table with mirror, and adopted the same neutral décor as the rest of the apartment. There were twin beds in one and a double in the other – the latter was very comfortable with plush pillows. There were bedside phones that could connect to reception. Other amenities included an iron and ironing board, robes and free wifi. A laundry service is available – if you leave it in the bag provided before 9am, it will be collected and returned to you the same day.

Notebook laptops can be hired from reception for £5 per day, and staff can also send faxes for you. The apartment felt very secure – there was an entry phone on the door, a spyhole, a deadlock and a security chain.

All apartments have landline phones – local calls cost 8p per minute off-peak/16p at peak times, and national calls are 16p per minute/32p at peak times. Dialling 0 puts you in touch with someone at reception, which is manned from 7am-11pm (emergency numbers are supplied for assistance outside of these hours).

As I was in a Superior residence, my room was cleaned daily (this was a weekend stay) and I returned to find that my coffee cup and plate had been washed up, as well as the bed made and fresh towels supplied.

RESTAURANTS AND BARS None on site, but Grassmarket has plenty of cosy pubs, independent bistros and chain restaurants.

BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES None on site. The Edinburgh International Conference Centre is a five-minute walk away.

LEISURE FACILITIES There is no gym, but guests can use Pure Gym (250 metres down the same street) for a daily rate of £6 (three days £13, seven days £25). Reception has an extensive DVD library and selection of books. The residences caters well for children ­– Playstation 2 consoles can be hired for £5 per day, and guests can also borrow board games. There’s also a self-service coffee machine at reception if you fancy a cappuccino (£1). 

VERDICT A handy base in the heart of Edinburgh that allows you to feel comfortable and independent, and also provides hotel-style service when you want it.

FACT FILE

HOW MANY APARTMENTS? There are 28 apartments –eight Comfort and 20 Superior, comprising one Superior studio apartment, eight Superior one-bedroom apartments, ten two-bedroom Superior apartments, one one-bedroom Comfort apartment, seven two-bedroom Comfort apartments and one three-bedroom Comfort apartment.

ROOM HIGHLIGHTS The modern bathroom and the well-equipped kitchen.

PRICES Prices for a midweek one-night stay in December start from £99 for a Superior Studio apartment and from £360 for a four-night stay (excluding Saturday and Sunday). All rates are flexible, with free cancellation up to 24 hours prior to arrival.

CONTACT The Knight Residence, 12 Lauriston Street; tel +44(0) 131 622 8120; theknightresidence.co.uk

Rose Dykins

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