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“Nice and enjoyable place to stay - but not for top-end prices” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Balmoral Hotel

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The Balmoral Hotel
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   1 Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 2EQ, Scotland (Princes Street and Gardens)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #6 of 146 Hotels in Edinburgh
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Philadelphia, PA
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
76 helpful votes 76 helpful votes
“Nice and enjoyable place to stay - but not for top-end prices”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2011

Stayed for 3 nights over the late May bank holiday weekend (US Memorial Day). Overall, a very good, but not 5-star experience. Booked a superior deluxe king castle-facing room (highest category before the suites start). Room was not 5-star. Room seemed bare with the décor not befitting the old-world style of the hotel. Stayed on the 4th floor, where all rooms were recently renovated (on that floor only). Not that impressed. Nice 15-foot+ ceilings, but only two small chairs and a desk. Very standard. Nothing that made you say wow – this is really nice and better than the competition at this price point. Colors were weird also (dark brown and a rather hideous lime green), but the bathroom was nicely re-tiled in white. However, only one sink basin and no separate tub and shower. So not 5-star. Service overall was excellent to outstanding, especially in the bar and spa. Dinner in the Balmoral bar was good with high quality snacks, drinks, and food. Breakfast food was nice, but service really suffered on two of the three mornings that were busy. Breakfast service was like a Holiday Inn, not a purported 5-star RF property. I spoke to the Restaurant Supervisor about it, and honestly, the feedback was received with a “deer in the headlights” kind of look. Too young and too inexperienced staff to handle breakfast at close to full capacity. Thankfully, this was only part of my experience that was really significantly below expectations. The spa and pool are lovely – used it every evening and sometimes more than once a day. A tip for the spa: have more toiletries available in the locker rooms – not just a sign that says to ask for it if you want anything. Remember, you’re supposed to be a 5-star property, not 3 or 4. Location of the hotel was excellent for our purposes, far better than the Sheraton which we were also considering. Would I stay again? Perhaps, but not for the price I paid which was about 550USD per night including tax and breakfast. Edinburgh is a stunning place and definitely worth a visit for a long weekend. Caution: lots of train station construction going on immediately around the hotel, so don't expect to sleep in too late if visiting during the work week. Believe it's scheduled to continue for many months to come.

Room Tip: Not sure the castle view room is worth the $
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  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (422)
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Sydney, Australia
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 25, 2011

Ok, it's The Balmoral and we thought we had to try it once. Had no idea about standard of hotels in UK so went for the higher end in town after a long flight from OZ. Having experienced 5 star hotels in Asia, Europe and Australia including The Peninsular HK (sure, its a bit pricier) The Balmoral is not in the same league in terms of luxury. We were hoping for so much more because of the name. Yes it's roomy, comfy, clean, marble bath, but the minimalist modern is more "household" at best - stuff you probably wouldn't buy yourself esp. desk, chair and TV cabinet. Its like they never really finished the job. Comfortable bed, pillows and sheets no problems, bright white functional marble bathroom but its not mind-blowing....lights, carpet design, curtains, furniture, bare walls etc....were NOT luxury appointments compared to what we've experienced. Maybe the Suites are a different story. The building, the location and the name are the luxury aspects. Nice foyer for sure. Good service generally. We were offered another bag stand by our porter but it never came until we reminded the reception. Men in quilts at door, nice. OK, we tried it, we had two good night's sleep with a nice view to the Castle, the hallway, lifts and overall feel was classical. Nice arch windows a bonus and a good size room - but it felt empty! Separate walk in robe, but not really a feature. PLEASE fill the rooms with real luxury appointments, repaint or surface the ceiling and walls and don't skimp if you want to be on the same level as The Ritz-Calton Berlin, The Park Lane HK, The Langham HK etc etc...or simply LOWER your prices. We would not have been as disappointed if we did not pay good $ relative to what you get elsewhere. Walking into the room was not like walking into "another world" but we learnt to appreciate it for what it was and appreciated the comfy bed and general feel. Internet should've been free. We can say we stayed there but don't feel the need to return at all. Management should be aware of what rooms are like in 5 star hotels in other comparable hotels, surely. For what you pay, not worth it. High expectations - don't. Absolute bare basics of 5 star room wise.... baffling. Should not be billed 5 star and the impression on the website is not what you get in the room in this case, not matter how its justified.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
balmoraledinburgh, General Manager at The Balmoral Hotel, responded to this review, June 1, 2011
Dear guest

I was sorry to learn from your review that you left the hotel feeling somewhat underwhelmed by the accommodation allocated for your stay. I wish you had expressed your feelings during your stay as this would have allowed us the opportunity to provide a remedy. We are continuously upgrading our rooms and have opted for a relatively neutral colour palette which we believe helps to show off the striking architectural features of the building. I appreciate that this is very much a matter of individual taste and I am sorry that the décor did not meet with your own preferences. All of our rooms are unique in their design and décor and we have now updated our records to reflect your preferences.

I do hope that you will allow us the opportunity to welcome you back in the future.

Yours sincerely
Ivan Artolli
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
28 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 24, 2011

We stayed at The Balmoral as part of our 10th anniversary trip. We had always wanted to go to Edinburgh and The Balmoral looked like the perfect place to spend it. The hotel is in an excellent location right next to Edinburgh Waverly train station (though as the station is currently being renovated it is a little tricky to find the best exit). On arrival we had our bags taken from us and were taken over to the front desk to check in. We had an amazing room (628) with views over Edinburgh covering both the castle to our right and Arthur's Seat to our left. We had a huge room with a great bathroom. As it was our anniversary the hotel had left us a card and some chocolates in the room, we also received a rose petal turndown on the first night.

We had dinner at Hadrian's Brasserie on the first night which was very good, though service did feel a tiny bit pressured at times. We also had breakfast at Hadrian's both mornings which was an excellent spread of hot and cold items as well as made to order eggs and pancakes.

The hotel is also a great landmark for exploring Edinburgh, if you are a little lost just look up for that iconic clock tower and you know you are almost home.

In all we had a really great stay here. The whole hotel is staffed with people who are friendly, approachable and want to please their guests. I would highly recommend this hotel to anyone wanting to celebrate that special occasion.

Room Tip: Aim for a high floor with a view if you can get i!
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  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2011

This hotel is a must stay, you get so much for your money, the service is excellent in every way, it really is a special hotel. The fact they sell Bollinger by the glass is such a plus for me as it is my fave champagne but it is rarely sold by the glass. They in fact have an amazing Bollinger bar and a great cocktail bar with a fab atmosphere, it is popular with residents and locals alike. Fab rooms and entrance hall. It rates as one of the best hotels I ever stayed in, on par with Turnberry. So central and directly beside the train station, the only downfall is if you are facing to the front there is a taxi rank and it gets quite noisy at about 3-4am with clubs and pubs etc. Everything else was perfect.

Room Tip: don't get front facing room on weekends
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  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Simsbury, Connecticut
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2011

After browsing trip advisor and other guide books before my recent trip to Edinburgh, I knew that afternoon tea was a MUST. Determined to make it work - we arrived on our last afternoon in the lobby and were able to get a last minute reservation...The maitre d with a french accent was a little bit snobby to us.... He seemed to think that we couldnt possibly want "afternoon tea" - and directed us to the hotel bar for coffee/tea. oh no, we said we came for "afternoon tea" - he then seated is immediately and we had a lovely time. It was definitely an elegant event and I wished I had dressed up just a little more. We were captivated by the decor, excellent service, food...and of course, all the choices for tea! It was great and one of the highlights! Even the snobby French guy made it feel like a truly regal and exclusive type of event. We would love to stay at this hotel on a future visit to Edinburgh... thank you very much!

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Warwickshire
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2011

I had booked a deluxe executive room for two nights at least 3 months before I arrived. The room comprised lots of small rooms (dressing rooms) with adequate storage but this meant the main bedroom was small and crowded with furniture, not of which matched. My main concern was that the air conditioning was not working, and when the maintenance man arrived he said he knew that it was broken. As my "super" room faced the inner courtyard there was little fresh air through the windows, as a consequence I spent a sleepless and very warm night. However, the staff at the hotel were kind and efficient beyond the call of duty and went the extra mile to provide assistance when required. Food even in the Bistro was expensive and the breakfast was ordinary, disappointing and not worth the £21 price tag. Parkin is also expensive at £27 a night.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
balmoraledinburgh, General Manager at The Balmoral Hotel, responded to this review, May 19, 2011
Dear Guest

Thank you for sharing your impressions of your recent stay and for your kind comments about the high levels of service that my team provided during your stay.
I am sorry that, due to an unforeseen technical problem, the air conditioning was not working in your room and I would like to apologise for any discomfort you experienced as a result. I am pleased to report that upon learning of this fault, our engineers were able to rectify the unit for the remainder of your stay.
Whilst many of our guests enjoy having the sleeping, dressing and living areas separate within the room, I appreciate that this is a matter of personal preference. Each of our rooms is unique in their design and we have now updated our records accordingly with your preferences.

Thank you again for sharing your experience. I do hope that we will have the pleasure of welcoming you back soon.

Yours sincerely
Ivan Artolli
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
new jersey
Top Contributor
164 reviews 164 reviews
51 hotel reviews
Reviews in 63 cities Reviews in 63 cities
116 helpful votes 116 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2011

The Balmoral is in a great location in the center of Edinburgh around the corner from the bus station that connects your directly to the airport. From this hotel, you can walk everywhere in the city. The reception staff is excellent. The restaurant "Number One" is excellent and gourmet. The service is excellent. The scottish doorman wearing his kilt as he warmly greets you is excellent. The clean rooms which use the finest quality bed linens and towels are excellent. The hotel lobby smells so fresh and clean . Breakfast is a generous buffet with the best servers. We loved it here !

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Balmoral Hotel

Address: 1 Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 2EQ, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > Edinburgh > Princes Street and Gardens
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Edinburgh
#3 Family Hotel in Edinburgh
#5 Business Hotel in Edinburgh
#6 Luxury Hotel in Edinburgh
#10 Romantic Hotel in Edinburgh
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Balmoral Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 188
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Rocco Forte Hotels' Balmoral is a luxury hotel in the true sense of the word. With its majestic clock tower, the hotel is a unique and contemporary luxury five-star property in the very heart of Edinburgh. While many Edinburgh hotels claim to have Edinburgh's landmarks on their doorstep, few can say their doorstep is a landmark. Located on Princes Street, in Edinburgh's main shopping area and next to Waverley Station, The Balmoral is close to the leading luxury department stores and within walking distance of many Edinburgh attractions.Edinburgh International Airport is just 25 minutes by car from the hotel, and its convenient location makes The Balmoral the ideal luxury hotel in Edinburgh for business or leisure, including the famous Edinburgh Festival and Hogmanay. There are also convenient transport links also from Glasgow or Prestwick Airports.The Balmoral offers 188 opulent suites and stylish rooms, many with views towards Edinburgh Castle and the Old Town. The Balmoral’s ten conference and banqueting suites, including the signature Sir Walter Scott Suite all enjoy natural daylight and can accommodate a wide range of events including: business conferences, intimate dinner parties, large receptions and weddings. The hotel and city also make for an ideal incentive destination with an abundance of history and culture readily available.When it comes to fine-dining, the choice of restaurants at The Balmoral matches the mood of the moment. With attentive but non-intrusive service, guests can choose from the hotel's Michelin-starred number one fine dining restaurant with outstanding cuisine provided by Chef Jeff Bland; Hadrian's for chic and informal dining; Palm Court for traditional afternoon tea or its very own Bollinger Bar. The newly refurbished and stylish Balmoral Bar is perfect for a relaxing cocktail or traditional whisky.For the ultimate in relaxation, the Balmoral Spa is an exclusive retreat in the heart of the city offering five treatment rooms with ESPA treatments, a 15 metre swimming pool, sauna, steam room, gymnasium and exercise studio. The Balmoral is the perfect choice for a luxurious city spa break.The Balmoral was named as the top Scottish hotel in the Telegraph Travel Awards 2012 and as the Top UK Business Hotel outside of London at the Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Travel Awards 2012. Be it for a luxury romantic break or important business meeting; make The Balmoral your address in Edinburgh. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Balmoral Hotel Edinburgh
Balmoral Edinburgh Hotel
The Balmoral Hotel Edinburgh, Scotland

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