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“Product didn't match the billing” 3 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 (Old Town)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #5 of 145 Hotels in Edinburgh
Galway, Ireland
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
“Product didn't match the billing”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

I stayed here recently on a short business trip and was accompanied by my wife. The bedroom was nice and the property itself is well presented and in a very good location. However, there was a general absence of good lobby space to just lounge in. There's a nice horseshoe style bar, but it was entirely booked up with reservations and you couldn't get a seat there. Other than that, there was the bar, which was fine, but it's still a bar and you won't feel comfortable just sitting there letting the world go by, without ordering a drink. Dinner in the bistro was very disappointing ... sterile atmosphere, uninspiring food and cold (if professional) service. They use the same room for breakfast which again was something of a disappointment. I think I'll go with a different option when next I'm in Edinburgh.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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balmoraledinburgh, General Manager at The Balmoral Hotel, responded to this review, April 10, 2013
Dear Guest,

I am sorry to learn that you left the hotel feeling underwhelmed with some aspects of our service and facilities. The hotel’s lounges and restaurants are extremely popular with both guests and local residents alike and can become very busy during peak times, such as during our afternoon tea service. We do always reserve a few seats for our hotel guests without advance bookings and I regret that these were occupied by the time of your visit and that you felt unable to relax in our bar area. I am also sorry to read that you were disappointed by your experience in our brasserie. I have shared your review with our food and beverage manager, Alexander Feij, who joins me in apologising for these apparent inconsistencies. Both myself and Alexander can be reached on telephone number below and would be pleased to have the opportunity to discuss your experience further.

Yours sincerely

Franck X Arnold
General Manager
0131 556 2414
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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 (357)
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San Francisco, California
Top Contributor
84 reviews 84 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 43 cities Reviews in 43 cities
72 helpful votes 72 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2013

For this kind of ££££, I expect to have everything. Balmoral offered lots of luxuries but failed on a few of the basics

Luxuries....

Grand lobby & staff greet us & immediately we are treated like royalty. Rooms are super-incredibly plush w/ huge cathedral ceilings & overstuffed beds & chairs. Bathrooms are equally push & the shower was one of the best I've ever had.....water pressure is spot on, temp is fantastic & the products are luxuriantly smelly

The concierge desk was fantastic & secured rezzies at various "already fully booked" restaurants & had a recommendation for just about everything

Location also can't be beat - situated right in the heart of Edinburgh, this hotel is w/in easy walking distance to all the touristy hot-spots. There's also a plethora of taxis available to take people on short jaunts - as my parents have limited mobility we super-appreciated the hotel arranging taxi support.

We found many taxis "on the road" refused us the short ride but happily agreed when we started through the hotel. Highly recommend arranging transportation through the hotel if you find yourself in a limited energy / mobility situation like we were!

As far as for the basics....

Free WiFi is not a luxury - it's a basic yet there was none. I had to go across the street to Burger King for the free stuff & that's just not right

I also expect a full tv channel lineup - Balmoral only offered limited channels (& my fav ITV3 was not one - boo). When faced with only reality shows on *every* channel, my books became that much more appealing & when travelling w/ parents, living up the nightlife is nonexistent. We *need* tv!

So as happy as I was to stay w/ you & knowing I would totally stay here again, I just cannot say this was a full 5-star experience b/c this was not "as good as it gets". Add the free WiFi upgrade for your guests & we'll talk about a star upgrade, in kind

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
86 reviews 86 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2013

I took my Mum here as a pre mothers day treat. It was really fun to have a spot of luxury and just soak it up, plus my little mum loved it too.
My partner when on business in Edinburgh, always stays here and I can see why, it is not over the top and has everything you would need in terms of facilities for business or pleasure.

We were greeted from our train because my mother is 75 and I thought it would be nice for her to have her bags schlepped up to the hotel whilst she took it easy. The porter couldn't have been more helpful and it was the start of consistently great service till we checked out three days later.

The room was on the first floor and faced the bridge, I have to say I fell in love with the bathroom and could have spent much more time in there if I were allowed. The rooms can be quite warm and if you need to open a window for some fresh air I would note that if noise bothers you then invest in some earplugs.

Our room came with breakfast at Hadrian's Brasserie and it was great. Plenty big enough if you have a full day ahead of you. Again service in there was attentive and generally good.

I enjoyed using the gym facilities, even if the equipment is a little dated. But if you need to burn off the calories from the afternoon tea you gorged on earlier then it is adequate. The pool and spa is very appealing and we spent a couple of hours down there relaxing. It does get busy so check before hand with the ladies at the spa reception to see if its a child free haven or not.

For the money I paid for my stay I couldn't have asked for more and if you are thinking about going I say try it!

Room Tip: Check if there are any rooms facing the castle for a good view and possibly they are a little quiete...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 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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Galway, Ireland
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2013

First off, my stay here was unexpected. I had originally booked The Scotsman hotel for my partner and I on a Saturday evening. Unfortunately (fortunately perhaps?) the Scotsman had double booked us and moved us to The Balmoral, upgraded us to an executive room and comped us with a bottle of wine.

The location of the Balmoral is fantastic. I'm a native Scot, but no longer live there. So it was great to have a central location in the heart of the city, especially coming off the train at Waverly station.

My partner and I preceded to the hotel direct from the station to check in. Upon walking up the front steps, there is a doorman kitted out in full Scottish attire. However we did get some strange looks from him, as if we weren't supposed to be there. We also got the same look when checking out the next day. I know this a 5 star hotel and I'm not your 'typical' 5 star customer, but I don't expected to be judged on the way into the premises. We didn't even get an hello or goodbye. Nothing major to impact my stay, but every little helps.

The concierge was far more welcoming. He greeted us as soon as we walked through the door, asked us if we needed a hand with our bags and pointed us to reception to check in. Checkin was smoothless and we were quickly in our room. We were on the 5th floor, a few doors down from the JK Rowling suite where she finished the final chapters of the last Harry Potter book.

The room was spacious and the bed was extremely comfy. We had a nice tv, a few chairs and plenty of space for clothes. The bathroom spotless with marble worktops and tiles. The shower was powerful and much better than the one I have at home. Always a welcome bonus!

The only thing I was disappointed about the room was that there was no tea/coffee making facilities and these had to be requested from reception. I'm used to having these at every hotel I check into, so was a bit baffled as to why this wasn't a standard. Turned out we didn't request one in the end as we ended up just going for breakfast (will get onto that in a minute) in the morning but it still would have been nice to have it there so we could have spent an extra 20 minutes in bed with a coffee.

We went out for dinner to a lovely Chinese restaurant called Karen's Unicorn on Abercrombie Place. Highly recommended if you enjoy Chinese food and only a 10 minute walk from the hotel (the benefits of the central location come in handy once again).

We got home and went to bed. And as mentioned the beds are very spacious and comfy. One drawback to the city centre location is the noise. And as being an old building, it still has old style windows (i.e. no double glazing) so you can hear what's happening outside, even when on the 5th floor. I woke up a couple of times with sirens and people shouting/singing after the pubs and bars let out around 3am. I know that the hotel probably can't do much about this due to style of the building and location, but it's something to bare in mind if staying here on the weekend and you're a light sleeper.

We woke up around 8am and went for breakfast in Hadrian's Brasserie. My original booking included bed and breakfast and the Scotsman so we took advantage of this at the Balmoral. The restaurant was pretty busy and we waited about 5/10 minutes for a seat but that wasn't an issue. We were given a nice table in the corner and offered tea/coffee, fresh juice and toast before helping ourselves to the buffet. I had scrambled eggs (a bit too watery for my liking), sausages, bacon and grilled tomatoes (sadly no beans). My partner pretty much had the same, though he loved the eggs. Breakfast was good, but for the price per person, I think you would be better checking out early and heading to numerous coffee shops on offer around the city.

Overall the hotel is lovely and the location has pros (handy, easy to find, lots to do near by) and cons (noise pollution, on the junction of two main roads). I would have expected a nicer arrival from the doorman but the service from concierge and reception was great, waiting service at the restaurant was pleasant and the food was also good.

Room Tip: Maybe ask for a higher room to avail of lesser noise pollution. Room 552 is the JK Rowling suite if...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Birmingham, United Kingdom
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2013

Many aspects of The Balmoral are very, very good. The building itself is magnificent, the staff were excellent, our room (King, DeLuxe) on the fourth floor was very pleasant, with a twin aspect. Unfortunately the main aspect was the expansive roof of Edinburgh railway station, however on the positive side we could just see the sea (well the estuary) in the distance.

We took advantage of a three night bed and breakfast for the cost of two offer for my wife's birthday, eating in Number 1 restaurant one evening. Good deal we believe. Please note the deal didn't include dinner in Number 1, which was average compared to other Michelin star restaurants we've had the pleasure of dining at in the past.

However on the less impressive side - on our first night our peace and tranquility was invaded by the incessant base beat from the function rooms, a wedding I believe. Now this is a constant "hazard" of course wherever you may stay, but I must admit I did not expect it here. Clearly the "DJ" was told to turn it down a bit more than once, but it kept on creeping back up to nuisance levels.

On a Sunday the restaurants close at 1430 hours..... I wasn't feeling too well when we arrived on the Sunday so my wife had to go out on her own to find a restaurant to have lunch. Room service and bar facilities were not to her taste unfortunately as she was looking forward to a nice Sunday lunch on arrival.

The third issue was breakfast; in a five star hotel my wife and I did not expect nor appreciate the buffet style and turnover associated with larger lower cost establishments. Replenishment of the food was slow, presentation of cheese was poor, chopped up in chunks and just thrown onto the platter. And we would suggest the provision of gloves to wear to handle fresh bread whilst cutting it.... purely a hygiene factor. My wife ordered the smoked haddock and poached egg (£5 supplement) to be presented with a dish that had clearly stood far too long under the lamps on the pass.

Next wi-fi, why the hotel chooses to discriminate between customers that book on the Internet who get free wi-fi and those that seek a personal service and call to make a booking, who then have to pay for it is truly baffling and bad PR as far as we are concerned. Should be all or none.

We ordered the complimentary in room tea and coffee making facility which arrived on a tray which was not removed or replenished for the duration of our stay.

Indeed we are being very picky here however our expectations were quite high after staying at a Rocco hotel previously , in summary good, but did not create the same impression of the other Rocco Forte hotel we have stayed in, the Hotel de Russie, Rome.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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balmoraledinburgh, General Manager at The Balmoral Hotel, responded to this review, April 3, 2013
Dear Guest

Thank you for taking the trouble to share your experience of The Balmoral. I am pleased to read that you were impressed with many elements of your stay, including the location, quality of the accommodation, and in particular the high levels of service from my colleagues.
I am however very sorry that you were disturbed by noise from a function within the hotel. We do have strict guidelines regarding maximum noise levels and I shall be investigating your comments with our events team to ensure that this is better monitored in the future.
I was further concerned to learn of your disappointment with your breakfast experience. Whilst our cooked breakfast is normally provided fully plated breakfast, when we anticipate the restaurant to be particularly busy we offer a buffet style service as this usually helps to reduce waiting times and allows for a smoother service. I am sorry that you felt that this resulted in an inferior experience and I have discussed your comments with our restaurant manager.
It is unfortunate that I did not have the opportunity to meet you during your stay. I understand that during check-out you advised my colleagues at reception that you would prefer to contact me directly once home and I would be most grateful if you could contact me on the number below to discuss you stay personally.

Yours sincerely

Franck X Arnold
General Manager
0131 556 2414
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2013

Originally this hotel had the atmosphere of a scottish hunting lodge & was very atmospheric & full of character, the facilities & staff are still excellent, it is still eye wateringly expensive however the recent refit has tried to turn it into a trendy boutique hotel, it does not work the refit has taken away its charm

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
balmoraledinburgh, General Manager at The Balmoral Hotel, responded to this review, April 9, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the trouble to share your impressions following your most recent stay at The Balmoral. I am pleased to read that you were impressed with the facilities and service afforded by my colleagues.

For our recent refurbishment, our design team opted for a blend of colours reflecting the Scottish countryside, giving the hotel a more contemporary feel. Whilst the new design has proved popular with many of our guests, I appreciate that the more modern style will not suit everyone’s taste and I am sorry that the décor did not meet with your own preferences.

I sincerely hope that we will have the pleasure of welcoming you back in the future and would ask that you feel free to contact me directly if I can be of any assistance in making your arrangements.

Yours sincerely

Franck X Arnold
General Manager
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newcastle upon tyne
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2013

Went to meet a cousin in Edinburgh while away with a group of family and friends. Arranged to meet in the hotel so we thought we would go for breakfast but when we got there the restaurant was full but they showed us to a beautiful lounge where we were able to have coffees. Our cases where taken and looked after and as we were leaving they asked if we had enjoyed our visit and we said we had come for breakfast but had been to late They said to leave our cases while we went and found somewhere else to eat. That was a great help to us. It was a lovely way to finish a trip to Edinburgh

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about The Balmoral Hotel

Address: 1 Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 2EQ, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > Edinburgh > Old Town
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access 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
#4 Luxury Hotel in Edinburgh
#5 Business Hotel in Edinburgh
#9 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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