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“Nice enough hotel, but don't eat or drink there, especially not afternoon tea.” 3 of 5 stars
Review of The Carlton Hotel

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The Carlton Hotel
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   19 North Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1SD, Scotland (Old Town)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #123 of 146 Hotels in Edinburgh
Glasgow, United Kingdom
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Nice enough hotel, but don't eat or drink there, especially not afternoon tea.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2012

My boyfriend and I decided to take a one night trip to Edinburgh between Christmas and New Year, and chose to stay at the Carlton.
Positives: beautiful entrance hall, wonderfully polite and helpful reception staff and concierge, nice enough room (229) with view overlooking the Royal Mile, comfortable bed, nice bathroom with a good shower, good location - easy walking to Royal Mile and Princes St/Waverly station.
Negatives: lifts smelled strongly of chlorine (may not be an issue for most but it made me feel nauseous), long walk to room up and down flights of stairs (may cause issues for people with mobility problems), room was very cold overnight despite 'heating' set to highest level, curtains drawn and radiator turned up full, over all poor experience of food.
We ate our evening meal, breakfast and an afternoon tea at the hotel (all arranged through online vouchers), so I'm in a good position to comment on the food.
The menu provided for our evening meal had adequate choice, i had pate for starter, fish and chips and then sticky toffee pudding. my starter and dessert were lovely, my main was ok - nice fish but chips were poor and my main complaint was that in a 4* hotel, they didn't have any vinegar for the chips! the waiter offered me balsamic vinegar instead... I know Edinburgh folks are fans of offering 'salt and sauce' instead of 'salt and vinegar' with chips, but i thought a hotel restaurant would have had vinegar, i was highly disappointed. I can't comment on the price as our meal was incuded in the price of our stay. Anyway, our evening meal was nice enough over all.
Breakfast, on the other hand, was a different story. We were shown to a table that had not been cleared, we went to explore the buffet options, and on returning to our table, we seen that our things had been moved and another couple were sat there. we then were told to wait until another table became available - not ideal. the cooked breakfast selection was plentiful but eveything tasted of old re-used oil, i could literally mop the oil off my plate when i moved my bacon and potato scone aside, so decided against eating it. there is one coffee machine and 2 flasks of hot water to make tea - there was a queue of around 12 people waiting at one point, could really do with another few fasks/coffee machines. had some cereal in the end, was bland but edible, then got ot of there quickly.
Check out was no problem at all, again the lovely staff at reception offered to call us a taxi, and were very helpful in arranging to watch our luggage for a few hours whilst we went shopping before our afternoon tea.
Afternoon tea was ridiculous. It was a 'self service' affair... not an afternoon tea at all really. we were told to find a seat and help ourselves and that our tea would be brought out. Our pot of tea arrived about 10 minutes later. There was a selection of tuna cucumber, cheese tomato and egg mayo sandwiches, none of which were very appetising, and there were communal bowls of crisps. the only part of afternoon tea which tasted nice were the scones with jam and cream. the 'cakes' which consisted of frozen patisserie like cream cakes, were horrible. My boyfriend had an eclair that was still frozen in the middle. was extremely disatisfied with 'afternoon tea', not worth the 20quid voucher price at all.
Over all, the hotel was nice and the staff were really good, but the food let the whole experience down.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Carlton_Operations, Manager at The Carlton Hotel, responded to this review, January 6, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to leave a review regarding your visit at the Carlton Hotel.

I am sorry to read not everything was good during your visit to the Carlton.

Our Entrance lobby is fantastic and it usually takes everyone breath away on arrival, what a start to your stay. It is a shame we let you down on some points, I have spoken to the kitchen team regarding the vinegar issue, now there is no reason to run out, the chef wishes to apologise for this, he even went out personally to buy more for the shop but you had already departed the restaurant.

Breakfast is a busy time for us, having a 120 seater restaurant and over 300 guest in the hotel does poses some challenges, we do let all our guests know the busy times in all guests lifts, everyone loves a lie in during the festive season, we do indeed have 2 coffee machines in operations but also go around serving individual pots of tea and coffee also to speed up the service, we can’t stop everyone having a lie in.

Our afternoon offering has rocketed over the last couple of month, with the demand we resort to a buffet to assist in a relaxing atmosphere in our Bridge Restaurant, I am sorry you did not like the offering, we may need to rethink this as we serve over 300 plus afternoon tea per week, we will review feedback from future guests to see if this is not the way to go.


I hope you and your boyfriend had a chance to see the sights of Edinburgh while with us, being next to the Royal Mile and Princes Street, everything is on your doorstep, a perfect place to call home away from home.

Thank you again for taking the time to place a review and hopefully we will have another chance to welcoming you back to the Carlton.

Kind Regards

Trevor

Trevor Duffy
Operations Manager
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2,332 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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English first
Leeds, England, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2012

Stayed here for the third time in two years and it maintains the same high standards that we have become used to. Breakfast was extremely busy this time, but the staff had everything under control and we had a table within five minutes of arriving to eat. The breakfast was extremely tasty and well presented. All in all I can not fault the hotel, and would highly recommend it to anyone seeking a central Edinburgh stay.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carlton_Operations, Manager at The Carlton Hotel, responded to this review, January 6, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to leave a fantastic 5 star review regarding your visit at the Carlton Hotel.

I hope you had a great Christmas and are looking forward to a fantastic New Year.

It is nice to read a positive review, we did have a hard time over Christmas, is was the team’s Christmas as well, I think a few of our guests forgot that.

What a wonderful review, you know our standards and what we can deliver, so thank you once again for your return visit and many more.

Thank you again for taking the time to place a review and hopefully we will have another chance to welcoming you back to the Carlton.

Kind Regards

Trevor

Trevor Duffy
Operations Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chesterfield, United Kingdom
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2012

I spent Christmas 2012 at the Carlton. I found the hotel on the whole good. It is central and the room was large and comfortable. However I would agree that the rooms facing the Royal Mile are extremely noisy. I live on a main road and therefore are used to noise but this went on all night until about 4.00 am. This happened every night I was there the screaming and shouting was unbelievable. That said I would go again but I would make sure I got a room at the back. The food was not outstanding but I think it was what you would expect at this time of year. The breakfast was fine. Edinburgh is a lovely place and this hotel is probably no better or worse than the rest. The staff were lovely and definitely were doing their up most to ensure everyone had a good stay. Well done.

Room Tip: Like other people have said if you want a good nights sleep you will probably have to do without a v...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carlton_Operations, Manager at The Carlton Hotel, responded to this review, January 6, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to leave a review regarding your visit at the Carlton Hotel.

I think your review sums up everything about the hotel. You could possibly go to any city centre hotel and experience the same, for the time of year it is very trying for all concerned.

What makes the Carlton so Special is the team, they are the Carlton, they are what make every guest stay so special, I am so proud of them, without the team here we would not be one of the premium 4 star hotels in Edinburgh.

I was speaking to a guest over Christmas and he did not believe my reviews regarding the team, he said” until you meet them and see how dedicated they are to the guests then you would only believe how good they are”

I hope you have a great New Year, on your next visit please request a rear facing room as you won’t get the road view but the views of Leith and beyond.

Thank you again for taking the time to place a review and hopefully we will have another chance to welcoming you back to the Carlton.

Kind Regards

Trevor

Trevor Duffy
Operations Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hastings, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
90 reviews 90 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2012

Building used to be a large department store and was converted in 70's or 80's - now in hands of Puma Hotel Collection. Room 3rd floor, queen-size bed, en-suite - a big room. Housekeeping adequate but NONE ON XMAS DAY - I have never had that in any hotel. FOOD - portions small, lacking in flavour and seasoning, disappointing menu choice, did not reflect Scottish produce and seasonality. Leek soup and not cock-a-leekie - a Scottish delicacy.
SERVICE - abyssmal, staff unaware of direction and purpose, no leadership - Head chef had left in September and clearly had not been replaced. Headless chickens springs to mind. Coach parties catered for and this extra burden "tipped them over the edge" Severely disappointing, many complaints. Best meals - breakfast - self service - no problems there then. Spa needs repair and renovation (leisure club open to public!). SLEEP - Xmas night (3-4 am) carousing by local lads and lasses disturbed us a good bit. HOW ON EARTH DID THEY GET 4 STARS. AA - LET US KNOW!!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carlton_Operations, Manager at The Carlton Hotel, responded to this review, January 9, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to leave a review regarding your visit at the Carlton Hotel.

I am sorry to read not all was well with your Christmas Break.

On arrival to the hotel all our guests were issued with an itinerary of event for the festive season, within this we did explain our housekeeping would service your rooms on Christmas day on request only, we did indeed have housekeepers on duty thought out Christmas day, it was just a shame you did not contact the reception team as I am sure your room would have been serviced immediately.

Thank you for your comments regarding our food service on Christmas Day, we were aware of a few issues during the Christmas period, rest assure this has nothing to do with our restructing in our Kitchen, as you will see from future and pass reviews we have received fantastic comments regarding our food over the year.

As you were aware we have an on going refurbishment plan to upgrade our Spa and Leisure Department, due to the Christmas period this was on hold for the good of our guests.

Thank you again for taking the time to place a review and hopefully we will have another chance to welcoming you back to the Carlton.

Kind Regards

Trevor

Trevor Duffy
Operations Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Haltwhistle, United Kingdom
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2012

My wife and I went away for Christmas,mistake No. 1.We went in a coach party to The Carlton in Edinburgh,mistake No.2.We expected four star dining in a four star hotel,mistake No.3.We expected a good nights sleep,mistake No.4.
The hotel is in a very good location,the room was clean,tidy and spacious with a good view to the Forth and the staff friendly and helpful,but the dining experience was abysmal.when we went to dinner the first evening we discovered that we were crammed into the dining area (normally a function room )with four more coach parties ,all arriving to be fed at the same time,the waiting staff were mainly Eastern European students who tried their best, but with little training and NO supervision the result was chaos.
We could have put up with this,after all we were coach parties! and some hotel,s attitudes to coach parties is that anything will do.Certainley the Carlton seems to think that is so,they took on more than they could cope with and tried to squeeze the last penny out of every pound the coach companies had paid them.
The food ,when it came, was disgusting,the meals were lukewarm with dry,undercooked frozen vegetables,poor quality,poorly cooked meat and the whole lot put together with no imagination whatsoever.
The management at the Carlton seemed to forget that we had paid a lot of money for the Christmas stay and treated us with contempt and my wife and I will not be returning to the Carlton or going to any other Puma chain hotel in the future.
A manager came on our coach as we were leaving and apologised for the :few hiccupps:Hiccups!? It was one long regurgitation.
Georgeann

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Carlton_Operations, Manager at The Carlton Hotel, responded to this review, January 6, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to leave a review regarding your visit at the Carlton Hotel.

A first time trip adviser viewer, I do hope this is one of many positive, constructive and genuine reviews you will be placing on the site. The Trip Advisor site is a tool for all for unbiased accurate comments regarding all areas of the hospitality industry, with these reviews any future or potential guests can choose to regard or disregard the reviewer’s comments.

It is a shame you started with the title ”Frozen Spouts” I am sorry to say these are bought in fresh and prepared and cooked on the day or days needed, no freezing involved.

The Carlton have been catering for groups over the festive season for many years, we are not a group hotel and do not treat any of our guests in such a way, many of this years guests are return visitors to the Carlton, table set up as you mentioned are what you fellow guests have requested, we did not cram you into the Highland Suite, this suite has views over Princes Street Gardens and Calton Hill, I would have thought this would have been a better view than out Bridge Restaurant which unfortunately has no views of the sort. The suite was only three quarters full over Christmas.

I am very disappointed in your whole view of coach parties, many people do not drive or this is their only way to meet friends and family, everything about Christmas is sharing, we would not want any of our guests to be left out of the Christmas spirit, to be honest the overall feedback we received regarding the overall say was good.

Yes we may have had issues on Christmas Day lunch, but the majority of guests understood that it wasn’t just their Christmas but the Team at the Carlton’s Christmas too, we did not hear of the issues re the food on Christmas day lunch until the afternoon, a bit too late to do anything about it then.

Maybe you forgot to mention all the positives regarding your visit, like the Complimentary Champagne Reception on Boxing Day Night and Santa’s stocking on your door Christmas Day Morning, or the Gala dinner with Highland Dancers and a Piper on Boxing Day Night.

I look forward to reading more of your reviews on this fantastic site, and hope that your snap judgement never to us Puma Hotels again was wrote in the heat of the moment.

Thank you again for taking the time to place a review and hopefully we will have another chance to welcoming you back to the Carlton.

Kind Regards

Trevor

Trevor Duffy
Operations Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2012

My husband and i stayed here for three nights in November in what they call a Premium Double Room! The room was large with good sized TV and the bed was very comfortable BUT the decoration really needed an upgrade it was tired and there was scuffs on the wall here and there! just a lick of paint to brighten it up is all thats needed. The winow ledges were thick with dirt that would have washed off quiet easily as my sleeves proved when i rested on it!!! There was also a big dirty mark on the wall where a trouser press had once been with no attempt to cover the marks left behind. There is also very little draw space for your clothes its ok for one night stays but not for several. The two of the waitresses in the restaurant were really rude and very slow at their job! The reception staff were wonderful nothing was too much trouble ever! Kimberley the Manager was amazing a big thank you to her for all her help what a lovely person she is she lifts your spirits as soon as you talk to her.

Room Tip: If you want Luxury then this is not the hotel for you. if you want a good spot for the train station...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Carlton_Operations, Manager at The Carlton Hotel, responded to this review, January 9, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to leave a review regarding your visit at the Carlton Hotel.

I am glad to read overall your stay with us was a good one.

We have an ongoing maintenance plan to redecorate and touch up all areas of the hotel, like the forth rail bridge it is never ending. The room you were in may be next on our maintenance departments list.

I am a bit concerned regarding your comments about our restaurant team members, this is not the norm and I will be speaking to their departmental manager, on a plus thank you for passing on your comments regarding our duty manager, she is one of many assets we have here at the Carlton.

With our location being right next to the Waverley Station, we are an excellent location to set up as a base for exploring Edinburgh and the Lothian’s.

Thank you again for taking the time to place a review and hopefully we will have another chance to welcoming you back to the Carlton.

Kind Regards

Trevor

Trevor Duffy
Operations Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Harrogate, United Kingdom
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2012

We spent a wonderful Christmas 2011, food was wonderful and the atmosphere excellent but the hotel was run by Barcelo then. We decided to return this year for Christmas, oh what a difference, the food was cold and insufficient for many people and as for the amount of time waiting between courses well it beggared belief. The hotel now run by Puma is certainly a let down and unless they do some staff training and get new chefs the hotel is in danger of becoming notorious for its bad service and bad food.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Carlton_Operations, Manager at The Carlton Hotel, responded to this review, January 6, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to leave a review regarding your visit at the Carlton Hotel.

Firstly welcome back to the Carlton, it is nice to read another reviewer who has chosen to return after an excellent stay in 2011. it also sadden me regarding your title ”Don’t Go” , being a first time trip advisor reviewer, the power to influence potential customer is immense.

We were aware of issues during the festive season and kept all guest informed, the hotel rooms were to the highest standards we have ever had them, cosy, festive feeling throughout the hotel, the main purpose of any visit to any hotel is the bedrooms, if these are not right I could understand your point – but as many, if not all our guests have mentioned they were spotless and just what they needed over the festive break.

Yes we have changed from Barcelo to Puma Hotels, but in that time we have not only jumped up 10 position on trip advisor but also been nominated in the top 50 Hotel in Scotland for being the best Employer – by the team at the Carlton.

You can understand we didn’t get it right this year but rest assure we will learn from our errors and move onto next year to make it bigger and better.

I hope you had a chance to pop down to the German Markets on Princes Street again this year, with us just minutes away, not far for a stroll back to the hotel.

Thank you again for taking the time to place a review and hopefully we will have another chance to welcoming you back to the Carlton.

Kind Regards

Trevor

Trevor Duffy
Operations Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Carlton Hotel

Address: 19 North Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1SD, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > Edinburgh > Old Town
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#11 Spa Hotel in Edinburgh
#43 Family Hotel in Edinburgh
#59 Luxury Hotel in Edinburgh
#63 Romantic Hotel in Edinburgh
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Carlton Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 189
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The four-star Carlton Hotel Edinburgh is right in the heart of Scotland's historic capital city, situated on North Bridge overlooking the Royal Mile. Just minutes from Princes Street and Edinburgh Castle, with 189 bedrooms it's the perfect base for exploring what the city has to offer. Take the Edinburgh Dungeon Tour, unearth the city's history at the National Museum of Scotland then take in the spectacular views of the skyline from Arthur's Seat. Get your heart rate up in the squash courts, pamper yourself in the spa and beauty rooms then enjoy excellent local food in the contemporary Bridge Restaurant. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Barcelo Edinburgh
Carlton Hotel Edinburgh
The Carlton Hotel Edinburgh, Scotland

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