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“So disappointing”

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The Witchery by the Castle
Ranked #30 of 392 Edinburgh B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Belfast, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“So disappointing”
Reviewed October 31, 2012

I used to work in Edinburgh one day a week for almost two years. I often took a walk up the royal mile and I would look into the Witchery and think, someday, i will bring my special someone there. That day was Friday 26th Oct. The place is stunning, so romantic, a very beautiful location and the staff were lovely. Imagine my disappointment when the food tasted bland! We opted for the £30 menu as we thought it would give us the chance to try 3 courses each at a reasonable price. I had the soupe au pistou, a very tasteless, bland, minestrone type soup that required a lot more seasoning. My partner opted for the salt cod, which came out as a purée and tasted of very little. Our mains arrived, vegetable tangine for me, again, tasteless, bland, boring, and my partner had the mullet, of which the portion was TINY, served with two peeled baby potatoes!!! We didn't have high hopes for the pudding! Luckily my marmalade brûlée was delicious, my partners knickerbocker glory a let down. The bill came to £78. For what I had planned to be the highlight of our trip to Edinburgh, was such a let down that it left a bitter taste in my mouth. A beautiful establishment, awful food. We popped into Whiski the following day, a gastro pub, for something quick before our flight, the food there was fantastic, tasty, good potion sizes, Pleasant staff, not the opulence of the Witchery but great value for money food.

  • Stayed October 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank dee0512
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
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English first
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
79 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
Reviewed October 24, 2012

My husband treated me to this for a suprise to mark our 10th wedding anniversary. We had stayed here before, about ?? 6 or 7 years ago, and I had raved about it afterwards for ages. That time, we had stayed in the 'Vestry' which is bigger and a bit more impressive, larger room, more dramatic bathroom, with lots of candles on pedestals filling the bathroom, and a bank of light switches to adjust the lighting just so......
This time we stayed in the Sempil suite - a little smaller and more snug, with separate lounge/breakfasting area to the bedroom. It was definitely quieter than the Vestry which looked out onto the main street (no double glazing in a 16th century conservation building!).
The Sempil was utterly silent, and if you closed the dense velvet curtains at night, completely blackout. You are absolutely cut-off in your own little world, away from all else.

The champage in the room (both nights! was this because they knew it was our anniversary?) was such a treat, and added to the indulgence of it all..... Cookies in jars, tea/coffee in the en suite kitchen, chocolate each night.....

Breakfast was served in a hamper in your room - and I felt it had decreased in size a little since our previous visit, but was very filling. Such a nice treat to unpack things and sit in bed with a picnic.

The weekend we stayed in October, the sun shone and it was very warm - so the rooms were a little overheated each time we came back ; (why do they turn on every light, the stereo, and pump up the heat each time we leave our room???). We could adjust the thermostat in the bedroom, but the underfloor heating in the bathroom was a little too much, and we couldn't find how to adjust it.

I don't accept the room was jaded and bedding threadbare (earlier review). This is a different hotel, utterly 'edinburgh' -in keeping with the whole 'Harry Potter', gothic, witching, image of the city ; it is far from a uniform, bland hotel room. And its not meant to be your standard, modern luxury place with minimalist decor and expanses of floor that the Missoni offers.The decor, furniture, and ornaments are not mere 'bric a brac'.... and add very much to the experience. It is opulence and different.

We ate in the restaurant on the Friday night - excellent. And helpful wine waiter.

My main niggle is the porter. We had marked very obviously that we wanted our hamper left outside the room in the morning - yet he insisted on knocking and bringing it in. It was very very obvious he wanted a tip, and insisted on talking and talking and reminding us that "we wouldn't see him tomorrow"..... It would be funny except it was the same guy, acting in exactly the same way as on our previous visit. Staff should be a LOT more discrete and not hound for tips in a hotel of this price range!!!! quite irritating.

I seem to be picking at everything above, but in conclusion, this hotel does have small quirks, but its the overall package you are paying for. Dead romantic!!! If you want to be carried away and get steeped in Edinburgh in the most sensual way, being your loved one here!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Irelandlife
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Level Contributor
44 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
Reviewed October 23, 2012

Ok Lets be honest here. The location is perfect right in the centre of the old town, 200 feet from the Castle Gates. The rooms themselves are romantic but that is kind of where it stops.
Remember that the average room rate here tops 300 pounds. What do you get for that?
The size of the rooms are good and yes it is atmospheric. Yet there are many things that let the hotel down. The quality of the bed linens is very poor. Sligtly threadbare sheets and pillowcases. A cheap blanket that my grandmother would have used The two sitting rooms were ok but none of the furniture or sitting areas where really useable. Lots of kitsche brick brack being passed off as style?
The continental breakfast was poor. I expected to be wowed and what I got was orange juice in a plastic bottle and very weak coffee and squashed breakfast pastries. The hotel bills itself as a restaurant with rooms. If thats the case then do it right. Have the kitched squeeze the juice fresh, bake your own pastries and breads etc.
If like me you have traveled globaly and stayed at the best hotels you will be disappointed here.
I have stayed at both The Missoni Hotel in Edinburgh as well as The Balmoral and I would be happier if I had stayed there. Yes it is romantic in a faded sort of way. Yes it migt have been the in place 5 years ago but the quality and comfort justs doesnt say 300 pounds to me.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank CanadianMoose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed October 16, 2012

Please read the warnings about this place and spend your money elsewhere. It was my husband's birthday and I actually booked this 2 months ago. What a waste of money and time. We attempted to stay in The Old Rectory but the bed is situated right up against the next room's SEWAGE stack. Every time someone used the toilet the stench was incredible. Utterly disgusting.

The fridge in the room was filthy - a pint of milk placed in plenty of bacteria.

Also, if you need foam pillows don't expect them to have more than enough for one room on site - we were told other guests had them. I have asthma and can't sleep with feathers.

As for management try complaining gracefully and be told it's a 16th C building what do we expect? I'm sorry but sleeping in the stink of [--] IS NOT WHAT we expect.

Avoid at all costs. A travel inn is better than this.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank dametyra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
115 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
Reviewed October 16, 2012 via mobile

We went to the witchery reastaurant (secret garden) last night. The venue itself was stunning. Service when entering was very good. Took our jackets and organised someone to take us to our table. The waiting team were knowledgable, friendly, professional, attentive without being obtrusive. Setting wonderful. Menu was slightly disappointing. Food. Starters were a little bland. Mains tasty. No wow factor with either the flavour and Presentation of dishes was poor. Wine list was impressive. Very much a tourist trap. Over priced. Over hyped. I enjoyed the whole experience but the food and prices were a little disappointing. TIP by friend is a celiac and they knew everything in the menu and changed items on it for her. You have to book a table. They always ask if you wish a taxi for your onward journey.

  • Stayed October 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank globaltrott
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bangkok
Level Contributor
202 reviews
79 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 359 helpful votes
Reviewed October 11, 2012

If you are looking for a 5 star hotel comforts or experience then you might not like the Witchery! We experienced creaky floors, faucets falling off, noises from other rooms etc. but wow what an atmospheric place to stay at!

Wonderfully full of characters, both for the furnitures and the staff (Roxy) and we throughly enjoyed our stay at the Witchery.

4 people in 2 rooms, the Library and Sempill. Library is on the 2nd floor with windows opening onto the street below - some noise issues. Sempill is on the ground floor towards the back and had more space and no noise except from people walking in the above room.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Pooky_TH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed October 8, 2012

Really great service at the witchery where the setting is very romantic. It's a very formal grown up setting perfect for a rare kid free night. Food very good but not historic, service really special though. On a warm night the cave-like setting gets really hot so dress accordingly!! Wines from £25 to £5000 pounds!

  • Stayed October 2012
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
Thank Fionaos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Witchery by the Castle

Property: The Witchery by the Castle
Address: The Royal Mile 352 Castlehill | Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NF, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > Edinburgh > Old Town , Castle / Royal Mile / High St
Amenities:
Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #30 of 392 B&Bs / Inns in Edinburgh
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Witchery by the Castle 5*
Number of rooms: 7
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
The Witchery By The Castle Hotel Edinburgh
Witchery Edinburgh
Edinburgh Witchery
Witchery Hotel Edinburgh
The Witchery By The Castle Edinburgh, Scotland

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