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“Mediocre”
Review of The Balmoral Hotel

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The Balmoral Hotel
Ranked #9 of 147 Hotels in Edinburgh
Certificate of Excellence
Warwick
2 reviews
“Mediocre”
Reviewed March 1, 2008

I knew it was 5 star when it was booked for me so I was expecting something amazing. I didn't get it. It was disappointingly average. The room, which was not cheap I found out, was nice but after travelling half way around the world I was looking forward to making a nice cup of tea which I had to ring for. I drink a lot of tea and having being away from home for 4 weeks I was really loking forward to it but felt due to there not being a kettle in the room I had to limit myself.

I did notice that because I was wearing a suit I was given much more attention than the woman wearing jeans who was having a problem with her room smelling of smoke and trying to get it rectified at reception. Do those days still exist where you're given different service depending on what you're wearing? How awful if they do.

I didn't eat dinner at the hotel but I did have breakfast which was very nice. Plenty to choose from.

It's an odd situation. I don't think I'll be back yet I would recommend it to friends if I knew they liked a very formal hotel experience..

Stayed October 2007
Helpful?
Thank warwicklaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Gloucestershire, England
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed February 22, 2008

We stayed at the Balmoral for an anniversary and were overwhelmed with the whole package.
The staff were exceptional; polite, attentive and there was no job too difficult.
The room was beautiful with a great view and it was exceptionally comfortable.
The hotel is also in a prime location for exploring the city.
The only problem with the hotel is that every one we have stayed at since just does not compare!

  • Liked — Everything!
  • Disliked — Having to leave
  • Stayed February 2004, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank GaryAndJen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
54 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 273 helpful votes
Reviewed January 27, 2008

We decided on a last minute trip into Edinburgh for one night (off season weeknight in December) while we were visiting friends in The Borders. We did not have reservations but I had looked at several possibilities and checked into rates on hotel websites before we left the U.S. We arrived at The Balmoral in the late afternoon after a day of touring the Castle. We had decided if they were friendly and offered a good rate this was probably our top choice.

The staff at the front desk could not have been nicer. Without asking, they immediately offered the internet rate. I was still a bit leery since I know it is possible in older hotels that the least expensive room can be dark and dreary, overlooking a stairway or vent. I asked to see the room before we actually decided. A friendly clerk took us up to the sixth floor and showed us a lovely room. I wasn't expecting a view of the Castle but we did have a very nice view of the Royal Mile, the Scotsman Hotel across the North Bridge, City Hall (with the Christmas star on top), and yes, to off to the right, the Castle. It was a small dormer style window but still a very nice view (see photos). And better yet, the large bathroom also had the great view.

Our room, #626, was very comfortable with nice amenities. A comfy chair and a window seat, flat panel TV, small but well thought out closet with good drawer space, robes and slippers. The bathroom was done in trendy black and white with a deep soaking tub, heated towel bars, good lighting and mirrors, nice smelling toiletries, and as our Scottish friend put it, the loo with the view.

I do agree with other reviews that mentioned the lack of a coffee/tea maker in the room. If we were staying more than one night that would have been annoying to us. We did receive a copy of the Scotsman newspaper outside our door in the morning. I'm not sure if that is standard or because was are Leading Hotels Club members. Room service breakfast was quite expensive so we walked a few minutes outside the hotel (just across the bridge) and found a take-away coffee shop with good pastries which we took back to our room for breakfast.

We really enjoyed the beautiful Palm Court Bar for our after dinner Scotch Whisky. The two bartenders were simply wonderful and we spent a long time chatting with them. As it turned out, they were having computer trouble that evening so we signed a hand written bill for the drinks. The next day upon check out we weren't charged. When I told the desk clerk that we had drinks in the bar she commented on the computer problems, looked for the bill, couldn't find it, so she said the drinks were on the house. Very commendable.

The concierge was very helpful in giving us directions. The hotel is in a great location for touring the city. Walk across the North Bridge to the center section of the Royal Mile. Or out the front door across Princes Street to New Town. And, since it was the Christmas season just a block up Princes Street were the outdoor German style Christmas markets with food and craft stalls.

This was a splurge for us (due to the weak U.S. dollar during our trip to Scotland the bad exchange rate made upscale hotels very expensive) but I would love to return to The Balmoral the next time we visit Edinburgh.

Highly recommended!

  • Liked — The great bathroom with view, warm friendly staff
  • Disliked — No coffee maker in the room
  • Stayed December 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank babygoon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
82 reviews
72 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
Reviewed January 25, 2008

It is some time ago that we stayed there but now I am trying to write a review from all the hotels we stayed and this is one we remember well.. we had a lovely time there. Spacious room with all the comfort you would wish for, staff is nice and the food was good too! Room had a great view on the castle.
Shops etc you can find on the other side of the street.

  • Liked — Old grandeur..still going strong
  • Disliked — Nothing I can think of...
  • Stayed October 2006, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank Wereldreizigster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Redding, California
Level Contributor
213 reviews
93 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 127 helpful votes
Reviewed January 24, 2008

If you have a suite you feel like you are at The Balmoral, but if you have a normal room, you feel cheated.

It needs a good cleaning and better restaurants.

Great location, but way too high of a reputation for what it's worth.

  • Stayed October 2004, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank InternationalCare
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Yorkshire England
Level Contributor
30 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 109 helpful votes
Reviewed January 23, 2008

This is an extremely good hotel. Firstly, it is exquisitely located - at the end of Pricess Street and just above the railway station. It is an old hotel and the main entrance, whilst very pleasant and well maintained, does not have the spectacular atriums of some more modern creations. This was, however, more than made up with by the courtesy and helpfulness of every member of staff whom we came across.
We were greeted warmly and the receptionist was pleasant and efficient and confirmed with us the agreed room rate. We were very lucky in that we were upgraded to a room with a view of the castle and Princess Street. which must be one of the best hotel room views in the world. The room was a good size without being gigantic and was well furnished and modern. The air-conditioning worked very well and there was a safe. the bed was comfortable. The bathroom was large, all tiles and marble, with a gigantic bath with a plethora of hot water. The towels were proper bath sheets (rather than bath towels!) -other hotels please note!
My wife and her sister had afternoon tea which was very good and well served in tasteful surroundings although at £21 very expensive. Other than this and breakfast we did not eat in the hotel. Breakfast was excellent with a plentiful buffet if required. We had the full Scottish breakfast which was really good and, believe it or not it was hot AND served on hot plates. (Managers of most British hotels should come here and find out how to serve a HOT breakfast!!!!) The service was excellent and the restaurant manager found time to speak to us - we appreciated her efforts.
The main bar is not brilliant and according to the price list an unspecified beer (draught or bottle?) cost £5 - which was obviously ridiculous and we drank elsewhere. There is another bar (when it is not being used for afternoon teas) where we drank late at night with beer at £3.50 for 500ml - much more reasonable
Another unusual feature for a British hotel was that the bill was correct and we were wished farewell with the same style that we experienced throughout our stay. We really enjoyed our stay. It was not cheap although you should aim to pay well under the rack rates, especially off-peak. I would thoroughly recommend this hotel which rated well with 5 star hotels anywhere we have been.

  • Liked — The style of the hotel and the helpfulness of the staff
  • Disliked — The prices in the main bar
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
Helpful?
2 Thank ronfaddison
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
carlisle
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed January 16, 2008

I have just returned from the balmoral, and can say how its 5 star is beyond me. the good points are staff,downstairs deco and the spar staff were excellent, great breakfast too.the poor points are no hairdryer in room,no kettle,no free water.leaking bathroom. horrible dated bathroom, noisy air con which was broken, broken heating,no parking except you might pay £25 for valet parking and lots more but im to stressed to remember! It calls itself 5 star but there is no way , 5 star would have dirty sheets scuffed walls etc. I think there might be a good balmoral edinburgh somewhere but it was not here. Please save your money and stay elsewhere.

  • Liked — breakfast
  • Disliked — dirt and leak in room.
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank quelly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HarryFernandes, Resident Manager at The Balmoral Hotel, responded to this review, January 23, 2008
Dear Guest,

Thank you for the feedback you have posted on the Trip Advisor website.

I was very sorry to learn of your disappointment and wish that you had given us an opportunity to rectify the aspects of your stay that you were not satisfied with.

I have since shared your comments with my team and we hope to have the opportunity to welcome you back to the Balmoral

Kind Regards

Harry Fernandes
Resident 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 Balmoral Hotel

Property: The Balmoral Hotel
Address: 1 Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 2EQ, Scotland
Location: United Kingdom > Scotland > Edinburgh > Princes Street and Gardens
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
#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):
You will find The Balmoral at Edinburgh's most prestigious address, No. 1 Princes Street, where the Old Town stops and the New Town begins. Our hotel's majestic clock defines the city's skyline and since the day we opened in 1902 it has run three minutes fast to ensure you will never miss your train. The Balmoral is a grand railway hotel where our porters can still be organised to whisk guests from the station hall to the reception desk, and our kilted doormen will guide you into the hotel. Experience Number One our Michelin-starred restaurant, indulge in afternoon tea at Palm Court or drinks in the signature whisky bar, Scotch. A comprehensive range of treatments will help you unwind in the award-wining Balmoral Spa. The 188 opulent suites and stylish rooms have magnificent views of the city or the hotel's internal courtyard. The hotel's ten banqueting suites all enjoy natural daylight and stunning views of Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street or the historic Old Town and can accommodate a wide range of events. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Balmoral Hotel Edinburgh
Balmoral Edinburgh Hotel
The Balmoral Hotel Edinburgh, Scotland

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