With government restrictions constantly changing and a reduction in overseas travel, staycations have become a popular choice for many people to escape and unwind. Staycations have given me a newfound appreciation of both my home country and the stunning hotels and accommodation that are on offer. Hospitality has taken a huge hit in all directions, therefore staycations are one of the ways that we can support this struggling industry.
My partner and I were recently invited to stay at the luxurious Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel located in the city centre of Edinburgh. The hotel overlooks the distinguished Charlotte Square, sharing the same address with the likes of Bute House, the official residence of the First Minister of Scotland and the headquarters of the Edinburgh World Heritage Trust. Situated minutes from the west end of George Street and around the corner from Princes Street, it’s in a prime position to enjoy everything that this historic city has to offer.
Arriving at the hotel’s entrance you can’t help but notice its beautiful architecture which is typical of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. As you wander through the hotel’s elegant entranceway it is almost as if the noise of the outside world dissipates away. The space is furnished with antique furnishings, quirky vintage pieces and a fireplace all backed with a contemporary wall covering.
From the moment we exited our vehicle we experienced that impressive ‘Kimpton’ customer service. We were welcomed to the hotel, our bags were whisked off to our room and we were guided through to the lovely reception area to check-in. Even though the staff were hidden behind perspex screens their fantastic customer service still shone through. The foyer has a rich and ambient feel with parquet wooding flooring, low lighting and hues of grey and teal.
The rooms in this hotel are individually designed which allows you to experience a different stay every time you come back to visit. There is no specific ‘theme’, however there is a nod to the golden age of travel which subtly runs through the entire hotel. No matter which room you decide to stay in, you will catch glimpses of curated art, books, miscellanea and a style that blends both traditional and contemporary elements.
We were very honoured to be housed in the hotel’s Townhouse Suite (Room 33) which is located in the hotel’s ‘No.33 at Charlotte Square’. This area can be occupied for exclusive use as it has its very own private entrance and includes 12 guest rooms, a dining room and drawing-room. When this isn’t being utilised, Room 33 is a stunning 74 square metre suite which is separated into four beautiful designated areas; The Bedroom, Dressing Room, Bathroom and Lounge/Dining Room. As we entered the Townhouse Suite, we were so surprised by its size and beautiful design with its high ceilings, cornicing and oversized chandeliers throughout.
The bedroom with its muted natural colour scheme is accented by the midnight blue of the sumptuous velvet curtains that frame the sash windows. The kingsize bed takes centre stage, backed by differing styles of art and at its foot is an impressive chesterfield sofa. Additional seating and a desk mean there are plenty of areas to sit and relax and enjoy the ambience of this expansive room. A special selection of edible delights is available in the bedroom including a ‘tuck box’ with Scottish treats, a selection of Santu coffee which is freshly roasted in Edinburgh and your very own Nespresso machine.
The Dressing room, as we called it, is technically a large walkway connecting all the designated spaces. Its proximity to the bathroom and the inclusion of two large mirrored wardrobes not only makes it the perfect place to store your luggage but also to change and get ready for the evening ahead.
The bathroom itself is another space of considerable size with an impressive sink stand, roll-top bath, separate shower and toilet. The decor is clean, simple and contemporary. Being a fragrance addict, I especially loved the addition of The Perfume Story toiletries by acclaimed perfume designer, Azzi Glasser.
For me, the lounge/dining room was the most impressive and it was one of my favourite places to kick back and relax, so much so that I found it difficult to leave. Again a neutral colour tone has been used but the addition of brightly coloured furniture, accessories, art and lighting bring the room to life.
An impressive dining table adorned with yet another spectacular chandelier makes it feel as if you are almost living in a home rather than a hotel room. We especially adored the inclusion of a vinyl player which added to the ambience in the evening whilst sipping on a glass of wine.
Food and Drink
Talking about wine, there are numerous choices of food and drink at the hotel, even options that mean you don’t need to leave the luxurious confines of your room. Between the hours of 5-6 pm is the hotels ‘social hour’ where a glass of wine of your choice is delivered right to your room, which I thought was a fantastic touch. If you are feeling peckish and want to make full use of your room/suite there is also a very enticing in-room dining menu.
We opted to dine the hotel’s adjoining restaurant named Baba which serves a range of Mezze and charcoal grilled food inspired by the flavours of the Levant. As you can expect the interior design differs from the rest of the hotel. Baba exudes a more middle-eastern vibe with deep turquoise walls, sumptuous patterned materials and low ambient lighting.
Although there were many tantalising starters, the highlights of the Mezze were the delicious BABA ganoush with pomegranate and mint, Beetroot Hummus, whipped feta and pistachio dukkah and Labneh with toum, toasted coriander and crispy potato. For the main grill, we chose the slow-cooked lamb shoulder, ptitim, rose harissa, preserved lemon, mint and pomegranate. It was an extremely mouth-watering combination of smokey, tangy and sweet flavours (I think the whole restaurant may have heard me moan in pleasure). Although there is no alcohol being served at the moment, there is a range of mocktails to choose from which exude those middle-eastern flavours.
Bringing the outdoor in is the hotel’s beautiful urban oasis; The Garden. Located in the centre of the hotel, this light-filled room where breakfast is served to guests. The setting is very uplifting and it’s fantastic to sit under the numerous green foliage of plants whilst enjoying an appetising range of hot and cold breakfast choices. I opted for the lime and chilli avocado and toast adorned with a runny poached egg and my partner opted for the vegetarian breakfast.
Spa & Fitness Area
The hotel also has a spa on-site where you can lay back and relax, enjoy the swimming pool or even pamper yourself with one of the many treatments that are on offer. Due to current restrictions, guests do need to book in advance to secure time in the Spa, unfortunately, due to time constraints, we were unable to experience this on our stay but this only gives us another excuse to return.
Does it get the Blu Blazer Guy Rating of Approval?
Of course, it does! What I loved the most about this hotel and something that warmed my heart were all the personal touches by the staff. My partner and I recently celebrated 11 years together and I had not mentioned this to the hotel before my stay. However, when we arrived, it was acknowledged by the lovely Guest Services Manager, Cristina. On entering the room we were then treated to delicious Cuckoo’s Bakery Cupcakes (our favourite) and a bottle of champagne. The most heartwarming touch was a bowl of small scrolls which detailed key events for every year we have been together, which my partner and I thoroughly enjoyed opening during our stay. On our return from Baba, the staff had also kindly provided us with a turndown service which included a miniature bottle of whisky along with beautiful cufflinks from Edinburgh’s Walker Slater. These are the kind of unexpected touches that resonate with me and ensure your stay is personalised thus drawing you back for another stay.
The Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel makes for the perfect staycation due to its central location, impressive rooms/amenities and extensive food and drinks choices. Despite all the restrictions, it is still possible to have a very pleasurable stay at the hotel without actually ever having to leave. The ever-changing areas within the hotel with different design and atmosphere of its rooms, restaurants and breakfast area allow you to enjoy numerous experiences without having to step foot from the confines of the building. I myself was very impressed with the hotel from the start to finish and I have now added it to my list of Blu Blazer Guy Recommendations for exceptional hotels in Edinburgh.
Why not share the gift of travel this Christmas and purchase one of the many gift vouchers available on the Kimpton Charlotte Square website.
Blu Blazer Guy Rating
Location – 5/5 – Central City Location
Customer Service – 4.5/5 – Warm, Friendly & Personal.
Accommodation – 4.5/5 – Stylish, Comfortable and Luxurious
Cleanliness – 5/5 – Clean and Tidy and adhering to all covid guidelines
Food and Drink – 4.5/5 – An array of choices and good quality produce.