After my recent enjoyable trip to Newcastle, it only made sense to continue further north to Tune’s Scottish hotel in Edinburgh. So that’s what I did!
The hotel’s location couldn’t be more convenient – bang opposite Haymarket Station – allowing me to reach it easily from the Toon for the princely sum of all of £11. Despite the great transport links (there’s also a tram stop and bus stop – both of which connect to the airport), Tune’s Edinburgh hotel is in a less tourist-y area just 10-minutes walk from the city centre.
There are further conveniences too, with an M&S food supermarket across the road. Since Tune welcomes you to bring in your own food and eat in your room, it’s handy for keeping a stock of essentials.
The reception team gave a warm welcome, as is always the case with Tune. And I would later find out that their concierge advice was excellent too.
The reception area was impressively big compared to many London hotels – more room to stretch your wings! It has a relaxed atmosphere, providing the ideal place to chill out with a book or check your email.
The room design is similar to Newcastle – swanky and relatively spacious, making the product great value for the price (keep it quiet but rooms start as low as £20 during the winter off-season!).
They stay true to form with quality offerings in both the bathroom and bedroom, and a clever use of space, even when there’s more to work with.
In common with Tune hotels in London, focus is on the basics, making sure you get a comfortable place to sleep, a refreshing shower to start (or end) your day and a quiet place to recharge in between exploring the city.
After settling in, I headed straight for gorgeous Royal Mile for an evening stroll. Even though I wanted to see the city, I was determined to avoid the tourist traps – I decided to leave the Castle until next time!
There’s still plenty of history to see, especially when you peek down the closes for some hauntingly beautiful views. It’s easy to see why ghost tours of the city are so popular.
The next morning, I went looking for something a little more up-to-date, in the form of modern art. Alicia at the hotel reception gave me a tip off to see the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art – which was absolutely superb!
The collections, distributed across two buildings, contain world-class talent. It’s only a short walk from Tune, but remarkably quiet and under the radar because it’s just outside of Edinburgh’s main city centre.
The slightly out-of-the-way location means its fantastic building is in beautiful parkland, with a lovely river running past as you approach it.
And to top it all off, it’s free to enter, with only a few select exhibitions charging for admission. It’s a wonderful place to go for a wealth of amazing and free modern art.
My personal highlights were the cleverly-assembled Paolozzi Suite and some works on Surrealism – particularly a work by Max Ernst called Joie de Vivre.
There was also a great collection by Roy Lichtenstein, including Reflections on Girl, his iconic ART painting and various of his Water Lilies series displayed side-by-side. This gallery is a must visit if you like modern art!
After the gallery, I took a lovely walk in the centre around the Lawnmarket district, which is the oldest part of the Old Town.
While I was there, I discovered a fantastic juice bar and cafe called Hula, where I sat down for a healthy lunch.
Back at Tune, I spoke to David, the hotel’s General Manager, who had some top travel tips and ideas for visitors to the Scottish capital.
Here are his top three tips for anyone thinking of visiting:
1) Book early for Hogmanay (right away!) for fantastic rates and to enjoy the best New Year’s party in the northern hemisphere.
2) Edinburgh is a great base for an unforgettable tour of the Scottish Highlands – the position is perfect and there are various ways to arrange your trip. Contact the hotel for advice on how to do it.
3) There’s no need to stop at Edinburgh – why not do a tour of 3 great cities in the British Isles, combining London, Edinburgh and Dublin? It’s an especially popular idea among long-haul visitors from Asia and USA. You can book in advance, use low-cost flights for transfers and save on your trip.
The final convenience at Tune Edinburgh comes in the form of Platform 5 bar and restaurant next door. It’s as good as the hotel having its own restaurant, with perks like discounted breakfasts for guests and even late-night snacks for midnight munchies, without cramping the style of the hotel.
The team at Tune Edinburgh were as friendly as can be: a special thank you to them for their Edinburgh travel tips, they know the city inside-out!
Photo credits: LHI blogger Rajul, Tune Hotel Haymarket.