The door men and reception team were all courteous and quick to give you attention upon arrival. I was particularly impressed with the housekeeping team because my room was spotless throughout my three day stay.
Apart from not having an iron in a room that was booked by my company for me to go on an business trip to Edinburgh, the room was comfortable with every other facility that I could wish for to make my stay run smoothly. However, I would expect an iron to be available in a room of a 5* hotel.
The hotel is in an excellent location to explore Edinburgh. The shops are on the door step, and there are plenty of bars and restaurants within walking distance. The castle is a ten minute walk away.
The food I ordered from room service was of a good qaulity and plentiful. It was also very well presented and served by charming staff.
The fire alarm went off late one night whilst I was asleep in bed. Along with a large group of other guests staying at the hotel, we quickly ran to the nearest fire exit and made our way down a number of flights of stairs to what we thought was the fire exit door that would lead us outside to safety. At this point there was at least 100 people behind me standing up the stairs waiting for me to exit via the fire door I had led them to. However, despite several attempts by both myself and a male guest we were not able to open the door because it was jammed.
At this stage people in the stair well started to understandably panic, especially as the alarm was still ringing very loudly in our ears. We frantically banged on the door as hard as we could in the hope someone outside might hear us. After what felt like a number of minutes a relative of someone who was trying to help me get the door open who had managed to exit the hotel via another door earlier thankfully heard our pleas for help. He managed to get the door open from the outside by kicking it several times. This thankfully seemed to work because after a number of kicks it finally unjammed and we all escaped. This was a very frightening experience for everyone who had been effectively trapped in the stairwell for what felt like eternity.
We then stood out in the street with the rain pouring down on us. No one from the hotel staff provided us with an update on what was happening or even thought to direct us to the designated emergency muster point away from the hotel. Instead all the guests huddled by the doors of the hotel trying to shield themselves from the torrential rain, which prevented anyone else from exiting the hotel. No staff made any attempt to ask the guests to move away from the doors to let others guests get out as they should have done if they had received proper training in what to do in the event of a fire.
Finally after about ten minutes some hotel staff appeared giving out what looked to be a small bowl of silver foil wraps to keep people warm. However, the staff provided no update for what was happening, and when asked they just shrugged their shoulders. They seemed to be more amused by the fact the guests were freezing cold standing in the rain looking dazed and confused. The only thing we could see to indicate that there maybe was a fire was the fire engine that was located outside the front door of the hotel.
Finally after about thirty minutes I heard another guest say we could go back inside the hotel. No staff appeared to be around that I could see in the foyer to let us know if we could use the lifts or not. This caused further confusion amongst the guests who were understandably hesitant to get in the lifts for fear of getting trapped. Instead everyone was crowded in the hotel lobby not knowing what was happening and whether we could go back to our rooms or not.
All in all I think the way this supposedly 5 star establishment managed what looked to be a genuine fire alarm situation was beyond appalling. It wasn't helped by the fact that the guests, which included several colleagues of mine, were provided with a letter the next day from the night management to apologise for the fire alarm going off, and to inform us that they are short of staff on the night shift.
Some of my colleagues informed me that the fire alarm had gone off before earlier in the week when again the hotel staff appeared clueless to what was going on. This information, coupled with the letter I received from the night management team, and with what I had witnessed when trying to escape to safety the night before during the alarm did nothing to instill any confidence in me that this hotel is safe to stay in.
I have since escalated to the company where I work that regularly use this hotel, and to the travel company we use to book it on our behalf my concerns on the processes this hotel has in place for when the fire alarm goes off. I think they need to be urgently reviewed by the company that own this hotel.
I reported the fire exit door being jammed the next day, but despite being assured by the reception team that all staff working at the hotel receive a thorough training programme for what to do if the alarm goes off, it was very evident from the events of the night before that not many staff working the night shift take the fire alarm going off seriously. The few staff I did see giving out the silver wraps were oblivious to the fact that some of the guests were scared, most were very wet from standing outside late at night in the pouring rain in their night clothes, and due to the fact that no one from the hotel had the decency to let us know what was going on there was an element of panic and chaos too. The staff instead appeared to be confused themselves or in some cases amused by the soaking wet guests. It was not the level of service you would expect in such a situation from a 5 start establishment.
Having a fire door jam when you are trying to escape what you think is a genuine fire is a frightening enough experience. However, having staff from the night shift team not think to keep their paying guests informed of what was going on in order to help calm them or think to inform them it was OK to use the lifts again left me feeling very disappointed in the Caledonian The whole situation with the fire alarm was in my view a fiasco. As a result I wouldn't stay at this hotel again because put simply I wouldn't feel safe.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian, or the "Caley" as it has become affectionately known among Edinburgh folk, was and still is the epitome of style and excellence. The large, rose-coloured Permian sandstone facade, quarried in Dumfries, dominates the skyline of the city's west end. The hotel has not only remained a focal point for more than one hundred years, but a symbol of the very best of Scottish hospitality. The Caley's pivotal position at the very heart of Edinburgh has always been its greatest asset. Created out of the 19th century railway boom, the five star hotel is looking to the future with confidence and pride in its ability to keep pace with the times. The hotel's reputation is as justified now as it was when the hotel first opened its doors in 1903. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hilton International Edinburgh
- Hilton Edinburgh
- Edinburgh Hilton
- Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian Scotland