We stayed at Channings twice before and were becoming addicted to its comfort, mellow charm, friendly staff and superb location . . . then we went back for the third time and were stunned. This time all the plus points were still there, but when we arrived, we spent 15 minutes trying to put the lights on. A voice on the phone asked if we had put the master switch on. It was apparently by the door. There were 3 switches by the door, all on, but no lights. When someone came - a cheery young man - he spotted the fuse had tripped, went into some secret space above and voila - lights. it wasn't a good beginning.
It got worse.
The bathroom in our 'superior double' was worse than any I have had since I was travelling in Libya. Indeed, we got a better shower at a hotel in Gaddames in the Sahara!
Our bathroom this time was a dingy wee number with cracked floor tiles, a trickle from the tap that got even less trickly as we struggled to brush our teeth.The loo handle was temperamental and you had to get used to just pushing it down with some force or it 'died'. It was also loose and we wondered if it might fall off at any time.
Worse than anything was the narrow bath, with a curtain that stuck like glue as you tried to cleanse yourself and a shower that defies description. Still, I'll try - imagine appearing on the krypton factor naked, and really wanting to get showered. Everyone is watching. Minute after minute ticks by. You twiddle taps, you twiddle a turning screw thing. You fiddle with a lever. The water is boiling hot or cold and you dance like a dervish as you try to get a steady flow and temperature. You turn a wrong knob. It all stops. You start again. In the end, you give up, almost weeping. You get your partner to have a go. He curses. You ring reception, fed up to the back teeth. Naturally, just as someone gets to the door your partner gets the hang of it and you feel a real idiot.
By now, you are sweating and exhausted so the shower even fails in its basic job. You start the day in a filthy mood and are feeling worse because you know full well up on the 3rd floor, in heaven, where you slept last time, there are magnificent modern rooms that are not shabby and where everything works and you get your money's worth.
The bed and bedroom were lovely, but here comes the plumbing again . . . strange dripping and running water noises above my partner's head when the showers are all working (well kind of working) and damp spots on the ceiling. Again we wondered if water would start to seep through as we watched nervously.
The sitting room part of our superior double was very shabby and I stared with disbelief at wonky lamps, tired cheap tables and the remote control that doesn't work. There were two flat screen wall mounted TVs tho', one in the bedroom too, and that remote worked.
Now for all the plus points: the staff is always friendly and the common rooms downstairs are beautiful and mellow, full of comfy furniture and Victorian antiques. The bar is refurbished now and there's a pleasant conservatory type breakfast room. We didn't eat in the smart restaurant, but it certainly looks the part.
The breakfast is good, freshly cooked for you, and great quality. You can have the full Scottish (with or without porridge) or any combination of it, and its hot hot hot. This is because the plates are hotter than the sun, so take care. You can have speciality breakfasts for a small supplement - smoked salmon or haddock or kippers with eggs - and the continental option is fine with the usual fruit, cereals, rolls, croissants and pastries, yoghurt and little packages of cheese and sausage. The coffee was barely passable but even stupendous hotels' coffee usually is.
Service as everywhere in the hotel is fast and friendly, and a big plus for me is they had gluten free bread too.
So why oh why as they say on Points of View is Channings letting itself and its customers down? We told the staff re the plumbing nightmares on leaving and to be fair they were concerned and said they'd have tried to move us. We also told them we had asked for one of the modern suites on the 3rd floor specifically when booking, and we were told that tho' we booked months ago, they allocate rooms the day before!!!! Now we have it on our customer profile we need one of those suites or we'll go elsewhere.
The staff member checking us out also said they are doing improvements to rooms one by one - I can relate to this, but if we had been 1st timers, we would definitely not go back and there would have been two customers gone with the wind. Or rather with the water problems.
Whoever is in overall charge here needs to get their act together as its tragic to see such a great place go downhill - some real attention to some rooms is needed urgently to bring them from shabby at least to shabby chic, and the plumbing, dear lord, for gods sake get the plumbing sorted. We truly expected a 4 or 5 star experience and came away reeling for the wrong reasons. It did affect our whole stay for our anniversary weekend as it put is in teed off mode from the start to the end.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Channings in Edinburgh is an informal, relaxed hotel with a very friendly approach. It occupies five Edwardian townhouses in Stockbridge, one of Edinburgh's most popular 'urban villages'. Channings is a wonderfully quirky property which feels a bit like a Scottish country home, full of charming Victorian paintings, prints, books, furniture and memorabilia reflecting the history of previous tenant Sir Ernest Shackleton. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Channings Hotel Edinburgh, Scotland