After some hefty internet searching and reading (lots on TripAdvisor), I settled on Channings as my home base for a couple of vacationg/personal days that I was spending in Edinburgh after a long London-Cardiff-Glasgow trip. It is part of the Town House Company, a boutique chain that operates other properties in the city. While one of their less expensive offerings, it was still a bit of a splurge for me (especially when you consider the GBP to USD conversion), but I wanted a nice, personal 4-star place.
Channings is small and operates on a very old world scale. It is situated in a couple of connected town houses in a residential area (but that's easily walkable to the center of Edinburgh). Upon my arrival, the front desk person checked me in quickly and directed me to my room. The room was quite small (though I know I had one of the cheapest ones, so it's to be expected and I didn't mind), but well-appointed (really handsomely decorated) with nice sheets on the bed, a decently sized desk, and bathroom with tub. There was a basket with coffee/tea makings and some biscuits as well. And there was (I think) free wifi, which is always appreciated. I don't watch TV when I travel so I honestly don't recall if there was one for sure, but I think there was. The view from my windows was really quite picturesque. I think that the only drawback for me was the lack of bathrobe(s). For a 4-star place this nice, it would seem to fit...and makes for nice lounging about.
The service by the staff is quite detail-oriented. I received emails from Scott, the concierge prior to my stay (separate from the confirmation emails), asking if I had questions or any special needs. He was immensely helpful in accepting a package there on my behalf prior to my arrival. And when I was having trouble with the radiator on the bathtub one evening and called the reception desk, they sent him right up. He was quite friendly (and didn't make me feel silly for not knowing how to work it). The rest of the front desk staff was equally helpful with questions and directions (minus one instance on my last day in which I was misguided to the bus stop for the airport bus...which could have been disastrous, had I not found a nice local, walking the streets who helped me out). The same woman did do me a nice favor, however, in letting me pay part of the balance of my bill in GBP (so as to get rid of them before leaving the UK) and the rest via credit card.
My breakfasts were included in my room rate. They were served in the downstairs restaurant. While the convenience was appreciated, they were just OK and nothing terribly special (though I should admit that I found that I'm simply not a fan of the full Scottish breakfast...or English/Welsh elsewhere). My dinners there, however, were quite nice. One evening, I had the simple, but exquisite homemade pie and mash. The pie was excellent and overflowed with tender venison, cooked perfectly, and hearty vegetables. The next evening, I had a lovely salad packed with goat cheese and a fantastic duck entree (in which the duck was a perfect medium rare)...and some sort of yummy, but not too heavy dessert. The wines were reasonably priced, as I recall. Both times I ate in the more casual bar area (as opposed to the more formal place settings in other rooms). It was fine and pleasant, but the feel and decor seemed incongruous with the rest of the establishment (though it seemed to be a neighborhood hang out for some...which has a nice, casual feel). Service was attentive, but nothing overwhelming.
It's a quiet hotel, which I liked. I slept well and easily (due not only to running myself hard sightseeing all day, but also the peace and the quality of the bed/sheets). I enjoyed the quaint, refined feel (In addition to the handsome bedrooms, the lobby is also quite attractive, with lots of beautifully upholstered chairs). And as I mentioned, though it's set off a bit from the city center, it's quite convenient if you enjoy walking.
I had a lovely time at Channings. It's a classy establishment that enhanced my experience in Scotland. I'd pick it over the larger hotels any day, I'm guessing for personality and charm.
- 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