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“Nice but not 5 star”
Review of The Balmoral Hotel

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The Balmoral Hotel
Ranked #13 of 151 Hotels in Edinburgh
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 24 January 2008

If you have a suite you feel like you are at The Balmoral, but if you have a normal room, you feel cheated.

It needs a good cleaning and better restaurants.

Great location, but way too high of a reputation for what it's worth.

  • Stayed: October 2004, travelled on business
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
2  Thank InternationalCare
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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3,553 - 3,557 of 4,046 reviews

Reviewed 23 January 2008

This is an extremely good hotel. Firstly, it is exquisitely located - at the end of Pricess Street and just above the railway station. It is an old hotel and the main entrance, whilst very pleasant and well maintained, does not have the spectacular atriums of some more modern creations. This was, however, more than made up with by the courtesy and helpfulness of every member of staff whom we came across.
We were greeted warmly and the receptionist was pleasant and efficient and confirmed with us the agreed room rate. We were very lucky in that we were upgraded to a room with a view of the castle and Princess Street. which must be one of the best hotel room views in the world. The room was a good size without being gigantic and was well furnished and modern. The air-conditioning worked very well and there was a safe. the bed was comfortable. The bathroom was large, all tiles and marble, with a gigantic bath with a plethora of hot water. The towels were proper bath sheets (rather than bath towels!) -other hotels please note!
My wife and her sister had afternoon tea which was very good and well served in tasteful surroundings although at £21 very expensive. Other than this and breakfast we did not eat in the hotel. Breakfast was excellent with a plentiful buffet if required. We had the full Scottish breakfast which was really good and, believe it or not it was hot AND served on hot plates. (Managers of most British hotels should come here and find out how to serve a HOT breakfast!!!!) The service was excellent and the restaurant manager found time to speak to us - we appreciated her efforts.
The main bar is not brilliant and according to the price list an unspecified beer (draught or bottle?) cost £5 - which was obviously ridiculous and we drank elsewhere. There is another bar (when it is not being used for afternoon teas) where we drank late at night with beer at £3.50 for 500ml - much more reasonable
Another unusual feature for a British hotel was that the bill was correct and we were wished farewell with the same style that we experienced throughout our stay. We really enjoyed our stay. It was not cheap although you should aim to pay well under the rack rates, especially off-peak. I would thoroughly recommend this hotel which rated well with 5 star hotels anywhere we have been.

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank ronfaddison
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 January 2008

I have just returned from the balmoral, and can say how its 5 star is beyond me. the good points are staff,downstairs deco and the spar staff were excellent, great breakfast too.the poor points are no hairdryer in room,no kettle,no free water.leaking bathroom. horrible dated bathroom, noisy air con which was broken, broken heating,no parking except you might pay £25 for valet parking and lots more but im to stressed to remember! It calls itself 5 star but there is no way , 5 star would have dirty sheets scuffed walls etc. I think there might be a good balmoral edinburgh somewhere but it was not here. Please save your money and stay elsewhere.

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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6  Thank quelly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
HarryFernandes, Resident Manager at The Balmoral Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 23 January 2008

Dear Guest,

Thank you for the feedback you have posted on the Trip Advisor website.

I was very sorry to learn of your disappointment and wish that you had given us an opportunity to rectify the aspects of your stay that you were not satisfied with.

I have since shared your comments with my team and we hope to have the opportunity to welcome you back to the Balmoral

Kind Regards

Harry Fernandes
Resident Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 January 2008

Stayed at the Balmoral with my husband 11th and 12 January for a pampering belated Christmas present to each other. The experience was wonderful, mainly due to the staff being the most friendly of any hotel I have ever stayed at. From the warm welcome at reception, to the staff in the Palm Court, (especially Gary!), and every other employee we came accross, nothing was too much trouble. Not in the forced, polite, way you come accross in some hotels, just a genuine warmth and natural ease. Whoever is in charge of customer care is to be commended.

The standard room we were given was a pleasant surprise as I had presumed it would overlook the courtyard, but we had a view of Carlton Hill. The room was much more contemporary than I had expected, but the bed and pillows were extremely comfortable and the bathroom was enormous, with a huge bath big enough for two (we didn't test it!).

We didn't use the pool or No 1 restaurant, but had a lovely breakfast each day in Hadrian's, and had the fantastic champagne afternoon tea one day in the Palm Court while a harpist played. Bliss! Be warned though, we were advised to share as the amount of sandwiches, scones and cakes for one person would feed a family of four, and we're so glad we took the advice. Everything was very expensive, but we knew that when we booked, so if you're going to complain about the prices, don't go. On saying that, just one small complaint - why no tea/coffee making facilities in the room? I like a cup of tea whenever I open my eyes in the morning so the first morning we ordered a pot of tea for two from room service - we found out later we were charged £11.50 for it! We didn't bother the second morning!

That said, I wouldn't hesitate to go back to the Balmoral for that special treat every once in a while.

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank RossiFife
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 January 2008

We booked a spa treatment for 2 adults on new years day-- booked weeks in advance, we were contacted by the hotel to confirm we were coming and told we would be charged if we cancelled--all no problem because we were expecting a great experience.
That's not what happened--we arrived for our 4p
appointment, at least 15-20 minutes before our scheduled time.
The lady at the front desk of the spa took our names
then we stood at the desk while she helped another customer
we again told her our names she seemed tense and asked us to sit on 2 chairs in the lobby--which seemed odd, but we did it
I thought maybe they were running behind schedule--she ignored us for close to 15 minutes then i went up to ask what was happening--she said one minute--okay i sat again -
then she came over and took us into the pool area and said please wait here. Now this is really strange--people are in their bathing suits and robes and the pool area is incrediably hot because we are standing there with our winter entire--coat, hat, gloves, bags--what's going on--it's now way after 4p -- so after standing in the pool area feeling like a fool with everyone looking at us--i went back out to finally get an answer--
the manager was now at the desk with the young lady--I said "What's happening?" finally she tells us--that a mistake was made and we were booked at 3p not 4p and they were checking the correspondence with us to see who's fault it
was--yikes--why didn't you tell us that when we arrived now almost 40 minutes later--just such bad customer relations--
after admitting that the hotel made the mistake the manager offered to reschedule the next day but since we were leaving town that was impossible--then she offered us a complimentary cup of tea--(we declined) she apologized but there was nothing she could do--we spoke to the hotel manager on duty -- same result! Some customer service training needs to happen at the spa because a bad experince could easily have been avoided with a simple and immediate explanation.

Stayed: January 2008
12  Thank bankwest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Balmoral Hotel

Address: 1 Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 2EQ, Scotland
Region: United Kingdom > Scotland > Edinburgh > Princes Street and Gardens
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Spa Hotel in Edinburgh
#3 Family Hotel in Edinburgh
#5 Business Hotel in Edinburgh
#10 Luxury Hotel in Edinburgh
#10 Romantic Hotel in Edinburgh
Price Range: €209 - €762 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — The Balmoral Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 188
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
You will find The Balmoral at Edinburgh's most prestigious address, No. 1 Princes Street, where the Old Town stops and the New Town begins. Our hotel's majestic clock defines the city's skyline and since the day we opened in 1902 it has run three minutes fast to ensure you will never miss your train. The Balmoral is a grand railway hotel where our porters can still be organised to whisk guests from the station hall to the reception desk, and our kilted doormen will guide you into the hotel. Experience Number One our Michelin-starred restaurant, indulge in afternoon tea at Palm Court or drinks in the signature whisky bar, Scotch. A comprehensive range of treatments will help you unwind in the award-wining Balmoral Spa. The 188 opulent suites and stylish rooms have magnificent views of the city or the hotel's internal courtyard. The hotel's ten banqueting suites all enjoy natural daylight and stunning views of Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street or the historic Old Town and can accommodate a wide range of events. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Balmoral Hotel Edinburgh
Balmoral Edinburgh Hotel
The Balmoral Hotel Edinburgh, Scotland

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