Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Edinburgh Balmoral

As I arrived in Edinburgh on the train in Waverly station at nearly 11:00 pm without a lodging for the evening, I felt a bit desperate.  Edinburgh has so many hotels that I didn't want to commit to anything until I had read reviews and compared locations on the internet.  This plan backfired when in Inverness I realized that I had to catch the 6:45 train or be stuck in Inverness for the night.  So, there I am in Waverly searching for lodging at 11:00 pm and not finding any place that would accept booking at such a late time.  I have been reluctant to stay at 5 star hotels throughout my journey, but the North British hotel was too convenient to pass on.  Just steps away from Waverly at 170 pounds a night and most importantly, they allowed late check in.  The formerly named North British Hotel History has a storied past that documents its notoriety and unequivocal snobbery.  My room was OK, but typical of these types of high end establishments, absolutely without charm and devoid of any real style. 

I stayed on the fifth floor and had a castle view.  I must have been in the Sean Connery suite, because the bathroom was illuminated by these two photographs of him which was kind of cool (even though James Bond is definitely not a Scot though Sean Connery is...).
The bathroom was clad in marble and had a very powerful shower and had mirrors everywhere, and could be considered the best feature of the room.  The staff practicallly bent over backwards to handle my luggage, which I thought to be a bit ridiculous.  Snob appeal and convenience are the two things that this establishment has going for it, and for wealthy patrons, that may be sufficient.

Architecturally, it is considered to be a monstrosity, an opinion that I tend to agree with.  It is worth noting, however, for its lasting place in the center of Edinburgh and for the brief experience I had with it on my pilgrimage.

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