Media & Press
“Stunning boutique hotel”
“The only Place To Stay”
We are currently staying at Dunstane House for the fourth time, the first was for our honeymoon in 2009. The staff are very welcoming, very easy to approach and nothing is too much trouble. Some staff remembered us from our previous visits and we were welcomed like family members. We are in a deluxe double room this time (room 108)…
“A lovely hotel with very friendly helpful staff.”
We went to Edinburgh for my daughters 21st birthday last weekend. On arrival at the hotel we were made to feel very welcome, shown to our room which exceeded our expectations. It was immaculate and pristine with a larger than average bathroom. It also had an extra room as it was a suite. Very stylish decor. There is a bus…
Daily Record July 2012
SCOTLAND’S capital. Home of one of the world’s most famous castle, countless museums, theatres, exhibition centres, the Fringe, the dungeons, Edinburgh Zoo and many more attractions to pull in tourists and locals.
And I was there to sample none of them. That’s right, not one thing.
Unless standing awkwardly outside a raft of shop changing rooms while my wife tried on an endless number of dresses for a wedding counts.
It’s quite amazing how tiring it is standing outside a changing room (usually next to the women’s lingerie section) trying desperately to look at nothing in particular, while feeling especially ill at ease.
But before we could start Dress-Fest 2012 we needed a base – somewhere convenient for the city centre with parking, a restaurant and a luxurious room that resembled anything but a shop floor would be nice.
Criteria that led us to the very impressive Dunstane House Hotel.
The building dates back to 1852 to a design of William Playfair, one of Edinburgh’s most famous architects.
Now a boutique hotel owned and managed by Derek and Shirley Mowat, it has 19 bedrooms.
It also boasts a gem of a restaurant. In fact, Skerries is popular with Edinburgh’s foodies in its own right, specialising in Scottish produce and in particular the seafood of Orkney and Shetland.
It has been newly refurbished and offers an intimate, boutique dining experience. It’s a must.
And with a vast selection of malt whiskies in the Stane Bar, you can soon forget the pre-programmed shopping phrases like, “No, your bum looks great in that dress” and “That colour makes your eyes sparkle”.
As you walk up to the entrance, the feel is of a welcoming house set in a lovely garden. The reception area puts you in no doubt about the owners’ Orcadian history, with interesting snap shots and paintings.
We stayed in the “red room”, which oozed boutique chic and displayed two stunning red armchairs that would be a pleasure to return to after a day on our feet.
Introductions over, we walked to Princes Street, where I began my shift as a human coat hanger.
Luckily someone was watching over me, as after only five and a half hours, two fits of leg cramps and feeling only mildly dehydrated, my wife found the garment destined for her.
A brisk walk and quick spruce up in our room and it was time for Skerries, where a taste of Orkney has definitely been imported to Edinburgh.
The menu boasts a saliva-inducing selection of fresh seafood, which all sounded delicious, along with more traditional options.
For my starter, I had herb gnocchi with creamed spinach & parsley oil, while my wife chose the Orkney seafood chowder.
Both dishes left us looking forward to our mains. The king scallops were a perfect texture and my wife was delighted with her choice of prime scotch beef Dunstane burger with applewood smoked cheddar.
Our stay in Edinburgh was faultless.
Don’t believe us? On 16th May 2009, The Times’ website had this to say:
“The Dunstane City Hotel is a smart boutique property with just 18 rooms. For a four-star hotel with sleek, minimalist interiors, the £99 room tag, which includes full Scottish breakfast, seems surprisingly small. It is just five minutes’ walk from Haymarket train station and 20 minutes from the castle.”
The Guardian Newspaper 21st June – Morwenna Ferrier
Edinburgh’s Haymarket district is quiet and shady, filled with cobbled side roads, B&Bs and Costcutters but, according to our taxi driver at least, it comes alive at festival time. We were staying at the 18-bedroom Dunstane City, which opened last year as a little sister to the older Dunstane House across the road. From both hotels, you can walk to the city centre (about 15 minutes), take the train or one of five buses or a taxi (around £6).
Ours was a good size, with Molton Brown toiletries, complimentary Quality Street and a large bay window facing on to the busy road. One curious commuter definitely saw my bra. The room was stunningly clean. My friend even started foraging for dust under the bed while trying to locate the remote. Neither was found.
The building started off as the home of a merchant called Archibald Shearer and was allegedly built in 1867. I say allegedly because in our room, good and clean though it was, every historical detail had been covered with chenille fabric or wallpaper. The bedrooms are decked out in four shades of milky coffee, shot with a dizzying pattern in either gold, navy or platinum, and various textiles, my least favourite being the platinum “sharkskin” (rough one way, smooth the other) throw on the bed. Even the checked carpet resembled a Magic Eye picture.
The breakfast was very reasonable. Hot, salty, Scottish porridge, proper fruit salad and eggs with optional haggis all arrived efficiently. But it’s not a patch on dinner at Skerries restaurant in over the road in Dunstane House, which was packed with jovial locals enjoying haggis. I liked the non-ironic Spandau Ballet soundtrack, and loved the pagan artwork because the hotel’s money and time had clearly been pumped into sourcing the food rather than paying for designer furnishings across the road.
The plump, Orkney mussels paddled in a moppable cream sauce; my salmon, also from Orkney, was surpassed only by sweet carrot sticks and perfect mash, while my friend’s monkfish and wild mushroom risotto met with her approval. Details aside, we ate well and slept soundly afterwards. Chenille, it transpires, is an excellent light-blocker.
Smart, ritzy and ultra-clean with an excellent restaurant next door. The hotel’s busy decor might be a bit much for some tastes, though.
Double rooms start from £99, including breakfast. Skerries Restaurant at Dunstane House offers a two-course dinner from £26.95. Morwenna Ferrier travelled with National Express East Coast (0845 722 5225; nationalexpresseastcoast.com), which offers return fares from London to Edinburgh from £33.