As a World Heritage Site, Edinburgh’s Old Town isn’t somewhere you want to see messed up – unsympathetic development can really take the shine off the most famous part of the capital. A round of applause, then, for the new Adagio Aparthotel on the Royal Mile, which blends in beautifully with the characterful street while housing the moddest of cons. The facade of the listed Sailor’s Ark building has been kept as the six-storey hotel’s face on to the Royal Mile, while the rear, looking to Market Street and Calton Hill, is sandstone and leads to the swanky new Waverley Arches business area, with the likes of Vino and Tempo Tea Bar, while a piece of public art “starring” Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam (embarrassingly, we took his visage for that of Orson Welles) is adjacent to a row of cute stalls, the Food + Flea market, where the street food vendors change but the buzz remains high.
Budget or boutique?
Who says you can’t have both? The Adagio Aparthotel is aimed at the citybreak crowd and business people staying anything from one night to a few weeks and its 146 apartments offer something a little different. That’s obvious the minute you enter the stylish reception area, with its blend of urban and country elements. And the reception team, eager to share their excitement over the new hotel, couldn’t be more welcoming.
Wining and dining
The Adagio Aparthotel doesn’t have a bar or restaurant – why would it, when it’s surrounded by some of the most inviting pubs and famous restaurants in Scotland? If you ache for a posh bite at the Witchery, Wedgwood or Banns, or something more casual at Zizzi, the Filling Station or – our favourite – the City Restaurant, they’re close by. The Mitre, the Tolbooth, Deacon Brodie’s… you won’t want for pubs. If you just fancy nesting for the night, and can’t even be bothered to go to the nearby Bene’s chippy, there’s a mini-market in reception offering ready meals and snacks. Breakfast, though, is another matter, with the light, airy relaxation space off reception doubling as a spot for a great start for the day; choose English, Continental or both, and if you’ve not got a hangover, investigate the impressively loud juicer.
Forget the bedroom with settee and TV plus bath, we had a nice-sized living room, connected kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. Wall-mounted TVs feature in bedroom and living room, the kitchen has a combination oven, dishwasher, proper fridge and more, there’s ironing board, hair dryer, oodles of cupboard space, no-hassle wi-fi… and so many power points, a real boon for those of us who are device happy. Best of all, a memory foam mattress and blackout curtains gave us an incredible night’s sleep. The only headscratcher is the coffee table, which is basically a padded stool, not terribly conducive to restful drink placement, but it ain’t half stylish.
Worth getting out of bed for
More a swish base than a destination, the Adagio Aparthotel isn’t about spas and experiences, but it does have a fitness suite, available 24 hours, with a selection of equipment. We were happy to have a slump in the plush breakfast room which, after service is over, is the perfect place to chill, with posh coffee maker, board games and books. The concept, the manager Jose explained, is gentleman’s club. And if you need a fag, or a more 2017 puff, there’s a purpose-built courtyard with seating and discreet “smokers’ poles”.
As for what to do outside the hotel, you’re close to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Castle, Our Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh Dungeon, National Museum, and a plethora of galleries. You won’t be bored.
The usual tea, coffee and biccies – and a shoe cleaning machine in reception that’s the business!
The Adagio Aparthotel is a heartening blend of the modern and the cosy, a plush pied-à-terre for however long you’re staying in Auld Reekie. It’s not trying to compete with the Balmoral or The Caledonian, it’s doing its own thing, and it’s really rather fantastic.
Studio apartments start at £80 per night, rising to £148 in busy periods. The Adagio Aparthotel, 231 Canongate EH8 8BH, 0131-322 8299, www.adagio-city.com/gb