STANDING proudly in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, the DoubleTree by Hilton is a striking building in the heart of the capital. The grand, dome-roofed structure dates back to 1892 and occupies the former St Cuthbert’s Co-Operative store.
It was the Point Hotel until March last year, before being reborn as the DoubleTree after a £4.2 million renovation. The vast establishment has 138 bedrooms, a brasserie-style restaurant, a cocktail lounge, an exclusive rooftop bar and a gym suite.
Wining and Dining
The hotel’s Bread Street Brasserie is chic and laid back. Decked in purple and turquoise soft furnishings, with grey, high-backed chairs lining the walls, it has a contemporary feel. On reading the menu, its focus on fresh Scottish produce is immediately clear, and there is a good selection of wines to match.
Relaxing at a table by the window, my partner and I enjoyed starters of a plump crab cake served with rocket and tomato, and an elegantly presented dish of dill-cured salmon with horseradish cream and roasted beetroot. Our generous and meaty main courses of pan-seared duck with red onion mash and fillet steak with chunky chips were packed with flavour. Those with a sweet tooth won’t be disappointed by the dessert menu – the sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream left me in a sugary coma while the dark chocolate and cherry tart was also a hit.
The DoubleTree’s penthouse floor hosts one of Edinburgh’s best kept secrets – the Sky Bar, which only opens to the public on the first Thursday of every month. The slick venue’s floor-to-ceiling glass windows reveal an enviable view of Edinburgh Castle and the city centre skyline. Walking in, we felt like we were part of a secret club. We enjoyed a gin and prosecco cocktail and watched as fireworks exploded around the city on Bonfire Night. In summer, the venue hosts barbecues on the outdoor terrace and it is also available for private functions including weddings.
Budget or Boutique?
Somewhere in between. It is under the Hilton brand, but it has little touches which give it an identity of its own, and the room rates and food are reasonable for the quality. The halls are lined with black and white pictures of Edinburgh’s historic closes and old photographs of the building in its previous incarnation.
The vast fourth-floor deluxe room offers a glorious view of Edinburgh Castle and the bustling streets below. Fluffy bathrobes and slippers are provided, perfect for lounging on the king-size bed. Extra touches, like the cushions with “sweet dreams” embossed across them, add character to the sprawling room, while there is a well-stocked mini-bar. High quality toiletries are provided in the clean and airy bathroom, and the light-up, magnifying beauty mirror is handy for getting ready for dinner and drinks.
Worth Getting Out Of Bed For
The glorious view of the castle is enough to draw you from your slumbers, as is the cooked breakfast back in the brasserie. There is a large continental buffet and you can help yourself to cooked items from well-stocked hot plates or order something for the menu, such as the incredibly moreish French toast with maple syrup.
The hotel’s central location is also perfect for soaking up Edinburgh’s countless tourist draws. The plethora of attractions of the Old Town – including the Royal Mile and Grassmarket – are just a stone’s throw away, while if it’s shopping you’re after, Princes Street is only five minutes’ walk. You’re also just around the corner from The Usher Hall, Lyceum, and Traverse theatres and the city’s museums and galleries.
A warm and gooey chocolate chip cookie is presented to you on arrival, making it difficult not to start your stay with a smile.
A large hotel with friendly staff, which still has charm despite the chain label. Bread Street Brasserie and the Sky Bar are worth a visit even if you’re not staying in the accommodation, and you’d be hard pressed to find a more central base for a trip to Edinburgh.
• Rooms available from £66 a night. DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, 34 Bread St, Edinburgh EH3 9AF, tel: 0131-221 5555, doubletree3.hilton.com