The Nira Caledonia is a small luxury boutique hotel set in 3 adjoining Georgian townhouses in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town. On a quiet residential street, it is unobtrusive and understated. There are only 19 rooms and a further 9 suites, but they have been tastefully designed to ensure that there is a range of accommodation options to suit anyone’s needs.
I arrived after battling through the crowded streets of the city centre and was warmly greeted by George on the front desk. The reception area is small and not somewhere you can spend any time, but it is next to the cosy bar so you can spill out into it if necessary. The staff were friendly and happy at every interaction I had with them. I had even called ahead to ask about recommendations for vegetarian restaurants in the area and they were so helpful.
I was taken upstairs in the main building to a suite that was beyond my expectations. I had lived in Edinburgh for 4 years, and am well-versed in the high ceilings and grand rooms, but this was something else. The furniture and the wall paper were all dark, which highlighted the luxurious bed in the middle of the room. The two large windows were not particularly useful at that time of day in Scotland in winter, but allowed the light to stream in the following morning. There was a Nespresso machine, which I love, and a small mini-bar. George told me that whilst most items were chargeable to the room, the half bottle of champagne in the fridge was complementary – this is the case for all guests who book direct.
I had been given a suite and this one had a jacuzzi in the bathroom, but is not one of the ‘Jacuzzi Suites’ advertised on the website. I will be honest and say that I did not test it out, but this was mainly because I overslept in the huge, comfortable bed. The shower served its purpose, but was not as powerful as I would have liked. A delightful range of L’Occitane toiletries were in the room, as well as a cute little rubber duck, and fluffy white dressing gowns
I really liked that I was on the first floor of the main building as it meant that I did not have to go outside to move between areas. The hotel is a listed building, meaning that they are very limited in what changes they can make inside and as a result there is no lift. Naturally the staff apologised for this and offered to carry anything upstairs that I needed, but my one small bag was not a burden.
I had a drink in the bar before heading out for dinner and found it to be a very cosy place. There is a large selection of whisky and wine, as well as a decent assortment of bottled beers at very reasonable prices. My pint of IPA was only £4 which I charged to the room.
Breakfast is served 8am – 12noon on the weekends and is in the restaurant which is attached to the bar. If not included in the room rate, the choice is £9 for the Continental buffet option or £15 for the addition of the hot options. I really enjoyed the selection of things available but did feel that they were running low and had probably been out for a couple of hours, seeing as it was 1030 when I arrived. I am not sure how often, or if at all, the items were replenished as there were certainly empty platters and bowls in the buffet area. I opted for the vegetarian breakfast which was delicious. The egg’s yoke was a deep golden yellow and had been poached to perfection; it was just a shame that the portion was so small!
There were not many tables available – I counted 3 tables for four and a further 6 tables for two, and I was lucky to get a seat. To get round the issue of space, the hotel offers guests the option to have breakfast in the room. This is certainly romantic and there was plenty of space in the suite
I really enjoyed my stay in Edinburgh, and the Nira Caledonia is the almost perfect choice for a romantic getaway; just off the beaten track, luxurious but not overbearing. There are just a couple of little things that they could do to make it perfect; the room I was in was dark, and a lamp in the corner would have lifted the atmosphere. The champagne could also have been in an ice-bucket to make it more of a gesture rather than just being in the fridge. That said, it more than met my expectations and I am looking forward to finding an excuse to go back; after all – I never tried the jacuzzi!
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