24-Hour Room Service: The Howard, Edinburgh

So no copper free-standing bath this time then? Shown to our suite the bathroom was huge - with a traditional roll-top, claw-foot, white bath. And Penhaligons toiletries. You can tell a lot about a hotel from the bathroom products. (The Bonham stocks Molton Brown.)

The Town House Company comprises The Howard, The Bonham (which they tag "the coolest hotel in Edinburgh"), Channings ("the friendliest hotel in Edinburgh") and The Edinburgh Residence (apparently "the most distinguished collection of luxury townhouse suites in Edinburgh'').

The Howard, reassuringly comfortable and sumptuously decorated, prides itself on its team of butlers who will unpack your bags, polish your shoes, serve you tea in the drawing room and organise your social engagements - or your laptop presentation. Maybe that should be traditional with a modern twist.

LOCATION, LOCATION

The Howard, 34 Great King Street, Edinburgh EH3 6QH (0131-557 3500; www.thehoward.com) is a gracious Georgian terrace on a quiet cobbled street just 10 minutes walk from the shops of George and Princes Street and six minutes by taxi from Waverley train station.

Time to international airport: it's nine miles from Edinburgh airport and the journey takes around 20 to 30 minutes, depending on traffic.

COMFORTABLE?

There are just 17 individually designed rooms. Our suite was in the basement with its own entrance leading to a flagstoned terrace and steps up to the street. The bed had a grand half canopy with clipped-back drapes and was made, traditionally, with sheets and blankets. The décor was also traditional; old hunting prints, a huge gilt mirror and that carpet - red with a tiny print - that you never see anywhere except in a hotel bedroom.

Freebies: Penhaligon's toiletries.

Keeping in touch: direct-dial phones and modem points, cable TV, e-TV with internet access.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Doubles from £140 including butler; terraced suites from £215; breakfast from £10.50 for continental.

I'm not paying that: Ibis (0131-240 7000; www.ibishotel.com) doubles from £54.95 excluding breakfast.

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