B&B and Beyond: B+B Edinburgh

An award-winning formula comes to Edinburgh, where the B&B is given a hotel-style makeover. By Lucy Gillmore

Boutique hotel meets B&B: that's the idea which has twice won the team behind the B+B Collection the Visit London award for best B&B. It was pioneered in London's swish Belgravia neighbourhood and followed by Weymouth in 2008. Last August, Edinburgh made up a triumvirate and there are plans to open future locations elsewhere. One of the benefits offered to guests is the B+B Club. If you become a member of Belong + Benefit, for every six nights you stay in one of the properties you get one night for free.

With 22 rooms spread over four floors of a Grade II-listed building, and five more in the basement, B+B Edinburgh definitely feels more boutique hotel than traditional B&B. The building was designed in 1883 by the renowned architect Sydney Mitchell for the owner of The Scotsman newspaper, John Ritchie Findlay.

The grand entrance hall sets the tone. It's not so much a case of period features having been retained, as designer touches added to a heavy baronial pad. There's a touch of the posh private school about the place. Some parts work while others have a contemporary-but-only-temporary air.

The library on the first floor is the crowning glory: original wood-panelled walls blanketed in books, two storeys high. The bar on the ground floor is also a cosy spot for a dram, the walls decked with framed front pages from The Scotsman and a portrait of John Ritchie Findlay, while above the zinc bar there's a healthy range of malts.

The bed

Rooms range from single to family (although the singles are a good size). Each floor has a different colour scheme: the fourth floor is bracken, the third a heathery purple and so on. A small lift offers access. All rooms are fitted with a flat-screen TV. There's free Wi-Fi – and you can also bring your dog.

Our room, number 5, on the third floor, sports huge sash windows and panoramic views over Dean Village and the Water of Leith to the Forth and hills of Fife beyond. The design encompasses Perspex tables, funky lamps and bespoke tartan cushions. The room has a free-standing tub, and in the bathroom itself a monsoon shower. The only niggle: the carpets are a bit doctors' surgery in style – rough and serviceable.

The breakfast

The breakfast room is a heavily ornate wood-panelled space scattered with white, plastic designer chairs. The wooden moose's head on the wall is a light touch and the mix of old and new almost works, but somehow the room overpowers it all, making the furniture seem flimsy. The breakfast includes porridge, of course, and the Full Scottish comes with haggis. In the summer there's a small terrace looking out over Dean Village where you can eat outside.

The hosts

A Russian entrepreneurial scientist, Professor Vladimir Kulchitsky, and his British partner Penny Brown – although you don't get to meet them, of course, as this is essentially a boutique hotel. Trevor, the manager, was happily helpful, while Agnes, the pretty Polish receptionist, was, at the risk of sounding like my grandmother, delightful.

The weekend

B+B Edinburgh is in the West End, the city on your doorstep – a city that, with the right footwear (those cobbles can be a killer), is ripe for exploring on foot. You're on the edge of the gracious Georgian New Town and just a short schlep from the higgledy-piggledy madness of the medieval Old Town.

If you want to escape the crowds, wander down to the Water of Leith and the footpath that hugs the river for 12 miles emerging at the now swanky docklands of Leith. Veer off the trail to visit the Dean Gallery and the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art (0131-624 6200; nationalgalleries.org) and the Royal Botanic Garden (0131-552 7171; rbge.org.uk) a 70-acre haven with contemporary visitor centre and magnificent glasshouses. And if you're visiting during the festival (edinburghfestivals.co.uk), there are still rooms available at the B+B.

The pit-stop

There's a folder of local restaurant menus in the library if you're stumped for foodie inspiration. However, a 10-minute stroll away is The Honours (58A North Castle Street; 0131 220 3523; thehonours.co.uk), Michelin-starred Martin Wishart's new brasserie focusing on French classics with a Scottish twist. The creamy crab cappuccino (£7.50) is liquid heaven, while the lamb tagine (£11.50) melts in the mouth.

The essentials

B+B Edinburgh, 3 Rothesay Terrace, Edinburgh EH3 7RY (0131-225 5084; bb-edinburgh.com). Doubles start at £140, singles £99 and family rooms £180, all including breakfast.

Suggested Topics
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Recruitment Genius: Centre Manager

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Guru Careers: Accountant

    £28 - 45k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Accountant is needed to take control of the ...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Assistant Manager

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This hotel in Chadderton is a p...

    Day In a Page

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk