Edinburgh has hundreds of hotels, B&Bs and hostels to choose from, and it can be overwhelming to find a good one. In my search to find where friends can stay during their visit to Edinburgh, I ran across the Village Hotel and Spa next to the prestigious Fettes College (think Hogwarts). Between a wonderfully comfortable room, great view, delicious Sunday Carvery and spa treatment, I can’t recommend them enough.
I went one weekend with a friend from out of town to enjoy the hotel, and the back again a couple weeks later to try out the Sunday Carvery and spa treatment. Here’s what I think about the experience.
Village Hotel and Spa
There are 29 Village Hotels across the UK. More than just a hotel, each Village Hotel has a spa and fitness center, a fine dining restaurant and facilities for weddings. The decorations are modern and artistic, and the service has good attention to detail. I particularly liked the location of Edinburgh’s Village Spa. It’s close enough to the city center to be walkable, and far enough away to be out of the hectic, touristy part of the city.
If you like Harry Potter, Fettes College (pronounced Fetties) is one of the inspirations for Hogwarts, and possibly one of the most beautiful schools I’ve personally seen. Just a mile away from the hotel are the Royal Botanic Gardens, and a mile in another direction is Dean Village. These 19th-century buildings and forest surrounding the Water of Leith near the center of town look like they were pulled right out of a Lord of the Rings elven kingdom.
Within the hotel, a modern reception with a live receptionist greets customers. Am I the only one who doesn’t particularly enjoy the fully-automated check-ins at hotels? Anyway, just off the reception is the business lounge which often has locals working alongside guests, while the other side of reception has a fancy Starbucks. I personally won’t ever touch Starbucks again, but the seating is quite nice and as a guest of the hotel, you don’t have to buy a drink there to use the seats.
The hotel has several floors, which is great as the view gets even better the higher up you go. One side of the hotel looks out across the Forth of Firth to Fife (try saying that five times fast), while the other side of the building looks out to the Pentlands (which had a beautiful layer of snow during my visit there). A handful of their rooms are labeled “Upper Deck” or Club Rooms and offer all the usual amenities plus some bonus features including an espresso maker, spa products and access to the fitness center.
The room itself was very nice. There were comfortable sheets, which oddly seems to be missing from some hotels these days. Why is everyone using the cheap, scratchy sheets? It took me a bit to realize that the giant clock on the wall was for decoration purposes only. As no room is perfect, I found that only one side of the bed had power outlets, and the selection of pillows was a bit limited. There were two large, square decorative pillows and two thin head pillows for two people. Beyond that, there wasn’t a lot in the room to find fault with.
The bathroom was particularly nice and had one of those big overhead shower heads that feels more like rain than a shower. Soap and shampoo were provided (although no conditioner) and I was really happy to find that their mirror had the integrated heating technology which prevents steam from condensing on the glass. Gotta love modern technology.
Buffet Breakfast and Sunday Carvery
The Verve Grill is the restaurant at the Village Hotel. Morning is a full Scottish breakfast (eggs, bacon, sausage, tomatoes, mushrooms and baked beans) served buffet style. The quality isn’t as good as a cafe cooking each plate separately, but it’s better than most breakfast buffets I’ve been to in Scotland. I particularly liked the greek yogurt cups topped with granola or fresh berries. There were also warm croissants and Pain au chocolat for those with more of a sweet tooth (I had two).
I felt a little funny when the manager mentioned the Sunday Carvery, and I had to ask what it was. Seems it’s basically the same as a Sunday Roast. I certainly couldn’t resist a four-course Scottish dinner. We started with delicious summer squash soup. The second course was a plate of prosciutto (thinly-sliced ham), smoked mackerel and pork pie, accompanied with small cups of salmon salad and a shrimp cocktail.
The main course started with a choice of roast beef, turkey or ham (I chose all three). On the side are piggies in a blanket (bacon-wrapped mini-sausages), grilled vegetables, steamed cauliflower and cheese (replaced with stuffing balls when I went as the snow wreaked havoc on deliveries) and Yorkshire pudding. For dessert, there were small cups of lemon meringue pie and chocolate pudding.
A two-scoop ice cream sundae was included with the carvery as the final course. I heaped on the M&Ms and chocolate covered raisins with a bit of raspberry sauce. Suffice to say, I was completely stuffed by the end of the meal, and totally ready to relax in a spa treatment.
Massage Treatment at the ESPA
I certainly couldn’t pass up the chance to try out the spa. ESPA offers a variety of treatments, including facials, various massage therapies and other beautification services (mostly for women, but I like a mani-pedi too!). For our treatment, we chose back, neck and shoulder massages. I had Sarah as my massage therapist, and (as a massage therapist myself) I can say she really knew her stuff. She delivered an ESPA massage, more of a Swedish technique (kneading with oil) than the Thai deep tissue that I deliver. Suffice to say, I was thoroughly relaxed by the end of the massage, and only wished it had lasted more than just half an hour.
There is also a large fitness center and pool which I didn’t have time to use, but I have other friends in town who have a membership and love the facilities.
Booking with Village Hotel Edinburgh
There were other services at the Village Hotel that didn’t really apply to me but would be valuable to other travelers, including a large, free parking lot and comfortable bar. If you’re planning to visit in the summer, make sure you book far in advance, as every hotel in Edinburgh gets fully booked weeks in advanced due to the International Fringe Festival (the world’s largest art festival).
- Location: 140 Crewe Rd S, Edinburgh EH4 2NY
- Hours: Open 24-hours a day, with someone always at reception to assist. Starbucks and Verve Grill hours vary.
- Prices: Start at around £65 a night but deals are often available, especially for holidays and special occasions. Recently there was a great special for Easter (unfortunately already sold out).
- Phone: (+44) 0131 297 7111
- Website: Village Hotels
Activities in Edinburgh
You can’t spend all your time at the Village Hotel when you visit Edinburgh. Here are some other activities to fill your day.
- Begin Your Journey in Scotland with a Secret Food Tour in Edinburgh
- What the Da Vinci Code Didn’t Show You About Rosslyn Chapel
- There’s a Cat Cafe in Edinburgh!
- Enjoying the Happiest Place in Scotland at Edinburgh’s Chihuahua Cafe
- Camera Obscura in Edinburgh Brings Out the Kid in You
- Experience the Underground Preservation of Mary King’s Close
- Escape Edinburgh: The Most Fun Activity in Edinburgh’s New Town
- Finding the Best Ghost Tours in Edinburgh
- 9 Free Attractions to Visit in Edinburgh
- 10 Activities for The Perfect Day Trip from Edinburgh
Here’s some extra reading to save hundreds on your next vacation or stage of your journey.