Two Days in Edinburgh.


Christmas 2020 in the UK was one of the strangest for everyone. While in lockdown, we were unable to go anywhere. Travel wasn’t on the agenda, so, what a lovely surprise it was to receive a “Virgin Experience Days” gift card from our son. This was a two-night stay in The Bonham Hotel in Edinburgh, for us to book as and when we could. It certainly gave us something to look forward to and put a smile on our faces on Christmas morning.

When certain restrictions were lifted on the 17th May, both here in the UK and Scotland, we checked to see if it was possible to book a few nights in June. This is when our wedding anniversary is, so we thought it would be perfect timing. Luckily, there were no restrictions on us travelling to Scotland from Newcastle, so we decided to go for it. There was a curfew on everything closing at ten thirty pm, in Scotland, but this didn’t bother us at all. So, we only had the train tickets to book, then we could be on our way.  

Edinburgh Castle

I have visited Edinburgh a few times over the years and have always had a great experience and enjoyed the city and what it has to offer. I hadn’t been for a good while, so I was looking forward to it. 

Geographically, it’s not far from us in the North East (approx 130 miles). So, it’s easy to get to and only a couple of hours on the train. 

In the past, when I have visited Edinburgh, I have taken in the sights such as Edinburgh Castle, the famous Edinburgh Zoo (which is home to more than 1000 animals), The Royal Mile, and other well-known landmarks. It is also famous for events such as the “Fringe Festival”, “The Royal Military Tattoo, and, of course, their amazing “Hogmanay” (New Years Eve) celebrations, ……the list goes on……. There is always something to do or an event going on in Edinburgh – taxi drivers confirmed this, saying that, normally, they are so busy, all the year-round. 

This bronze sculpture on Princess Street stands in tribute to the “The Royal Scots Greys”, a cavalry regiment of the British Army. Amongst its many battle honours, the regiment fought in the Napoleonic Wars, Crimean Wars, and both World Wars. It has an impressive backdrop of the Edinburgh castle.

On this trip, we decided to simply “soak up the atmosphere”, relax, and enjoy the hotel while exploring the area where we were staying – maybe, do some retail therapy on Princes Street and George Street, then stop for a coffee to catch our breath!! Basically, just a time to chill and enjoy being in a different place. I love to “people watch”, so listening to all the different accents wafting by was wonderful. 

Edinburgh is such a cosmopolitan, vibrant and interesting city. There are lots of different nationalities living there, which made us realise how much we had missed talking to people and having new experiences.

How We Got There

We travelled to Edinburgh from Newcastle by train. I had forgotten how much of a beautiful scenic route this is and we both totally relaxed with our coffees, and enjoyed the ride.   The train was direct without any hitches, and before we knew it, we were there.

When we arrived at Waverley Station, we made our way out into the famous Princess Street where we jumped into a taxi to our hotel. We knew the hotel was around a twenty five minute walk but fancied the easiness of getting there in ten minutes. And, it was a mini-heatwave when we were there, so we didn’t relish the walk with our bags, in the intense sunshine!

The Bonham Hotel

Before booking any holiday, I always check the hotel reviews, thoroughly, on “Trip Advisor”. But, as this was a gift from our son, I didn’t want to do that. I decided to be surprised and take the rough with the smooth.

As the taxi pulled into the west end of the city, we were immediately impressed with the area. It resembled Belgravia in London with its grand old buildings and cobblestoned streets. All reservations were allayed when we arrived and saw this elegant hotel. It’s situated in a quiet leafy crescent which looked exclusive.

As we entered the intimate hotel foyer, I couldn’t help but be enchanted by the beautiful architectural features, its calming decor, beautiful ceiling cornice and wooden panelled staircase. 

I immediately got a deep sense of the history attached to this mid 19th century building. This made me even more interested to know more about its past.

The Tiffany floor lamp with a Nasturtium shade is thought to be the only one of its kind in Scotland and is a rare piece of art.

With a little digging, which I thoroughly enjoyed, I found out that the building itself has Georgian roots and dates back to 1872. It was originally three separate townhouses occupied by wealthy families along with their servants. Then, in 1939, the houses were sold and it became known as the ‘Private Clinic’, specialising in maternity care. And, it stayed that way for around twelve years. 

Hundreds of babies were born, here. They were known as the “Bonham Babies”. We were told people still return to see the building where they or members of their families were born.

The University of Edinburgh then bought the building and converted it to a Hall of Residence for overseas students. In 1998, the building was sold, remodelled, and opened as one of the first boutique hotels in Edinburgh.  Richard H Driehaus acquired the hotel in 2017 where he led an extensive and meticulous restoration.  

The Bonham is home to an extensive art collection comprising over 35 exquisite paintings, ornate chandeliers and light fixtures from the 18th and 19th century and “one-of-a-kind” items from “Tiffany & Co”, such as this original Tiffany lamp (mentioned, above) which stands pride of place in the reception area. I noticed it on our arrival and thought how beautiful it was. It is very old and valuable.

The layout of the building has a lovely quirkiness to it and we found ourselves getting lost a few times – by going through the wrong door. This all added to the charm. 

Our Room

There are 49 rooms, in total, in the hotel. We were booked into a Townhouse Double Room which was elegantly decorated. We had a queen-size bed and lovely views from the sash windows which let in a lot of natural light. There were the usual tea and coffee facilities, plus complimentary bottled water in the mini fridge.

I loved the “Arran Sense of Scotland” products provided in the bathroom. They smelled divine so I may be purchasing some of these.  White towelling robes and slippers are also provided. There are plenty of sockets, including USBs on either side of the bed. And, the Wi-Fi worked, perfectly. We loved that check out was midday. This meant we didn’t have to rush breakfast on our last day, which all added to the experience.

The view from our room

Breakfast

Breakfast is served in the restaurant, named “The Bonham No. 35”, from 7 am to 11 am. This was great for us as we never eat breakfast early. 

There was a good choice on the menu as well as an assortment of fruits, juices, yoghurts, pastries, and cheeses.  

Mr MAB ordered the full Scottish breakfast (suasages, black pudding, haggis, the works), on both mornings – which speaks for itself. I had the vegetarian full breakfast on the first morning. On the second morning, I asked for poached eggs on toast. Breakfast was served with either tea or coffee. I loved the Earl Grey tea.  

The Bonham No. 35

These are some photographs I took of the restaurant on the day we arrived. I was knocked out by the art on show. Take note of the parquet flooring with a central carpet of monochromatic tiles, so beautiful.

Where we had afternoon Tea and Coffee.

The two restaurants we went to:

Cafe Andaluz on George Street

This is a Spanish restaurant.  We had an assortment of tapas which was very tasty.  We had great service, and we loved the vibrant atmosphere.  We then took a slow walk back to The Bonham which was around fifteen minutes away.  It was a lovely warm evening.

Amarone  – St Andrews Square

This restaurant had a great vibe and a vibrant atmosphere, which was great.  Mr MAB had The Pollo Funghi Panchetta  and I had a vegetarian pizza.  The service, ambience, price and, most importantly, the food were lovely.  This restaurant was a little too far from which to walk back to the hotel, so we jumped into a taxi.

The Overall Experience

This hotel is a world away from the “corporate experience” of the major hotel groups. If you are looking for a unique experience along with elegance and comfort, then this is it. I loved the whole ambience of the place and found it to be very welcoming. I felt I was in Scotland by the very essence of the place. We found the staff to be friendly and helpful. A special shout out to Steve who served us breakfast both mornings. Steve shared some history of the hotel and the local area, which we found fascinating. He also gave us a few tips on where to dine on our last night, which we really appreciated. 

The hotel delivered on the attention to detail, hospitality, location, and food. The only negative is that our room was a wee bit on the small side. We are also used to a super king-size bed, so sleeping in a queen wasn’t great, but this is something we should have checked ourselves. 

We did manage to have a peep into some of the other rooms through the open doorways of those that were being cleaned. We were wowed by the luxury and size of the other suites – hence when we return, we will go for one of these.

I would recommend this hotel and stay here, again, in a heartbeat. It is a lovely, enchanting place to chill and relax.

As this was a gift from my son, there was no payment for my review.  All words are my own opinions. There are no affiliate links in this post.

I hope you have enjoyed my post and it has helped you if you are looking for a getaway in the UK. Also, most of  the photographs were taken on my Canon GX7 which I am still getting used to. So, I’m quite pleased with the quality of the photographs.  If you have any questions please let me know in the comments.

If you have any questions please let me know in the comments

Take care.

Alison x

32 Comments

  1. 8 July 2021 / 4:41 pm

    What a beautiful hotel! With all of the kids, we have only stayed once in a really hotel (the waldorf astoria in new orleans, thankful for the abundance of hotel points my hubby had at the time) so staying in a non coporate chain hotel is a treat. I am thinking of booking a nice little bed and breakfast for our anniversay but not sure where. Not too far from home, probably a destination less than a couple hours. Thanks for sharing this, a lovely read!
    http://www.chezmireillefashiontravelmom.com

    • 15 July 2021 / 4:00 pm

      The Waldorf Astoria sounds very posh! I loved staying in this hotel with all of its history and elegance, hope you find somewhere
      lovely to celebrate your wedding anniversary.

  2. 8 July 2021 / 4:47 pm

    What a fantastic post hun. Your time in Scotland sounded fascinating. We are off to lock awe in December…. Hopefully. But I’d like to be going to this hotel I think x Jacqui

    • 15 July 2021 / 4:03 pm

      Thank you, Jacqui. We had a lovely time in this hotel, more so because of the last year and a half, we have all experienced. Great that you have something booked, always nice to have a holiday to look forward to.x

    • 15 July 2021 / 4:04 pm

      We had a lovely time staying here in this hotel. I’d forgotten how great Edinburgh is to visit. xx

  3. 9 July 2021 / 9:58 pm

    What a lovely trip! It sounds so nice and relaxing and the hotel looks like such a beautiful place to stay! We spent some time in Edinburgh in 2019 and it would be good to go back again but it will be years before they open our borders I think sadly!

    Hope you are having a good weekend 🙂

    • 9 July 2021 / 10:08 pm

      It was a lovely trip away, especially after the year we’ve had. I agree, it’s going to take some time for things to return to normal. Enjoy your weekend!

  4. 10 July 2021 / 7:33 am

    What an amazing place you visited. I so love the pictures you made!

    • 10 July 2021 / 12:17 pm

      Thank you so much. I’m so pleased you enjoyed my post and the photographs.

  5. 10 July 2021 / 2:02 pm

    Stunning picture of you at the top! I love Edinburgh, my husband used to commute there each week (!) and I had a lovely time there for a birthday a few years ago which included going to the zoo and seeing the pandas. Plus I tried haggis for the first time and really liked it! I enjoyed your review, I love hotels with a bit of history and character. I’m keen to start booking a few mini breaks like this because it’s been so long since we went anywhere.

    • 15 July 2021 / 4:08 pm

      I had forgotten everything Edinburgh has to offer. I loved finding out the history of this beautiful hotel and would stay there again if I’m ever in Edinburgh. x

  6. 11 July 2021 / 2:20 pm

    I would love to visit Edinburgh one day! It looks like a wonderful place. The views and architecture are stunning. What a cool story behind your hotel, too. It is a beautiful place! I am so happy for you that you got to get away for a few days! Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

    Shelbee
    http://www.shelbeeontheedge.com

    • 15 July 2021 / 4:11 pm

      Thank you so much, Shelbee. When we entered the hotel I had a feeling there was more to this place, luckily, the information was easy enough to find. Hope you get to visit Edinburgh one day it’s a beautiful place and so vibrant. xx

  7. 13 July 2021 / 2:00 pm

    Alison, what a special gift from your son!! Such a lovely hotel… I stayed at the Beverly Hills Hotel several years ago for a blogger conference and I was actually afraid to use the slippers and bathrobe (I thought you had to purchase them!). It was my first time in a really, really nice hotel, but I would definitely recommend to everyone to stay at least once in a really nice hotel. It’s such a fun experience to eat breakfast in bed with real silver and just experience the artwork saved by the owners.

    Thank you for sharing and I pinned several photos to my Road Trip, Plane Trip (Travel) and other boards for you,
    Hugs,
    Barb 🙂
    p.s. Coming over from Amber at Follow the Yellow Brick Home and Thursday Favorite Things

    • 13 July 2021 / 2:10 pm

      Barbara, thank you so much for your lovely comment and it is so true that it is lovely to stay in an upmarket hotel, especially an interesting one.
      thanks again
      Alison xx

  8. Joanne
    13 July 2021 / 8:43 pm

    That sounds like a wonderful weekend getaway! My husband and I have gone on two recently here in New England and have chosen to stay at more historical/ boutique type hotels rather than the larger chains and have really enjoyed the charm of them.

    • 15 July 2021 / 4:14 pm

      It was wonderful to get away for a few nights, especially after the last year and a half we have all experienced. I would love to visit New England – hopefully, sometime in the future if things continue to improve.

  9. 15 July 2021 / 3:23 pm

    We visited Edinburgh for the first time in early 2020, not long before everything closed down! It was absolutely freezing on the day we were there, but we still loved having a little explore. I really want to head back when the weather is nicer and take my daughter to Edinburgh Zoo. #anythinggoes

    • 15 July 2021 / 3:46 pm

      Thank you, Shelley. I can’t remember the last time we visited Edinburgh, I’d forgotten how beautiful it is and how
      much it has to offer. We were very lucky we had a mini heatwave when we wee there as the last time we visited was January and
      it was so cold!

  10. 18 July 2021 / 2:52 am

    I haven’t been to Scotland in almost 15 years, but it was magical! We had such a wonderful time there. The hotel you stayed in is so beautiful! I love historical hotels! I’m glad you were able to get away for a few days!

    • 20 July 2021 / 3:10 pm

      Thank you, Laura. We had such a great time, and the weather was warm when we were there which is unusual for Scotland. Hope you’re having a lovely week. xx

    • 23 July 2021 / 8:36 pm

      We have been to Edinburgh quite a few times over the years but never stayed anywhere as lovely and interesting as this hotel. We would love to return!

  11. Rebecca Payne
    23 July 2021 / 6:48 pm

    I want to go!

    • 23 July 2021 / 8:39 pm

      The hotel was a lovely surprise stay as I didn’t look it up at all before we set off. We had a wonderful time and I would love to return one day.

  12. 28 July 2021 / 9:41 am

    I’m SUPER envious of your trip! I visited Scotland for the first time a few years ago and we absolutely fell in love with it. I wanted to move there lol (we live in Portugal). I’d still happily move there now, especially considering I’m in peri menopause and can’t stand the heat over here LOL!!
    Your hotel looked stunning too.
    Hugs
    Suzy xx

  13. Jenna
    28 July 2021 / 5:33 pm

    Looks like such a fun trip! I went to Edinburgh with my family about ten years ago, and I would love to go back! I don’t really remember most of what we did, so it would be fun to go back and make new memories. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
    Jenna ♥
    Stay in touch? Life of an Earth Muffin

  14. 29 July 2021 / 7:26 pm

    Fabulous, I loved my visit to Edinburgh and now want to go again. You look and sound like you had a super time away. Thanks for sharing. Jacqui x

    • 30 July 2021 / 11:10 am

      This hotel definitely made our stay extra special, but I think a big contributor
      was coming away following six months of lockdown. I’ve never felt so free! It
      was wonderful and everyone was so lovely.x

  15. 2 August 2021 / 3:33 pm

    This looks wonderful as does your outfit! Love the zebra dress!
    The inside is gorgeous and I love the wood and Tiffany lamp. It was such a nice gift from your son! I am sure it was great to getaway a bit, especially with what was going on. I love hearing the history of places aas well.
    thanks for linking!
    jess xx
    http://www.elegantlydressedandstylish.com

  16. 4 August 2021 / 1:55 pm

    What a lovely post! I loved every detail, and would love to copy your trip! I adore Edingburgh – been 3 times over probably 40 years, but it takes up a LOT of real estate on my favorite IG posts…

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