Recently I shared that despite being from Scotland I’ve taken very few trips within the country. The current state of travel means that we often think a holiday is only a holiday if it’s spent sprawled under a palm tree in some exotic location. I guess when you compare Scotland to Hawaii or the Philippines you don’t quite get that same sense of excitement. But a different type of intrigue doesn’t mean it isn’t worth exploring.
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to the launch of the new Point A Hotel in Edinburgh. Armed with ten outfits too many and my trusty sidekick, Chelsea, I made my way up to the Scottish capital.
Day 1: Settling in at Point A Hotels Edinburgh
Slow down Chelsea huffed as I weaved in between the sea of tourists with my suitcase. I’m sweating trying to keep up with you!
At that point, I made an executive decision to appease the small being with snacks to tide her over. We arrived at the hotel twenty minutes later. By the way, if you’re like me and have *questionable* map skills you’ll be pleased to know the Point A Hotel Edinburgh address is VERY easy to find due to the huge flags and branding that hug the building.
After checking in and picking up our welcome packages (umbrellas – disgustingly fitting for Scottish weather) we made our way to the room. Truthfully I was incredibly surprised – it was not the shoebox I’d been imagining. Despite being branded as a budget hotel – my inner boujee goddess was screaming as she mentally popped champagne bottles.
There was space. Not enough for a swimming pool but definitely more than enough for two petite women and their worldly belongings (which probably accounted for more room than both of us combined).
Scanning the room I spotted some key features:
- A circular window – which makes for excellent Instagram content – just saying.
- Enough plug sockets to power all of our devices – straighteners, camera, phones, laptop chargers… us millennials need to stay connected darling.
- Bathroom lighting – Not the type that results in you hunching over a compact mirror beside any source of natural light, but the type that makes your skin look all glowy and radiant.
- A smart TV – I’m still trying to work out why Most Haunted is even a thing.
- A small desk setup – which to be honest despite envisioning we were going to get loads of work done just didn’t happen.
- Hanging spaces and little hidden cupboards – so that for the duration of your stay you can feel like you’ve got your life together because you remembered to hang up your dress instead of discarding it in your usual floordrobe.
- A hairdryer – which though we both marvelled over neither of us used.
- Mood lighting – for in-room disco sessions. Although ngl the pink one was my favourite and if you want to feel like you’re hanging out on a spaceship then you’re not gonna wanna miss out on basking in the neon rose glow for at least 15 minutes.
- Mirrors. Four mirrors. Three for me, one for Chelsea.
It was the perfect hideaway with everything we needed and none of the things we didn’t.
Settling into the room
Before getting ready for the Point A Hotel launch party later that night I’d love to say we crammed in some must-sees or must-dos but truthfully we just chilled and enjoyed each other’s company. As adults(ish) I feel we’ve forgotten the value of a sleepover. One that’s not preluded by a night on the town or followed by post tequila regrets the next morning.
I think there’s something so special about wistfully thinking back to your teenage years. Except for this time, everything’s legal and you realise the teenage angst has carried on well into your twenties and is actually just called anxiety. Bummer.
Some hours into Homes Under the Hammer and chill we realised we needed to start getting ready for the night ahead and off to our respective mirrors we went. An hour later we emerged successfully concealing the fact we’d spent an entire afternoon in our pyjamas and made our way downstairs to the lobby for the Point A Hotels Edinburgh launch party. Another note here on mirrors and lighting (can we walk about those lift mirrors? *heart eyes*)
The Launch Party
Combined with endless amounts of Edinburgh Gin (the rhubarb flavour is nothing short of an elixir from the heavens) and cute snack-sized food that was absolutely not consumed in snack quantity Chelsea and I were in our element.
Most times when you stay at a hotel you don’t get the opportunity to meet all the brains that went behind making that a reality. At the launch, all those involved including builders, the hotel staff and the CEO himself turned out to celebrate and it was pretty damn special.
As we sunk into bed that evening I reflected on the night and got the sense that the Point A Hotels Edinburgh crew were not just colleagues but their own kind of family. That energy rubs off on you from the moment you step into the hotel. From the beaming faces at the reception to the corporate staff animatedly detailing the best items to sample at breakfast.
Day 2: Exploring (and eating) the city
As I woke the next day I wondered why my brain had failed me and decided to disturb in the middle of the night. A quick glance at my phone revealed that it was 8.30 am. The blackout curtains had served their purpose well.
After hearing urban legends about the breakfast to rival all breakfasts and a basil and pesto twist we just couldn’t miss (hot tip – you’re welcome) we made our way downstairs to see for ourselves.
At home, I’m never really a breakfast person – yes this is probably largely due to the fact there’s no breakfast food in the house. You’d be right in guessing this makes things harder. But here… there was everything. Buttery pastries coated with almonds, porridge bowls, an assortment of cereals, CARBS allllll the carbs, grapes, watermelon, the other melon and more. As I surveyed my options I finally understood why everyone had been hyping it up.
Out and about in Edinburgh
Though there was a strong temptation to crawl back into bed after breakfast we fought the good fight and ventured outside. Despite being forecast for rain all day surprisingly the sun came out. So we ambled around Princes Street Gardens and walked up to the castle. Here we were not so pleasantly reminded that The Fringe festival was in full swing as we became sandwiched between a hundred strangers. We decided seeing the castle from afar was good enough and made a quick escape down to the cobbled streets of the Royal Mile.
Some years ago I lived in Edinburgh so I have a lot of fond memories of living there. From taking my first acting classes (yes – I’ve always been this dramatic) to attending school for the first time after being home educated. I wanted Chelsea to experience the nostalgia trip with me. So we ventured down the Royal Mile with me pointing out places of interest from my childhood including my old apartment and school, which despite 17 years passing weirdly looked exactly the same.
Though Edinburgh is extremely walkable you can be wandering for hours and then suddenly be hit with exhaustion. At this point, we made our way back to the hotel for some relaxing as the screams of Most Haunted played in the background.
Celebrating my blog anniversary
That night marked the SEVEN YEAR anniversary of my blog, yup this very blog you’re reading right now. And yes, I know in millennial years it’s pretty much a fossil.
We headed to the Urban Fox, a cute unassuming bistro to celebrate. When it comes to cocktails Chelsea and I are polar opposites. While she went for the special of the day (something bright red and raspberry infused) my eyes lit up as soon as I read the world Jalapeno. Sipping away at my Margarita I considered the fact that both Bloody Marys and Margaritas could be compared to an alcoholic gazpacho.
One thing (other than delicious food) that I loved about Urban Fox was that the menu was one page. Though of course, as usual, I had already revised the menu in advance it meant when I did do my whole ritual of ‘deciding what to eat’ there were less theatrics involved.
For starter Chelsea opted for the Twice Cooked Pork Belly while I went for Fresh Scottish Mussels. And after sharing a play by play to Instagram one of my friends expressed concerns that I may actually turn into a mussel given my obsession with eating them at literally every restaurant I go to. As far as addictions go I think this one’s pretty healthy. We’ll save the other ones for another blog post…
Next up was the Roast Duck Breast and as neither of us wanted to share we got one each. By this point, I was starting to feel pretty tight around the waistband. But when asked if we wanted to see the dessert menu some strange reflex within me said yes. I don’t quite know how it happened but next thing I knew an Eton Mess had mysteriously appeared in front of me. Witchcraft.
Though I considered if the Uber driver could be bribed into rolling us along the corridor back to our rooms Veruca Salt style I decided against it. Moments after hitting the pillow I dozed off, no doubt dreaming about all the wonderful things I got to eat that day.
Day 3: Leaving Point A Hotels Edinburgh and heading home
As we wordlessly sat gorging on our last breakfast the reality of heading back to the *real world* hit. Although only a short bus/train away it really had been the perfect escape even if only for two short days.
I had such a great time that I’m already planning my next trip back in a few weeks.
It’s a hard life, but hey someone has to do it.
You can now see the best bits of the trip in the ‘Edinburgh’ highlights section on my Instagram page.
Edinburgh Guide for Tourists
This guide of things to do, see and eat in Edinburgh is a mixture of things we did on our trip and recommendations that we didn’t manage to squeeze in.
Getting to Edinburgh
The main airport is Edinburgh Airport although you can fly into Glasgow and get a 1hr 45min bus directly from the airport. Getting into the city from Edinburgh Airport is also a short bus ride that takes 25 mins.
Bus travel is mega affordable and depending on the distance. Honestly? I often prefer it to catching the train. From Glasgow to Edinburgh return was only £7. Although if you book far enough in advance you can score a return for TWO POUNDS.
Edinburgh has two central train stations – Edinburgh Waverly and Haymarket. From both, you can easily catch trains to the rest of the UK. Conveniently Haymarket is also only a 7-minute walk from Point A Hotels Edinburgh.
I always book my train tickets through the Trainpal app. There are no booking fees and it has this handy feature where you can ‘split tickets’ to make your overall journey even cheaper. When you use this link you’ll snag yourself £5 off your first ticket.
Getting Around in Edinburgh
The location of Point A Hotels Edinburgh means everything is super walkable. Just make sure to have comfortable shoes cause cobbles are a real thing. If you’re wearing cute heels, find a friend willing to carry you or get an Uber.
Like many cities, Edinburgh has a bike-sharing scheme. You can find the locations of the bikes by downloading the Just Eat Cycles app. At £1.50 for the first hour, it’s a really cost-effective way to get around while also preemptively burning calories. Just don’t forget to watch out tram lines!
If you’re from outside of the UK and the whole black cab thing is a novelty then yeah sure give it a go, but only once. Black cabs are hella expensive so if you can’t walk from A-B (or just don’t want to) Uber really is the best way to go.
Where To Stay
Point A Hotels Edinburgh is in the perfect location for exploring the city and an affordable, but comfortable stay. At the time of writing the room prices start from £69 and breakfast is an additional £9. We stayed in the ‘Cosy Double with Window Room’.
How to book
You can book directly through the hotel website and if you sign up to the A-List programme you’ll receive a 10% discount on your stay. The A-List programme, which is totally free to join, applies to all the other Point A hotels throughout the UK and includes discounts off of selected local partners too!
What To Do
Check out The Royal Mile (aptly named because the palace sits at one end and the castle at the other) is a real tourist trap. But in-between all the dressed up ‘genuine’ Scots and tacky souvenir shops there are some great finds from local cafes to hidden closes (small alleyways).
I mean did you even really go to Edinburgh if you didn’t go to Edinburgh Castle? Pre-warning it is crazzzzy busy like all the time. If you want to go inside and look around I recommend getting there as soon as it opens. Alternatively, if you just want to *see* the castle from afar you can get a great view from Princes Street Gardens.
There’s always something happening from festivals and annual events in Edinburgh. I’d recommend checking out What’s On Edinburgh to keep in the loop. Keep in mind (depending on the size of the event) inevitably the city will be busier and prices will be more expensive. That’s capitalism for ya.
Arts and Culture
If you’re a fan of poetry I also love the Scottish Poetry Library, which is a nice stop off once you’ve reached the end of the Royal Mile.
What To Eat
The Urban Fox is great for reasonably priced brasserie food at lunch and dinner. If you’re hella indecisive (#guilty) definitely go for some mix and match starters so you get to try a few things.
Brunch at Badger and Co. the Insta spot of dreams. It’s super aesthetic and if you’ve not yet tried haggis I suggest opting for the fry up with haggis. NO it’s not gross it’s actually really delicious!
Don’t fancy venturing into the heart of the city? Looking for things to do in Edinburgh Haymarket? Point A Hotels Edinburgh has partnerships with some nearby restaurants. Check out the Community Wall (opposite the lifts) or ask at the reception for the most up to date list!
I’m obsessed with the Fudge Kitchen on the Royal Mile. It’s the tastiest fudge I’ve ever had, the staff are all angels oh yeah and unlimited free samples! Its location makes for a perfect sugar hit to see you through your walk around town.
Where to Drink
The Jolly Botanist (10% off for Point A Hotels A-list programme members)
Edinburgh Gin (20% off gin tours for Point A Hotels A-list programme members)
Want a handy way to remember all the locations I’ve mentioned? Don’t forget to save this post and use this interactive map!
*Hotel stay was complimentary but as always all opinions and suggestions are my own.
Have you been to Edinburgh before? Would you like to go? Let me know in the comments!
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