I am not a great fan of so-called ‘boutique’ hotels in general. I find they invariably promote style and have a preoccupation with linen ‘thread count’ over comfort and convenience.
I am not a great fan of private dinners in converted meeting rooms in hotels. The atmosphere generated by a power point presentation lingers long after the meeting has ended.
I am not a great fan of airport hotels – do I really need to elaborate on this?
The Dakota Edinburgh Hotel ticked all four of the above boxes. I should have hated it - but I didn’t. I stayed one night and arranged a private dinner in the evening for around 30 guests. The bedrooms were comfortable and easy to use. There was no bath tub but the monsoon shower was highly effective – and the toiletries came in airline-friendly 100ml plastic bottles. The bed was large, the storage space adequate with plenty of tea and coffee. I suppose the room was a little ‘masculine’ with pictures of racing cars on the walls but there was a full Sky Sports package on the digital LCD television.
Believe it or not, I am fairly relaxed about hotels. Just give me a comfortable room, preferably with complimentary wi-fi, and with good service and I am happy. As far as hotel dinners are concerned I invariably try and avoid the meat option on the menu, and not because I don’t like meat. I have chewed way through too many pieces of old leather masquerading as prime steak in the past. I have learned my lesson. If a good fish option is available that will always be my selection. The private dinner at the Dakota Edinburgh contradicted this long held view. The fish option was excellent but the feedback from everybody who selected steak, and it was the majority, ranged from delighted to ecstatic. I couldn’t believe it. I don’t think it has ever happened before.
Perish the thought that I am obsessed with food but there are very few hotels in my experience which offer both porridge and haddock and poached eggs on the breakfast menu, cooked to order. The usual hotel breakfast is a selection of wheat-base cereals and a traditional fry-up from the self-service counter.
Allow me to add a few words about hosting a private party at the hotel. The bar and public areas at the Dakota Edinburgh Hotel are excellent for small get-togethers. Parties can gather around an open fire or they can spread out to semi-private areas.
I have saved the best until last. It’s the level of service and the friendliness of the staff. Nothing is too much trouble. 'Can one of the guests have dinner in their room so she can tend her little baby?' – 'no problem sir'. ‘We have an unexpected guest for dinner can we set an extra place?’ – ‘no problem sir’.
The Dakota Edinburgh Hotel is a short walk from the village / district of Queensferry which nestles in the shadow of the Forth Road and Rail bridges, on the banks of the Firth of Forth. It is a delightful village which I have ‘travelled over’ by both road and rail many times in the past totally oblivious of its presence.
A final bonus point goes to the Dakota Edinburgh Hotel - it offers a complimentary shuttle service to and from Edinburgh International Airport.
Dakota Edinburgh Hotel was a really enjoyable experience – try it for yourself. Details: www.dakotahotels.co.uk