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Edinburgh Hotel Advice

I’m debating between two hotels in Edinburgh. Motel One Royal (just recently remodeled) or Apex City of Edinburgh. I’d like to base our decision on location. We will be staying for 4 nights and would prefer the one with the best situation for nice restaurants for the evening and pubs. Not looking for nightlife as we never stay up late these days. Or, perhaps we should consider ease of bus transit which may give Motel One the edge? I understand that the bus system is very easy to use in Edinburgh. It’s our first time in the city so we’d really appreciate your advice.

Side note: if anyone can give favorite, quiet restaurant recommendations I’d love to have them. Our last trip was to England and we found so many of the restaurants to be very noisy, just like home. Not sure if restaurants in Scotland are similar but we were disappointed by the noise level as it wasn’t conducive to a romantic dinner out. Not every place has to be quiet but we really struggled that trip with restaurants. Food is a big part of the fun when we travel 😋

Posted by
2139 posts

I would choose the Motel One – it’s a couple of minutes from the Royal Mile and Waverley station, and another couple of minutes from the New Town.

The Apex is in the Grassmarket which is a bit lively in the evenings.

As for noise in restaurants it depends on the restaurant – the more you pay the more select the clientele, and the more refined the experience. Which I’m sure is true the world over.

The Apex is a better hotel in terms of being a more full-service hotel, but Grassmarket is indeed a very noisy “party” area full of pubs. Great by day, loud by night.

Motel One hotels are a good quality budget chain with stylish touches, and that’s a good location. I’d go for Motel One given your taste for quiet.

I’m not sure what you mean by noisy restaurants - busy with a buzz of conversation? Loud music? Or harsh furnishings that make sound bounce?

One place I like (but I’ve only been at fairly quiet times) is The Outsider on George IV Bridge. It’s in a busy location but is nicely furnished, popular with “grown ups” and always feels very civilised - plus great castle views from the back.

Posted by
975 posts

Hi, Julie,

For a quieter restaurant, you might want to try the Canny Man's, at the corner of Morningside Road and Canaan Lane. It's a quirky old restaurant (dating from 1871), with lots of alcoves, and nooks and crannies. It's a bit of a hike from Princes Street, so you'd probably need to take the bus or a taxi. The 11, 16, or 23 bus should get you there.

Check out their website to see if it's what you might be looking for. The menu is on that website as well. We've been there a couple of times in the evening, and it has always been quiet. Of course, if there's a hen party going on, all bets are off!


Mike (Auchterless)

Posted by
618 posts

Thanks guys for the tips!! This is great. Sounds like the Motel One would be a good choice for us. We splurged a bit on our lodging on the Isle of Skye so it's nice to balance out the lodging price with a cheaper place in Edinburgh.

We just experienced a lot of noisy people when we were eating - from the countryside in the Cotswolds to London. Seemed like everyone was trying to talk over each other. We ate at what I would consider mid-range places. Nothing crazy expensive but not cheap, either. It wasn't really a loud music issue just a loud conversation level. I'm used to quieter dining experiences for the most part in Europe so I was simply surprised this last trip and wanted to try to plan in some quieter restaurants as we enjoy that time together after a busy day of sight-seeing.

Posted by
2949 posts

For a romantic dinner, I highly recommend the Tower Restaurant, located above the National Museum of Scotland. The museum was closed for the evening when we went, so it was important to book ahead and go to the entrance by the elevator that takes you up to the restaurant. If you time it right, you'll see the sunset over the city skyline. Our waiter even escorted me out onto the deck so I could take photos without window reflections. The food and drink were excellent and the service made us feel like royalty. And the noise level was quiet; easy to converse in normal tones.

Posted by
3 posts

I suggest staying on the south side of Edinburgh in a B&B. It is easy to take the bus to the Royal Mile and all the other things that Edinburgh has to offer. If you decide to do this, look at 23 Mayfield Gardens. I've just returned and it was a luxurious stay at a very good price. If you pay cash, and have Rick's book, you'll get a 10% discount too. The breakfast is to die for.

Also Damm 27 is a fantastic restaurant on the south side. It is eclectic, but is suitable for well behaved children. I felt that is was quite and intimate and the food was outstanding. Great drinks as well as a wonderful and courteous wait staff.