It’s always said that we don’t explore our “own backyard” enough, so when I was invited to spend a night at The Bonham, a stylish boutique hotel in the West End of Edinburgh, I jumped at the chance!
We haven’t ventured into hotel stays with our baby yet, so what better way to dip our toes in than with an easy staycation in a part of Edinburgh we spend far too little time in? Plus I’d heard from foodie friends that the food in the onsite restaurant is fantastic. With a baby on board, we haven’t exactly been enjoying a lot of dining out experiences lately.
And so we left our usual haunt of Leith in the north of the city and headed over to The Bonham Hotel, a boutique and art-filled favourite on the Edinburgh hotel scene.
The Location – Edinburgh’s West End
The West End is conveniently located close to Edinburgh’s main attractions, at a less than 10-minute walk from the end of Princes Street or George Street, with some of my favourite eateries and boutiques in between. Despite its ideal location close to the bustle of Edinburgh, The Bonham is located on a quiet step-back-in-time street that feels like it could be a world away.
Classic Luxury – Our Room at The Bonham
The uniform sandstone of the buildings surrounding Drumsheugh Gardens gives little hint to what lies within them. Originally built as three separate townhouses in the Victorian era, The Bonham Hotel has paraded as an extravagant home for Edinburgh’s wealthier families with their servants, before going on to become a maternity hospital, and then a student residence. How’s that for some history?!
A recent refurbishment has seen every room filled with classic furnishings to suit the buildings rich history and plus the addition of bright touches of colour to add a contemporary feel. Outside of our room there was a large bookcase filled with historical books and a painting of a histroic Princes Street, just one of many artistic touches around the hotel.
Views from the rooms extend over the Drumsheugh Gardens (which we were kindly offered a key for, if we wanted to enjoy them from within) or towards Fife and the Firth of Forth.
We were booked into one of the Superior Double rooms for the night, with a huge king size bed covered in comfy cushions and pillows, plenty of polished wooden dressers and side tables to use for work or putting our things out, and a dining table in the window with large turquoise armchairs. The room had plenty of free space for all our baby paraphernalia!
There are the usual tea and coffee facilities, plus complimentary bottled water in the mini fridge. Along with some delicious sweets and a welcome card, the staff had also taken the time to set up a travel cot for Baby B!
The wide sash window let in an abundance of natural light and we had a lovely view of the gardens across the road, down the street, and of the surrounding rooftops. Wherever I’ve travelled in the world I do appreciate a hotel where you can open the window or have the radiator on to manage the room temperature yourself, rather than being at the whim of whoever sets it or only having an air conditioning unit with no option for fresh air!
Off the main room, the recently refurbished bathrooms takes on a more modern design, with dark grey and black tiles and a huge mirror with plenty of light available.
Once unpacked and organised we took a walk down to nearby Dean Village, one of the most picturesque spots in Edinburgh, and one of my favourite hidden gems, although it’s become much more popular in recent years! After returning I sat on one of the comfy chairs by the window and watched the sky turn from blue to dusty pink. Edinburgh was definitely putting her best foot forward for our staycation!
The Bonham Hotel Smartphone App
Scotland’s hoteliers are frequently looking to enhance the guest experience through innovation and improved technology, which is where the Bonham Hotel App comes in. Created with Critons DIY App builder, it provides all sorts of information about the hotel and the surrounding area of Edinburgh, plus a handy way to contact hotel staff. When you book into The Bonham you’re encouraged to download the app to complement your stay.
I sent off a quick email via the app to inquire about parking before we left (yes, even though it’s in Edinburgh it was easier for us to drive with the baby!) and received a speedy response confirming they have spaces available on a first-come-first-served basis for £15 a day. A bargain in the city centre!
The menu at their in-house restaurant, No 35, is also ever-changing, so I checked out the latest version through the app to pre-decide what I wanted to eat. Ask anyone I regularly eat out with, I’m a terrible food decision maker who always takes forever to make up my mind so advance warning of what’s on offer is key!
Although all the staff who directed us to the carpark, carried our things, and checked us in were wonderful, I couldn’t remember what time we were supposed to check out or when breakfast finished (I blame it on Mum Brain, it’s a thing) so a quick check of the app in the wee hours gave me the info I needed. Plus it meant I wasn’t worried when we ended up sleeping in (Baby B included!) thanks to the blackout curtains and the quiet street outside.
You can find the app in your Smartphone App Store, or check out how it works on the Criton website.
Eating In – Food & Drink at The Bonham
The restaurant at The Bonham isn’t just for guests, and there were plenty of people enjoying what looked like romantic and celebratory dinners and catch up meals with friends while we were there. We haven’t been out for a nice dinner since Baby B came along, so it was fantastic to go somewhere on site where we could always nip back up to the room if he became a bit too fractious…and as it was, amazingly, he fell asleep and we had a lovely meal together!
For starters, I had the white crab and Phil had salmon tartare, which I preferred of the two. My main was a delicious fillet of hake, with perfectly crisped skin and on a bed of broccoli that almost upstaged the fish. The A La Carte Menu included plenty of other options, including a grill section from which Phil ordered his Ribeye steak main, as well as “While You’re Deciding” options and extra sides. The food is of a contemporary style with a Scottish twist which I love to see, and there are plenty of locally sourced ingredients.
The Market Menu is a great addition, offering 2 or 3 courses at £18.50 and £22.50 respectively. Then every lunchtime from Wednesday-Sunday you can take advantage of the ‘Boozy Snoozy’ offer which 3 courses off the Market Menu plus a half bottle of wine per person for £25.
Check out the menu options at The Bonham
After two courses with a well-behaved baby, we decided not to push our luck and returned to our room to put him to bed, relax, and order dessert on room service. Two sticky toffee puddings promptly arrived and we ate them by low lamplight as Baby B slept on!
The following morning we slept in, as mentioned, and so made our way down to breakfast not too long before it finished at 10 am. There’s an abundance of continental options to choose from including all the muesli toppings you could hope for, or you can have something cooked to order from the menu.
Thankfully checkout is at the generous time of midday so we didn’t feel like we needed to rush to pack our things and clear out before breakfast. It’s amazing how much you can spread out and make a place like home in just one night!
After breakfast, we wandered into town to the Princes Street Gardens before returning to The Bonham to pick up our car and head home. Our one night staycation in Edinburgh’s West End was a mini-escape to a more luxurious way of city living, and we left feeling relaxed and refreshed, with a happy baby in tow.
Rooms start from £139 for the Classic Double Bedroom and £164 for a Superior Double. There are also Junior and Executive Suites.
Check availability and book here.
Read more about planning a trip to Edinburgh on my Scotland Travel page!
This post is in collaboration with Criton, but as always, all opinions are entirely my own.