“21st-century guesthouse with easy access to Edinburgh city centre, whose owners tread a perfect line between fabulous and fussy service”
The painstakingly designed and spankingly clean rooms are contemporary in style, with fresh white walls, woodwork and sheets cosied up by brightly coloured cushions and chairs, fur rugs, and gorgeous, naturally-coloured blankets from Isle of Mull Weavers. There are some sweet homely touches too: designer teddies, and shiny red and silver Tunnocks teacakes (a local biscuit institution) gleaming enticingly on each room’s tea tray. You know you’re in Scotland here but it’s all done in a subtle, contemporary way.
Each room is named after a different whisky and matches contemporary comforts - such as bathrobes, flat-screen TVs and DVD players (there’s a library in reception) - with elegant period features such as Victorian fireplaces and shutters. You can choose from 3 different room types: Couture (Bowmore and Caol Ila), Bespoke (Lagavulin and Tamdhu) and Tailored (Aberlour and Macallan). There’s also Wee Dram, a snug but smart children’s bunk-bedroom which can be booked in conjunction with Tamdhu to make a Family Suite.
Bowmore, Aberlour and Tamdhu are at the front of the building, the others at the back. If you’re a night-time wriggler, go for Bowmore, Caol Ila or Tamdhu, with their kingsize beds; the others (except for Wee Dram) have standard doubles.
And if you prefer to soak rather than spritz, opt for Bowmore or Caol Ila, which have claw-foot baths as well as power showers. The other rooms have huge walk-in showers. All the bathrooms are large and pampering, with underfloor heating, plenty of shelf space, White Company toiletries and piping hot water. Typical of 94DR’s attention to detail, the showers have all been cleverly designed so you don’t get your arm wet when you turn them on.
Finally, if you’re feeling romantic, book Bowmore. As well as that claw-foot bath, it has a bay window with views right across to Arthur’s Seat, the extinct volcano that rises up in the heart of the city and is the perfect place for an easy “country” walk without the hassle of getting in a car.
Breakfasts are a big deal at 94DR. Paul is a trained chef and, with no lunches or dinners available to guests, he goes to town on the most important meal of the day. Dishes are prepared freshly every morning using seasonal, local and organic produce, and eaten in a lovely light conservatory at the back of the house, overlooking the guesthouse’s walled garden. A choice of freshly squeezed juices, smoothies, porridge and traditional Scottish breakfasts are always available, but Paul also rustles up a couple of daily specials. During my stay these were granola and yoghurt with homemade plum compote followed by a delicious kiln-smoked trout fishcake rolled in oatmeal and topped with a poached egg. Flexibility is all part of the service, however; when a guest on an adjacent table admitted to being vegan, Paul stepped up to the challenge offering her an equally varied list of vegan-friendly dishes.
For dinner recommendations, both John and Paul are right on the money, with spot-on suggestions for both walkable and city centre options. Looking for something relaxed and not too pricey, I ate at The Dogs, in the New Town, arguably Edinburgh’s best gastropub. Other city centre hotspots recommended by John included The Outsider, serving modern Scottish food, and Ondine, a classy fish and seafood restaurant, while Nadine, for reliable Turkish cooking, and Blonde, for relaxed Scottish menus are both within easy walking distance. Book in advance if you want to be sure of a seat at the guesthouse’s twice-monthly pop-up supper club, Under The Table.
For such a design-savvy guesthouse, it’s a surprise to find that children of all ages are welcome, but they genuinely are.
The Family Suite is creating by connecting Tamdhu with Wee Dram, a small bunk-bedroom especially for kids (only bookable as an add-on to Tamdhu). Wee Dram has an X-box, children’s toys, DVDs, toy chest and tuck tray.
In addition, all rooms have space for a baby cot.
Babysitting can be arranged via a reputable Edinburgh firm.
Travel cots and highchairs are available.
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking