“21st-century guesthouse with easy access to Edinburgh city centre, whose owners tread a perfect line between fabulous and fussy service”
Thankfully, there is a third camp, in the shape of 94DR’s contemporary boutique B&B (the name comes from the address: 94 Dalkeith Road). Run with friendly attention to detail by former restaurateurs and marketeers, Paul Lightfoot and John MacEwan, this 7-bedroom townhouse, in the city’s just-out-of-town Southside (part of the elegant Blackett conservation area), is as well suited for a romantic love-in as it is for a family to set up their base camp.
A Victorian tiled entrance hall, high ceilings and fresh flowers set a sophisticated tone, but the overall feel is unpretentious and willing. The B&B’s real USP, however, is the owners’ enthusiasm. Paul and John are obviously in the business because they get a buzz from it and guests leave feeling cherished rather than chided.
- Sumptuous bedrooms with period details but bold design touches
- The bathrooms are truly decadent, with underfloor heating and White Company toiletries
- We loved the honesty bar and the Tunnocks tea cakes left on our tea tray
- Access to insider knowledge of Edinburgh’s bars, shops and, particularly, restaurants, comes as standard
- Fantastic breakfasts are cooked to order and always include imaginative daily specials
- The location is not the most central, but buses will get you into the city centre in 5/10 minutes (or grab an Uber), and you're near the base of Arthur's Seat if you need some fresh air
- It’s set on a busy road but is well-shielded from traffic noise, especially the back rooms
- There’s no fresh milk or coffee in the bedrooms, but guests can help themselves to both (and to a Nespresso machine) in the lounge, or request a jug of fresh milk
- Breakfast is pretty early but if you want a lie-in you can order a breakfast box to be delivered to your room
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Guesthouse
- Breakfast only
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Spa Treatments
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
- Concierge Service
- Bicycles Available
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 naturally-coloured blankets from Isle of Mull Weavers. You know you’re in Scotland here but it’s all done in a subtle, contemporary way.
Each room is named after a different Islay whisky and matches modern comforts 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. If you’re feeling romantic, book Bowmore. It has a bay window with views right across to Arthur’s Seat.
All the bathrooms are large and pampering, with underfloor heating, plenty of shelf space, White Company toiletries and piping hot water. 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.
- CD player
- Central heating
- Coffee / tea making
- Cots Available
- DVD player
- Extra beds
- Internet access
- Ipod dock
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 (vegan-friendly dishes are available - just ask). During my stay these were granola and yoghurt with homemade rhubarb and raspberry compote followed by a Mexican inspired avocado dish on sourdough with a poached egg. The best breakfast we had in Edinburgh!
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.
- Coffee / tea making
- Restaurants nearby
- Wander over to nearby Prestonfield Hotel for a dram in its beautifully but eccentrically decorated bar
- Climb up Arthurs’ Seat for a hearty hike and fabulous views of the city (if you’re thirsty carry on to the Sheep Heid Inn in Duddingston, Scotland’s oldest pub, found just over the hill)
- Go shopping amid the boutiques, delis and cafes of pretty William Street, in the West End
- Take a walk along the Water of Leith walkway from village-like Stockbridge to the Gallery of Modern Art (from where there’s a free bus back into town)
- Be serenaded by busking pipers as you weave a route down the Royal Mile from the castle to Holyrood Palace
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Historical sites
- Museums / galleries
- Shopping / markets
For such a design-savvy guesthouse, it’s a surprise to find that children are welcome, but they genuinely are. There's a Family Suite, and 94DR is close to plenty of family sights. We think it best for 5-15 year olds.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Family friendly accommodation:
The Family Suite is created 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.
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
Kids Activities nearby:
- Commonwealth swimming pool down the road
- Dynamic Earth
- Museum of Scotland
- Camera Obscura
- Harry Potter trail
- Edinburgh Castle
94DR takes its name from its address; 94 Dalkeith Road. It’s on a busy but well-connected street in the city’s residential Southside, about 10 minutes’ bus-ride from the city centre.
Edinburgh International Airport is a 30-minute drive away, with a wide range of international and domestic flights. From the airport it's easiest to take a taxi, or the Edinburgh Shuttle (a door-to-door shared taxi service which is cheaper). Alternatively you can take a bus into the centre and a local bus to the hotel.
Edinburgh’s Waverley station is a mainline station, reachable from London in 4.5 hours, Glasgow in 45 minutes and York in just over 2 hours. From Waverley, it's a 15-minute walk to the hotel (or a short bus ride); from Haymarket (the city's other main station), it's a 25-minute walk (or bus/taxi ride).
Edinburgh is a great city to explore on foot so there’s no need to bring your car, or hire one. If you need to travel by car, there’s off-road parking for 3 cars just outside the guesthouse. If you want to hire a car, see our car rental recommendations.
Detailed directions will be provided when you book through i-escape.
More on getting to the UK and getting around
- Edinburgh Airport 15.0 km
- Beach 12.0 km
- Shops 0.1 km
- Restaurant 0.2 km