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Ibis Hotel Edinburgh Centre

from Edinburgh, Scotland


ABOVE: The Ibis is on Hunter Square, just around the corner from the Royal Mile. INSET: The lobby has a reception desk, a baggage room, and a comfortable lounge with Internet terminals.

photoBudget hotels aren't hard to find in Edinburgh, but they tend to be in residential neighborhoods to the west or south of the city center. Finding a good, affordable middle-class hotel near the main tourist attractions isn't so easy--unless you're lucky enough to get a room at the Ibis Edinburgh Centre in the heart of the Old Town.

Behind the Ibis's traditional façade is a modern hotel with 99 double rooms. (Some, like the one that I stayed in, are equipped for guests in wheelchairs.) The decor is cheerful and functional, with  Scandinavian-style furniture and attractive bathrooms. You won't find terrycloth robes, chocolates on your pillows, or even much in the way of storage space, but given the hotel's economical rates, you aren't likely to complain.

The hotel's best feature is its lobby, which has a spacious lounge overlooking the street. You can order a drink or a snack from reception, pick a newspaper from the rack, and settle into a comfortable chair. Or grab a seat at one of the two coin-operated Internet terminals, which cost 9p per minute.

Behind the reception area is a breakfast room where the morning buffet of cereals, rolls, cold cuts, etc. will set you back £4.95. If you prefer a cooked breakfast, walk around the corner to Always Sunday or Garfunkel's Restaurant. For a Continental-style breakfast, try Chocolate Soup (my favorite breakfast spot in the neighborhood) or Starbuck's, both of which are just a few steps from the hotel.


  • Book ahead! The Ibis is extremely popular, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. During my visit, several hen parties were in the hotel for the weekend: One group sported bunny ears with flashing lights (except for the bride, who wore a hat with an inflatable chicken and the caption, "Last chance to lay this chick"). Another group were dressed up in cowgirl costumes.

  • If you're paying with a foreign credit card, watch for the "dynamic currency exchange" scam, where the chain converts the bill into your currency and takes a hefty (and hidden) commission for this unrequested "convenience." Ibis pulled this stunt on me when I checked out.

For more information or to book a room, see the official Ibis Edinburgh Centre Web page. (Ignore the photo on the page, which shows a generic Ibis chain property).

More about Edinburgh:
Edinburgh home page at Europe for Visitors


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