Today, our ‘My Favourite Hotel’ review is from Edinburgh.
We are currently running this reader-written feature to provide some positivity and inspiration to Head for Points. You can find all of the ‘My Favourite Hotel’ reviews so far by clicking here. This was scheduled to be a series of about 25 hotels, but a good response from readers means that we have commissioned another batch and are continuing the series.
Today’s hotel is The Glasshouse, a historic hotel in the heart of Edinburgh’s city centre. It is reader Andrew’s favourite hotel and here is his review:
Having an intense work schedule up to Christmas Day it is always good to get away around New Year. As our travel plans for 2020 were extensive (ironically looking back now, as it was virtually all cancelled), our first break of the year was intended to be brief and not too far afield.
We struck on The Glasshouse, a mid price hotel in Edinburgh that is part of the Marriott Autograph Collection and as an added incentive netted a sizeable number of Bonvoy bonus points.
A one night stay on 2nd of January in Edinburgh avoids the crowds and peak pricing but still offers the atmosphere of the Scottish capital at the New Year.
Getting to The Glasshouse in Edinburgh
We arrived at Edinburgh Waverley station in the early evening. The walk to The Glasshouse hotel was only a 10 minute stroll from the station. The location of the hotel is conveniently situated opposite St Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in the theatre district and near a major new shopping development. It was amazingly easy to catch a bus on the opposite side of the road to Leith Docks to visit the Royal Yacht Britannia which was our entertainment for the next day.
Despite the excellent location, on a dark evening with packed streets, it is extremely easy to miss the hotel entrance. The Glasshouse frontage is the remains of a free church chapel dating from 1846 and is set back, and therefore, obscured in between the Edinburgh Playhouse and the OMNi Centre. Once you have found your way to the hotel, the surroundings enhance its appeal.
We were greeted in the smart and modern lobby by a very friendly receptionist who introduced us to the concierge who produced a bottle of bubbly wine and poured my wife and I a glass each as we checked in. The staff must have been exhausted the day after Hogmanay celebrations but there was no sign of it in the way we were treated.
We were escorted to our room which featured a large glazed door that opened to an extensive roof garden overlooking Calton Hill. In warm weather this will be a wonderful area for a stroll. However, be warned if you wonder out, room numbers are not displayed on the outside and with all frontages looking identical, the next morning after a short walk I found an ajar door which I though led back to our room only to walk in on a couple getting dressed for breakfast.
There was no room upgrade available, but my Marriott status entitled us to a complimentary whiskey in the snug bar. We dined in a local restaurant, of which there are many very close by – this being theatre land after all. On returning to The Glasshouse the snug was an excellent place to spend the evening comfortably seated around a large gas fired open fire.
The bar stocks almost 100 whiskeys, as I remember, although our voucher did not stretch to the more specialist choices.
Retiring to our room, there was no shortage of space. The furnishings were in better condition than the communal corridors and the bed was comfortable, ensuring a good night’s sleep.
Rooms featured a sitting area immediately in front of the opening panoramic door to the roof garden and a coffee machine. In fact there was everything you need for a comfortable short or medium stay.
The bathroom lived up to the hotel’s name featuring lots of blue glass from the basin surround to the bath and shower splashback. The bathroom was almost part of the main bedroom, separated by a bamboo screen which could be drawn across, so there are no secrets when it comes to ablution time.
Food and drink at The Glasshouse
The next morning we were among only a handful of guests at breakfast. Again the dining room had a fresh and open feel with lots of large windows overlooking Calton Hill and the Edinburgh architecture to enhance the sense of being in a special place.
The food offering was beautifully presented as if the selection was prepared just for you: there were no mountains of mass cooked food in heated servers but smaller portions of freshly prepared specialist items.
Both my wife and I ordered porridge from the hot menu, which we thought a must for our Scottish break. I was slightly disappointed that the bowl was not a large piping hot affair served with salt but a modern twist topped with fresh fruit and accompanied by a large jug of cream and demerara sugar: all my reservations about this dish evaporated once I had tasted the first mouthful.
Here’s the point about The Glasshouse: You are staying at a hotel in the heart of Edinburgh with a traditional ambiance but a contemporary twist ensuring that there is a surprise at every turn and your stay will be comfortable and modern.
With so many hotels in Edinburgh and so many different styles would we return to The Glasshouse? The answer is undoubtedly yes!
First of all the location was convenient for Waverley Station as the train was our preferred way of getting to Edinburgh. Next time, with a little more planning, we could fit in a show and still browse the shops on nearby Princes Street.
We particularly enjoyed The Snug and the breakfast service but we had no complaints over our room and it would be worth visiting in summer (but perhaps not in 2020) to experience the roof garden. Next time we would like to dine at The Glasshouse to sample how they manage a full dinner service, although there is no shortage of dining options in the vicinity.
There are more opulent hotels in Edinburgh but The Glasshouse is friendly, not at all pretentious and offers amazing quality and service in a period immediately following Edinburgh’s busiest night. That shows attention to details and relentless focus on delivering customer satisfaction by the management and staff.
If you want to find out more, the hotel’s website is here.
Booking The Glasshouse
As a Marriott property, you can also redeem Marriott Bonvoy points at The Glasshouse. It is a Category 7 hotel which means that it costs either 50,000, 60,000 or 70,000 points per night depending on demand.
For cash bookings, The Glasshouse is part of Marriott’s Luminous scheme which gives the following extra benefits if you book via a luxury travel agent:
- Welcome Scotch whisky accompanied by a homemade whisky tablet
- Daily continental breakfast for two people in The Brasserie. Sunday breakfast service offers a complimentary prosecco station
- Early check-in / late check-out, based on availability
- Priority for complimentary room upgrade (based on availability upon arrival)
Our hotel booking partner Emyr Thomas at Bon Vivant can book this package for you. The price will be the same as the Best Available Rate (room only) on the Marriott website. You can contact Emyr via the form on this page of HfP.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (October 2021)
There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card usually comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.
You can apply here.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
Until 2nd November 2021, The Platinum Card comes with a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Amex points. This converts into 90,000 Marriott Bonvoy points.
You can also earn American Express Membership Rewards points with American Express Gold (30,000 bonus points – special offer to 9th November 2021), the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus points) and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus points) and Business Platinum (40,000 bonus points).
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)