What should you expect from Marriott’s Residence Inn brand?
With Scotland re-opening its borders to English tourists and the restart of indoor dining and hotel stays, we thought we would take a trip to Edinburgh and see what Marriott’s extended stay brand Residence Inn is all about.
What is a Residence Inn?
Residence Inn is the Marriott’s upscale ‘extended stay’ brand. The first site opened in 1975 and Marriott acquired the business in 1987.
The idea behind Residence Inn is that 1/3rd of business travel room nights are part of an extended trip, and that travellers who are staying in one place for longer need different amenities. This typically involves including a kitchen and proper seating area in every suite.
Rooms are typically larger than at standard hotels (around 45 sq m for a standard suite and 75 sq m for a 2-bed, although don’t necessarily expect that in major cities). The room size and kichen facilities means that Residence Inn and its competitors are also popular with families. There are usually no minimum stay requirements so a one-night stay is not an issue.
There are now 900 Residence Inn properties globally. It competes with brands such as IHG’s Staybridge Suites and, whilst not seen in the UK, Hilton’s Homewood Suites.
Marriott has a second extended stay brand, TownePlace Suites, which is lower cost with fewer amenities. It also has Marriott Executive Apartments and Element, a nascent Westin spin-off with a more modern style.
It is worth noting that Residence Inn stays only earn 5 Marriott Bonvoy points per $1 spent, compared to 10 points per $1 at standard hotels. You earn elite night credits as usual.
In the UK, there are currently six Residence Inn properties:
- London Bridge
- London Kensington
- London Tower Bridge
Manchester, a conversion of The Northern Quarters serviced apartments complex, is due to open later this year.
Slough is a very recent (2021) opening and, as a new build, is probably the best example of what the brand can offer. It is currently open for key workers but will be open to the public from 17th May.
Kensington and London Bridge were converted from Think Apartments in 2017/18 and may not necessarily be typical.
Rob had a tour of Residence Inn Kensington recently and liked what he saw even though the standard suites are relatively small. Kensington is the largest Residence Inn in Europe with over 300 units. It is directly behind the large Tesco store you pass as you enter or leave the flyover on Cromwell Road on the way to or from Heathrow.
Where is the Residence Inn Edinburgh?
On my last trip to Edinburgh in 2019 I stayed at the Kimpton Charlotte Square, which is on the north west side of the Castle.
I was in the city for less than 24 hours on that occasion and mostly explored the area around Princes Street, Edinburgh Castle and Calton Hill. What I didn’t realise at the time is that Edinburgh Castle actually bisects the city, with the university, Grassmarket etc on the Southern side:
This also happens to be where the Residence Inn is located, nestled into the Quartermile development designed by Foster+Partners that abuts The Meadows. It is an interesting development of beautiful stone buildings next to slim, modern multi-story buildings:
Whilst getting to the southern side of the city isn’t as convenient from the airport as Princes Street – which has the tram – it is only a 20 minute cab ride.
It is also within the university and within spitting distance of various museums, including Surgeon’s Hall, the National Museum of Scotland and the National Library.
The Residence Inn Edinburgh
The hotel itself takes up one of the modern blocks in the Quartermile development:
There are just over 100 studios or suites. When I checked in on Monday – the first day that leisure hotel stays were permitted – the hotel was still in semi-hibernation mode, with just 10 guests.
The lobby is small-ish, which makes sense given that the rooms are set up for living and working rather than leisure. You also won’t find a restaurant here, although there is a small grab and go mini mart.
Also on the ground floor is a small gym, with just a handful of running mills, exercise bikes etc:
This is no great loss as there is a PureGym just around the corner.
Bizarrely, there is only one lift for the entire hotel. With just 10 residents this isn’t a problem, but I can’t imagine it being all that convenient when the hotel is full. The building has seven stories, so a lift is important for the upper floors.
What are the suites like?
There are three different room types at the Residence Inn Edinburgh: studios, larger studios (with a sofa) and 1 bedroom suites. I was given a 1 bedroom suite for this review, which was located on the seventh floor. They are approximately double the size of the smallest studio, at 35-42 square metres.
This is what you see when you walk in:
…. with the living room and kitchen on the left, bedroom straight ahead and bathroom to the right.
Both the bedroom and living room have floor-to-ceiling windows. This is great from a natural light perspective, although with the next building just 10 or 15 metres away it can sometimes feel like you are in a fish bowl:
There IS a large balcony, although this is technically restricted. Recent changes to building regulations mean that the hotel is not allowed to let guests use the balcony until further work is done. This is frustrating, albeit there isn’t much the hotel can do about it. You do get a lovely view of the city both north and east:
This is the end of Part 1.
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You can find out more about Residence Inn Edinburgh, and book, on its website here.