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Review: the ‘extended stay’ Residence Inn Edinburgh hotel

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This is our review of the Residence Inn hotel in Edinburgh.

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.

The Residence Inn Edinburgh website is here.

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:

  • Aberdeen
  • Edinburgh
  • London Bridge
  • London Kensington
  • London Tower Bridge
  • Slough

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:

Residence Inn Edinburgh location

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:

Edinburgh Quartermile

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:

Residence Inn Edinburgh

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.

Residence Inn Edinburgh lobby

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:

Residence Inn Edinburgh gym

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:

Residence Inn Edinburgh suite hallway

…. 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:

Residence Inn Edinburgh window

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:

Residence Inn Edinburgh view

This is the end of Part 1.

Part 2 of our review of Marriott’s Residence Inn extended stay hotel in Edinburgh is here.

You can find out more about Residence Inn Edinburgh, and book, on its website here.


Mariott Bonvoy American Express credit card

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards (July 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. Until 31st August 2021, the bonus is doubled to 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. You can apply here.

American Express Marriott Bonvoy credit card

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

40,000 points sign-up bonus and Gold Elite status Read our full review

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.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

You can also earn American Express Membership Rewards points with American Express Gold (20,000 bonus points), 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).

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy 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.)

Comments (11)

  • Jack says:

    It’s spelt Calton Hill.

  • exEDI says:

    Calton Hill

  • Stu N says:

    Quartermile is on the site of the ORK Edinburgh Royal Infirmary – the old buildings are the hospital wards that were listed or deemed worth preserving and the new ones have been slotted into the gaps, hence the slightly odd mix of styles.

    • Alan says:

      Indeed I remember when the QM development first opened – incredibly pricey properties, you even had to pay extra for a parking space. Was amusing to see massive adverts for it in the Straits Times when having brekkie at the Conrad Singapore though 😉

      • Andrew says:

        A friend bought one of the new apartments off plan, I’ll never forget his shock at how close the apartments were to one another the day he moved in.

        Not as bad as our office in Fountainbridge. The students in the accommodation next door had to be regularly reminded that just because you can’t see the several hundred people working in the offices through the semi blacked out windows – doesn’t mean we can’t see your shenanigans.

        • Rob says:

          One of the more interesting facts about the huge number of rabbit hutches currently being built at Battersea Power Station (and where off-plan buyers are taking big losses) – apparently 30% of the flats being built would be illegal if they were council flats, since they fail the legal limits for natural light and/or room sizes. Flats sold to the public are not subject to this rule.

  • Stu N says:

    _old_ not ORK

  • Doug M says:

    Where would you say Embassy Suites fit in against these other brands? I rather like ES in the US, typically quite nice, and always nice to have a decent amount of space in the room. Many seem to be purpose built as they have corridors open to the Atrium, and great for not feeling that sense of claustrophobia in dark hotel corridors.

    • Rob says:

      The only I’ve ever stayed in was Niagra Falls – bizarrely, the hotel with the best falls view from the US side is the Embassy Suites! You can’t really treat that as typical I imagine but we did review it if you search.

  • Mark says:

    The Skylink 300 (Lothian Buses) in normal times offers a good, but slow, service from Edinburgh Airport to the hotel.

    The hotel’s gym provision seems to be adequate to me- I have walked past it (going to the nearby Pure Gym) many times and it has had zero usage every time!

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