Thanks to TA reports we were prepared for the routine to obtain access to the property and I contacted Phil by email in advance for details. I received a quick response and the process worked out fine. I had booked through an online supplier and they did not email any details so without TA we would have been left standing (literally outside that is). The key message here is be proactive and contact Phil direct via his web address prior to your arrival to obtain the lock combination required (the keys are held in little locked boxes by the side of the door).
The property is a townhouse which has been converted a few years ago into 13 bedrooms with a communal lounge and kitchen. Six of the larger bedrooms have their own limited kitchen facilities. You can see that the place has been furnished originally to a good specification and still photographs well however on closer inspection it all looked a bit tired at the time of our visit.
Although there is no reception there was a notice on the back of our bedroom door with some details of the house rules and guidance. It was too late for us to read that we should have removed our shoes at the front entrance - there is a tall rack just inside for storing them - we obliged thereafter. Guests presumably have been respectful of this request as the light coloured carpet on the stairs was still not too bad looking and Edinburgh has lots of wet, mucky pavements - especially in light of the ongoing tram works.
Our room #6 was at the front of the house on the first floor. It had a high ceiling typical of the style of property and was quite compact with a double bed, chest of drawers, desk and chair and an open wardrobe. There was also a box seat by the window with cushions however the sills and several other surfaces including the deep skirting boards had a coating of dirt/dust. This may be down to the window being open and roadworks outside - or possibly the absence of a duster in a while! The room did not have any tea/coffee making facilities. A widescreen television was mounted on the wall and could be angled - this was handy to turn it away from the direction of the bed at night as the blue standby light was a nuisance (I didn’t investigate turning it off altogether).
The ensuite is very small and I’m surprised that some features passed building regulations. The fixtures are stylish however from a practical point of view they disappointed. When using the washbasin to have a shave I thought it had similarities to a bird bath (i.e. it could only hold about an inch of water); the entry and exit from the raised shower was unbelievably narrow (Kate Moss would be ok) and potentially dangerous as you step sideways down onto the tiled floor. Water pressure in the shower was fairly weak and the tiles and plug area a bit unsightly with soap residue. It did cross my mind that it may have been possible to have achieved a triple of having a shower, shave and seat at the same time such was the close proximity of the fittings. I didn’t attempt it for my own safety. On that note a good feature was the floor level light which came on when the door opened and saved switching on the main light if getting up to go to the toilet during the night.
If the TV standby light was a distraction it paled into insignificance when we retired to the rock solid bed. I think it may have been a memory foam mattress however my only memories of it are bad. The last time I slept on something similar it was covered in carpet. That aside, the main cause of our sleepless night was the traffic noise. The work associated with the introduction of trams to Edinburgh has resulted in a road diversion past the property which is scheduled to go on until at least the second quarter of 2013 so in the interim either get a room at the rear or bring earplugs. There is only single glazing and the buses and cars are relentless.
Breakfast was DIY in the basement in a communal kitchen. There were a few cereals, pastries, some bread, assorted jams, fresh fruit, coffee and a large selection of tea. There was a bench type table and seats and some fellow guests who were Scandinavian. A few others arrived, took some items and disappeared to their rooms as there was nowhere else to sit. The kitchen had a number of fridges which appeared to be full of food belonging to longer term guests who can make themselves meals. Judging by the plate still covered in tomato sauce in the dishwasher it’s possibly not haute cuisine. In the absence of a “host”, separate tables or background music the communal breakfast was a bit uncomfortable.
The clue to who’s Edinburgh this is was becoming apparent. It probably best suits young people who are travelling and want a taste of Edinburgh for a week or so on a budget or students who are attending further education. The website does refer to it being a base for “the full academic term”. It would also be convenient for events at Murrayfield as it isn’t too far to walk and a small group of people attending one of these may relax in each others company.
There are no parking arrangements for guests’ cars but it is close to Haymarket railway station - and bus routes as we can testify! There are stairs from the street at the front entrance and inside, to the basement level kitchen, so it may not suit guests with mobility issues.
One or two other TA reporters have probably got it right when they mentioned it’s almost like a hostel - although I would add like an upmarket version. Our stay was low-cost for Edinburgh at £70 for a double room for a night but sadly My Edinburgh Life is not the life we would normally choose.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- My Edinburgh Life is a cozy, yet sophisticated guesthouse that offers short-term holiday lets throughout the summer months (June - August). A prime location and an intimate atmosphere makes for a peaceful and pleasant stay! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- My Edinburgh Life Hotel Edinburgh
- My Edinburgh Life Scotland