on April 4, 2006
The Caledonian (or Caley as the locals call it) is a landmark red sandstone hotel on the west end of Princes Street in Edinburgh's New Town. It is now run by Hilton. Because of its status, and the rumour that Sean Connery likes to stay there when he is in town, we had to give it a try.Booking the hotel can be done on the Internet, which makes it very convenient. It also gives you the opportunity to compare prices. By paying in advance we were able to get a reasonable, but not cheap, rate. The price was lower than the Scotsman, the Balmoral, the Sheraton Grand, other luxury hotels in Edinburgh.The exterior of this hotel (built at the beginning of the 20th century) is very grand, reflecting its origins as a Victorian railway hotel.When you walk into the hotel, you will note that the photos showing previous guests includes one of Sir Sean. When you walk in you will also notice the staff are very attentive and helpful as one would expect from a this type of hotel and from a chain like the Hilton.Luxury, however, is on a European standard. Our room had two double beds, a desk, table, and sitting chairs. It was not a lot of room for four people. Storage for luggage and clothes was available in two large armoire like cupboards. The bathroom was roomy and scrupulously clean but like so many hotel bathrooms did not have a lot of counter or shelf space. Extras included terry bathrobes and slippers and shortbreads with the tea, coffee, and hot chocolate.The Caley is an old building so there were creaks and the heated towel rack never got warm. On the other hand, we were at the end of a long, long hallway on the top floor and the room was very quiet.The best thing about our room was the view out the windows which looked out to Edinburgh Castle and over the Princes Street Gardens.The hotel has a number of restaurants, bars and places to eat. Breakfast was not included. We tried the Chisholm restaurant where continental or Scottish breakfast was offered. The Scottish breakfast was the biggest buffet I've ever seen with the usual choices of sausages, eggs, toast, cereals but also pancakes, waffles, sparking wine and juice, and even whisky for your porridge.
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