Apex Hotels seem to be, quite literally, popping up all over the place, in Edinburgh currently, replicating a formula, which works and becoming a fast growing UK chain.
Friendly, four star comfort, in the heart of UK cities; that is precisely my experience during a recent stay at the group’s luxury Edinburgh hotel on Waterloo Place.
As central as you could possibly get, if you count Edinburgh’s most recognised and well-loved thoroughfare of Princes Street, city centre. Literally within a 2 minute walk of Princes Street’s eastern end, Apex Waterloo Place not only provided superbly on the location front but parking to boot; something so rare in any city centre in current times. The Omni is the advertised area for parking during a stay at Apex, with discounted fees and a short, few minutes walk away from the hotel. We were fortunate however to get even closer with an overnight space on Waterloo Place – perfect!
A great attraction and USP of this Apex and fabulously reflective of Edinburgh’s colourful history…the hotel is located within the walls of the city’s very first purpose built hotel, dating back to 1819. With some changes and improvements of late to the exterior, the building has not lost any of the elegance for which it was famed, back in the early 19th century.
Architect, Archibald Elliot had plans for forward thinking bedrooms and large communal public spaces to entertain guests, and this has not been lost today.
A contemporary interior, the hotel still boasts largely open-plan dining areas and a wonderfully light bar with impressive and memorable wall art. The large windows to the front, afford huge amounts of light to flood the public areas and views from the side reflect Edinburgh’s split-level landscape to full benefit.
It is nice to think of Charles Dickens as being a regular hotel guest here and even more fitting in such a historical city, to be part of the very foundations of that story.
It remains indeed a comfortable space, in which to spend time; the Gordon Suite boasts a range of elegant and luxurious rooms – all spacious beyond compare and decorated in soft neutrals and contrasting slate – present throughout the hotel. The thoughtful addition of a desk within the lounge area, accommodates working guests and offers convenient business facilities – comfortable sofas and a large LCD TV; for relaxing after!
Superbly well equipped bedrooms with plentiful wardrobe space; so lacking in some, more modern hotels, catered hospitality tray and very comfortable beds with memory foam; thankfully an increasingly popular feature. An additional dressing table area, again sadly omitted by some in favour of a ‘workspace’, offered another welcome surface to use for all my ‘things’, which I have never, in all these years, learned to travel without.
The full suite was completed with a spacious bathroom including a divine shower and large bathtub complete with the famous Apex Duck, which has now accompanied me home, as is afforded by the hotel and shall be completing some further Scotland travels with me!
An in-house Spa with full leisure facilities negates the need to venture out, should a relaxed stay be the preferred option. A welcoming restaurant and bar area, along with meeting facilities, make the hotel one of the better destinations for business travellers, with additional, dedicated event planners, conference call phones and Netviewer making conferences and meetings stress-free and reducing the need to travel outwith the hotel.
I was particularly surprised and impressed by the hotel’s environmental policies; an Environmental Director oversees the initiatives within the group, with the aid of the Green Team and Green Champions – very worthy of a mention and credit to them for incorporating reduce, reuse and recycle initiatives from the outset and design stage of the hotel.
Waterloo Place is indeed looking its very best again; not least, with the retained Georgian frontage of the Apex Hotel and its terraced neighbours. Contemporary interior styling designed around original features offer comfort and a happy knowledge that this building shall retain its continuous presence as a hotel, hopefully for many years to come.