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Hotel Highlights

  • Hotel-style quality, B&B intimacy
  • Affordable, contemporary and cool
  • Well-appointed on the main road from Edinburgh to Leith

Overview

It’s the delightful eccentricity of Ardmor House owners Robin and Barry that makes this five-roomed restored Victorian terrace in Edinburgh such a special cheap-chic option. A small staircase winds up to lovely, high-ceilinged rooms, where crisp bedsheets and understated decor provide a neutral backdrop for the vibrancy of the red-velvet lampshades.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Ardmor House with us:

A complimentary bottle of wine on arrival

Facilities

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Ardmor House Hotel – Edinburgh – United Kingdom

Need To Know

Rooms

Five.

Check–out

11am. You can leave your bags here for the day from 8am onwards

Rates

Double rooms from $124.38 (£79), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

More details

Rates exclude breakfast (£12.50 each for a Continental buffet and Scottish breakfast).

At the hotel

Gardens, tea- and coffee-making facilities; WiFi; flatscreen TVs; iPod docks.

Our favourite rooms

All rooms blend contemporary and traditional style and have private ensuite shower rooms and toilets. There are three large doubles with king-size beds, one of which can become a twin room on request.

Packing tips

Good walking shoes. Edinburgh is a city full of hills and many attractions to get round. And it’s always a good idea to prepare for all weather conditions: it can be warm, cold dry, rainy – all in the same day.

Also

Smoking is only permitted in the garden and vestibule. Small dogs are welcome by arrangement. A minimum two-night stay is required at weekends; a minimum four-night stay is required in August and other high-season periods.

Children

Cots available for small children for £15; high chairs.

Eco‐friendly

The hotel aims to use local, seasonal and organic ingredients for its meals, including getting its eggs from the local free-range supplier and its meat from Crombies, the local butcher.

Food & Drink

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Ardmor House Hotel – Edinburgh – United Kingdom

Hotel Restaurant

Breakfast is 8am–10am. On offer are a continental buffet, a range of house favourites (such as scrambled free-range eggs and Scottish smoked salmon or potato waffles with smoked bacon and maple syrup) and a traditional Scottish breakfast: Crombies of Edinburgh Pork sausages, oak-smoked bacon, free-range eggs, pan-fried mushrooms and grilled tomatoes.

 

Room service

Breakfast can be delivered to your room if requested.

Smith Insider

Local Guide

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Ardmor House Hotel – Edinburgh – United Kingdom
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Worth getting out of bed for

Take a walk up Calton Hill; it only takes ten minutes from the top of Leith Walk roundabout and it gives the best view of the city. Have lunch or a coffee at Harvey Nichols Fourth Floor brasserie. Foodies should stop at Plaisir du Chocolat on the Royal Mile for the ultimate sweet-toothed experience, or visit Crombies, the best butcher in Edinburgh, and take home some haggis. For an Italian experience, Valvona & Crolla at the top of Leith Walk is difficult to leave without a laden basket.

Local restaurants

In Leith, visit Iso-Bar on Bernard Street (+44 (0)131 467 8904), a small, smart-looking establishment that caters to a cappuccino crowd during the day, transforming to an standing-room-only bar at night. Nautical knick-knacks and cartography charts bedeck the Waterline Bar and Bistro at 58 The Shore (+44 (0)131 554 2425), a sizeable bar and eatery on the water. Port O' Leith on Constitution Street (+44 (0)131 554 3568) is a cheap-and-cheerful little local that's a favourite of Irvine Welsh. Despite a close-knit core of regulars, the attractive prices solicit a passing trade. La Camargue on Commercial Street (+44 (0)131 554 9999) is a classy fin de siècle French brasserie that specialises in fish, where a meal ranges from the reasonable to the ever-so-slightly extravagant. The artwork and menu change regularly at Compass Bar and Grill at 44 Queen Charlotte Street (+44 (0)131 554 1979). A handsome, stone-walled, moodily lit premises, it tends to draw an artsy clientele. Britannia Spice at 150 Commercial Street (+44 (0)131 555 2255; www.britanniaspice.co.uk) is an award-winning Indian, Bangladeshi, Thai and Nepalese restaurant where booking is recommended. Waiters dress as midshipmen and diners come from all over Edinburgh to discover whether the cuisine measures up to its stellar reputation.

+ Enlarge
Edinburgh en route to Leith

Ardmor House

74 Pilrig Street, Edinburgh, Lothian EH6 5AS, United Kingdom

Planes

The nearest airport is Edinburgh, seven miles from the hotel. A cab direct from the airport to the hotel's door will cost about £18.

Trains

Edingburgh Waverley railway station is just a mile from the hotel. It's served by Virgin, First Scotrail and National Express.

Automobiles

Princes Street (Edinburgh's buzzing shopping hub) is 15 minutes away. The hotel offers free on-street parking.

Reviews

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Ardmor House Hotel – Edinburgh – United Kingdom

Anonymous review

by Adam McDougall , Silver screen celabrater

Crouch. Touch. Pause. Engage! BOOF! Hundreds of kilos of Scottish and French boeuf slam. It’s an international rugby weekend in Edinburgh, and France are in town. Bags dropped off at our handsome five-roomed restored Victorian terrace house for the weekend, and without tickets for Murrayfield, we’ve wedged ourselves into the pub nearest Pilrig Park for alternate roars of approval or d…
Read more

Ardmor House

Anonymous review by Adam McDougall , Silver screen celabrater

Crouch. Touch. Pause. Engage! BOOF! Hundreds of kilos of Scottish and French boeuf slam. It’s an international rugby weekend in Edinburgh, and France are in town. Bags dropped off at our handsome five-roomed restored Victorian terrace house for the weekend, and without tickets for Murrayfield, we’ve wedged ourselves into the pub nearest Pilrig Park for alternate roars of approval or disgust, pretending we understand the rules. Mrs Smith particularly enjoys hearing the ref’s shouted instructions to the players before they come together at each scrum.

Crouch. Touch. Pause. Engage! We chant it in unison, indiscriminately and inappropriately, throughout the duration of our whirlwind break from Glasgow – on the street, in restaurants, in galleries, from the bathroom, in the bedroom, in the castle and even in the Scottish parliament. We don’t know rugby, we don’t know much about politics and we don’t really know Edinburgh. But here we are, on a budget boutique break enjoying a bit of European buzz, caught up in the latest fevered but good-natured sporting and cultural exchange between the Auld Alliance, in this, the official, capital city of Scotland. Crouch. Touch. Pause. Engage!

After the match, Scotland’s glorious defeat irks us not one bit, for we have an early dinner reservation at Ondine at Hotel Missoni and then a cheery bed and breakfast to roll home to. Edinburgh-born head chef Roy Brett has worked with Rick Stein and Mark Hix, and his restaurant comes highly recommended. Down at Leith Docks, Tom Kitchin’s and Martin Wishart’s Michelin stars are apparently well-deserved but, pound-for-pound, we’re told that the food at Ondine is unbeatable. Ondine translates as ‘water sprite’. We take the hint, starting with salt and pepper squid with a sleek and punchy Vietnamese dipping sauce. Lady Smith follows up with a half lobster Thermidor, while I groan my way through butter-soft Cornish sea-bass with microherbs. What are these microherbs? They’re small herbs.

It’s worth noting that Edinburgh sprawls – especially if you include Leith on the water, and at Ardmor House you’re almost exactly between the two – so think carefully about your footwear. After about a litre of PX sherry and homemade rum and raisin ice-cream at Ondine, we quick-march past Missoni's nu-kilted doormen, across the tourist throngs on the Royal Mile and over Princes Street, to gatecrash a party at the Voodoo Rooms. Palms, velveteen booths, opulent chandeliers and dim lighting provide ideal cover from which to launch an assault on the most cut-throat cocktail list this side of the Atlantic. Japanese malt whisky, Mezcal, green tea and chocolate liqueur make repeated visitations to our table.

Back at Ardmor House, a blur of a 10-minute cab ride later, and we flop onto the huge bed and drift into the best night’s sleep we’ve ever known. The radios at Ardmor all seem to be tuned to Radio 3 and we wake gently to something soothing by Mahler, brushing Tunnock's Caramel Wafer crumbs off our chests, basking in the cool, and the crisp, crisp white sheets. We’ve heard great things about our host Robin’s poached eggs, but both opt for a triumphant full Scottish breakfast, with Crombie’s sausages, soft scrambled haggis and gentle, smoky filter coffee. Robin and his partner Barry are two of the friendliest hosts you’ll meet in this hemisphere.

Robin and Barry have been running Ardmor House for over 11 years and have mastered the B&B art of being interested and informative without overbearing. The dining room, hallway and bedrooms are decorated with a light, airy touch, but there’s attention to detail here too – in the carefully selected pieces of vintage furniture, the reassuringly weighty cutlery (why is that so reassuring?), the homemade tablet and, again, the wonderful bed and linens. As a base for exploring Edinburgh and nearby Leith, it’s a supremely comfortable and comforting HQ. Ultimately it’s an extremely high-quality B&B in a quiet part of town – understand that from the outset, and you will not be disappointed.

‘We [heart] Leith' banners line the streets as you make your way down to the waterfront; enthusiastic former residents, including the Proclaimers and Irvine Welsh grin down at us, encouraging. A quick walk around the docks reveals a clutch of top-notch restaurants and some of the most obese, intimidating ducks we’ve ever seen. Unnerved by these fat fowl, we decide to escape, setting off on a trek to Holyrood and the seat of Scottish government.

It was delivered one thousand years late and a gazillion pounds over budget. And it’s brilliant. Catalan architect Enric Miralles’ frankly bonkers design is the perfect setting for our nation’s unstylish cast of pasty-grey, chubby politicians. How long before Alex Salmond appoints Tom Kitchin to his cabinet to brighten things up? Or even one of those well-fed Leith harbour mallards? Such serious political reflection leaves us peckish, so we hike over to Bruntsfield in search of Falko: Konditormeister. Falko is apparently the greatest baker of bread and cakes that Germany has ever produced. (No, no, it was Falco who rapped Rock Me Amadeus.) Unfortunately the selfish bastard takes two days off every week, and today is one of those. Scheisse. One to revisit, definitely.

Not to worry – our next foodstop is the famous Witchery. An enchanting place where the wine list is as fat as a leg. The food is rich and assured. It’s delicious, but we’re knackered. We’ve walked ourselves out. But, you see, it really is the best way to take in Edinburgh – and the best way to offset your gastric footprint. We waddle out of the Witchery and into a cab for the first time that weekend. Wheezing, we slump, one-eyed, transported back to the cool comfort of Ardmor House. And that bed. Crouch. Pause. Pause. Zzzzzzz.

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel with us, we'll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Ardmor House's Guestbook below.

 

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

I liked the luxuriously appointed tasteful interiors, comfortable beds, amazing breakfast, best cup of coffee, attention to detail, warmth of the host Robin and superb location of the guest house.

Rating: 9/10 stars

BlackSmith

Stayed on

We loved

Attention to detail was everywhere. I had a great Scottish full breakfast. I liked the lovely ensuite with a super TV that actually worked!

Don’t expect

Nothing could be better.

Rating: 10/10 stars

SilverSmith

Stayed on

We loved

The proximity to town (bus 11 is right at the door and takes you to Edinburgh center in 10 minutes). The personal touches, from the Scottish delicacies on your pillow on arrival to the delicious breakfast (try everything home-made: jam, muffins… they are enchanting to the palate)! The eco-friendly policy of not changing towels automatically (it is done upon request if you place your towels in the shower). The view from our room (4) of the peaceful and lovely backyard garden.

Don’t expect

We were a little disturbed by our active neighbours (a young couple, apparently) so sound-proofing is not optimal but it only happened twice so that was ok.

Rating: 10/10 stars