How important is breakfast to you? Does staying in a hotel give you the excuse to go for a full Scottish serving of link sausage, bacon, eggs, tattie scone, fried mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, baked beans, buttered toast and black pudding. Or do you prefer a more continental choice of croissants, hams and cheese?

Having just read that two out of every three hotels charge extra for breakfast, according to a survey by hotel reservations service HRS, perhaps you would prefer to skip breakfast all together?

Five-star breakfasts in Switzerland are the priciest averaging £25.72 followed by Germany at £22.85. Across all classes of hotel the UK comes in fifth at an average cost of £11.49.

At serviced apartments our breakfast conundrum is whether we do or don’t put it on the menu at all.

The central principle of serviced apartments is the independence that they provide travellers. The sense that you are not tied to any one restaurant or food style, but that you have the freedom to do exactly as you please.

But I’ve learned that breakfast is a little different. It’s not top of mind when people book and although we always leave a welcome pack – as no home from home should have an empty store cupboard – it can be difficult to anticipate what clients want before they open the curtains in their apartment on the first morning.

There are of course plenty of great places to eat nearby and there is something quite wonderful about finding a genuine bowl of porridge in a café along the Royal Mile.

We could always deliver breakfast on request, or leave our guests everything they need to rustle up the perfect start to their day. But with everything bespoke and nothing standard at Old Town Chambers, breakfast continues to be a dilemma.

In creating something special some further research is required!



Coming soon – the transformation of Bothwell House

I am delighted to say that we are very close to completing the £1m refurbishment of Bothwell House, a 16th century Grade A listed building that has had quite a history.

The property was home to Adam Bothwell, the Bishop of Orkney, who officiated at the marriage of Mary, Queen of Scots, to the 4th Earl of Bothwell in 1567 and later to twice provost of Edinburgh, William Dick, who rose to become the wealthiest Edinburgh merchant of his generation with widespread business interests in London and France.

Advocates Close sign[205213]

In the last century it was divided up and used for offices, so we have stripped everything backed to the original walls, before converting the building back to a homely residence. Existing blocked windows have been opened-up and former doorways reinstated with original timber panels and doors reused wherever possible.

In the space we have now created another five highly distinctive heritage suites bringing the total number of serviced apartments at the location to 36.

The apartments include four studios and one two bedroom suite and all have been designed to the same high standards of our existing Old Town Chambers portfolio.

Bothwell House deserves to be given a new lease of life and without losing its historic character we are bringing it into the 21st century with modern technology, smart TVs, Wifi, kitchen gadgets and contemporary furnishings. There is always a sense of pride to the sensitive restoration work that we have been a part of and the certainty that we have created a very different and evocative space for people to enjoy.

And the winner is ………………… Old Town Chambers

While the customer remains our best judge and most important critic – and we are constantly delighted by the feedback on Tripadvisor – it is always heartening to win awards.

Within months of opening we achieved a 5 star rating from the AA and now have 5 star accreditation from VisitScotland, with Regional Director, Manuela Calchini saying we offered “world class” accommodation.

These awards are an endorsement of our commitment to quality and service, but what makes them so important is that they set a standard and level of expectation that we have to deliver every time a new client comes through our doors.

But Old Town Chambers is winning other plaudits, which highlights the very unique experience that our guests can enjoy. Our serviced apartments are part of an architectural masterpiece off Edinburgh’s Royal Mile and a regeneration project that has transformed 11 largely neglected buildings to open up a number of medieval closes.

To date it has been named Development of the Year by the Scottish Property Awards, highly commended as a city regeneration project and shortlisted for architectural excellence in the RIAS awards.

It is the combination of a special place and exceptional spaces; the combination of the historic and evocative with the cool and stylish which is unrivalled – even if I do say so myself.

Julie Grieve, CEO, Old Town Chambers and Manuela Calchini, VisitScotland[206152]