Hello! It’s been a while since I’ve written anything on this blog – life has been a rollercoaster since then, both personally and in terms of the pandemic. I figured that with much of the latest aviation-related news more of which I found myself involved in than ever before (Hong Kong borders closing to UK residents, Cathay Pacific’s new A321neos, etc.) I really didn’t have much to add, so simply took a hiatus until I had something to write about.
I still haven’t done or planned any flying yet (I’m desperate for that to change – I haven’t been home in over a year!), though I did do some domestic travelling around the UK this year after restrictions were lifted. I had a blast – I visited Cardiff, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Durham for the first time, among other cities – though I’m particularly interested in reviewing two Hilton-owned hotels in Scotland that I ended up staying in.
- Both of these hotels I stayed in are ultra-affordable, accessible staycations within the UK (especially on points), which is valuable at the moment especially with international travel not having fully opened up yet
- Both of these hotels had Hilton’s latest bells and whistles (online check-in, digital key, etc.), which I wanted to explore as well
- I wanted to share the excitement I had of staying in a chain hotel for the first time in two years
In this post I’ll be reviewing the DoubleTree by Hilton by Edinburgh’s Queensferry Crossing, whereas next post I’ll review the Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh West End.
Booking the DoubleTree Queensferry
Fun (and important) fact – the DoubleTree Queensferry isn’t actually in Edinburgh. The city of Edinburgh is entirely situated south of the Firth of Forth, whereas the DoubleTree Queensferry is in North Queensferry, which is technically in Fife, as it’s north of the estuary.
It takes a good 40-45 minutes to reach Edinburgh’s city center from the hotel – you can either take a Stagecoach bus for £5.50 from a station right by the bridge (around a 10-minute walk from the hotel reception), or take a ScotRail train from North Queensferry Station, which is a rather terrain-y 20-minute walk from the hotel reception. ScotRail trains will cost around £3.80 for a same-day open return, with one-ways priced quite similarly.
Why did I choose to stay here? Well, originally I had both nights booked at the Hampton in Edinburgh’s West End (much closer to the city center), but I stumbled upon this hotel last minute and found it super pretty, too much so for me to pass up an opportunity to stay here. I figured I’d be spending three full days in Edinburgh anyway, so decided that a staycation on my own a bit further out for one night was worth it. Hilton is making all bookings flexible at the moment in light of the pandemic, so changing my plans was super easy – I didn’t even to use my laptop.
When booking far in advance, rooms for this property can go for as low as 22,000 points. I booked five days before my stay, so my room rate was 30,000 points. I didn’t have 30,000 points, so I paid 26,000 points and a reasonable £17.12 surcharge using Hilton’s student-friendly Points + Money option (I figured the £17.12 rate was so low that I didn’t bother calculating if it was worth the 4,000 points I didn’t have). In comparison, entry level room rates were going for about £91 at the time of booking, though they can get as low as £75 when booking in advance.
To compare, Airbnbs that granted me an en-suite room (which I preferred due to COVID anyway, and since I had a friend over briefly on Thursday) were going for at least £50, so I was very happy with the price I paid.
My experience at the DoubleTree Queensferry
For my first two nights in Edinburgh I stayed at an Airbnb with a few friends. The last of my friends flew out of Edinburgh on Wednesday night – my priority was spending time with them, so I only made it into Queensferry at about 7:30 PM, despite check-in starting four hours earlier.
I took the X26 bus to the hotel for £5.50 from near Waverley station on Princes Street (where my friend caught his tram to the airport). The bus dropped me off on the motorway at a station called North Access, where I followed Citymapper down Hope View (a road) leading up to the hotel reception. The hotel building is visible from the motorway, and it’s best described as…boutique, or cute.
Doubletree Queensferry exterior from motorway
An S-shaped driveway leads towards the hotel from an entrance on Hope View, which you can cut across by foot using stairs. Alternatively, you can also walk straight to the hotel entrance from the west pedestrian walkway on the bridge.
Doubletree Queensferry driveway and view of hotel lobby
I followed the signs to reception and found myself in a very modern looking lobby, which featured three reception/concierge desks, as well as a couple of comfortable sofas. While this hotel has been around for forever, it underwent a complete refurbishment in 2018, which explains its current modern design.
Doubletree Queensferry hotel lobby
Although I’d attempted to check in online, stupidly I inputted details of a debit card that didn’t actually have enough cash in it. This was an easy fix at the reception desk, where one of the reception staff asked me to swipe my card on a cardreader again. I was then presented with some hard-copy keys to my room, and given a delicious warm chocolate cookie before being sent on my way.
Doubletree Queensferry cookie upon check-in
I was assigned room 346 on the third floor, which was quite a trek from the lobby – it required going down a hallway on the first floor (if you’re sensitive to foot traffic outside your door, perhaps ask for room that isn’t on the first floor), up a lift at the end of the hallway, then walking all the way to the end of another hallway. The corridors in this hotel feature muted but tasteful colour tones.
Doubletree Queensferry hotel corridors
DoubleTree by Hilton Edinburgh Queensferry Crossing
Check-in: Wednesday, August 11th, 2021
Room Type: King Guest Room
Room Number: 346
Stay duration: 1 night
Check-out: Thursday, August 12th, 2021
I’d booked myself a King Guest Room, which featured a king bed, a desk and chair, a lounging armchair and table, as well as a flatscreen TV. I thought the room was very tastefully designed, with lots of bright lighting and consistent grey wooden finishes – I particularly liked the “pop” that the backlit headboard provided to the room.
Doubletree Queensferry King Guest Room
While there’s many things I appreciate about Hilton’s brand, unfortunately their beds aren’t one of them. I find them quite hard for sleeping, and the duvet was also thinner than I’d hoped. That being said, I had zero complaints about the bed’s proximity to both USB and standard power ports, which were very handily placed. The bed also featured a pop-out reading light on either side, which was very slick and handy.
Doubletree Queensferry King Guest Room bed
I’m quite a harsh critic when it comes to desk setups, though I can relax my expectations a bit in an out-of-the-way staycation hotel. I’d say that the desk was bigger than it looks in the below picture, and I felt like I had ample space to work whenever I was at my desk. Also, there were lots of (non-universal) power ports by the desk, which I found thoughtfully placed. The chair was also quite comfortable, and had decent padding.
Doubletree Queensferry King Guest Room desk and chair
A separate lounging chair with a lamp was featured to the side of the room. It was also quite comfortable (though not to the extent where you can sink into it while reading a book), and it wasn’t positioned in a way where you can watch TV – there wasn’t really a place to do that in this room except from in bed, really.
Doubletree Queensferry King Guest Room lounging chair
The hotel charges a premium for their rooms with great views. I may be in this country for an engineering degree, though I still feel like I got the short end of the stick, with views directly facing the hotel car park.
Doubletree Queensferry King Guest Room view (or lack thereof)
The bathroom was similarly well-lit, and also featured grey wood finishes. It was a good size, and featured a sink, toilet, and shower-tub combo.
Doubletree Queensferry King Guest Room bathroom
The shower featured both a handheld showerhead, as well as a rainforest shower. While I’m not a fan of shower-tub combos (I find it easy to slip in them, and they never look comfortable for baths), I loved everything else about this shower setup – the shower controls were intuitive and not situated directly under the showerheads, and the actual water pressure was amazing.
Doubletree Queensferry King Guest Room shower
As is standard at Hilton, the bathroom featured Crabtree and Evelyn toiletries. No dental kit was provided in the room (I’m not sure if this is for environmental or COVID reasons), though I was able to ask for one upon request – while I brought my own toothbrush, I’d stupidly forgot to pack toothpaste, so needed to use a dental kit for that.
Doubletree Queensferry King Guest Room toiletries
Even the room’s entryway was quite wide, with lots of wardrobe storage available as well as a luggage rack.
Doubletree Queensferry King Guest Room entryway
I didn’t spot a tea or coffee machine – I’m annoyed that I missed it, actually, since it is advertised on the hotel factsheet. The room featured a fridge as well, though it was empty (and not particularly cold).
Overall, I found the room modern, a really good size, and delightfully designed, and was ecstatic to spend the night in it.
Once I’d settled down and had my cookie, I connected to the WiFi. I was given a welcome letter with instructions asking me to just enter a passcode, presumably to give me access to premium WiFi for free. I only read it after connecting to the WiFi, so instead stumbled upon a login page giving me a choice between complimentary standard WiFi and £5 premium WiFi, of which I chose the latter (I was never charged for it). Given the location, I’d call the 14.38 Mbps down/14.26 Mbps up WiFi speed respectable.
Speaking of the welcome letter, the rest of it read as follows:
Doubletree Queensferry welcome letter
This was my first time staying at a hotel during COVID season, and I’d say not much felt different, apart from the fact that face masks were required in public areas (Scotland has, perhaps sensibly, yet to remove all restrictions on social contact). Service at the hotel was generally friendly, though I don’t think the hotel was quite used to young, tech-savvy travelers – for example, they had no idea how to reset the Digital Key system, so mine never worked over the course of the stay.
I used my alone time to indulge in sleep during the course of my stay, so never actually went to breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant. I did go for a drink on Wednesday night at the hotel’s restaurant, The Shore, and ordered a Tom Collins. The drink was fine, though I did find that service at the restaurant was extremely slow, presumably as it was busy.
Doubletree Queensferry restaurant drink
The hotel also featured a gym on the first floor, which featured a few fitness machines, as well as weights, medicine balls, etc.. It wasn’t massive, though I do hugely appreciate that it’s open round the clock.
Doubletree Queensferry gym
In terms of the surrounding area, The Queensferry Crossing is a few minutes away by foot from the hotel. It’s a suspension bridge with a pedestrian walkway, so in theory you could walk to Edinburgh if you wished. I went for a stroll on Wednesday night, and the views of Forth Bridge were spectacular.
Views of Forth Bridge from Queensferry Crossing
Walking up a further set of stairs from the eastern side of Queensferry Crossing will take you to the town of North Queensferry, where you’ll find the train station, a few coffee shops, as well as The Wee Restaurant, a Michelin-recommended fine-dining Scottish restaurant. You’ll also find the Fife Coastal Path as well as Deep Sea World around the area.
Bottom Line: The DoubleTree by Hilton Edinburgh Queensferry Crossing
I’m thrilled to have stayed at this property, and thought that for my purposes and the price I paid I’d happily stay here again. I paid less than I would’ve at a Hampton in Edinburgh’s city center, and received a gorgeous room with ample facilities. I also thought some of the touches, such as as the warm cookie upon check-in, were super cute. Lastly, Queensferry was well worth a day visit, and didn’t even manage to visit most of its attractions in the time I spent there.
That being said, the hotel also advertises itself as suitable for tourists and businessmen staying in Edinburgh, in which case I’d be less thrilled. Apart from being 40 minutes away from the city center, the hotel lacks some of the amenities that you’d expect in a city center business hotel (the WiFi isn’t particularly high-speed, the reception desk was inexperienced with Digital Key, the desk and chair layout are more suitable for holiday work, etc.). Perhaps this hotel serves more as a budget option if you’re finding a place to stay in Edinburgh, since accommodation prices in Edinburgh can be sky-high, particularly during the summer months.
If you’re looking for a one-night getaway in the midst of exploring Scotland, though, or if you’re in Edinburgh and are looking to get away somewhere nearby, I’d say this hotel is great. I wouldn’t hesitate to stay here again.
Do you have a favourite hotel in Scotland?