a street with a building and cars on it

Review: Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh West End (Edinburgh, Scotland UK)

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Early last month I went up to Scotland to travel with and visit a few friends, and had a couple of nights to myself where I stayed at two Hilton-owned hotels in Scotland. In late August I published a review of the DoubleTree by Hilton in Edinburgh’s Queensferry Crossing (not strictly in Edinburgh, but that’s how the hotel is marketed), and also promised a review of the Hampton by Hilton in Edinburgh’s West End, which I stayed at for a night.

Booking the Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh West End

While Hilton owns a few properties in Edinburgh, all redeemable with points, I had a very limited number of points to work with. I figured that the Hampton in Edinburgh’s West End looked like a nice and fresh hotel, while still being quite close to the city center (and minutes away from a friend I was visiting). I ended up booking just under a week before my stay, which cost me 32,000 hotel points – rates can go as low as 26,000 points when booking in advance, or £71 for a Queen Room with an Honors discount.

My stay at the Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh West End

My stay at the Hampton was brief – I arrived the hotel at around 4 PM to settle down and drop off some items before grabbing dinner with my friend, and left the hotel at 8 AM to catch a train to Newcastle.

The Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh West End is located around 10 minutes away from Haymarket station. My friend and I were travelling in from North Queensferry station (where the DoubleTree was located), so we made our way to Fountainbridge, the road where the hotel is located.

Fountainbridge seems to be the locus for many centrally-located budget accommodation options – the Moxy (Marriott’s budget hotel chain) was across the road, and iQ Student Accommodation was a few blocks down. A few other budget hotels and B&Bs are located nearby, including Staycity Aparthotels, the Mercure, among others.

a street with a large building and cars on it
Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh West End exterior

I’d already checked in online and been assigned a room, which was a seamless process (apart from one major thing – stay tuned), so I made my way straight to the lift area and used my Digital Key on my iPhone to access my floor, and eventually, my room.

The lobby itself isn’t fancy, and in fact some parts of it were blocked off for renovations – the hotel does make this clear on their website, so they’re not exactly doing any false advertising. The reception desks are located in a line along the length of the lobby, and open up into the hotel’s restaurant, which I’ll be reviewing later.

a person standing in a hallwayHampton by Hilton Edinburgh West End lobby

The hallways are designed with a “coastal baby blue” theme – somewhat fitting for a modern Hampton, in my opinion. I liked the geometric patterned carpet and the grey wood doors. My room was one of the furthest from the lift lobby, which entailed decent 30-second walk, especially considering this is quite a long hotel.

a hallway with many doors
Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh West End hallway

I was assigned room 344, and broke the Hilton “CleanStay” seal upon entering (signifying that nobody had been in the room since it’d been thoroughly cleaned).

a door with a light on the walla blue and white sticker on a wood surface
Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh West End room entrance

Only after entering the room did I realise the one major design flaw of this hotel, at least considering the Digital Key. The room’s electricity was powered by a hotel key card switch that specifically detected Hilton cards (simply inserting a bank card of identical size didn’t activate the switch). The Digital Key was also not configured to activate electricity in the room.

I’d returned my key cards at the DoubleTree and didn’t take a physical card from reception upon entry, so had to schlep back to reception in order to ask for a hard copy card. The receptionist was apologetic, but also admitted that he’d never seen a Digital Key in use at the hotel before. I wasn’t annoyed as I was entertained, as Digital Keys have been a thing at Hilton hotels for years now – dear Hilton, you can’t mark a hotel as “Digital Key Available” if you need a physical key in order to power up your room!

a card in a card slot
Stupid Digital Key design at Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh West End

Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh West End
Check-in: Thursday, August 12th, 2021
Room Type: Queen Room
Room Number: 344
Stay duration: 1 night
Check-out: Friday, August 13th, 2021

Anyway, once I got some power working in my room, I found it really nice. I’d booked an entry level Queen Room, which was amply sized, and I found the decor harmonious and approachable (and the tinted pictures of Edinburgh gave the room some personality, something often lacking in hotels of this calibre). The room featured a queen-sized bed, a desk and chair, a chaise lounge and a flatscreen TV.

a room with a bed and chair a room with a bed and a tv
Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh West End Queen Room

As mentioned during my review of the DoubleTree, I have no love for Hilton’s beds, as I find them too hard and the duvet too thin. They’re not unusable by any means, though I’d rank them quite low on the grand scheme of chain hotel beds. I did appreciate the adjustable reading lights, though.

a bed with a nightstand and a telephone a white pillow on a bed
Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh West End bed and reading light

The chaise lounge perched in the corner was well-padded – almost more so than the bed, and was very comfortable.

a chair in a room
Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh West End chaise lounge

The desk was alright and I personally didn’t require much more (I’m not a fan of circular edges on any sort of working table, but that’s just me), but I was very impressed by the fact that the room featured a legitimate office chair. I thought the chair was very comfortable, though admittedly I wasn’t working for extended periods of time.

a chair next to a desk
Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh West End desk and chair

Both the table and bed were conveniently situated next to (non-universal) power ports and USB ports, which I appreciated. Unfortunately the USB port by the desk didn’t seem to be working, though all of the other power ports were in good working order.

The bathroom was also a good size, and featured a walk-in shower, sink and toilet.

a bathroom with a sink and shower
Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh West End bathroom

I appreciated the good water pressure from the shower, and also have no complaints about the provided toiletries fixed to the wall, which were from Waterl’eau.

a shower with a shower head a group of soap dispensers on a wall
Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh West End shower and toiletries

Unfortunately the hotel doesn’t provide toiletries kits (even on request as a COVID-19 measure), which I learned the hard way when I didn’t have any toothpaste to brush with at 1 AM. I couldn’t nip by to the nearby Tesco Express since it was closed (reception mentioned that the hotel didn’t provide toiletries kits, though mentioned that the Tesco Express opened at 6 AM), so had to survive any without for the evening.

While we’re on the topic of what the room lacked, here was our view…

a parking lot with cars and buildings in the background
Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh West End view (or lack thereof)

Overall I was happy with the room, and was particularly impressed by its modern design and that it was well-equipped for working. For a limited service property, I thought that all the basic essentials of a business hotel room were present here. While the Moxy Edinburgh Fountainbridge (Marriott’s limited service hotel chain, situated across the road) seems to have more tastefully designed rooms, they don’t even feature a proper desk and chair, which is a deal-breaker for me.

WiFi at the hotel was very, very speedy, at 141.71 Mbps down and 80.14 Mbps up – easily enough for almost any task achievable with a laptop.

In terms of other amenities, there’s a well-stocked gym on the first floor, though I didn’t have the time to use it.

a gym with exercise equipment a gym with exercise equipment
Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh West End gym

There’s also a business center on the ground floor, great for meetings (and individual work if you’re staying in a room with your kids).

a room with chairs and tables
Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh West End business center

One of Hampton’s signature facilities is that it offers free hot breakfast for all guests. Breakfast is served from 6 AM to 10 AM (7 AM to 11 AM on weekends) at the hotel’s restaurant, which (presumably) acts as an extension of the lobby outside of breakfast hours. The hotel also advertises a free “to-go” bag for those finding themselves short on time to enjoy a full breakfast, though I opted to have the full breakfast instead, since I had time.

I went and had breakfast at around 6:30 AM (two hours before my train to Newcastle), and the restaurant was more or less empty.

a room with tables and chairs
Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh West End restaurant

The spread wasn’t particularly extensive, but featured well-executed hot options such as eggs, sausages, bacon, tater tots, tomatoes and baked beans. Specifically, the eggs were well made, and the tater tots were crispy. The spread also featured various cereals, and beverages included coffee as well as orange/apple juice.

Plenty of hotels only offer cold continental (and, in many cases, non-complimentary) breakfast in Europe, so complimentary hot breakfast is a win in my book.

a coffee machine and cups on a counter a table with a variety of food items on it food on a tray in a restaurant
Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh West End breakfast spread

While I didn’t have many interactions with staff during my stay, I found my experience interacting with staff at the hotel very pleasant as a whole. The waiters at the restaurant were bubbly and eager to please, and the receptionists were also very friendly. In particular, I wanted to grab a bottle of water to go, which would’ve cost £1 – since the cardreader was taking a while, the receptionist let me have the bottle of water for free.

No, bottled water at the hotel isn’t free (not too surprising for a limited service property), though prices were affordable (£1 for water, and I’m unsure about how much other beverages cost – you can buy them at the reception desk). On top of that, they had sparkling water, so I was happy.

Bottom Line: Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh West End

I’ll admit that I don’t stay at limited service properties too often, though I was very impressed by the Hampton by Hilton Edinburgh West End. Apart from being quite centrally located, I enjoyed the room decor and found it ergonomically and tastefully designed. I also enjoyed my complimentary hot breakfast, the WiFi was fabulous, and the staff were friendly.

I’d argue that this property really is a tube of toothpaste and a free bottle of water away from a full-service hotel, though admittedly I don’t have much to compare this hotel to. Regardless, I’d definitely stay here again (though since I’m out of Hilton hotel points, I’m also interested in trying other limited service properties around the area next time I find myself in Edinburgh alone).

Oh, and the key card switch-Digital Key situation is stupid – please fix it if you’re reading this, Hilton!

What’s your favourite limited service hotel chain?

1 comment

  1. Oh no, I hope you recover soon, Alvin! Take care!

    One thing I’m curious about – in the hot food picture, was the waiter/waitress there to serve you the food you wanted? If so, it’s a much more hygienic way of doing things, despite potentially involving higher overheads in terms of more staff needed during busy periods. Is that a normal thing nowadays in the UK? Definitely not in HK – stayed recently at the Island Shangri-La as well as the W Hotel, and everyone’s grubby hands were touching the serving utensils!

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