The Novotel in Edinburgh is not up to four-star standard, not at all

My grown son and I arrived in Edinburgh bleary eyed with a serious case of jet lag, but happy to be off the airplane. We chose to stay in Edinburgh for two nights for the primary purpose of putting the effects of jet lag behind us prior to moving on to Inverness and joining our cruise of the Scottish Highlands.

We had booked the Four-Star Novotel Hotel City Center precisely because of its four-star rating, and that they had twice confirmed a double queen bedded room in a quiet part of the hotel for us. The second confirmation was made directly from me via email, as double queen rooms are not the norm in the UK.

Upon arrival at the front desk the desk clerk again confirmed the double queen room reservation saying that all was in order, gave us our key, and we were directed to our assigned room, #303.

You might imagine our jet-lagged irritation upon finding that our accommodations provided one queen size bed with a pull out couch overlooking a bus stop on a busy street! And this was no modern (although never acceptable) pull out couch, but one of those long distained types with the metal bar across one’s back. A call to the front desk confirmed that the hotel had no double queen rooms in its inventory, none at all! And that with the window shut the traffic noise should be quiet enough for us to sleep. Four- star indeed.

Too exhausted to seek out other accommodations, we despondently shut the offending window, turned on the air conditioning and gratefully dozed off; for about an hour. We awoke to find the room very warm and oppressive. Still exhausted, we called the front desk to ask if our air conditioner could be adjusted and were told that a maintenance man would be sent up to rectify the situation.

Upon his arrival he felt the vent opening, fiddled with the in room controls, felt the vent opening again, fiddled again, and then explained that the air was as cool as it was going to get. When we expressed our disapproval he shrugged his shoulders and informed us that the hotel did not “technically” have air conditioning! Technically? Really? As it turned out, the hotel did not “technically” have hot water or light fixtures that worked either.

We opened the window again with hopes that the traffic noise had quieted and tried again to sleep. With the window open the room started to cool off a bit and we slept; until the strip clubs around the corner closed and their intoxicated and profane patrons stumbled into the street and past directly below our window. Lovely.

In fairness I should point out that the staff, when not shrugging at our concerns, was always pleasant. Nevertheless, while the Novotel may qualify as a four-star property by the Scottish Tourist Boards definition, it does not meet international standards. Three-star on a good day, and to be avoided.

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