Review of Cairn Hotel Edinburgh

Written by Karen Bryan

I stayed at the Cairn Hotel in Edinburgh for four nights in November 2016. Initially I booked a two night stay from a Sunday to Tuesday on the Venere website. The combination of a member discount and a 15% off voucher resulted in a price of £47 for a single room for the two nights.


A few days later, I decided to extend my stay by another two nights. This time the lowest price that I could find was £59 for a single room on the eBookers website. That was after deducting a ££2 eBookers Bonus+ credit and a 15% discount voucher.

I last stayed at the Cairn Hotel in February 2008, when the rooms were a bit old fashioned and getting a worse for wear. I saw from the hotel’s website, when I checked that it wasn’t cheaper to book directly with the hotel, that the hotel had been refurbished.

A few days before my arrival at the hotel, I emailed the Cairn Hotel to request that I stay in the same room for the four nights, and to be allocated a quiet room at the back of the hotel.

There was a very fast reply informing me that I would be able to stay in the same room for four nights. But there was no reference to my request for a quiet room at the back of the hotel.

The hotel is located in Windsor Street, just off London Road. It takes 15-20 minutes to walk to Waverley rail station (it’s uphill on the way to the station). The hotel consists of several converted Georgian townhouses.

When I checked in at the Cairn Hotel on the Sunday, I was allocated a single room on the first floor at the front of the hotel. As requests can’t be guaranteed, there was nothing I could do.

The lobby was looking much more welcoming than on my previous stay, with roaring (gas powered) fire.


I thought that my single room was well laid out. There was a good sized desk with a strong light above it. The chair and the bed were comfortable. I liked the fabric which had been used in the curtains.

I didn’t find the free WiFi to be very good. The signal was indicated as very strong on my Chromebook, but I seemed to keep getting disconnected. I set up my own WiFi hotspot by tethering from my mobile phone.


I did hear some external noise on my first night. That’s almost inevitable with the large Georgian single glazed window. I could feel quite a draft from the window, but lined curtains stopped the cold getting into the room. The radiator in the bedroom was pretty small. Despite the high ceiling, the room did feel warm.

But it was other guests getting up and leaving around 6am the following morning that disturbed me more. Fortunately, there was less external and internal noise on the subsequent three days of my stay.

There was a hamper in the room which contained tea and coffee making facilities, along with some biscuits, a Mars bar and crisps. There was a small bottle of both sparkling and still water on the desk. The receptionist I told me that everything in the room was complimentary. It was good to have that clarity, as there have been occasions when I’ve been unsure what items in the room are chargeable.


However, there was no teaspoon in the hamper. Plus, there was only tea bag, and one sachet of both regular and decaf coffee. It’s a bit daft to offer extra snacks but forget a basic such as teaspoon and to be so stingy with the tea and coffee supplies.

I was almost impossible not to splash some water on the bathroom floor when using the walk-in shower.

In summary, I thought that the Cairn Hotel in Edinburgh offered good value for money in a comfortable room in a great location. Hearing external and internal noise isn’t surprising in a converted old building.

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