G&V, Edinburgh demonstrates that a bustling city centre is no obstacle
Located just off Edinburgh’s ‘old town’ Royal Mile, the G&V could be described as being in both the best and worst possible places to provide perfect service but Iain Robertson discovered that residing at this fine boutique hotel could not have been easier.
City centres send shivers up my spine. As a driver, I find invariably that their hotels can send me into paroxysms of dread. Omnipresent traffic wardens, usually of the sub-contract variety that post tickets regardless, allied to a ‘we’re-trying-but-really-couldn’t-care-less’ attitude from staff surely do not help and I shall not name names here.
As I drew up in the small lay-by in front of Edinburgh’s G&V Royal Mile Hotel, I shall admit to more than minor tremors of trepidation. However, my fears were ill-founded. Greeted by a kilt-wearing Italian by the name of Jonathan, although neither his kilt-like garb, nor his name seemed to fit well, who requested my car keys with an assurance that he would park it safely helped a little bit.
Having ascertained that he was wearing a hotel-related uniform and that my wheels would not soon be despatched to a remote part of eastern Europe, I entered the artistically resonant vestibule of the G&V. Having requested an easy to access room at the reception desk, I was offered assistance but declined it, preferring to gain personal proof that the room would be easy to reach and remember (should I indulge too greatly in the hotel’s hospitality later on).
Now part of the Quorus Collection the G&V used to be known as the Missoni Hotel and most of its Italian designer style originates from that artist’s hands. Stripes and striking colours predominate but, strangely, not to the point of self-conscious distraction. As a five-star residence, boasting 136 rooms of varying degrees of stylishness, staying there is an experience, as it should be, for the money.
Yet, considering its status, with prices starting from a modest £104pp, for a charming Cosy room, I believe that the £250 charged for a Superior room that included a stunning three course dinner, more on which in a moment, as well as breakfast, was little short of phenomenal value for money. The whole concept of a relaxing stay is encompassed by the first-class members of staff, to whom no request seems like a burden. There is also a dedicated spa within the establishment.
My room was neatly furnished, with surprisingly supportive designer seats and one of the most comfortable beds I have ever slept in. Clad in the finest denier Egyptian cotton sheets and memory foam, anti-allergenic pillows that cosset so superiorly, despite having resided in many of the world’s best hotels over the past thirty years, the G&V is by far and away the most comfortable for me of the past decade at least.
A Nespresso coffee machine serves the best in-room beverages and a refrigerator was filled with a mix of soft drinks, although room service would deliver whatever wines, beers and spirits you might desire speedily from an extensive menu. A Bang & Olufsen TV set provided entertainment, including radio and alarm clock facilities. A fine selection of lightly scented toiletries is provided in the effortlessly stylish bathroom, with its spacious walk-in shower and exceptionally luxurious bath robes and waffle towels. No compromises in providing the ultimate in luxury have been made.
However, the revelation was in the Cucina restaurant on the hotel’s mezzanine floor that overlooks reception. It is perfectly understandable that it should have been awarded the Italian Restaurant of the Year. My three course dinner, from the well-trained hands of chef Mattia Camarani, accompanied by a dipping bowl of the finest virgin olive oil and wondrous home-baked breads, was exceptional. The starter course of air-dried ham and fried polenta on a light salad dressed in anchovy and garlic was flavoursome and memorable for its attractive appearance. The main course of grilled Scotch salmon, courgettes, cherry tomatoes, aubergines and potato was utterly beautiful. Apart from carrying the typical Italian ‘tricolor’, the fish was moist and delicious, while the vegetables were ‘al dente’ and beguiling in their individual taste.
The lemon tart with yoghurt ice cream that I selected for dessert was stunning, being neither oppressively tart, nor lacking in substance, its shortbread base being thin and crumbly, while the ice-cream was as fresh as had it come direct from the ‘gelaterie’, which it probably had. On the subject of food, my breakfast, next morning, consisted of the usual mix of servery (containing fresh figs, fresh melon, juices, dairy products and cereals, as well as the customary continental array) and table ordered platters. My full Scottish breakfast was perfectly cooked, filling and accompanied by fresh toast.
Conclusion: Five star hotels, while not exactly ten-a-penny, remain a special treat. Some are better than others. The G&V Royal Mile Hotel is simply the best I have experienced for more than a decade. A fabulously comfortable and accommodating room, supported by brilliant, friendly staff and an exquisite kitchen ensures that any stay in the centre of Edinburgh can be a thorough delight. There are zero hassles with parking (included in the cost) and access to the City’s main sights and attractions is unparalleled. Would I stay again, you can bet on it!