Arriving just days after the end of the Edinburgh Fringe, and with the new school term well underway, you’d be excused for thinking that Scotland’s capital city would be enjoying some downtime after a summer of festivities.
Not on your nelly – or should that be nessie. Whatever the season, Edinburgh is now a year-round destination that’s perfect for a long weekend, or much longer should you choose to explore Scotland’s beauty further afield.
Whether it’s your first time in “Auld Reekie”, or you’re a regular visitor, I would always recommend a place to stay that’s right in the heart of the action so the major hot-spots are walkable. And for that reason you can’t go wrong with Cheval Old Town Chambers, which has a fantastic location right on the iconic Royal Mile in the historic Old Town.
Why stay here
Part of the Cheval Collection, which has three luxury all-apartment residences in Edinburgh and nine in London, the Cheval Old Town Chambers building is directly opposite the medieval St Giles’ Cathedral.
Turn right out of the main reception on to the Royal Mile and you’ll head towards Edinburgh Castle. Turn left and you’ll go towards the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Scottish Parliament. Also, on both sides of the residence, the alleyways and (many) steps lead down to the New Town, Waverley Station and the Princes Street shopping district. As locations go there isn’t much better in Edinburgh.
There are three buildings that make up the Cheval Old Town Chambers. The new extension on the Royal Mile, which opened in November 2021, features the reception and 24 apartments – including a range of swish loft penthouses. The other 50 apartments are in the buildings just across the rear courtyard.
Like its sister property the Cheval Gloucester Park in west London, the Old Town Chambers has a very slick and contemporary feel. The reception has a comfortable sitting/reading/waiting area and there’s also a small retail spot that sells soft drinks, gins, whiskeys and some luxury beauty products.
Housed on the second floor of one of the rear buildings, the luxury one-bedroom open-plan apartment I stayed in had everything I needed to enjoy a relaxing time after hours walking the Royal Mile and nearby streets.
The living area featured a lounge, kitchen-diner and also had access to a balcony with amazing views over the New Town, Princes Street Gardens, the Scott Monument and Waverley Station. In the lounge there were sofas and a big-screen TV while in the kitchen-diner there was a table and chairs, desk, oven, hob, microwave, toaster, dishwasher, fridge and even a washer-dryer. A real home from home.
It may be one of the busiest areas of the city, but sleeping was certainly not an issue here. The bed was as comfy as anywhere I had experienced. The bathroom was equally swish with a bath-shower and luxury products from ARRAN Sense of Scotland.
Eating and drinking
The apartment has all the utensils and kitchen gadgets needed to cook something up “at home” should you choose. On arrival guests are also welcomed with a hamper of bottled still water, milk, tea, coffee and sugar. Having the fridge, the crockery and cutlery makes breakfast “in” an easy choice, so you should definitely consider frying up your own full Scottish.
If eating out is more your thing then there’s loads of places within a few minutes’ stroll of the property. In fact you only have to walk a couple of meters if you want to sample some tasty Scottish cuisine.
At Luckenbooths, an all-day bar and restaurant located on the ground floor at Cheval Old Town Chambers, I went all-out Scottish and ordered the Campbell’s haggis and swede pie (£16), which was topped with olive oil mash and came with buttered greens, carrots and a peppercorn and whiskey sauce. This is the must have item here.
For dessert I couldn’t resist the Cranachan s’mores brownie (£6) with toasted marshmallow, raspberry compote, toasted oats and vanilla crème fraîche. To wash it all down I chose the Innis & Gunn lager (£6 a pint) and a Glen Scotia 15-year-old whiskey (£6) from the Campbeltown region. When in Rome…
Out and about
The Royal Mile location of Cheval Old Town Chambers can’t be talked about enough. There’s nothing better than staying somewhere within a short stroll of all the major attractions. With the castle, historic walks, shopping and cultural highlights so close by, a stay here will give you access to everything needed for the full Edinburgh experience – whether it’s a day, two or a week.
One highlight was doing the gold tour at the Scotch Whiskey Experience up by the castle. Not only do you spend time learning about how Scotch is made, but you also get to sample four delicious whiskies.
If you decide to venture outside of Edinburgh then trains to Glasgow take around an hour from Waverley Station. On the Royal Mile itself you’ll also find plenty of companies offering tours to see Scotland’s most popular regions and attractions.
Cheval Old Town Chambers, Royal Mile, 329 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1PN. Open plan studio apartments start from £215 per night; chevalcollection.com