Home > Kimpton Charlotte Square Review
Updated: April 5, 2020
Kimpton Charlotte Square – Design-driven comfort on the edge of New Town.
Spread across seven Georgian townhouses overlooking Charlotte Square, this branch of the Kimpton hotel group combines contemporary comfort with a mid-century travel theme. Vintage suitcases and retro bicycles greet arrivals at the entrance and the spacious guest lounges are kitted out with reproductions of antique maps and velvet-upholstered chairs. Rooms come with hand-drawn prints of local wildlife and tartan throws and pillows, with the pricier ones also featuring free-standing tubs, record players, and handmade mattresses. Diners can choose between the Middle Eastern Baba restaurant and contemporary continental fare at the all-day The Garden bistro. A mood-lit pool, well-equipped gym, and terrific spa are icing on the cake, and the service is friendly, efficient, and informal.
Kimpton Charlotte Square – Location
- Address: 19-21 George St.
- Area: Very central location just off Charlotte Square, facing busy Charlotte Street and George Street. This is a UNESCO-protected neighborhood – a walkable grid of lanes and wide streets lined with stately Georgian architecture and numerous high-end shops as well as pubs, bars, and restaurants, all within easy walking distance. Bustling Princes Street with its trams and bus connections is a 2-minute stroll (150m), while the Royal Mile with its many attractions – including Edinburgh Castle – is a 15-minute walk (0.7 mile) past the Scottish National Gallery and up The Mound, a gentle uphill incline.
- How to Get There: From Edinburgh Airport, take the tram (about 30 minutes) either to the West End stop (0.3 mile, 7-minute walk) or the Princes Street stop (0.4 mile, 7-minute walk), or take an airport shuttle or Uber/taxi directly to the hotel (8 miles, 20-minute drive).
- Handy to: Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street Gardens.
Kimpton Charlotte Square – The Basics
- Ages: While more of the guests tend to be couples or travelers on a city break, families with children are welcome.
- View: Some of the rooms look out over the Charlotte Square and Albert Memorial, while others have partial views of Edinburgh Castle or face the bustling George Street.
- Private Pools/Jacuzzis: No private pools or jacuzzis.
- Laundry: In-room laundry service.
- Parking: Parking on-site has to be booked in advance and costs £30 per day.
- Extras: Turn-down service in the suites, complimentary bicycles for guest use, 2 comfortable lounges decked out with replica antique maps, guest library, corner-shop with downloadable newspapers and magazines, and taxis from the airport arranged on request.
- When to Book: Reserve 2-3 months in advance for the summer high season (May to September) as well as the Christmas/New Year period. A couple of weeks in advance for the rest of the year.
- How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
- Phone: +44 131 240 550
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: ihg.com
Kimpton Charlotte Square – Amenities
- Pool: There’s a 12m mood-lit pool in the basement (6.30am-10pm Mon-Fri, 7.30am-8pm Sat & Sun). Children under 16 may use the pool between the hours of 7am and 9am and 4-8pm while accompanied by an adult.
- Spa: The terrific spa has a steam room and sauna and offers a full range of treatments, from OSKIA facials and Ishga (Outer Hebrides seaweed-based products) body wraps to hot stone massages and various beauty treatments. Guests who’ve booked treatments have use of all spa facilities at all times; otherwise, spa use is limited to set hours.
- Fitness Center: Well-equipped gym (6.30am-10pm Mon-Fri, 7.30am-8pm Sat & Sun), complete with studio space for yoga, bootcamp, and other group classes.
- For Disabled Guests: Several rooms are fully adapted for guests with limited mobility; all rooms come with hearing loops and Deafgard vibrating pillow alarms. There are also accessible exercise facilities and common spaces.
- For Families: Baby cots and extra beds available. The Garden has a kids’ menu while Baba has a selection of mezze appealing to kids. Both restaurants have high chairs.
Kimpton Charlotte Square – Food and Drink
- Restaurants: Baba (noon-3pm & 5-10pm) is locally known for its inventive Middle Eastern cooking with Scottish influences and ingredients and charcoal-grilled meats. Small plates for sharing, buzzy and casual atmosphere. Open to non-guests and reservations a good idea for dinner. $$. • The Garden (11am-late) is a conservatory-like space with wicker furniture, a glass roof, plenty of hanging plants, and lots of natural light. It’s a stylish setting for light continental fare, hearty breakfasts cooked to order, and ‘twilight tea’ – a selection of nibbles and cakes along with cream tea (noon-9pm). Open to non-guests; dinner reservations. $$.
- Lounges/Bars: Baba Bar specializes in original cocktails to complement their Middle Eastern dishes. Try the olive oil negroni or pistachio margarita. Open noon till late. • The Garden Bar is attached to the eponymous restaurant and serves seasonal cocktails such as elderflower Collins and peach and vanilla spritzes as well as a good selection of whiskies and classic whisky cocktails. DJs and live entertainment most nights. Open 11am till late.
- Breakfast: £15.95 per person. A full spread of cereals, fresh fruits, bread, and juices, as well as hot dishes (full Scottish breakfast, egg dishes) cooked to order and served at The Garden from 6am to 10.30am. Guests can also choose to have breakfast in their rooms.
- Room Service: Extensive menu of pizzas, sandwiches, and mains available from The Garden from 11am to 10.30pm; limited menu available from 10.30pm to 5am.
Kimpton Charlotte Square – Rooms
- Room Types: City Single • Standard Double • Superior Double • Deluxe Double • Junior Suite • Signature Suite • Townhouse Suite
- Smoking Rooms: Kimpton Charlotte Square is 100% smoke-free.
- Best Room: The Townhouse Suite is the most spacious on offer, with an open-plan living and dining area, complete with a working fireplace and a palatial bathroom with a deep soaking tub and walk-in rain shower.
- For Families: No family rooms per se but most rooms and suites can accommodate extra beds and cots.
Kimpton Charlotte Square – Local Transport
- Walking: Getting to the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle requires a 15-minute walk (0.6 mile) with a couple of gentle uphill sections, while the Scottish National Portrait Gallery (0.7 mile, 13-minute walk) and the Scottish National Gallery (0.5 mile, 10-minute walk) are both nearby. Numerous restaurants, cafes, and bars dot the streets of New Town and are right on your doorstep.
- Bus: From the nearby Princes Street bus stops (0.2 mile, 3-minute walk), buses 22, 34 and 35 run to Leith (for the Royal Yacht Britannia), while bus 30 takes North Bridge south, past Holyrood Park (for Arthur’s Seat). From Hanover Street (0.4 mile, 9-minute walk), bus 6 crosses the Royal Mile and runs to Holyrood Park, Holyrood Palace, and the Scottish House of Parliament.
- Tram: The nearest tram stops are West End (0.3 mile, 7-minute walk) or Princes Street (0.4 mile, 7-minute walk).
- Taxis, Uber: Taxis charge around £20 from the airport to the hotel, while Uber charges around £15.
Kimpton Charlotte Square – What’s Nearby?
Recommended Nearby Tours
- Invisible Edinburgh – Themed walking tours with homeless people trained as guides. Choose between the likes of Powerful Women (JK Rowling, Maggie Dickson, etc.), Crime & Punishment, and more. Book in advance. Start location: Depends on tour.
- The Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour – Fantastic 2-hour walking tour that takes in pubs associated with Edinburgh’s literary history. Meet at the Beehive Inn on Grassmarket. 13-minute walk (0.6 mile).
- The Cadies & Witchery Tours – Entertaining ‘Murder & Mystery’ tours of Old Town conducted by the becloaked Adam Lyal. Expect costumed actors to jump out at you from dark corners off the Royal Mile. Start location: The Witchery Restaurant (0.7 mile, 15-minute walk).
- City of the Dead Tours – Spooky nightly tours of Greyfriars Kirkyard, complete with ghostly encounters. The ‘Mackenzie Poltergeist’, a 17th-century ghost of a judge, allegedly haunts the prison in the corner of the graveyard. Depart at 9pm Easter-October; at 8.30pm rest of the year. Start location: “Tree of the Dead” outside St Giles’ Cathedral (0.8 mile, 17-minute walk).
- Mercat Tours – Good range of history walks. Their ‘Ghosts & Ghouls’ tour takes you to the underground vaults beneath South Bridge. Tours start at the Mercat Cross on the Royal Mile. 17-minute walk (0.8 mile).
- Trainspotting Tours – Witty, engaging tour of locations from the 1993 Irvine Welsh’s novel Trainspotting and its 1996 movie adaptation. Adults only. Meet at Docker’s Club in Leith. 21 minutes (2 miles) by public transport.
Best Nearby Restaurants
- Contini – Traditional Italian food (including homemade pasta and bread), cooked using authentic ingredients arriving weekly from Milan, is served in a gorgeous Georgian banking hall. Popular with families and kids’ menu available. 4-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- Time 4 Thai – Stellar Thai food without clichéd decor. The Tom Yum Goong, curries, seafood stir fries, and Som Tam (spicy papaya salad) pack authentic heat and there’s even sticky rice with mango for dessert. 4-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- Forage & Chatter – Seasonal ingredients and hand-picked herbs are turned into beautiful, subtly-flavored dishes in this understated basement restaurant. Enjoy it alongside Scottish craft beer and biodynamic wines in rough-hewn stone, reclaimed wood, and tartan surrounds. Reserve ahead. 5-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- Fishers in the City – Scallops, oysters, and mussels from the Scottish islands, wild trout, and other fish are turned into superlative, beautifully presented dishes at this city center outpost of the Leith original. Informal and friendly. 8-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- The Dome – Diners’ enjoyment of the steaks, seafood, and game served at the Grill Room inside the Dome is enhanced by the spectacular neoclassical surroundings, complete with a glass dome, inside the former headquarters of the Commercial Bank. Popular for romantic nights out. 9-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Dishoom – Edinburgh’s branch of the London mini chain continues the tradition of serving Mumbai-style street food in tapas-sized portions. There’s a buzzy bar downstairs, too. Hugely popular; reserve ahead. 12-minute walk (0.6 mile).
- The Ivy on the Square – Serving refined takes on traditional British dishes (fish and chips, shepherd’s pie), this Scottish outpost of London’s Covent Garden celebrity haunt is also the place to go to for traditional afternoon tea, complete with scones and cucumber sandwiches. Book ahead. 12-minute walk (0.6 mile).
- Café Royal Bar – This Victorian palace of stained glass, brass, mahogany, and starched table linen specializes in classic seafood dishes, from lobster thermidor to plump Scottish oysters on ice. Makes for a special night out. Reservations recommended. 14-minute walk (0.7 mile).
- 21212 – Playful, unusual flavor combinations and drinks served out of unlikely vessels (a ceramic cow, for one) make for a memorable dining experience at this Michelin-starred restaurant. Lunchtime menus are a bargain at £28 for 2 courses and £32 for 3 courses. 25-minute walk (1 mile).
- Martin Wishart – It’s worth going all the way to Leith to sample the creative seasonal menu of Scottish produce, transformed using French culinary techniques by Martin Wishart, the first chef in Edinburgh to win a Michelin star back in 2001. 20-minute bus ride (2.5 miles).
Best Nearby Cafes
- Social Bite – This local café chain is faithful to its motto: “good food for a good cause” and a quarter of its employees were formerly homeless. Imaginative sandwiches and inexpensive lunch mains on offer; you can also pay ahead for food to be collected by a homeless person later. 4-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- Urban Angel – All-day brunches, organic and carefully sourced coffee from all over the world, and emphasis on organic, Fairtrade, and seasonal local produce contribute to the popularity of this great little café. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
Best Nearby Bars and Pubs
- Tigerlily – Some of the best, most original cocktails in the city are served at this buzzy bar. With a sparkling mirror-glass mosaic, velvet, and steel interior, it is a regular gathering place for Edinburgh’s glitterati. 2-minute walk (150m).
- Oxford Bar – If you’re a fan of Inspector Rebus from the Ian Rankin novels, you’ll have no trouble recognizing ‘the Ox’. For everyone else, this is an unpretentious watering hole popular with locals and serving good ales (sometimes to the accompaniment of folk music). 3-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- Brewdog – The Lothian Road branch of the hugely popular Scottish craft beer empire that’s always experimenting and offering new creations. Their Punk AF IPA and Vagabond Pale are justifiably popular; or you can opt for their new range of OverWorks Wild and Sour beers. 7-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- Lucky Liquor Co – This thimble-sized black-and-white bar revolves around the number 13. There’s a changing daily menu of 13 cocktails, created using 13 base spirits by the expert bartenders. Friendly and fun. 7-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Bramble – Original, expertly-mixed cocktails are the name of the game at this unmarked cellar bar. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- The Abbotsford Bar – This classic Edwardian pub has been catering to locals since 1902 and its wide range of real ales attracts an eclectic mix of journalists, actors, and writers. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- The Guildford Arms – All polished mahogany and brass, this traditional Victorian boozer is locally renowned for its excellent real ale selection. 15-minute walk (0.7 mile).
- Joseph Pearce’s – The pulse of the local community, this spruced-up Victorian pub is a great place to mingle with genuine Edinburgh residents over a game of Scrabble or join in a pub quiz. 23-minute walk (1 mile).
Nearby Shopping and Cool Shops
- ANTA Scotland Ltd – Design store that has breathed new life into tweed and tartan, turning them into everything from carpets to attractive furnishings, fashion items, and accessories. 2-minute walk (0.1 mile).
- Cotswold Outdoor – Two-story outdoor gear emporium, with everything from camping gear to jackets, hiking boots, and maps. 7-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- Le Labo Inc – A unique approach to perfume, with this pared-back Scottish branch of the animal-cruelty-free French perfume lab. Customers can try one of the 16 original unisex scents; once you pick one, it’s hand-mixed on-site for you and presented in a simple bottle with the label listing the main ingredient. 7-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Aspinal of London Edinburgh – Beautiful, hand-tooled leather satchels, briefcases, and other travel accessories. 7-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Quarters – The store attached to Edinburgh’s hippest barbershop sells carefully chosen items to ‘meet the requirements of modern man’. These include Marshall Major headphones, Harris Tweed iPad cases, Belroy wallets, quality grooming products, and even men’s streetwear. 7-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- 21st Century Kilts – Bespoke and off-the-peg kilts in every imaginable style and fabric, from Harris tweed and denim to leather. You can opt for a ‘hipster fit’ or detachable pockets, too. Celebrity clientele have included Vin Diesel and Robbie Williams in the past. 8-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Penhaligon’s – Edinburgh branch of the luxury British perfume house, going strong since 1870. Grooming items and candles are also sold here. 8-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Jenners – The grande dame of Edinburgh’s department stores is still going strong, housed inside a stunning 1838 building on Princes Street. 11-minute walk (0.6 mile).
- Edinburgh Book Quarter – Lying between West Port and Bread Street, Edinburgh’s ‘Soho’ is great for specialty bookstores. Main Point specializes in titles on mountaineering, paperback fiction, and philosophy. Peter Bell Books is a must for Scottish history, military, and maps. Edinburgh Books has the largest collection of second-hand books in the city. 12-minute walk (0.6 mile).
- Harvey Nichols – Iconic department store heavy on high-end designer fashion, accessories, perfume, and jewelry. 13-minute walk (0.6 mile).
- Princes Street Gardens – Occupying the valley between Princes St and the crag on which Edinburgh Castle stands, these vast gardens are a favorite spot for morning runs and weekend picnics. The Ross Bandstand hosts open-air concerts in the summer; look out also for the Floral Clock. 2-minute walk (0.1 mile).
- Royal Scottish Academy – Built in the style of a Greek Doric temple, these galleries showcase sculptures, paintings, and architectural designs by academy members. They also host temporary exhibitions by Scottish and international artists throughout the year. An underground mall connects the exhibition rooms to the Scottish National Gallery. 9-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Scottish National Gallery – This Victorian 1850s building houses an excellent collection of Scottish art in the basement, with landscapes by William MacTaggart and Sir David Wilkie and portraits by the likes of Sir Henry Raeburn and Allan Ramsay. The ground floor is devoted to European art, from the Renaissance to post-Impressionism. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Scott Monument – This dark Gothic spire, built to honor the memory of Sir Walter Scott who died in 1832, dominates Princes St. There is usually a Scotsman in traditional Highland dress playing bagpipes outside. Climb the 287 steps to the top for a great view of the city. 12-minute walk (0.6 mile).
- Scottish National Portrait Gallery – Famous Scots appear inside this Venetian Gothic palace in painting, sculpture, and photograph form. They range from Mary, Queen of Scots, and Bonnie Prince Charlie to Sean Connery, Billy Connolly, and more. 13-minute walk (0.7 mile).
- Writers’ Museum – Take the close (alleyway) that connects the Royal Mile with the Mound to visit this literary museum inside the 1622 Lady Stair’s House. Here you can immerse yourself in manuscripts and memorabilia of Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Walter Scott, and Robert Burns, three of Scotland’s most famous writers. 14-minute walk (0.7 mile).
- Edinburgh Castle – Perched on the crag of Castle Rock, this historic fortress and former royal residence dominates the Edinburgh skyline. It’s the city’s atmospheric, heavyweight attraction, where you can see the Honours of Scotland (Scottish Crown Jewels), the bed-chamber where Mary, Queen of Scots, gave birth to her son who’d unite the English and Scottish crowns, the National War Museum of Scotland, the prisons inside the Castle Vaults, and the One o’Clock Gun, a WWII Goliath that’s fired at 1pm daily. The views of the city from the battlements are tremendous. 15-minute walk (0.6 mile).
- The Scotch Whisky Experience – Walk your way through this entertaining multimedia center that showcases the creation of whisky, from barley to distillation to bottle. All your senses are engaged here and you can also check out the world’s largest collection of malt whiskies. Depending on the tour option, you may get to sample a number of whiskies paired with Scottish nibbles. 15-minute walk (0.7 mile).
- National Museum of Scotland – Spread across 2 buildings – a contemporary and a Victorian one – this terrific museum is a stampede through the history of Scotland, presented using an engaging variety of media highlighting the period from the earliest prehistoric signs of humanity until the 1990s. There are occasional themed exhibitions too, while the older building is home to displays on the decorative arts of China, the Islamic world, Japan, and the West, as well as design and fashion, science and technology, and natural history. The onsite restaurant – Tower – is one of the city’s best. 20-minute walk (1 mile).
- Royal Yacht Britannia – An easy bus ride from Princes Street on bus #22 or #30. This luxury yacht used to be Her Majesty’s floating holiday home between 1953 and 1997. Permanently moored at the Ocean Centre mall, it’s now a museum. Visitors can use the excellent audio guides to acquaint themselves with the living quarters for the Queen and 45 other members of the Royal Family. 30 minutes (3 miles) by bus.
Nearby Markets or Grocery Stores
- Castle Street Fairs – Pedestrianized Castle Street which branches off Princes Street, hosts several craft and food markets throughout the year, from the Easter Fair, Spring Fair, and Summer Fair to the Jazz Festival Fair in July. 3-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- Edinburgh Farmers’ Market – This award-winning fresh produce market takes place year-round from 10am to 2pm on Saturdays in the shadow of the castle ramparts. Come here for organic meats, beer, chutneys, and other preserves, plus seasonal fruit and vegetables. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Old Tolbooth Market – A new addition to the Edinburgh market scene, the Tolbooth is open from 11am daily, just off the Royal Mile, and is a good place to browse craft and food stalls and have a coffee or beer as well. 24-minute walk (1 mile).
Kimpton Charlotte Square – What’s Nearby?
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