Journalist Heidi Scrimgeour discovers 2 Cambridge Street Edinburgh – but she wants us to keep this charming, quirky B&B a secret…
“Tell no-one,” said my friend, having mentioned 2 Cambridge Street when asked to share her best recommendation for somewhere fabulous to stay in Edinburgh.
Trouble is, she only said that after I’d started blabbering about my find on social media. Oops.
But I can see why she didn’t want anyone to know about this place. From the moment I arrived – pausing open-mouthed in the street to marvel at its location, nestled in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, I felt as though I’d happened upon another dimension.
The rooms are a Victorian treasure trove of theatrical trinkets and thoughtful touches – and breakfast is exquisite
Home to the very charming Erlend and Hélène Clouston, this ground floor apartment offers two en-suite double bedrooms and feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh city centre. However, it’s wonderfully central – perfectly located within a few minutes’ walk of anything you might want to see or do whilst staying in Edinburgh.
Alternatively, you’re perfectly placed to shop ’til you drop on Princes Street: drop into the Scottish National Gallery while you’re there and pause at the Scottish Cafe and Restaurant for lunch in a picturesque setting. Or take a picnic to Princes Street Gardens and round off your day by sampling the cocktail tasting menu at Juniper, where it’s £30 per person for four cocktails and bar snacks.
Back at basecamp…and it’s hard to sum-up the experience of a visit to number 2 Cambridge Street.
The welcome is warm; the rooms are a Victorian treasure trove of theatrical trinkets and thoughtful touches, and the breakfast, included in the price, is exquisite – served beneath the antique grandfather clock in the lavishly decorated drawing-room.
Nothing was too much trouble. The breakfast menu was so comprehensive I couldn’t recall the first option by the time Erlend had relayed them all. So I asked, with some trepidation, to be surprised. And surprised I was. I’m not entirely sure what I ate, but it tasted sublime, served on beautiful silverware and fine china set upon an impeccably dressed table.
I felt I was getting truly special treatment, and feared my Ikea cafetière at home would now seem a poor substitute for Erlend’s ornate antique coffee pot.
Even the bathroom, though bijou in its compactness, is a delightful surprise – a lovely twist to the decor throughout – and rivals that of any luxury hotel. From the towels to the toiletries, everything is thoroughly modern and first class.
It would be remiss to review number 2 Cambridge Street Edinburgh without mentioning the gadgets which adorn the sumptuously decorated walls. Gesturing towards the tuba mounted in the hallway, Erlend advised me that this was my best means of reaching my hosts should I feel the need for a cup of tea or anything else during my stay. I won’t spoil the surprise by telling you what happens when you flick the switch on the Tangophone but, suffice it to say, Erlend’s many other zany inventions, including the Zen-A-Tron and Amor-a-Tron situated in the bedroom, are well worth examining in closer detail. I half expected to see Matt Smith wandering along the hallway wearing Victorian garb and brandishing his sonic screwdriver.
I wasn’t brave enough to sample the Singing Chairs, though. Next time, perhaps.
During my stay, I was given my own key (delightfully labelled “guess house” due to a misunderstanding with a Spaniard, I’m told) and encouraged to make myself at home. And I did. It’s unusual for me to truly relax when travelling alone, especially as a guest in a stranger’s home, but after a single night in this magical boutique B&B I woke in the morning feeling as though I had slept for a week.
Now my stay is over and I’m writing this review, I rather regret letting this beguiling cat out of its bag. Perhaps, as my fried implored, we could keep this to ourselves…
…although I suspect no-one has ever stayed at 2 Cambridge Street Edinburgh without singing its praises far and wide.
How to get to 2 Cambridge Street Edinburgh without flying:
Take the train from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh Waverley in under five hours. It’s a 20 minute (very scenic) walk from the train station.
For more information visit: http://www.wwwonderful.net/
Words: Heidi Scrimgeour for Feet on the Ground
Images: Heidi Scrimgeour