Updated: May 21, 2015
Review: Hilton Edinburgh Airport HotelWhen the Iceland volcano erupted in 2010, we ended up spending 5 nights at the Hilton Edinburgh Airport Hotel instead of the 1 night we had planned on, giving us plenty of time to evaluate the facilities and services offered at this hotel. We may as well start with location -- this is the closest hotel to the Edinburgh airport, literally within walking distance of both the car rental center (about a 2 minute walk, right next door but you have to go around a fence) and the airport (about a 5 minute walk, just keep going past the car rental center). Most people choose this hotel when they have either an early morning or late night arrival or departure and need a convenient place for a quick nights stay. The Edinburgh Airport Hilton is about 8 miles from downtown Edinburgh, with easy direct bus access. Rooms range from about 70-140 pounds in the off-season to 120-180 pounds during busier times. We paid right around 100 pounds for our double rooms (official website Hilton.com).
OK, the hotel itself. First off, this is not a luxury hotel -- it is an airport hotel. It's 3 stories tall, and while the lobby is open and bright, the hallways are kind of drab and dreary with a lot of exposed brick (see photo to right). No ATM in the hotel, but there is one at the airport. There is a full service restaurant to the left (see photo below, left) as you enter the hotel (full buffet breakfast each morning, you can get a breakfast voucher from the front desk for a reduced rate), along with a small bar and a cafe counter with coffee and snacks. On the right is a large sitting area with plenty of chairs, sofas, and small tables, along with a big screen TV. We spent considerable time hanging out there -- you can order food and drinks and have them brought to you, so it serves almost as an extension to the restaurant as well. There are also 2 computers here -- you have to pay to use them though (see below).
Beyond the front desk on the way to the elevators, there is also a small business center with computer, fax, copier, etc. In terms of service, we were VERY happy with the Hilton staff -- we were all struggling with the airport shutdowns, and the staff was extremely supportive and helpful. The manager, Neil, did a load of laundry for us at midnight one night, leaving it outside our door in the morning. One of the shuttle drivers, John, offered to drive us pretty much anywhere at any time we needed. The front desk staff helped us print out boarding passes on their computers. The restaurant wait staff were always ready to take an order. Just overall a very good experience (apart from being stuck 6000 miles from home..).
The rooms and room amenities were generally good. They were recently refurbishing rooms on the 3rd floor, so if you want a more modern room, request the 3rd floor. Otherwise, expect a somewhat worn room and bathroom -- again, this is not a luxury hotel, and you won't find luxurious finishings here. There is a wired ethernet port if you need non-wireless internet access (at a fee, see below), along with a desk and chair. Flat screen TVs are standard. Bathrooms are fairly large - I read complaints about hot water, but we never had any issues. There didn't seem to be many queen bed rooms, so we experienced a variety of twins, doubles, and single beds -- someone should tell Europe and the UK that Americans actually like larger beds... And pushing 2 beds together does NOT make a real bed. There are no refrigerators or minibars in the rooms - and one icemaker machine was not working during our stay, meaning an extra walk up or down a flight of stairs if you were in search of ice..
I've stayed at several airport hotels in the last 6 months - Florida, Amsterdam, Venice, etc. - and the Edinburgh Airport Hilton sits pretty much right in the middle. Nothing fancy, it's main draw is location, but it is clean and safe, convenient, and just right for an overnight stay when you need it. We'd return without hesitations.
Edinburgh Airport Hilton Hotel - Car Park and Fitness CenterParking: This is one of the few hotels I have been to (outside of downtown areas) that has a controlled parking area, with gates and ticket access. Parking is officially 5 pounds per night for hotel guests, but we weren't charged when we were there - just have them validate your ticket at the front counter when you are ready to go out to your car. The ticket/gate system is in place for people using the attached gym/fitness center and for people using the parking lot for airport parking -- they can leave their car in the Hilton lot for just 5 pounds per night while on a trip, using the free Hilton shuttle to get back and forth from the airport terminal. There are 350 parking spaces- but most hotel guests are only staying here for quick airport access and don't have cars anyways. If you want to get to downtown Edinburgh, there is a bus that runs directly from the airport, and in front of the hotel, to Waverly Station area (the train terminal downtown) that costs about 6 pounds -- of course you could also take a cab, but it would be more expensive (the photo to the right is the view looking towards the airport - the car rental office is literally across the street, plus you could walk to the airport terminal in less than 5 minutes).
There is also an attached fitness center at the Hilton. This is a complete facility with 56 foot indoor pool, sauna, steam room, locker rooms, weight and cardio workout areas, etc. It is free for hotel guests - just sign-in at the counter to the left when you enter the fitness center.
Hilton Edinburgh Airport Hotel - ComplaintsWe didn't have many complaints about our stay. Let's start with our #1 gripe which was especially aggravating given the nature of our extended stay and the desperate need for electronic communication between airports, airlines, and home -- NO FREE INTERNET ACCESS! Now it is not just the Hilton that gets a big thumbs down from us on this issue - so many hotels try to charge you for internet access, and it is absolutely unacceptable. Do they really think that their guests don't have internet access at home and at work, and that it is some kind of luxury? Come on - in this day and age travellers expect hot and cold running water, electricity, TV, and internet access. This Hilton wants you to pay $15 per day (you get a little scratch-off card with a code you plug into your browser..) for 24 hours of internet access, either to use their 2 computers in the front of the lobby or to use your own, and you can only get wireless internet access in the lobby -- you have to connect via an ethernet cable in your room if you want to go online. Somehow every local coffee shop can offer free internet access to people buying a $2 cup of coffee, but a major hotel chain charging customers $100-$200 per night can't figure out how to hook up a couple of wireless routers? I'd like to see people start demanding free internet access and consider not patronizing hotels that don't offer it. Enough said.
Apart from that, yes, the hotel is older and not super luxurious -- don't book a room if you are expecting that. Also, a refrigerator or minibar would be nice -- it's not hard to imagine a traveler on a tight schedule wanting a cold drink.
Checking around, Expedia users rate this hotel 3.4 our of 5 stars -- main complaints are about older rooms, parking fees, no internet access. Tripadvisor had 126 reviews averaging 3 out of 5, with complaints mostly centered on price and worn appearances.
So overall, this hotel is about location. If you need to stay near the Edinburgh Airport, I wouldn't hesitate recommending the Hilton.