**Update 6/18/15: This flat is no longer available for short-term lets – sad!**
Flanking a footpath connecting the Old Town with the airy Meadows, Edinburgh’s Quartermile cosmopolitan development combines converted Victorian hospital buildings with 21st-century glass and steel “new builds.” You’d be forgiven if your first thought was a kind of architectural Frankenstein; in the flesh, however, the concept is a gorgeous contrast of different eras. The residential sections are given over to luxury flats, and, thanks to HomeAway.co.uk, it’s where I’m spending my first week in Edinburgh.
My second-floor flat sits snugly between the University of Edinburgh and George Heriot’s School. A steady stream of students flows down the footpath, Middle Meadow Walk, throughout the day. Downstairs there’s easy access to Starbucks, a Sainsbury’s Local grocery store, and an excellent Swedish coffee shop. Folk music pubs and Nepalese restaurants stand shoulder to shoulder with second-hand clothing shops and pharmacies just a block to the north. Nearly everything I could wish to do in downtown Edinburgh is no more than 20 minutes walk from my door.
The interior of the flat reflects the modern exterior with light hardwood floors, glass tables, and brushed metal appliances, utensils, and fixtures. With a single bedroom and a segregated living area/kitchen, it provides a copious amount of room for a solo traveler like me and would be perfect for a couple. Light pours through huge floor-to-ceiling windows that form a wall in both the living room and bedroom, and one-way shades provide privacy when desired. A sliding door in the center of each window wall makes it easy to catch a breath of crisp Scottish air. Recessed lighting adds a soft glow to the pervasive comfort, and sturdy doors that are prone to shutting without doorstops allow you to close off each area of the flat.
It’s obvious at first glance that this space is a labor of love. Niki Watt and her husband, the owners, personally designed the interior, and decorative touches complement each other and the flat’s materials and color choices. The rooms are well-furnished but not cluttered; everything is the right size and arranged to mesh with the flow of daily life. Niki even instructed me on the perfect way to use the comfy leather chair and ottoman overlooking the footpath (which I’m sitting in now while writing and listening to Radiohead).
The spacious foyer opens into each of the flat’s three areas and contains a convenient metal coat rack and small end table for keys and other pocketables. The bathroom opens off to the left and it contains a huge tub-shower combo with a rain shower head. On the opposite wall mirrors hide massive medicine cabinets above a small shelf that Niki had kindly loaded with soaps, shampoos, and essential toiletries. There’s even a heated towel rack and it reminded me to install one in my house (why don’t we have these in the States?).
The bedroom is bright and filled with a plush king-size bed loaded with pillows. Behind sliding doors a large closet with ample shelf space houses towels and terry cloth robes. Dark wood nightstands with glass lamps and a matching table supporting a flat-screen TV at the foot of the bed complete the room.
Natural light defines the living area with its huge and comfortable couch (where I eventually passed out at 4am thanks to jet lag), small dining table, and entertainment configuration. The size and arrangement of the furniture makes the area feel much larger than it is.
The kitchen flows naturally from the living area and exemplifies economy of space. On the left, a compact gas stove gives way to a drying rack and sink while above it all hide shelves behind hydraulic Lamborghini-esque doors. The inconspicuous bottom-freezer refrigerator, which I failed to notice on the walk-through, looks just like the other cabinets. To the right a large counter filled with appliances and utensils runs along the wall. Admittedly, counter space could be an issue if I decided to prepare a multi-course meal. An ultra-modern microwave and oven are built into the lower cabinets and sit flush with additional storage space. A small door off the kitchen hides the HVAC and a combo washer-dryer (score).
High-speed Wi-Fi, Sky TV, a DVD player, and an iPod docking sound system afford every last convenience. With this flat’s spot in a university neighborhood, proximity to local shops, and view to Arthur’s Seat, I couldn’t ask for a better stay for my first week in Edinburgh.
Full Disclosure: HomeAway Holiday-Rentals provided me with this flat for the first week of my stay in Edinburgh. However, thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.