The Knight Residence, Edinburgh
12 Lauriston Street
Tel: 0131 622 8120
Fax: 0131 622 7363
For my husband and me, the prospect of a city break with our young children has always held about as much appeal as, say, a trip to Legoland. Which is to say, absolutely none whatsoever. It wasn't that we didn't hear the siren call of Europe's capital cities. We did. We just imagined the horror of visiting these urbane places with our unruly progeny and chose not to answer. Why bother tempting ourselves with fascinating museums and world-class restaurants, after all, when we would probably wind up chasing one-legged pigeons for entertainment and eating at Café Uno?
Then we stayed at The Knight Residence in Edinburgh, and let me just say that you could pick up this excellent establishment and set it down anywhere in the world, and I would go. It's that great. I'd stay virtually anywhere: Scunthorpe, Hull, New Jersey. Maybe even Legoland.
My unrequited crush on the concierges
I liked The Knight Residence before I ever laid eyes on it. Their team of delightful concierges really strives to put the 'service' in 'serviced apartments'. At their website (www.theknightresidence.co.uk) I found an intriguing link to Tesco.com, so I ordered up a pile of chicken nuggets, bananas, jammy dodgers, and milk, and scheduled a delivery before our arrival. The on-duty concierge took delivery on my behalf and put all my groceries away. There was a video request form at the site as well, so I checked off enough boxes to keep my children cinematically slack jawed for hours. Another concierge delivered these on my arrival. Other members of the team were happy to arrange PC hire and Internet access if needed, order taxis for me, and indulge my every whim. By the end of our stay I would have happily married any one of them, but for reasons of his own my husband absolutely forbade it.
The Knight Residence is located in the neighborhood just below Edinburgh Castle, and is easy walking distance to all the sights in Old Town, the nightlife of Grassmarket, and the famous Royal Mile. We stayed in a spacious, luxury two-bedroom apartment that was pleasingly furnished and decorated to a very high standard. It had a fully equipped kitchen, CD player, multiple televisions, a video and hi-fi system, a hairdryer, and--for those who don't fully understand the concept of going on holiday--a washing machine/dryer and an iron. Cots with bedding and highchairs are available as well.
The extra touches
I could not possibly list them all. So many things make the Knight Residence stand apart: Daily housekeeping, a welcome pack on arrival which includes your first day's breakfast, double glazing on the windows for warmth and quiet in this often bracing and busy urban setting, luxurious towels and bathrobes, a bag of miniature baby toiletries for traveling tots, menus of local restaurants offering home delivery. I could go on and on. Oh wait, I already have.
In January, The Knight Residence is planning a major refurbishment: new kitchen and bathroom flooring, new bathroom grout, complete redecorating, new carpets and curtains, new wallpapering, new sofas and chairs. Personally, I thought the old bathroom grout was fine, but who am I to question their unimpeachable standards?
So what about those museums and restaurants?
The entire family enjoyed Edinburgh. Many things were in our favor: the beautiful natural setting, three days of mostly fine weather, the ready availability of open top bus tours, and a pair of blue foam battling sabres purchased at the Edinburgh Castle gift shop. Did we go to museums? Not really. Did we eat in restaurants? Negative. In fact, the weekend bore little resemblance to anything we would have done before having children. But we didn't chase pigeons or eat at the dreaded Café Uno either, and to me that makes the trip an unqualified success.