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The Bonham is one of the Town House Collection of luxury hotels in Edinburgh and Glasgow. It occupies a remarkable location only a few minutes walk from the west end of Princes Street, yet tucked away off through routes on a quiet back street. The Bonham describes itself as a luxury boutique hotel, and once past its exceptionally discreet exterior you find yourself in a hotel to which guests return time and again. The feel throughout is one of modest understatement backed up by high quality fixtures and fittings and exceptional service. The result is a friendly, comfortable, stylish oasis. And the quality and value of the food is simply outstanding: you can read our dining review for The Bonham here.
Drumsheugh Gardens was developed in the 1870s and the three terraced houses which now form The Bonham started life as exceptionally desirable family residences. In 1939 the three houses were converted into a clinic, and from 1951 the building was owned by the University of Edinburgh and used as a hall of residence. It was then purchased by the Town House Company in 1997 and opened as The Bonham in 1998.
The front door gives admission to the hotel's main hallway. Off to the right is the guest lounge with the reception area at the rear. As you catch breath and look around, you begin to appreciate the careful marriage between the traditional elements that attest to the age of the building, especially the superb wood panelling, and the carefully and tastefully applied boutique overlay obvious in the furnishings. In many ways the most striking element of this and other rooms is the superb collection of modern art, much of it on a very large scale. Beyond the guest lounge en route to the lift is the main meeting and function room, and the library, which serves as an annex to it. To the left of the entrance hall is the superb wood panelled restaurant which can, if needed, be divided into two. It is worth noting in passing that the hotel has a modestly sized car park to its rear, something not always found with city centre hotels.
The Bonham has 48 en-suite guest bedrooms, including two suites. The rooms are classed as standard or superior, and some of the standard rooms are referred to as "petite": though even the smallest has a queen sized bed, a desk and a reasonable amount of room. It is no surprise to find that petite rooms are very popular with corporate travellers. The level of equipment in all rooms is what you would expect from a good four star hotel. Superior rooms additionally offer bathrobes and more space, and one has a freestanding copper bathtub in its bathroom. Each room is individually styled. One of the things to think about when booking a room is the view. The rooms on the front of the hotel look out over the attractive and quiet townscape of Drumsheugh Gardens, and the higher you are the more you see (though one more storey would have been needed to get a view of Edinburgh Castle). The rear of the hotel, however, offers a real surprise in the shape of some of the very best views in Edinburgh, taking in Dean Village, the New Town, Leith, the River Forth and, on a clear day, much of Fife. Again, the higher in the building you are, the better the view.
The Bonham's quiet but highly convenient location mean that its meeting room is in frequent use by corporate customers. The stylish ambience also make it a popular venue for wedding receptions, while the 48 guest rooms mean that all guests can usually be accommodated on the premises.
Old buildings and disabled access can sometimes be a less than ideal match. The Bonham is a notable exception, as it offers full disabled access. There is a designated space in the car park, and a ramp gives access to the rear door; while a lift connects together all floors in the hotel. One guest room has been adapted for the use of disabled guests, and four more on the ground floor are suitable for guests with some mobility impairment. There are disabled toilets in the public areas of the hotel.
The Bonham is one of those hotels you would without reservation recommend to anyone: a real find. In part this is down to the location, and in part to the stylish way the public areas and guest rooms have been presented. The success of the hotel also owes much to the high standard of service you encounter at every turn, whether on arrival, in the restaurant, or in the quality of the housekeeping that is evident throughout the hotel. You can read our dining review for The Bonham here.