I stayed at the County Hotel North Berwick on a Sunday night in mid September 2017.
I’ve visited the Scottish east coast town of North Berwick many times on day trips, but I was tempted to stay for the night when I found a single room for £19 for the night, on a room only basis, on the ebookers hotel website. As I had £3 in my ebookers Bonus+ account, the price of the room was reduced to £16.
The County Hotel is located on the High Street in North Berwick. I checked in a the bar, and was shown to my room by a friendly young man.
I was allocated a twin room, although I had paid for a single room. I was grateful for the extra space, as single rooms are often very pokey.
My room was a the back of the hotel. I was happy with this, as it meant that I didn’t hear any road noise.
I didn’t find the bed to be that comfortable, I could feel some springs sticking into me. The shower room was really small. You couldn’t fully open the door into the shower room, due to the proximity of one of the beds.
If I’d paid the standard price of around £60 for a room at the County Hotel North Berwick. I wouldn’t have judged the room to offer good value for money.
But at £16, I enjoyed my stay. I saw a different side of North Berwick in the late evening and following morning, when there were hardly any other visitors around.
Click here to check availability and price at the County Hotel North Berwick.
I stayed at the Royal Hotel Oban on a Thursday night in late September 2017. I’d always wanted to do the railway journey from Glasgow to Oban, so when the Scotrail £17 return flat fare for Club 50 members came up, I decided to stay in Oban for one night. The stay was for two reasons, It would be a long day to do the return trip in one day. I reckoned that with the very variable Scottish weather, that doing the journey on two different days doubled my chances of having decent weather on at least one leg of the journey.
I set about searching for the best deal on a hotel in Oban. I decided to stick to hotels. Quite often check-in times at bed and breakfasts are later than at hotels and check-out is earlier than at hotels. Plus, bed and breakfasts don’t always offers a left luggage service.
The lowest price which I could for a single room in a centrally located hotel in Obanwas £50, including breakfast, at the Royal Hotel, on the Agoda website.
It’s always worth checking out if you can get a reduction on the price paid by using Agoda voucher codes. I prefer voucher codes to cashback, as with a voucher code you get the money off at the point of purchase. Whereas, you have to wait for cashback and it’s never guaranteed.
My Agoda booking confirmation advised that check-in time at the Royal Hotel in Oban was 2.30pm. I arrived around 2pm in hope of being able to check-on a bit early, or, at least, leave my backpack at reception. I was informed that check-in was in fact 3pm. Fortunately, it was a dry, sunny afternoon, so I left my backpack and went for a walk.
Upon my return after 3pm, I was allocated a single room on the second floor. My first impression when entering the room was that it was very dingy. This was due to the dark wooden furniture and the fact that the room faced a shady courtyard. I was happy enough that my room was at the back of the hotel, as it meant there would be no traffic noise.
There was plenty of space on the desk for me to work on my Chromebook and a couple of electrical sockets at desk level. The bed was acceptable, not the greatest, but I’ve had a lot worse in hotels. The bathroom was spacious.
Free WiFi was only available on the ground floor. If you wanted WiFi in your room, you had to pay an additional fee. I was able to tether (set up by own mobile hotspot) using mobile broadband included in my Three monthly plan.
I was awakened before 7am by noise from the plumbing in the neighbouring bathroom.
Breakfast at the Royal Hotel in Oban is served between 7.30 – 9.30am daily. Tea or coffee and toast is ordered at your table, everything else in buffet service.
I enjoyed my porridge with honey. The orange juice and bacon were good.
Overall, I thought that Royal Hotel in Oban could do with a total refurb. Both my bedroom and the public areas looked rather tired and dated and the plumbing was noisy. My room was clean and fairly comfortable. But at £50 for the night I wouldn’t rate it as great value from money.
Anytime that you are booking a hotel, remember to take a look at tbe VoucherButler.com website to see if you can save money by using a voucher code.
The Adventures in Space: The Architecture of Science Fiction outdoor exhibition in Edinburgh’s Festival Square runs until 30 September 2017. It’s part of the Festival of Architecture 2017, organised by the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland.
I took photos of the Adventures in Space exhibition as it was being set up. I didn’t have time to hang around until it was ready, as I needed to drive out of Edinburgh before the start of the evening rush hour.
Below is a selection of photos of the display boards that had been erected when I was there.
If you are a science fiction fan, you should head to Edinburgh to see the Adventures in Space exhibition, preferably on a dry day.
I stayed at the Skylodge Perth in Scone on a Saturday night in late May 2017. I searched for the cheapest single room in the Perth/ Blairgowrie area on the HotelCombined price comparison website. The Perth Skylodge was by far the cheapest. I found a single room for £27 on Laterooms.com.
When you turn into Perth Airport, you take the first turn to the left to reach the Skylodge. There appear to be quite a few industrial units and domestic dwellings on the site, so it wasn’t that easy to spot the Sklylodge on the signs.
Check-in is in a separate building which looks a bit like a portacabin. There were no spaces left at the car parking area closest to my room, so I left the car near reception.
My single room was in a single storey block.
The room was nicer inside than the exterior had led me to believe. There was a pine chair, desk and a small bedside chest of drawers. However there was nowhere to hang my clothes, so initially I laid them out on the bed. Then when I went to bed, I hung them on the back of the chair.
The single bed was comfortable. I didn’t try the free WiFi. I had a good mobile broadband signal. A notice in the room advised that the WiFi was only suitable for checking emails and light browsing.
The shower room wasn’t great. It was small and there wasn’t a towel rail or a shelf for toiletries.
I knew that I’d arrive at the room in late evening, so it didn’t bother me that’s it’s located outside Scone. But if you want a short walk to a choice of pubs and restaurants, Perth Skylodge won’t suit you.
Check-out time was pretty early 10.30am.
For the price of £27 on a Saturday, Perth Skylodge offered clean, quiet accommodation. My main recommendation to improve the room would be to add some hanging space.
Click here to check availability and price for Skylodge Perth.
The Add It Up exhibition featuring the work of Brazilian artist Jac Leirner runs until 22 October at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh.
Much of Leirner’s work is constructed of everyday objects. Below are my favourite pieces in the exhibition.
Leveled Spirit consists of 38 spirit levels.
Blue Phase is made of 50.000 obsolete Brazilian bank notes, which are threaded together.
Metal, Wood and Black consists of rulers.
My photo of Little Light, which contains more than two miles of copper wire with a light bulb at one end, doesn’t really do justice to the installation. The patterns and reflections on the copper wire are much more evident in real life.
120 Cords is very colourful.
On the ground floor of the Fruitmarket Gallery, there are also some watercolours by Jan Leirner.
On the first floor, there are several pieces made with the products of Leirner’s former smoking and drug taking habits. The three narrow pieces pictured below are made of rolling papers and their packaging.
Below is my favourite of three Crossing Colours works.