I’ve loved the funky places we’ve stayed. The 25 Hours in Berlin and Vienna, the citizenM in Glasgow and the Artist’s Residence in Brighton all have character and a design aesthetic which dares to be different, and they all follow it up with a solid experience.
It’s almost come to the point where if you see a reception area with post-modern art or typewriters on a bookshelf that you know you’re going to have a good stay. And that’s what I thought checking into the Moxy Edinburgh Airport.
The Moxy hotel chains are Marriott’s attempt at appealing to the hip cool youth market – which kind of makes me wonder why they’ve put their first Edinburgh hotel out at the airport – not really where the cool kids hang out! I’d seen signs on boards outside construction sites in Edinburgh itself advertising the building of additional Moxys and had seen a steady stream of announcements for new Moxys springing up everywhere – showing that the expansion of the brand was in full flight.
Checking in was an eye opening affair. The foyer and reception area was everything a funky cool hotel could ask for – stacks of books with floor to ceiling poles through them, a quartet of heery coos and clan emblems and tartans. The check in desk was actually the bar and we were told that yes, our room was ready and we could head up.
A naked girl greeted us as we left the lift. Not quite – a mural of a tastefully nude girl holding a number three indicated that this was the third floor and the theme of edgy/sexy was repeated throughout the hotel. Including the ‘do not disturb’ sign in the room. The room itself was sparsely furnished (we’d been warned at check-in that none of the rooms had a phone) and although it technically had a working space with stool and a chair, the vibe was very minimalist.
The bed was large enough and comfortable and coming from the Haymarket Hub’s 11 square metre rooms it felt close to spacious. Our particular room looked out over the roundabout giving us a commanding view of every single bus, truck and taxi coming to or leaving the airport. The windows opened but after a few seconds of the noise we closed it again.
The bathroom was well appointed with everything you could need and the bright pink toiletries were Muk.
We settled in to get some work done, but found the room starting to get a little warm. The air conditioning control pad was showing 25°C (77°F) and after Ange gave up I had a go at making it something a little more comfortable. No luck. So I headed down to the reception area. It was weird that none of the rooms had phones: surely a quick call to reception would tell us the trick to getting back to a reasonable temperature?
At reception I waited for a couple of new arrivals to be checked in and then proceeded to ask about the air conditioning. Almost before the words ‘air conditioning’ had left my lips the earnest helpful look on the staff members face had been replaced by a bored look. The melodic voice changed to a monotone and I felt like I had just stolen someone’s favourite toy as the desultory response informed me that the air conditioning wasn’t broken – that it was an eco-friendly heat exchange unit and the best way to get the temperature down was in fact to turn off the air con, open the windows and turn the fan on until the temperature had dropped and then close the windows.
I frowned as I took this all in. Remembering the deluge of new Moxys being built everywhere I asked if they were all designed like that. Yes I was assured, they were. The eco-friendly theme was repeated everywhere and they all had the same heat exchange system. I continued frowning. But if the only way to get the heat down is to open the windows, and we’re on the main road into and out of the airport, won’t it be either uncomfortably hot or impossibly noisy at night? The staff member didn’t miss a beat. The traffic is a lot lighter at night.
Realising that the well practised (glib?) responses were a reaction to the air conditioning questions being a common occurrence, and suspicions that the lack of phones was less a design decision and more one of protecting the front desk from a non stop litany of air con queries, I headed back up to the room. By the time I got up there the temperature had managed to hit
26°C. While I explained the “solution”, Ange got to work implementing it – windows wide open, traffic noise a dull roar and the fan on full.
While we waited for the temperature to drop to a more comfortable level, I perused TripAdvisor to see if we were being unreasonable or whether the other guests were likewise astounded. I was surprised that the “review curve” was so flat. Normally you have 75-90% Excellent and Good reviews, maybe 10-15% Average and Poor with maybe 5% having a bad time and giving it a terrible rating.
Even the best hotels have their bad days, and some people go out of their way to give bad reviews. But a flat curve?
I dug a bit deeper into the reviews and it did seem that others had found the air conditioning problematic. They also had issues with parking, annoyingly discovering a £100 fee weeks after they’d dropped off their car. The recurring theme there was that the Moxy had charged an infringement fee for illegal parking when people had dropped off their luggage rather than lugging it from the hire car place after dropping off the car.
I let Ange know all this and we endeavoured to go down to the funky lounge area while we waited in what we suspected would be forlorn hope for the temperature to drop.
I must admit the lounge area was the epitome of a funky good time. There was a Foosball table (which I would have won 7-0 except for an errant own goal), board games, a nerf frisbee (safe for indoors), a couple of acoustic guitars on the wall (which were still in tune) and some pinball machines (decidedly not free), lastly a couple of swinging chairs allowed you to relax a little while waiting for your flight. It was obviously an area which doubled as a dining area with some typically edgy tray collection units.
We grabbed a sandwich from the bar area and afterwards played some Foosball, and then headed around the corner to check out what the gym was like. Opposite it were the toilets, suitably decorated in style. The gym itself was well appointed with enough equipment to keep anyone sweating. The funkiness continued with suitable rules on the wall and motivational slogans.
And by then it had been over an hour so we headed up, expecting the opening of the door to be met with freshness. The temperature had dropped by a half a degree, the AC unit now proudly boasting 25.5°C. This made sleep difficult as you would imagine but one interesting feature of the room was the downward facing lights under the bed. They switched off while you were in bed but as soon as it detected someone getting out and standing on the floor, a soft glow emanated allowing you to make your way to the bathroom without fully waking up.
Would I Return?
I’m probably making enemies for life in the Moxy Corporate office which is a pity because there is legitimately a lot going for the hotel. It’s obviously close to the airport, so location is great, it’s got great character and a hip urban vibe going on. It’s also one of the cheaper hotels out near the airport also. The bed was comfortable and the lounge area has a lot of free things to do if you’re whiling away a few hours before or after your flight.
But it’s also got a lot that lets it down also. Apparently there’s limited options for vegans on the menu. What some people call a parking “scam”. The heat. OMG the heat! And if they’re all like that, then if you don’t like one then there’s no excuse should you have an unpleasant stay at any of the others.