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  • Top-5 Things to do in Edinburgh

    Street performers at Edinburgh Festival

    Edinburgh is always voted in the UK’s Top-10 cities to visit by readers of influential media like The Guardian newspaper or by travel review websites like TripAdvisor.

    To help you enjoy your stay at Cityroomz Edinburgh, our hotel manager Dani Downs – born and bred in the “burgh” – has picked out her Top-5 things to do in Edinburgh.

    1.      Feel the festival vibe

    August is “festival” time in Edinburgh. A cultural explosion takes over the city and is known simply as ‘the Festival.’ It’s not one festival though, it’s made up of lots of different events and festivals.

    Edinburgh has festivals for film, books, jazz, politics, and the world famous Edinburgh Fringe, which went solo in 1998 and starts one week earlier is a completely different kettle of fish, packed with comedy, performance arts and street theatre.

    Edinburgh Festival is a great time to visit the Scottish Capital

    The Festival is made up of lots of smaller events and festivals in Edinburgh

    You can plan your schedule using the Edinburgh Festivals website, look out for the June release of the festival brochure or get a copy of The List

    2. Take cover at 1pm

    There’s one attraction you won’t be able to miss when wandering around Edinburgh’s streets, especially Prince’s Street – close to Cityroomz Edinburgh – and that’s Edinburgh Castle.

    This imposing fortress sits on a hilltop high above the city at the end of the Royal Mile. Over the centuries it’s been home to Scottish royalty, the site of an Iron Age Fort and in the late 1600’s was turned into a military base, garrison and gaol.

    At 1pm daily (except Sundays) a field gun fires a burst of shellfire, so be careful you’re not sipping a hot coffee on Prince’s Street when it goes off.

    Edinburgh Castle tourist attraction

    Listen for the guns at 1pm and admire Scotland’s most famous tourist attraction

    Take a pew at the memorial bench commemorating the late Tam the Gun, who fired the piece for 27 years.

    It’s now Scotland’s leading tourist attraction and a major part of the Edinburgh World Heritage Site.

    You can walk to Edinburgh Castle in less than 15 mins from Shandwick Place and Cityroomz Edinburgh, but be warned it’s all uphill.

    3. Discover Edinburgh’s dark side

    If you like to be scared, you’ll love the ghoulish and ghastly walking tours that take visitors around the supposedly haunted sites of Edinburgh’s old town.

    The streets, and adjoining alleys called ‘wynds’ and ‘closes,’ are windy, cobbled, windswept and hilly and walking them after dark is not for the faint hearted.

    It’s best to go with one of the many tour companies that specialise in ghost walks, like City of the Dead Tours or Auld Reekie Tours.

    ghost walks in Edinburgh

    Explore the dark side of Edinburgh on a guided ghost walk or underground tour

    There are some tours which take you underground like the one which takes you beneath the Royal Mile to see Mary King’s Close, a warren of 17th century streets which were closed off due to a plague outbreak.

    4. Yomp up a Volcano

    Believe it or not, Edinburgh has an extinct volcano in the city and you reach it by yomping up to Arthur’s Seat, the tallest of Edinburgh’s seven hills.

    If you are planning on eating a lot of Haggis, lorne sausage, bridies (Scottish pasties), stovies and drinking Irn-Bru, then this will be a good calorie burning workout for you.

    Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh

    A walk well worth the exertion – Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh

    While you’re there, visit Our Dynamic Earth, which has all the information on how this unusual rock formation was formed, as well as a scientific exhibition on the history of planet earth.

    5. Wile away the hours with a Whisky

    You can’t visit Scotland and not try the national drink. Edinburgh is awash with Whisky and it’s a great idea to take a liquid tour to familiarise yourself with the amber nectar and help you sort out your blends from your malts.

    The Scotch Whisky Experience at 354 Castlehill is a good place to start and will take you through a replica distillery and show you how whisky changed from a tiny cottage industry into a global export success story.

    The Scotch Whisky Experience Edinburgh

    The Golden Elixir – Whisky – Scotland’s national drink

    There are some superb places to buy premium Scotch Whisky, including Royal Mile Whiskies, Cadenhead’s Whisky Shop, Scotland’s oldest independent bottler, or Whiski Bar and Restaurant, also on the Royal Mile.

    This little gem of a place was awarded Whisky Bar of the Year 2011/12 at the Dram Awards.

    It has over 300 whiskies and live Scottish music seven nights a week.

     

  • Sleeperz offers Edinburgh hotel breaks on a budget

    Cityroomz Edinburgh bedroom

    Finding an affordable hotel right in the heart of Edinburgh city centre is about to get a whole lot easier.

    About eight months ago the Sleeperz team heard about a city centre hotel in Edinburgh that was closing its doors.

    Amazingly, the hotel was just off Prince’s Street – in Shandwick Place – right in the city centre and about 10 minutes walk from Edinburgh Waverley Station and the Haymarket station

    Makeover for Edinburgh budget hotel
    It was too good an opportunity to pass over and so we took over the building, a former Travelodge, and set about giving it a Sleeperz Hotels makeover.

    It won’t be called Sleeperz Hotel Edinburgh. Why?

    Well, we aren’t creating a striking and beautiful building from scratch – which is a Sleeperz hallmark – we are transforming an existing hotel into stylish, comfortable and convenient budget accommodation.

    A new kind of budget hotel
    We had another idea – why not launch a brand-new rooms-based sister brand?

    We had a think about all of the great value hotels (some might even say cheap hotels) and budget brands and came up with Cityroomz, a new form of comfortable and conveniently located accommodation at great value prices.

    There are 72 rooms in the building we’ve bought and we have already gone to work turning it into something special.

    In fact, we’ve completed our master room already and here’s what you can expect when you stay at CityRoomz Edinburgh.

    Cityroomz Edinburgh bedrooms

    Convenience, comfort, great value prices and excellent facilities at the new Cityroomz Edinburgh

    Bespoke beds and pillows for hotel guests
    What you can’t see in the photo is that we ordered the mattresses to be custom made for CityRoomz and we have invested in the finest microfiber pillows.

    Plus, how many other budget hotels have a safe in the room big enough for a laptop, free wi-fi and tea and coffee making facilities?

    Tea and coffee making facilities at Cityroomz Edinburgh

    Free tea and coffee in all Cityroomz Edinburgh

    There’s a whole host of free TV channels to watch on a flat screen and like Sleeperz Hotels, CityRoomz will be bright, cheerful and welcoming.

    Best city break in the UK

    Edinburgh has always been thought of as one of the best city breaks in the UK and Sleeperz is so excited to be opening up a hotel right in the Scottish capital.

    It’s a place of history and culture, famous for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Military Tattoo, and watched over by the impressive Edinburgh Castle.

    Edinburgh Castle

    Edinburgh Castle – one of Scotland’s must-see tourist attractions

    One of the best times of year to visit Edinburgh is New Year or Hogmanay, as the locals call it, when Prince’s Street is packed with crowds watching one of the biggest fireworks displays anywhere in the world.

    We are set to open our new hotel in early May 2013 and you can find out more at www.cityroomz.com

    Cityroomz Hotel Edinburgh will operate 72 rooms and offer a fresh continental breakfast (£4.95) with rates starting at £49 per night, including free and fast wi-fi. 

  • Top-Five tourist attractions in Cardiff

    Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay

    Cardiff is the capital of Wales and while its history is one of castles, coal and conflict, today’s city is a modern cosmopolitan place visited by lovers of sports, arts, entertainment and shopping.

    There are so many things to see and do in Cardiff during a city break or short hotel stay.

    To make it easier for our hotel guests to enjoy their time in Cardiff, we’ve come up with our top five tourist attractions in the city.

    1.Cool Castles
    Cardiff has a greater concentration of castles than any other city in the world.

    The Romans were the first occupiers to build a fort on the site of modern day Cardiff Castle, marking the start of 2000 years of history – spanning the Norman Conquest through to Victorian Britain – at one of Wales’ most inspiring historical monuments.

    Cardiff Castle

    Cardiff Castle is one of Wales’ most important historical monuments

    It’s just a five minute walk from Sleeperz Cardiff to the Castle. It opens at 9am and closes at 6pm in high season (Mar – Oct) and 5pm in the low season (Nov-Feb). Adult tickets are £11 and children aged 5-16 visit for £8.50.

    Other excellent Cardiff Castles include St Fagan’s, home of the Welsh National History Museum and Castell Coch – known as the Red Castle – a modern bi-product of a Victorian imagination and funded by a wealthy aristocrat. Caerphilly Castle is a short drive out of the city but is Britain’s second largest castle and an impressive monument to medieval architecture.

    2. Sensational Sports

    Cardiff is one of the best places in the UK to watch and take part in sports. You can see world class international rugby at Millennium Stadium, see the Bluebirds of Cardiff City F.C and watch Cardiff Blues Rugby team in the domestic league.

    Cardiff Arms Park Rugby ground

    Cardiff is a great place to watch world class sport – like here at Cardiff Arms Park

    If you love adrenaline and water you’ll want to visit the world class water sports facilities at Cardiff Bay, where you will find Cardiff International White Water and its incredible rapids – great for canoeing and white water rafting.

    3. Stylish Shopping
    Cardiff is the 6th best city in the UK for shopping and some of the best shops in Cardiff are less than 800m from Sleeperz Hotel, including Spiller’s Records – the world’s oldest record shop.

    Spiller's Records Cardiff

    The oldest record shop in the World – Spiller’s Cardiff

    Nearby are the Edwardian and Victorian Arcades, Cardiff Indoor Market and the ultra-modern St David’s Shopping Centre which carries the latest and best high street brands.

    shop in Cardiff's Victorian and Edwardian Arcades

    The Victorian and Edwardian arcades in Cardiff are great places to wander and pass the time!

    4. Top TV Locations

    Cardiff is a major media city and lots of BBC dramas are filmed in the city, including Torchwood, Doctor Who and Casualty.

    Location for BBC TV show Torchwood

    One of the quirkier locations for shooting Torchwood in Cardiff Bay

    You can visit many of the film set locations in the city, either as part of a Dr Who Cardiff Bus Tour or on the 2-hour walking tour which take you to sites including the National History Museum, Llandaff and Penarth.

    Don’t miss the BBC’s own tourist attraction The Dr. Who Experience featuring countless props, costumes and sets from the cult programme.

    If Sc-Fi is not your thing, you can also go on the Gavin and Stacey coach Tour on Barry Island, packed with locations from the sit-com written by James Corden (a.k.a Smithy).

    5. Beautiful and Tall Buildings

    The world’s first ever £1m deal was struck at the Cardiff Coal Exchange in 1907 and the building still stands today as an iconic music and entertainment venue.

    In Cardiff Bay, the birthplace of Welsh songstress Dame Shirley Bassey you will find the stunning Wales Millennium Centre – Wales’ number one tourist attraction. It is a contemporary arts centre and concert hall and a truly iconic piece of architecture.

    Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay

    Welsh arts and culture has an iconic home in Cardiff

    Back stage guided tours run daily for £5.50 and there are a host of great restaurants, bars, cafes and stage shows to choose from. Just a short walk from the WMC you will find the Norwegian Church – where world famous children’s books author Roald Dahl was baptised. Today it serves as a modern day arts centre.

    Norwegian Church Cardiff

    Roald Dahl was baptised in the Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay

    Cardiff has the greatest number of tall buildings of any city in the UK. Currently its three tallest buildings are Millennium Stadium (400 feet), Stadium House (300 feet) and the Capital Tower (262 feet).

    So, there you have it – a fascinating mixture of culture, history, innovation and natural beauty coming together in one proud Welsh city. It couldn’t be easier to visit Cardiff’s top-five tourist attractions when staying at Sleeperz Hotel Cardiff.

    We are a short stroll from the rail station, next door to Millennium Stadium and right in the heart of the city centre.

    Book today and don’t forget to like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sleeperzhotels and follow us on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/SleeperzHotels

     

  • Newcastle Guffaw Guide – Super-Six Comedy Clubs in Newcastle

    Newcastle is a top city for comedy clubs

    January has to be the most depressing month of the year.

    Christmas over, all spent up, waiting for pay day and nothing to watch on TV except weight loss and bake-off programmes.

    Add to that freezing weather and dark nights and it’s fair to say you need something fun to lift your spirits.

    Geordies love a good laugh and so it’s no surprise the city is full of comedy clubs and pubs holding open mic events.

    The staff at our Newcastle city centre Hotel have recommended their Super-Six comedy clubs in Newcastle, so if you are staying in Toon get your laughing boots on and gan canny!

    1. The Stand Comedy Club – Newcastle’s newest comedy club
    2. The Hyena Café – one of the city’s longstanding venues for mirth slap bang in the city centre
    3. The Grinning Idiot Comedy Club – with venues across the North East, the Grinning Idiot is guaranteed to deliver a laugh
    4. The Suggestibles – brilliant improvisational comedy troupe that gig at venues around Newcastle, check their website for a gig diary.
    5. Live Stand Up – Newcastle’s Live Theatre regularly hosts stand up nights with top class North East comedians.
    6. The Mill Volvo Tyne Theatre – regularly hosts big name comics like North East favourite Sarah Millican and American comic Reginald D Hunter.

    If you have any recommendations for great comedy clubs in Newcastle, we’d like to hear them. You can post them in the reply box below or on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/sleeperzhotels

  • Sleeperz Newcastle wins award for architectural excellence

    SMP_Sleeperz_Newcastle_0095_v4

    Sleeperz landmark city centre hotel in Newcastle has won a prestigious award from the Royal Institute of British Architects.

    The 98-bedroom glass fronted hotel near Newcastle Central Station was recognised by judges for architectural excellence at the RIBA Hadrian Awards in Leeds last month.

    The award means Sleeperz Hotels Newcastle joins a list of elite buildings in the UK that RIBA recognises as having achieved the highest architectural standards and which make a substantial contribution to the local environment.

    The hotel opened in January and was built in a heritage conservation area on the site of a derelict former Parcel Works on the city’s Westgate Road.

    This is the second time RIBA has recognised Sleeperz Hotels for the quality and appearance of its hotel build and design.

    In 2010, Sleeperz Cardiff Hotel won the RIBA Wales Award.

    David Myers, chief executive of Sleeperz Hotels, said: “We believe in acquiring land that is unusual and extraordinary in shape and transforming it into stylish landmark city centre hotels offering every modern convenience and comfort at affordable rates to leisure and business travellers.

    To win two RIBA Awards for our first two properties is a monumental achievement and worthy recognition for our vision of creating beautiful budget hotels in Britain’s leading cities.”

    Sleeperz Newcastle is only the second hotel built by the company. We have plans to open new hotels in Birmingham, London and Manchester by 2015.

    Both the Cardiff and Newcastle hotels were designed by award-winning London based architects Clash Associates, who have succeeded in making the hotels into modern, highly-visible and instantly recognisable buildings.

    Peter Clash, of Clash Associates Ltd, said: “This award is extremely pleasing. Sleeperz Newcastle is an innovative building made with quality materials and constructed on a difficult city centre site in the central conservation area.”.

    The RIBA Hadrian Awards are the regional awards for the North East from which the winners are put forward for the national RIBA Awards. The winners of those awards are considered for the RIBA Stirling Prize.

  • Olympics football

    S128-110-D-1024PX-SRGB

    Cardiff and Newcastle are becoming increasingly excited about hosting Olympics soccer this summer.
    The draw for the men’s and women’s tournaments has been held and event specialists at the Millennium Stadium and St James’ Park are now preparing for their moments in the global spotlight.
    The Games actually kicks off in Cardiff on July 25 when the Great Britain women’s team entertains New Zealand. The Welsh capital stages a further 10 games, including another GB women’s match on July 28 and the men’s bronze medal decider on August 10.

    Newcastle launches its Olympics activity with a men’s game on July 26 and hosts a further eight matches culminating in a men’s quarter-final on August 4.
    Sleeperz staff in our two great cities are looking forward greatly to welcoming Olympics guests from around the world. Best book your room now!
    For more on the London 2012 football tournament, click here (http://www.london2012.com/football)