Sustainable Hotel with Craft Beer and Chill Vibe
My first post-pandemic trip to Scotland came this spring, as I headed up from north Wales to St. Andrews to join my son’s birthday celebration. Not only train timetables but also my yen to explore again caused me to book nights in Edinburgh on both ends of the party. On my way TO the party I stayed the night at the newly opened BrewDog DogHouse hotel off the Royal Mile in Edinburgh for a night. What a fantastic place it is!
BrewDog DogHouse Edinburgh Hotel Background
If you’ve not heard yet, BrewDog, the world’s first carbon-negative craft beer brewery, began brewing in November 2006 in Fraserburgh, Scotland. The company became carbon negative in 2020 – a pretty impressive feat. You might’ve seen some of their brews in the grocery or at your local – they’ve been in the US since 2017. I do enjoy a good craft beer of course. So when I found the DogHouse hotel I knew I needed to experience it. The DogHouse hotel just opened early December 2021. It’s in a repurposed red sandstone Victorian school building on Market Street, between Edinburgh’s main train station and the Royal Mile of Old Town. BrewDog purchased the site after it went on the market in 2019. With only 20 bespoke maisonette style hotel rooms, the DogHouse was the perfect size for me.
BrewDog DogHouse Edinburgh Location
The hotel is on the corner of Market and New Streets just off the Royal Mile in Old Town Edinburgh. It’s ideally situated a little away from the exuberant chaos of the upper Royal Mile yet close enough to enjoy the camaraderie with all the hen and stag parties carousing around Old Town on a weekend night without being smack in the middle of the attendant noise and messiness. It’s about midway between Edinburgh Castle at the top end of the street and the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Scottish Parliament building at the other end. And it’s truly around the corner from Edinburgh’s main train station, Waverley, making train connections a doddle.
BrewDog DogHouse Sustainability
The company is serious about changing the world for good. It became a certified B corporation February 2021. To achieve certification, a corporation must meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance their profit and purpose. BrewDog even purchased a swath of Highlands land and plans to reforest it and restore the peatlands on it. In its hotel BrewDog practices what it preaches. They use sustainable paper products, earth-friendly large bottle toiletries (avoiding plastic waste), free earth-friendly women’s hygiene products in the public bathrooms, and more.
Like many other hotels, they suggest guests use their bath linens more than once, but they back that up with the promise of free beer. Not sure if Housekeeping will actually leave your towels alone on a daily basis since I stayed for one night – I always hang mine up but housekeeping always replaces it unfortunately (a topic for a later sustainability article – stay tuned). Another sustainability feature: free bike rental. Granted it’s pretty painful to drive a car in Old Town, but offering bike hire is a genius move. The room I used also had live house plants – I sure hope people respect them.
BrewDog DogHouse Hotel Common Areas
The building has two entrances (and two bar/restaurants) – one on New Street and the main entrance on Market Street. Especially if you’re checking in for a stay, enter through the Market Street doors as you check-in with the lower bar staff. I managed to enter the other door, but was quickly escorted to the appropriate place – where a friendly and warm staff member welcomed me with a pint as well as a token for another one to claim once I was settled in.
While she introduced the hotel and pub/brewery to me, I couldn’t help noticing the utterly charming Paws of Fame over the K9 Hydration Station. When I questioned the staff, I learned that pooches are most welcome as dining or hotel guests. In fact you can reserve a special dog bed, posh bowls, and more to add to your room – compliments of the house. Allergic to dogs? No fear – they have some rooms that remain canine-free.
Once she’d apprised me of all the ins and outs of BrewDog (and I’d started on my delightful pint of Hazy Jane – which incidentally is lower ABV in the UK than US), the staff member escorted me to my hotel room – also known as Barnard Castle Eye Test! Each of the rooms is named after a BrewDog beer. The rooms are all upstairs on the first and second floors surrounding a serene common area for residents that includes areas for play (board games!), work, and relaxing. You can make coffee or tea, get some pick and mix treats, read a book or magazine, or just chill. It really is a serene spot to relax around others.
BrewDog DogHouse Hotel Room – Posh!
Back to the hotel rooms, though. All rooms come with a shower beer fridge(!), a great array of snacks and beverages in both the tuckbox* and room fridge, and even a room beer tap that staff is happy to hook up if you pay a tab for essentially a small keg (no, I didn’t indulge – but I’d love to go with friends for a few days and give it a try – who wants to join me?).
Want to play music? Spin some of the provided vinyl on the included turntable, or get your inner Prince on by playing the guitar on offer in the living area. You can cook (or just make a cuppa like I did) in the handsomely equipped kitchen area, play your own music on the posh Marshall amp-styled speaker, or perhaps watch telly in the living space or bedroom area. The rooms also have enormous windows that let in glorious light. They’re covered by roman blinds – which are luckily motorized.
I wound up laying down on the mid-century modern style sofa in front of the telly, playing one of my Spotify playlists on the speaker, and reading for a good while that evening – bliss! By the way, the hotel room I used included a charming dining table for 4. It’s also useful for working (though there is a desk in the upstairs bedroom area). So you can take advantage of the 24-hour room service and also have a comfortable spot to enjoy it. To order, book a table, ask for a taxi, etc. you communicate with staff via the dedicated Whatsapp number – incredibly convenient!
The white tiled bathroom is tucked under the bedroom and consists of a large walk-in shower (complete with a fold-down beer holder!), toilet, very small sink, small beer fridge, and open shelving. I didn’t experiment with having a shower beer (I would be driving later after all) but I look forward to trying it out during my next stay. I’m full of questions though – does the beercan accumulate water? Does the beer get hot? Pressing questions…
Up in the bedroom, the hotel bed is truly spectacular. A true king-size bed, it’s on a platform frame with underbed lighting that’s unobtrusive. But helpful if you need to head to the loo middle of the night. And the bed linens? So cozily soft, you’ll have trouble prying yourself out of your sleep nest aerie in the morning. The hotel room also offers plush dressing gowns (robes) for guest use, as well as a hot water bottle (very retro!), stationery set, tote bag, and matches.
BrewDog DogHouse Dining
I wound up having dinner in the lower pub area – Long beer menu and shorter food menu. The bar boasts 30 draft taps, plus more in cans, as well as cocktails and soft drinks. The food menu consists of various types of sandwiches, ‘barfood’ items (think wings, fries…), salads, milkshakes, and truly sinful puddings. Both menus are taste treats. Since BrewDog began distilling liquors in 2015 you can enjoy one of those in your favorite cocktail as well. I enjoyed the best hamburger I’ve ever tasted in the UK (and possibly the US as well) and smashing fries. They came in my Hoppy Meal, which included a pint and a nifty BrewDog pin (collect the set!).
Though the dining menu consists of typical bar food it does offer salads and vegan options. The entire menu seems quite thoughtfully planned and tasty as well. I enjoyed that first dinner so much I booked meals on two of my three subsequent Edinburgh trips this spring! The first floor pub/brewery seating includes a large communal high-top table, booths, snugs, and regular tables. At the first floor restaurant, BrewDog welcomes folks with standard tables as well as a huge terrace with comfortable seating areas clustered around fire pits. The vibe is chill and congenial, with a very interesting mix of musical styles and vintages. I Shazamed several tunes I enjoyed in fact, and added them to one of my playlists.
In the morning, the breakfast/brunch menu ranges from granola, fruit, and yogurt to full Scottish and all sorts of yummies between. When I finally emerged from my room and wandered down to it, my pancakes and lattes were delightful! My breakfast was included with my hotel room rate, but anyone can enjoy a leisurely breakfast/brunch here. And prices are reasonable too, ranging from £5.95-£10.95 (roughly $7.50-13.50). I look forward to trying other breakfast entrees when I return. Booking is advised for meals, – though they do their best to seat you even without a booking. The more travel picks up, they’ll be absolutely rammed, so be safe and book your table ahead!
Location: Central and fantastic
Common Areas: Chill and generous
Rooms: Great though the bathroom sink is peculiarly small and reminiscent of elementary school
Dining: Short food menu, seemingly all fantastic; Long drinks menu, also amazingly great. Be sure to book your table ahead!
If you’d like to go on a Scottish sojourn yourself, contact me. I’ll make your dreams a reality – without the stress!
*’Tuckbox’ is British for “a box used for carrying and storing food, especially one taken to boarding school” (Collins dictionary). Many UK hotels call their in-room hospitality tray a tuckbox.
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