WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                    Hotel Missoni

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I was scheduled to spend five nights in Aviemore, but I decided at the last minute to follow the lead of my colleague Laura Begley, who was on my Continental flight home, and stay in Edinburgh for the final night. That way I didn't need to get up for the 5 a.m. shuttle to EDI and could not only sleep in but spend half a day in Edinburgh.

A last-minute train ticket cost me 39.40 (10 more if you want first class). The conductor said it was open seating even though we had reserved seats. Our car wasn't crowded, but when I got up to use the loo I saw that the other cars were packed. There was no Internet on board but my BlackBerry worked.

-I didn't see any electrical outlets around me. -It was a smooth, scenic ride. -A food and beverage cart came around twice; it cost 1.40 for a small bottle of water. Water is not safe to drink from the WC ("water closet," which means toilet). -Train departed at 11:33 a.m. and arrived Edinburgh Waverly Station at 14:20 (don't get off at Edinburgh Haymarket unless you're going to the airport).

It turns out that our hotel was in the center of town, and I could've walked there from the train station. The ride from Waverly Station to Hotel Missoni was just three minutes and cost 2.25. What's shocking is that the driver was happy as can be to take us such a short distance even though he had waited in a long taxi line. If I had done that at LAX, the driver would've snapped.

The 136-room Hotel Missoni is one of Edinburgh's newest hotels, and it's definitely one of the most unique. The designer hotel is located on Edinburgh's Royal Mile and you notice their unique style the moment one of the Scottish bellmen in a designer kilt offers to take your bags to one of the three mini-check-in stations.

I got a great vibe even before the beautiful Australian clerk told me that everyone gets free wireless, two clothing items cleaned for free (takes 24 hours, otherwise you pay a rush fee), and a free minibar. That's right, free minibar. Mine was stocked with four bottles of water, four cans of soda, one Orangina and one Limonata, and one bag of salt potato chips with Indian pepper. Also in my room was a welcome note and mini cookies.

I learned that this is Missoni's first hotel; the second will be in Kuwait, followed by ones in Oman and Brazil. Getting in the elevator, you realize that the hotel is all about Missoni's colorful designs. The rooms are just as bright, but not obnoxious. There's a white Bang Olufson flat-screen TV with 26 channels of satellite (lots of Middle Eastern channels) and four radio channels. There are sleek phones (it was hard to figure out how to call reception), an easy-to-use coffee machine, and a gorgeous bathroom.

-Both the elevator and the floors of the room are decorated in funky colors. -Eco-friendly lighting goes on when you walk in hallway. -The continental breakfast buffet costs 12 ($19). -The Hotel Missoni is just a few blocks from the Edinburgh Castle and close to the National Museum.

I've been to Edinburgh three times now, and I love it. Its skyline (especially from the Balmoral Hotel) looks like a fairy tale. I walked around the streets until I got lost--I knew I was in a sketchy part of town when I passed a club called Sin, located in an old church. Closer to my hotel I popped into a whisky shop where I learned that the last two whisky awards went to the Japanese. Who knew?

Speaking of whisky, the Scottish tourism board took us to the Scotch Malt Whisky Society on Queen Street (it was a 12-minute walk from the hotel). It's membership-only, but supposedly if you are a visitor you can walk in and fill out a card to get in for free to have drinks or dinner. We had an awesome casual dinner, and I had the ham while my friend Norie had the vegetarian haggis--I didn't know that was existed. Here's more info on the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

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Copyright 2010 JohnnyJet, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Pictures From

The Trip


Edinburgh Train Station


Hotel Missoni


Hotel Missoni Lobby


Missoni Elevator


My Room


Lots of Color




View From Room




Free Mini-Bar






Whiskey Shop


Sin Nightclub


Royal Mile


Edinburgh Castle


Scotch Whisky Society



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