Two words: "central" and "quiet". When you are talking about accommodation within the heart of one of the world's great cities, they are words that can very rarely be combined. Yet Braid Apartments by Mansley succeed in being both. The centre of Edinburgh comprises two main areas, the Old Town and the New Town. The Old Town is the historic heart of the city, extending from the Castle at one end of the Royal Mile towards Holyrood Palace at the other, and the area around its upper reaches. It was here that centuries of conflict and intrigue took place, and where the world's first high rise buildings grew: and with them, for a time, where the world's highest population density was found.
In the 1760s, dissatisfaction with the conditions in the Old Town led to the construction of a huge extension of the city to the north, planned to a grid pattern by architect James Craig. The Nor' Loch below the Castle was drained and replaced with Princes Street Gardens, while beyond it the major thoroughfares of Princes Street, George Street and Queens Street formed the core of the Georgian New Town to which the middle and upper classes moved en masse from the Old Town. You'll have realised from this that "New Town" is strictly a relative term: Edinburgh's New Town has been around long enough to have developed plenty of character of its own.
Braid Apartments by Mansley lie within Edinburgh's New Town. The area to the north of Princes Street forms a grid, with the long east-west streets being George Street and Queen Street. There are other east-west streets too. Rose Street lies between Princes Street and George Street. It's a lot of fun, and is home to many of Edinburgh's best-known pubs, but is not what you'd call quiet. Much less frequented is Rose Street's mirror-image, between George Street and Queen Street. The eastern half of this is called Thistle Street, and Braid Apartments by Mansley can be found near the street's mid point, a short distance to the west of where it is intersected by Hanover Street.
So, it would be difficult to imagine anywhere in Edinburgh that could be described as much more central. It's within an easy walk (even with luggage) of Waverley Station and the city's bus station, and close to bus and tram routes. And once you've dropped your luggage off you'll find that nowhere in the centre of this surprisingly compact city is out of reach.
So that's the "central" dealt with. What about the "quiet"? We've already said that Thistle Street is the least frequented of the main streets running through the New Town. Braid Apartments by Mansley occupies the space between Thistle Street to its front and Thistle Street North Lane at its rear. This is even quieter. Fair enough, nowhere in the heart of a city can entirely escape the sounds of the occasional early-morning bin lorry: but the apartments have very effective secondary double glazing that helps mitigate any outside noise that does arise. Let's face it, if you want to get away from all man-made noise, then there are beach-side thatched cottages we can recommend that can only be reached by means of a rough track in the far north-west of Scotland. But the fact that you are thinking about accommodation in a city means you've already decided against that. In terms of city living, Braid Apartments by Mansley are about as quiet as it gets.
What you find behind the door visible at the foot of the pencil-case tower in the header photograph are 20 superbly-equipped and beautifully serviced apartments over four floors. It's worth saying up front that the nature of the building means that access is by means of a flight of steps beyond the reception to the lift. If you have mobility issues then the same company's Knight Residence on the other side of the city centre might be a better bet. The same is true if you require parking: there is none available at Braid Apartments by Mansley.
Apartments come in three types. Studio apartments have all living space in one room and a separate bathroom. One bedroom apartments have a bedroom, separate living space and a bathroom. The two bedroom apartments have one double bedroom, a second room with two single beds (which can be combined to form a superking-sized bed) and two bathrooms. In each apartment type the bathroom has either a shower or bath with overhead shower. Each apartment is also equipped with complimentary WiFi, Satellite and Freeview TV and the bedrooms are air conditioned. With the exception of the combination twin/superking beds in one bedroom of each two bedroom apartment, other beds in the apartments are standard-sized doubles.
We stayed in a studio apartment and found it came with everything you might wish to sustain a stay in the city. The accommodation was comfortably large enough for two and the level of equipment was very high. We can't imagine that many people staying in the very centre of a city with as many restaurants as Edinburgh would spend their evenings cooking: but if you wanted to, then the apartments are well-enough equipped to allow you to do so. We suspect that most people will use their apartment as a base: somewhere to drop off their luggage and head straight out to explore. From that point of view it really is hard to imagine anywhere better.