A special place for those with vivid lives
Looking for somewhere with home comforts, a private garden and maybe even a balcony where you can enjoy the sunset over Edinburgh with a glass of wine? Not only that but it's right in the centre of the city? We recently stayed at the Sonder Royal Garden Apartments in the New Town and are glad we did.
I've never heard of Sonder before, tell me more about them
Sonder provide fully-equipped apartments which have everything you would need for a stay. They have been compared to Airbnb but are actually more like hotels in that they offer the amenities, security and cleanliness that you would expect from a hotel, but they are unstaffed so think of them as combing the best parts of hotels and home rentals.
There are Sonder Apartments in over 30 cities in 8 countries including Amsterdam, Rome, Dublin, London and a number of North American cities.
Sonder Royal Garden Apartments are so easy to get to, being a 2-minute walk from Edinburgh bus station and the tram stops at St Andrew Square and York Place, and also under 10 minutes from Waverley train station.
Book online and check-in online. Note that the person who books is required to upload a photographic ID (e.g. a passport). Once you've done that a code is emailed to you up to 3 days before your stay, which you simply use to access the front door and then your apartment door. Access to your room is from 4pm.
There is no reception - well, there is, however, it is unmanned but there is a contact number should you need assistance, and similarly there is no housekeeping to barge in and waken you up, so nothing but peace. You can also download their app to contact the 24/7 concierge or learn more about the facilities or local area. In a post-COVID world, these apartments are ideal.
Due to Sonder being a home from home, there are extra essentials in case you need them provided such as toilet roll, coffee filters and sugar.
It was easy finding the way to our room, we had been emailed instructions plus there are room number signs pointing the way and a lift, which took us right to our front door, one of the penthouse apartments.
Living Room and Kitchen
The living area is spacious and open plan. As you can see below, we even had a balcony, which provided a wonderful view and a cool breeze.
There is a TV and seating for four in the living room. WIFI covers the whole building and not just your apartment.
The kitchen comes well-equipped with a fridge/freezer, kettle, coffee machine, toaster, microwave, cooking oven & hob, dishwasher and washing machine.
Plus there is tea, coffee and even olive oil to get you cooking if you arrive hungry, and some cleaning products under the sink so really everything you need for a night away or a longer stay.
Back to that balcony...
What a view!
A perfect spot for lunch, dinner or just a glass of wine. Our balcony looked out over the Firth of Forth to Fife.
There is also garden access from the basement for all apartments, As you can see the area is tidy and provides a quiet, private green space to chill out.
This was a two-bedroom apartment with a stand-alone bathroom and an en-suite so a bath and separate shower were available.
Both bathrooms came stocked with fluffy towels and Gilchrist & Soames toiletries.
The bedrooms are light and airy with minimal fuss. There's also an iron and ironing board, safe, fan and even two white noise machines, one in each bedroom, should you want to fall asleep to the sound of waves.
One thing to note is that as we were in a penthouse apartment one of the bedrooms has a sloping roof.
Here is a lookout of one of the windows showing how close you are to things. The Edinburgh tram passes by and Sonder Royal Garden Apartments are across the road from the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.
What is there to see near Sonder - Royal Garden Apartments
- St James Quarter for shopping and eating
- Edinburgh Playhouse for events
- Scottish National Portrait Gallery
- Harvey Nichols / Multrees Walk for shopping
- Restaurants such as Dishoom / The Ivy / Hawksmoor / Gaucho / Fazenda
An all-round excellent stay. A beautiful spacious apartment with everything we needed on hand.
The superb location meant that we checked in shortly after arriving in Edinburgh and once checked out, could move on easily to the next destination on our trip - there is also some storage facilities for leaving your bags, we didn't need to use these but instructions are provided. There's plenty of great bars and restaurants within a short walking distance but should you need to travel further afield there are plenty of bus stops nearby to get to all parts of Edinburgh.
Before our stay, we also wondered what 'Sonder' meant. A quick Google search suggested:
"Sonder — noun. the realization that each random passer-by is living a life as vivid and complex as your own."
This is a word from 'The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows', a project to create a dictionary of new words to convey and express emotions currently lacking in English. The word is inspired by the same German word for 'special' and its French counterpart, the verb 'to probe'.
Being a company that originates in French Canada (Montreal) but has spread around the world then perhaps we can assume that the version meaning to probe; to examine; to explore, is a more likely candidate, but you can be assured that these apartments are special and that everyone else staying here has a life as vivid and complex as your own.
We would happily stay here again and will definitely check out Sonder locations in other cities. Our apartment had 2 double beds so slept 4 but room options available can cater for 2, 3 or 4 guests. Prices start from £100 per night for a studio flat, £112 for a 1 bedroom option and £142 for our 2 bedroom apartment.
+ Well-equipped apartment
+ Ideal location in the centre of Edinburgh for nightlife
+ Proximity to tram stop, bus station, Waverley train station
+ Safe, secure check-in process
+ COVID-friendly stay
+ The balcony!
- Late check-in (from 4 pm)
Royal Garden Apartments
2 York Buildings,
Near to Edinburgh Bus Station, Edinburgh Tram stops and local Lothian bus services.
You can also subscribe to Foodie Explorers to keep up to date.
See the handy Pinterest image below if you wish to pin this for later 😘
This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.
Disclaimer: we received a complimentary one-night stay