A “News You Can Use” blog this time. Many of our Scotland clients ask: “After our Edinburgh hotel stay, we need to pick up a car at Hertz’s City location. Where and how do we do that?” I did this myself last November and thought I’d write it up. That way, a simple Blog link will make it easy for ye, route and pictures included!
Recommended in Auld Reeky
Over the decades I’ve stayed in a bunch of Edinburgh hotels, in Old and New Town, from self-catering to luxury and many in between. Check out my previous Rankin & Rebus blog with some hotel names and walking tips. My personal favorite these days is Old Town’s Hotel du Vin and Bistro, aka the HdV.
No car, no worries
The Hotel du Vin sits at 11 Bristo Place, a stone’s throw from Greyfriar’s Kirk and the adorable Greyfriar’s Bobby statue. A quieter spot, yet just a short walk from Grassmarket, the Castle and the Royal Mile.
The HdV does not offer parking but has a reduced rate deal with a nearby lot. Still, who wants a car in town anyway? It costs money, causes stress even for experienced left-side drivers and is basically useless.
No one’s just a number
Rooms at the HdV do not have numbers, but individual names! My “Taittinger” had a nice larger and very comfortable bed, a sitting area and a humongous walk-in rain shower! Plus a claw-footed standalone tub, and a desk with a very welcome Nespresso setup.
The Hotel du Vin has a high quality restaurant too. I enjoyed an excellent dinner after a long day of travel, and a very tasty breakfast early the next morning. Locally sourced farm-fresh ingredients, and well prepared.
Whisk me away
For a hotel with “Vin” in its name, the HdV has an amazing whisky focus! Remember the Scots spell it without the “e”; see my recent whisk(e)y blog. The bar selection could keep you sampling for years! I had a nice 12 year old Auchentoshan, one of my fave Lowlands.
In vino (and uisge) veritas
Note the neat (pun intended) whisky wall displays around the hotel in the lobby and along the entry walk and other walls. And of course, there are some wine-themed ones as well, as befits a Hotel du Vin.
There’s a “uisge-beatha” (Gaelic for Water of Life) whisky room and, for the cigar aficionados, a walk-in humidor in the patio: the “Cigar Bothy”. That’s definitely not for me but it does look nice.
Fun fact: the HVB is about 500 feet from the Elephant House, birthplace of J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter”! I’m very HP and did a blog about Harry and the Elephant House not too long ago.
Time for a taxi – or a wee walk
Edinburgh stay done, Hertz City was my next stop, as it is for many of you. Time to fetch my car and drive up to Aberdeen! Hertz City is at 10 Picardy Place in New Town and the easiest is to take a quick 10-minute taxi. Traveling solo and light, with just a backpack, I decided to walk. This took only about 20 minutes.
Looking down on New Town
From Old Town, head down to Hertz: literally! Old Town and Edinburgh Castle loom over New Town, and the streets and pedestrian stairways between Old and New are steep. Depending on your Old Town hotel location, walk via the Scott Monument, Princes Street Gardens, or cross over Waverley Station via North Bridge.
Since I’m a train addict, I did the latter, stopping at Waverley to watch for a bit. Then, on via Leith Walk, with Calton Hill on your right. When you reach the Omni Leisure Centre at Picardy Place, watch out for … giraffes!
Fun fact: Artist Helen Denerley created the “Dreaming Spires” giraffes sculpture out of scrap metal and they stand an impressive 22 feet tall. The inscription in the ground tiles reads “Giraffes! A People Who live between earth and skies Each in his own religious steeple Keeping a lighthouse with his eyes”, from a 1946 Roy Campbell poem.
Patience is elementary
Cross the street to Picardy Place and you’ll see Sherlock Holmes! Arthur Conan Doyle, the famous Sherlock creator was born nearby and the statue honors him. The Hertz office is right behind it on the north side of this narrow street.
Now this is where being forewarned may help. Many clients are used to renting cars in the USA and may expect a large office, quick service via a Gold Line, and spacious parking areas. Sorry, that’s not the deal here. The office is small and narrow. Standing in line is a bit awkward. And things will take time, so bring your patience!
Paper gods at Hertz
Hertz staff were very friendly and helpful, but there were only 2 of them and they did not exactly rush to get the line down. They kindly and extensively answered renter questions, prepared paperwork, and drew directions on a paper map. And this was off-season February, not peak time August. So, word to the wise: be prepared, as you might be here for a while! Maybe bring a phone with earbuds so you can listen to music: I suggest Duran Duran’s Paper Gods….
What comes around goes around
Cars are parked elsewhere so once you have your paperwork, a Hertz employee will bring your vehicle around. You then load up your bags and passengers – if you brought them – and drive off right in the front. Of course, alternatively, you could walk here by yourself to get your car and then drive back to your hotel to get your travel partners and the baggage.
The good news driving out of Picardy Place is that you won’t have to deal with much City traffic. Drive out, turn left onto Leith Walk, circle back at the London Road roundabout and head west out of town if going north. Consider a stop at the nearby Royal Botanic Garden if so inclined! Your phone GPS will help.
Once you’re out of the City, the wide-open Scots landscape awaits! There’s nothing like driving yourselves, having full control and do whatever you want, wherever and whenever.
Where does it Hertz
Some clients stay in Edinburgh at the end of their trip, and need to drop their car at Hertz City. The procedure is the same, in reverse. Note that Hertz City’s opening hours are much more limited than the airport, plus they close seasonally on Sundays. I always specify the exact days and times on my Travel Documents, to help you check what applies to you.
If you arrive after hours, you’ll get stuck with parking and an extra day charge, as there’s no drop box or parking to leave your car. The nearest alternate is Edinburgh Airport, half an hour away. But, they may charge you for the unplanned location drop, and the taxi back will cost ye!
The best Hertz City advice again: be prepared for a wait! As Dylan sings in “Bye and Bye” on his Modern Times album: “I’m sitting on my watch, so I can be on time”. And with that, I’ll leave ye to it. May your hotel stay be wonderful, your car rental without hiccups, and your travels filled with the Scots adventures you’ve always dreamed of!
My travel blog “Con’s Corner” takes a sometimes irreverent look at 4+ decades of travel in the British Isles. My trips are real: no months of staging the perfect photo, no waiting for the perfect weather, no Photoshopping, no promo story in exchange for a freebie: I pay full fare. It’s true travel. Note that the company does not necessarily share my opinions and views. In fact, they may be shaking their heads. The photography is mine (except where credited as noted), as are all typos, grammatical errors, and odd expressions. It’s a blog, people, not literature! I also accept full responsibility for any puns, varying on a scale from hilarious to ouch… Be all that as it may, I intend to keep at it until I get it right. Con Jager, Santa Rosa, USA.
(R) Photography by Robin Gabbert
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