Dundee has had quite a year. Named in the ‘Top 5 Worldwide Hot Destinations’ by the Wall Street Journal, and the ‘Coolest Little City in Britain’ by GQ Magazine, Dundee has seen the V&A Dundee open after many years of construction and anticipation building. Not only that, the city has seen a resurgence in restaurant, bar and hotel openings. None seem to have rivalled the buzz around Hotel Indigo which opened their hotel in the city of discovery, way back in the summer, which was included in a recent Top 50 Hotels guide published by The Guardian.
Disclaimer: I received 1 night’s free accommodation at Hotel Indigo Dundee (website) and a discount on our paid rate, in exchange for this review.
Seeing as we were heading to Dundee to fulfill our crew responsibilities at the Spirit of North Hop, we decided to extend our stay in order to explore the newly revitalised city and we were kindly gifted a night’s free B&B to do this. I had only ever been to Dundee once, or passed through on a speeding train to Edinburgh. Mr B last visited Tannadice Park (he is a Dundee United fan) about 10 years ago, so we were both excited to see how the city had changed over recent times. They’ll be a post coming up next week (SPOILER: It was a wet weekend!) to give you the low down on what you can do,see, eat and drink in Dundee.
Upon arriving at Hotel Indigo (there is a small and chargeable on-site car park – which costs £14 per day, or there is free on-street parking if you are lucky enough to find a space, plus other public car parks nearby), we entered a reception area which was absolutely crammed to the brim with Dundee memorabilia to celebrate your arrival in the first UNESCO UK City of Design. Displays of objects celebrating Dundee’s contributions to comics, video games, and jute!
The building was constructed in the 1800s as a linen mill, but when the flax import was interrupted, the mill converted to the making of Jute, which is one third of the city’s unofficial tagline – “Jam, Jute and Journalism”. We’ll get onto the others as we explore the rest of the hotel, but you can see the throw-backs to the heritage in the building’s industrial design alone.
Our check in was smooth and speedy, and we were soon up in the lift to the 2nd floor, where our Hotel Indigo Standard Room awaited us. I can honestly say that there’s nothing standard about these rooms, they are full of lovely little touches and hidden bonuses which are evident as soon as you swipe your key card and open the door!
A very comfy super king bed awaited us, complete with a sumptuous throw designed by Hilary Grant – an Orcadian who studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design. We slept so well on this, we’re hopefully going to find out who supplied the mattresses so we can replace our one at home!
We were a bit thirsty and in need of a pick me up, so it was easy to spot where the complimentary refreshments were stored!
In the mini-fridge were bottles of Strathmore Still and Sparkling water, a can of Scotland’s national soft drink – Irn-Bru, and a classic snack – a Caramel Log from Tunnocks who are based in Uddingston.
There’s also a drawer filled with tea, Scottish shortbread and Nespresso capsules for the in-room coffee maker. All of the refreshment supplies are replenished every day during your stay.
Information about the local area (on a double sided card, rather than a weighty tome of never ending leaflets), hotel services and amenities information, and a menu for the onsite Daisy Tasker restaurant with room service options which we didn’t quite get the opportunity to try, complete the reading material, along with copies of the Beano, Dundee’s much loved comic, published by DC Thomson.
Rooms have neighbourhood themes running throughout, and our room was a land of cake theme. Art by Glasgow-based Lauren Li Porter depicts the legendary Dundee cake. Legend has it that Dundee cake was first made for Mary Queen of Scots! The recipe for Dundee Cake can be found within the room, but it’s a bit hard to spot – in fact it was only on our last night that we saw it, so I won’t spoil the surprise for you! The other neighbourhood themes are from the Dandy (again of DC Thomson fame) and Grand Theft Auto – developed by Dundee company DMA Design! Gamer fans would be pleased to get a night’s sleep here, as cheat codes are hidden within the rooms.
The bathroom is spacious, and has an amazing rain-forest shower. Make sure you turn the dial by the door right up, as a speaker plays whatever is on the TV into the bathroom! I enjoyed a good pre-dinner boogie to Absolute radio, while Mr B woke up to the the dulcet tones of a BBC 5 Live newsreader as he showered ready for a day’s exploration!
Whilst you’re in the shower, the celebration of Dundee continues with a Keiller’s Dundee Marmalade tile. In the 18th century, James Keiller brought a ship’s cargo on Seville oranges, and his mother used them into the first batch of marmalade!
Hotel Indigo uses produce from elsewhere in Scotland too – Arran Aromatics provide a full set of complimentary toiletries to enjoy – I was loving the lime, rose and sandalwood combination.
At the beginning of each day, we enjoyed breakfast in the Daisy Tasker restaurant. The restaurant is so-named after a much-loved 14 year old weaver who organised social activities for the jute mill’s workforce, so it’s a great place to get together with friends, family or colleagues!
There’s more of the industrial design here, with exposed brick ceilings and cast iron pillars.
Breakfast can be leisurely or quick paced affair, as there’s continental (£10) or hot breakfast (£5) options aplenty on offer.
The breakfast table is the almost the width of the entire restaurant and is laden with every possible breakfast fare you could imagine – whether you want to create your own granola, have a healthy start with a myriad of fruits and juices, or even with a choice of pastries or cakes!
Hot breakfast options include a full Scottish breakfast with optional black pudding and haggis, and omelettes, but our favourites were the poached eggs with hollandaise, perched delicately on Arbroath smokies (kippers) and super-soft tattie scones.
Another top breakfast were the pancakes, served with bacon and maple syrup to drizzle as you liked. A great way to start the day, especially if you are heading out to explore all that the city has to offer!
Our verdict: Both Mr B and I agreed that Hotel Indigo Dundee provided us with one of the most relaxing hotel stays we’ve had. The combination of friendly staff who were happy to help with anything from directions to recommendations, lovely little touches that celebrate the city of Dundee evident virtually everywhere in the hotel, and a location which means attractions like the shopping centres, V&A and other galleries are less than a 15 minute walk away make this an ideal and affordable stay for those on business or leisure trips. We came away thinking of when we could book our next Hotel Indigo stay (hotels are also in Glasgow and Edinburgh).
Note: We received a night’s free accommodation and a discount on the nights we paid ourselves, in exchange for an impartial review. All opinions are our own.