The immediate view from our window is not encouraging. There’s a Frankie & Benny’s, Burger King and Tesco garage, but with nose pressed to the glass and a twist of the head, something far more inspiring comes into focus. It’s the Forth Road Bridge, near Edinburgh, in all its glory — once the longest suspension crossing in the world.
‘We’re pretty much all corporate during the week,’ volunteers our cheery waitress a little later at dinner.
Oh dear, it’s a Tuesday. But, frankly, we don’t see why anyone would want to stay at Dakota at weekends, marooned in a spectacularly ugly warehouse-style building in the middle of a car park.
Inside, it’s all black, with exposed brick and pipework — and yet feels strangely cosy, perhaps because you know its immediate environs are so grim that you’re just grateful to be removed from them.
A woman at reception is welcoming and even offers a complimentary upgrade — hence the distant sighting of the bridge. It’s a suite and yet the bathroom is pokey, with no tub. A notice by the towel rail warns of fierce heat, but the rail is cold.
The problem with going modern is that it soon looks dated, and there’s a smattering of Eighties kitsch here.
There are now four Dakotas — at Edinburgh, Leeds, Glasgow and one in somewhere called Eurocentral described as the ‘perfect destination for anyone requiring a luxury hotel near Glasgow or Motherwell’. Chairman of the group is Malmaison founder Ken McCulloch.
We enjoy our dinner, ordering from a straightforward menu at reasonable prices. But the buffet at breakfast for Mr and Mrs Corporate is functional. Toast is hardly toasted at all — but perhaps it all goes up a notch at weekends. I order a double espresso and am told it carries an additional charge.
This is almost as dispiriting as the view from the window.
Dakota, 11 Ferrymuir Retail Park, South Queensferry, Edinburgh, EH30 9QZ
For more information call 0131 319 3690 or visit dakotahotels.co.uk. Doubles from £81.