I’ve wanted to visit The Balmoral Hotel since I was a wee lass. Throughout all my trials and tribulations, I’ve always been a big dreamer. And in recent years, a big do-er. And I won’t lie to you, when I walked into our suite at The Balmoral, the first thing I did was burst into tears. Then I spilt tea leaves everywhere. And then I dropped grapes on my face during a “photograph me like I’m a Greek goddess” wind-up photoshoot. You can take the girl out of the calamity but you can’t take the calamity out of the girl. *Smiles cheekily.* I had such high expectations. Dreams do that to you. If you can’t dream big, why dream at all eh? I did worry that my dreams wouldn’t match up to reality. But by God, the reality was so, SO much better.
Welcome to The Balmoral
I always feel a tad nervous before any of our press stays, or press events in general. No matter how “Aye” The Aye Life gets, I think I will always be a little bit this way. It comes from a past life of questioning everything. Wandering along Princes Street to the marvel that is The Balmoral Hotel, I stopped numerous times, to do nothing but question. Questioning if I was walking in a straight line, questioning whether I would feel like the Queen I know deep down I am. It’s weird when your dreams creep up on you as reality. As soon as I walked in the doors, I ogled at the stunning floral display overhead, and the glittering chandelier. How could I have been so wrong? My dreams did nothing to celebrate the reality of The Balmoral reception.The concierge and the reception staff made me feel at ease within seconds. In fact, no, they didn’t make me feel at ease, they made me feel at home. I felt like a wee Scottish princess, airlifted out of my crumbling tower by a North East chopper, knowing not of my future, but that it would be so bright it would shatter glass.
Have you ever seen the grass so green?
Our room was absolutely gorgeous, as designed by Olga Polizzi. Contemporary yet sympathetic, rich and warming yet spacious and flooded with light. There were double windows on both sides of the room, an enviable writing desk with Scott Monument views, a lounge area beside double windows with an Edinburgh Castle view. I literally couldn’t think of anything worse. There was a pretty in pink tartan sofa, and a vast bed, which didn’t make a sound. You could have a party on one side of the bed without the other person even stirring in their sleep. Weird the things you notice, huh?The bathroom was stunning; all white marble with Sean Connery framed prints around the loo. Sean Connery reopened the famed hotel in 1991 following a £23,000,000 refurbishment. There is a plaque in the hotel to mark the occasion in the hotel lobby.
A Balmoral Tour
After we checked in, and I had picked up all the tea leaves and grapes (clumsy is as clumsy does), we met with a lovely lass from The Balmoral, who gave us a fabulous wee tour around the building. We were taken to Palm Court, famed for its afternoon tea, with real palm trees may I add. In Scotland. INSIDE! Actual palm trees. I can’t keep a house plant alive.We were also shown The Bowes-Lyon suite named after the Queen Mother, the former patron of the hotel, who stayed in that suite regularly. It was quirky, botanical and beautiful, with porthole-style windows. Green velvets and floral patterns met with contemporary modernisms to create a truly spectacular scene. I’ll say it now, and I’ll say it again, I didn’t have nearly enough time in the hotel. I want to go back and poke my wee head into all of the suites. It’s princess land.The Spa which featured Irene Forte, Made for Life and Ishga Hebridean skincare was gleaming, with a beautiful dimly lit swimming pool and large gym. The staff were very friendly and not in the slightest bit curious about our need to tour a spa. Again, I’d like time on my side to experience the spa in all its glory. It was just immaculate.
We headed over to the Brasserie Prince restaurant within The Balmoral Hotel for dinner. It was absolutely fantastic. Our waiter made our experience. He was brilliant. We went mostly off his recommendations during supper and he was just so in the know. That guy is a 10 by the way, hope he’s working when you go (you’ll see what I mean).
The Curfew Club
Once we got back to our room (feeling giddy and nowhere near ready to end the night), we ordered some room service. There is a new experience at The Balmoral Hotel known as The Curfew Club. This means that even if you have to end your night early outside, you can still have an awesome staycation in your room. You can rent movies, and order fabulous snacks and drinks to accompany your movie. You can also order drinks to the room to do a bit of your own cocktail-making. Coming soon will be a virtual whisky tasting with the guys downstairs in the Scotch bar. When you’re staying in a hotel as pretty as The Balmoral, you will want to savour every moment.We ordered crispy potato skins with creme fraiche, chives and caviar (which were absolutely stunning) and some lovely cocktails; a “Golden Scottish” marmalade cocktail being one of my favourites. Aye 2.o did his normal cocktail order; anything with whisky in it. You cannot take the Scottish out of the bloke.
The staff at The Balmoral Hotel, and The Balmoral Hotel itself, made my stay truly magical. I had high expectations, in fact, I had Aye expectations, and my experience could not have been any more perfect. Had they had the little silver Balmoral clock charms available at reception, I’d have walked away with one for sure. I think Aye 2.0 was somewhat relieved that it was only available to purchase in the Hamilton and Inches jeweller. A place we conveniently, didn’t have time to visit. Luck was on his side, this time anyway. A huge thank you to all of the lovely staff for looking after us, we will be back for more dreams coming true.