TOUCH DOWN AT THE ‘CALEY’
When L’Officiel Arabia touched down in Edinburgh, we were delighted to find out we had a chauffeur-driven Jaguar ready to whisk us away to our hotel. Situated in the centre of Edinburgh, the five-star Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian hotel (affectionately known to locals as “The Caley”) is a stalwart of the city’s rich history. The Old Town which it overlooks is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and home to the famous Edinburgh castle (there are fabulous views from the hotel of the castle - and the property actually boosts the largest number of views of the historic landmark out of any hotel in Edinburgh). As is to be expected in such an old part of the city, we are told that the hotel has been operating on the same site since 1903, before which it was a grand Victorian train station. There are fantastic touches throughout the property from the hotel’s former life. From the original railway clock (which is set at the site of a former platform within the building) and still runs five minutes fast - an old tradition in the city which meant that travellers would not miss their trains. Other touches which hint towards the building’s past include the Grand Staircase at the core of the hotel and the original stained glass windows. There are lovely nods to local Scottish culture too (on arriving at the hotel in our Jaguar, the doormen who met us were wearing local tartan trousers).
There are two restaurants at the hotel, Peacock Alley (the perfect spot for afternoon tea, serving up unusual takes on traditional Scottish fare, such as Iru Bru scones) and The Pompadour (one of the most beautiful restaurants L’Officiel Arabia has visited - decorated in floor to ceiling pastel shades and pink blossom tree in the centre). In another nod to the Caley’s heritage, the Peacock Alley is the former site of the old station ticket office. The eclectic space has the original brickwork from the former station and is the perfect space to enjoy a coffee, or meet for a drink with friends (or even better, in the evening head to the intimate railway-themed Caley Bar at the property). For dinner, you can do no better than the award-winning dishes served up by head chef Daniel Ashmore at The Pompadour. Popular dishes on the menu include inspired local flavours such as partridge from the Rutherford Estate, roast Orkney scallops and North Sea fish such as cod and turbot. Breakfast at the hotel is also served at The Pompadour (although there is a buffet, L’Officiel Arabia recommends ordering from the A La Carte menu where there are delicious made-toorder international breakfast dishes available).
Another selling point of the hotel is its close proximity to all the essential Edinburgh landmarks (aside from the castle) it is also close to the Royal Mile and leading city theatres. The hotel its self is also located on Princes Street, where well-heeled shoppers take in the local and international designer boutiques. For those travelling during the summer, the hotel is also a short distance from the famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
There are few better countries in the world to try out the prowess of an Aston Martin. It’s only a short drive out of Edinburgh before you hit the picturesque beauty of the country’s rolling hills and mountains. We were driven in the Aston Martin DB11 V12 AMR and New Vantage V8 Coup, which sped along the roads, with magnificent style. Discussing the new DB11 model, Aston Martin President and Chief Executive Officer, Dr Andy Palmer explains “since its initial launch back in 2016 the DB11 range has matured rapidly and intelligently, selling close to 4,200 V12 examples in that period. With the exceptional V8 Coupe and Volante we felt the V12 could reveal more of its sporting potential while remaining the consummate GT. By applying a suite of carefully considered performance and styling enhancements the DB11 AMR is both faster -208mph! - and more precise. It’s a combination that engages and cossets in equal measure to create a dynamic and seductive new flagship for the DB11 range while consolidating the existing V12-powered DB11s as future collectables”. Meanwhile, he continued, on the subject of the New Vantage V8 Coup: “It speaks volumes for the outgoing Vantage that it is the single most successful model in Aston Martin’s history. Creating a worthy successor has been a challenge to relish and a huge source of motivation. I’m enormously excited by what we’ve created: a new Vantage that’s more explicit in looks and intent, wrapping heartpounding performance and dazzling dynamics into an everyday usable package. A true sports car with a sharper look and a keener dynamic edge, the new Vantage is the Aston Martin pure driving machine enthusiasts have been waiting for.”
RELAX AND RECUPARATE
Following the day spent driving around the Scottish hills, we were invited to try the hotel’s luxury spa and swimming pool, which holds the prestige title of being the only Guerlain spa in the entire UK. Popular treatments include their signature Abeille royale expert treatment, the signature radiance facial and harmonising deep muscular massage. Make sure to leave time to take a dip in their expansive indoor heated pool and hot tub after your treatment too. It’s the perfect way to relax, after spending a day speeding around the Scottish countryside.