Our First Childfree Mini Break in Five Years
[AD: our hotel stay and meal were complimentary]
As Old Rose in Titanic once memorably said, “It’s been 84 years…” Except, in this case, it’s only really been five years, and I’m not talking about the sinking of the Titanic, but about the last time Terry and I had a trip away from home without a small person in tow.
So, actually, not even remotely like Titanic, obviously, but, well, it’s been a long five years, let’s put it that way. In the last few months, however, Max has finally reached the stage where he’s started begging to have sleepovers with his grandparents, so, when the people at Parliament House Hotel, in Edinburgh, asked if we fancied an overnight stay, we jumped at the chance.
As regular readers will know, Edinburgh is our closest city, but it’s still one of our favourite places to visit: even more so in the last 18 months or so, when it’s been so much quieter than usual. As things start to open up again, however, Parliament House seemed like a great choice of hotel for us: it’s located right at the foot of Calton Hill, which places it just a few minutes walk from many of the city’s major attractions, like Princes Street, the Scott Monument – and, most importantly for me, the brand new St.James’ Quarter shopping mall, which is so close that I could practically smell all of those shiny new clothes waiting for me when we arrived at the hotel.
Parliament House consists of two listed buildings, – the oldest of which dates back to the 1760s – which have been combined to create the hotel you see today, which has a traditional, comfortable feel – and, as you can see, a really quite awesome elevator, complete with seat and an old-style telephone which I couldn’t resist posing with.
Our room was on the ground floor, and had everything we could possibly have needed for our stay. For me, one of the best things about it was the fact that, although it would be hard to find a more central location, our room was totally quiet, which made it a wonderful, relaxing place to retreat to after a day in the city: or, in our case, a wander around the St. James’ Quarter, which was, of course, where we headed as soon as we’d checked in:
If you like shopping – or just want to get out of the rain, which, let’s face it, is always a possibility in Edinburgh – this is the place to be. It’s only been open since June this year, but it’s already become my favourite mall in Scotland, and I thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity for a good old browse and a leisurely coffee, before we headed back to our hotel to get ready for dinner:
Parliament House doesn’t have its own restaurant (There is, however, a breakfast bistro – more on that later…), but that didn’t matter as we already had a reservation at The Ivy, which, again, was just a short walk from the hotel, on St. Andrew’s Square:
The Ivy is well known for its stunning, seasonal decor and menu, and we were there to sample the new Harvest Moon autumn offering, which includes some amazing cocktails, with names like The Smashing Pumpkin, Perfect Pear, and, of course, The Harvest Moon:
The restaurant itself is absolutely beautiful, and the food was to. die. for. As regular readers will know, Autumn is NOT my favourite season (I know, how am I even allowed to blog?!), but the beautiful autumnal colours and flavours managed to convince even me that there are a few good things about it, and that’s quite the achievement.
My meal was a complete cheese feast, basically, starting off with the most amazing cheese soufflé I’ve ever tasted, before moving onto the grilled halloumi for the main course. What can I say, I love cheese? Terry, meanwhile, went All Fish, All the Time, with the salt and pepper squid, followed by a monkfish curry which was on special. Oh, and then sticky toffee pudding to finish, because, just as I’ve never met a cheese I didn’t want to eat, Terry is all about his sticky toffee pudding. Yes.
The next morning, I woke up at my usual time of 6am, because it turns out that my brain is so used to being woken by Max at that time that it’s going to continue doing it, even when I’ve nothing to get up for. Thanks, brain! Love you too! Still, being able to turn over and just go straight back to sleep was quite possibly the biggest luxury I’ve experienced, so it was all good. As I mentioned, there’s no restaurant at Parliament House: there is, however, a sunny little bistro which serves breakfast for hotel guests, so we headed there as soon as we were up. Terry had the veggie version of the full Scottish breakfast, while I went for the continental option of the all-you can eat buffet – and so ended our 24 hours in Edinburgh.
We had a fantastic time, and it was really good to be able to enjoy the city again now that things are gradually starting to get back to normal. If you’d like to follow in our footsteps, so to speak, Parliament House has a ton of great offers on at the moment, which you can see here, and you can book a table at The Ivy on the Square here. Enjoy!