When we got home from our first road trip with Max last month, the first thing I did was start thinking about the next one.
In fact, to be totally honest, I started thinking about it on the way home from Kent – that’s how keen I was. One of the things we learned from that first trip, you see, was that, while travelling with a baby is approximately 18,987 times more difficult/stressful than travelling on your own, it’s also a whole lot easier than being stuck at home with a baby. Or, it is for me, anyway.
Right now, Max is at a stage (Which I’m led to believe will last for, ooh, about 18 years, probably?) where he requires constant entertainment. In some ways, that can be relatively easy, because absolutely everything is fascinating to him, but then again, if it’s a rainy day, and you’re stuck at home, you can very quickly find yourself running out of options – hence all of those garden centres and coffee shops I keep on visiting.
When you’re travelling, by contrast, there’s constant entertainment on tap – for you, as well as for the baby – so when the people at the Sandman Signature, in Aberdeen, got in touch, and asked if we’d like to review the hotel, my only question was, “How soon can we come? Like, does tomorrow work for you guys?”
And so it was that, this time last week, I once again found myself busting out my beloved packing cubes, in preparation for two nights in the Granite City.
The Sandman Signature is located right in the centre of Aberdeen, and it’s brand, spanking new – as in, so new you can still smell the newness of it. It opened just a couple of weeks ago, and I think there’s something quite special about being amongst the first guests to stay in a hotel: as I said to Terry, I’d really like to go back in 20 years time, say (Well, I mean, I’d like to go back long before that, too, but you get what I mean…), just so we can see how it changes in that time, and bore Max rigid by going, “Ah, we were amongst the first to stay here, when you were just a baby! I changed your nappy in that room right there!” But, of course, Max will be TWENTY by then, and I’ll be very surprised if he wants to stay in a hotel with his mum and dad at that age, so I think I’ll just abandon that particular train of thought, if that’s OK with you. Look! Baby in a hotel bed!
He had his own bed too, obviously, in the shape of a travel cot provided by the hotel, which was a big help to us: although we were only away from home for two nights this time, we still managed to bring along a huge amount of STUFF, so at least that was one thing we didn’t have to think about…
The room itself was beautiful: we had a corner suite, with amazing, high ceilings, a rainfall shower in the bathroom, and views out over the city:
I loved the little Scottish touches, like the cushions on the sofa, and the tartan blanket on the bed, but I particularly loved the photography of the local area on the walls, and the nod to the building’s history, in the form of the photos of it at different stages in its life. The hotel used to be part of the city’s Robert Gordon University, and it’s nice to see that reflected in the room decor. It was the communal areas that really blew me away, though: I mean, SERIOUSLY, people:
The hotel is filled with quirky little details, from the umbrellas on the ceiling of the lobby, to the “cow” in the lift, and the room numbers which light up to let the hotel staff know if the room needs cleaning or not. (Red = ‘Do Not Disturb’, green = ‘CLEAN ME’, white = “It’s all good, nothing to see here.”) As I said over on the ‘gram, this is basically a hotel built for Instagram: I mean, there was even a handy white “Instagram wall” for us to pose against:
(Yes, Max and I were dressed the same. Terry apparently missed the memo about the stripe top and white sneakers, though. I mean, HONESTLY.)
It might be a great hotel for Instagrammers, though, but the Sandman Signature also proved to be a pretty sweet spot for babies, and the hotel lobby was basically one of the best places Max has ever been IN HIS LIFE. He just could not get over all of the colours, and would stare open mouthed at the umbrellas on the ceiling every time we had to walk under them: so yeah – any hotel with an Instagram wall is guaranteed my undying loyalty anyway, but if that hotel can ALSO keep my 8 month old entertained for a few minutes, then I’m probably going to just want to move in, really. I wonder who I need to speak to about that?
We ate in the city on our first day, but, on our second night, we made it back in time to have dinner in the hotel’s stunning restaurant:
(We had to ask, but apparently a ‘bosie’ is a cuddle: aawww!)
I totally neglected to photograph the buffet-style breakfast, which we had on both mornings of our stay, but, luckily for you guys, I did remember to take photos at dinner, which means you get some of my patented, blurry food photography to enjoy. What can I say, except, ‘You’re welcome?’
I think this was probably my favourite hotel menu to date: there were so many options that sounded amazing, but I finally settled on the chicken club sandwich, while Terry had a smoked rib-eye that he hasn’t stopped raving about since. Special mention here to the amazing sliders and super-cheesy nachos we had to start – honestly, if that had been the entire meal, I’d have gone home happy, that’s how good they were. Oh, and a special mention, too, to the staff who were working during our stay: we were really impressed with all of the hotel staff, who couldn’t do enough for us, but the restaurant staff were particularly good, and kept stopping by our table to interact with Max, who thoroughly enjoyed the attention. He also made a new friend, when a little girl at the table opposite us took a serious shine to him: she was Chinese, and didn’t speak any English, but she finally plucked up the courage to come over and stroke Max’s hair, before very seriously presenting him with a little Minnie Mouse handbag she was carrying, which she very carefully laid on the floor in front of him. It was just the cutest thing ever, seriously.
So, I had intended to include some photos/info about the local area, and all of the things we got up to in Aberdeenshire here, but, well, me being me, I’ve spent so much time rambling on about the hotel that I’ve run out of time, so that’ll have to be another post, for another day. In the meantime, huge thanks to the Sandman Signature for hosting us in exchange for this post: and we’ll hope to see you again very soon!