The sheer scale of the Waldorf Astoria hotel makes for a giddy entrance. I cannot quite believe I am at one end of Princes Street and being afforded such luxury for a whole day and night. I am determined to make the most of my new home for the 24 hours I have. I can’t imagine having a more desirable address, no matter how temporary.
Magnificent. The Waldorf Astoria Caledonian – or the ‘Caley’ as it is affectionately known to locals – is one of Edinburgh’s most historic hotels, opening its arms for over 100 years. With a recent £24million injection however, it has ensured its place as one of the best today. The grandeur is intoxicating – the sweeping marble staircase, atrium and chandeliers the epitome of old school opulence.
Our room is nestled under Edinburgh Castle and it takes me a while to stop looking out of the window with an open mouth. I didn’t know it was even possible to have such a view. The deluxe room also has one of my very things – a Nespresso coffee machine. As for the guest robes, they are velvety and putting one on feels like snuggling into a warm embrace.
It confounds me that you can step off the thrust of Princes Street and into this little corner of heaven. This is Scotland’s only Guerlain spa and who doesn’t like to feel exclusive? The delicious smell of Guerlain products is the first thing that hits me, before the opulence of the surroundings, all shiny and gold. It looks and smells expensive in that way that makes you want to stay for a very long time. There is a pool and pristine changing area with showers and lockers, a gym and chill-out room for the sipping of tea and relaxing of limbs post-treatment.
I had a 90-minute treatment which combined body massage with a facial. It started with a foot wash and massage, which was extremely relaxing. I lay on my back for the remainder of our time as I am heavily pregnant and lying on my front is a thing of distant memory. My therapist wrote down each of the Guerlain products she applied to my face, most useful if you’re looking to purchase something you loved. I felt pampered with products – from an eye bath which was squidgily luxurious, to eye cream, exfoliation and creams. The application was expert in touch and what truly was miraculous was the real difference I saw to my face when my therapist handed me a mirror afterwards – shiny, polished and radiant skin. Quite incredible. My therapist confided she is genuinely proud of the Guerlain range and is yet to meet a client who hasn’t been impressed with the results. We finished off with some gentle reflexology and a lower leg massage and I felt the tension in my muscles slowly ebb away.
We ate in Galvin’s Brasserie and every mouthful served was sensual. Mum started with half a dozen oysters, which she said were some of the best she’s had (and she’s had a few). She adored her half lobster grilled and served in a buttery sauce and with rye bread which followed. I had crab lasagne to start and didn’t want it to finish, then grilled langoustines, rich with butter and garlic. The apricot soufflé rose to the occasion perfectly and the knowledge imparted by our waiter over each type of cheese on his board was most impressive. The style of the brasserie was informal and relaxed but cosmopolitan, old school with dark wood finishes and energised.
Unbeatable. Look up and you see Edinburgh Castle. Look straight ahead for the bustle of the capital with the shops and bars of Princes Street. You are in the very heart of Edinburgh – with the sounds of bagpipes and smell of hops. You cannot fail but feel energised and alive.
First class. From the rich French food to the pampering exclusivity of the spa treatments and opulence of the hotel with unbeatable location, like a good book The Caley stays with you long after the final page is turned.
– Leave yourself enough time to enjoy the wind-down room with loungers, magazines and choice of refreshments after a treatment.
– Also, make time to pop your head out of the hotel to shop or enjoy pre or post-dinner cocktails – they are on your doorstep. I like the bars that George Street has to offer – and it is but a stone’s throw from the hotel.
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