The Sanctuary at the Suites – Princes Street Suites, 16 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh EH1 3EG
http://www.sanctoriumbeauty.co.uk. t. 0131 557 1766.
http://www.princesstreetsuites.co.uk t. 0131 558 1600
Located at the East End of Princes Street, (conveniently just a few minutes walk from Waverley Railway station and also the new Tram route), this is certainly a perfect place to stay if planning a cultural or business trip, romantic getaway or weekend with the girls. The range of one to three bedroom apartments offer a home from home environment.
The Roof Terrace is a real asset – a private Penthouse Garden with tables and chairs where guests may sit with a bottle of wine and snacks at from lunchtime to cocktail hour and admire the city views.
Due to the quality, contemporary furnishings, décor and guest facilities, it won Serviced Apartments, Style Award, at the Scottish Hotel Awards 2014. But you don’t have to spend the night or two here to enjoy a range of beautifying treatments at the Sanctuary Spa – it’s open to all.
As I live in Edinburgh, I spent an afternoon here recently to experience a couple of signature rejuvenating treats for the body and face.
The Spa is small and intimate offering a bespoke personal service. The moment you step through the door, the hustle and bustle of the city centre disappears as you enter a tranquil haven with an Art Deco touch of glamour. Sitting in the smart reception to fill in the questionnaire, I sipped a glass of champagne and began to relax immediately.
Then I was taken to one of the two warm, comfortable Spa Salons for my treatments. The heated bed was luxurious and I settled down ….
The Spa menu covers all the usual suspects for body, face, eye and hand and feet beauty care, from Swedish and hot stone massage to Shellac nails, eyebrow grooming to Facials.
What is special here is the fine selection of unique cosmetic brand products from Tibby Oliver and Eve Taylor to offer a different experience from other Spas. The Tibby Olivier Empire founded by Julieann Parry, has grown from a small British company to open in Canada, America, Japan, Spain, Korea, Russia and Australia. The pure organic cosmetics are handmade in the UK, free from synthetic fragrances, artificial colours and not tested on Animals.
“I would not ask anyone to use a cosmetic product that I would not put on my own skin. I only use the best cosmetic ingredients that I can trace back to its origins, Eco friendly and preferably Fairtrade.” Julieann Parry
The Tibby Oliver range of treatments includes Faith Lift, the Non- Surgical Face Lifting Skincare System, and the Shrinking Violet Body Wrap. So, as I need to be beach bikini slim for the summer, I though I should try this “revolutionary” inch loss programme.
Wearing no more than a pair of disposable pants, my therapist Ashleigh measured my thighs, hips, waist and bust for the Before and After comparison. Then she rubbed a blend of cellulite-active oils over my entire body, before wrapping me in heat inducing “cellophane” style sheeting.
I then just had to lie on the bed to relax under a cosy duvet, while the oils penetrated the skin with fat-busting energy. The soft ethnic mix of music soundtrack was ideal. (Some Spas get it so wrong with orchestral muzak). After 20 minutes or so, still wrapped snugly, Ashleigh began to prepare for my second treatment – an Eve Taylor Ultimate Facial.
Eve Taylor (London) Ltd was founded in London in 1963, and today the world renowned company exports over 60% of its products worldwide. Eve Taylor started her career in the beauty industry as a beauty therapist and quickly became fascinated by Aromatherapy. After extensive research and study, she decided to develop her own range of pre-blended aromatherapy oils along with specific treatment methods and techniques.
My facial was certainly very distinctive in its “journey” from deep cleansing exfoliation to a gentle facial massage – the aromatherapy oils were lavender, ylang ylang and geranium. Two masks were applied to penetrate the skin layers for sublime softness and smooth appearance.
And finally, time to remove the Wrap and to find out if the Shrinking Violet magic had worked. Yes, in total I had lost 8 inches – simply by being rubbed with these active oils, and the heat within the skin tight wrap does the work over two hours.
As they say, “All I Need to get into My Little Black Dress Is Shrinking Violet Body Wrap”.
You are advised not to drink alcohol or caffeine over the next day as the oils continue to work under the skin. It’s a very popular treatment, news of which is spreading widely.
Pampering Parties for a small group of Ladies is also offered by the Sanctuary – a package of selected treatments – facials, massage, manicures, and glamorous makeovers can be experienced in one of the apartment Suites.
This brilliant concept is absolutely geared up for visitors to Edinburgh – an ideal weekend destination for Hen parties, Birthday celebrations, or Fashionable Girls who shop till they drop. And of course Pampering parties are a fun Day Out for ladies who live nearby.
Your tailor-made package can also include champagne, chocolates, canapés and light lunch snacks for a super indulgent “Me Time” with friends and family. The Pampering Parties were awarded with an Innovation Award at the Scottish Hotel Awards 2014.
As I have not personally experienced this day of beauty and bubbly, I shall leave it to these guests who have recently visited the Sanctuary at the Suites – and by all accounts, had a seriously wonderful time. !
Pamper Party perfection
“I was arranging a hen party to Edinburgh for 10 girls and decided that a spa day would be a perfect way to end our trip. At Princes Street Suites, we started with drinks on the roof terrace which has amazing views of Edinburgh. We then moved into the suite and given robes and slippers. I had a back, neck and shoulder massage followed by an ultimate facial. All the girls agreed we had never felt so relaxed. The champagne did not stop flowing. All of the beauty therapists were lovely and friendly. They really did a fantastic job. The experience really was one of the highlights of our trip. I am already thinking about taking my mum to Edinburgh and we will without a doubt be visiting the Sanctuary at the Suites again.”
“I booked a full body massage and shellac pedicure for myself and my mum (a birthday pressie for her) the massage was amazing and my toes look fab. Afterwards we sat out on the Roof Terrace and it was great. We are looking to go back and I would definitely recommend this place”
“What a lovely relaxing morning a friend and I had at the Sanctuary! The staff were all lovely, we got fizz and chocolates on arrival and the massage itself was amazing. I have had a few massages over the years and this one has to be one of the best I have ever had. I look forward to going back!”
The Pommery Champagne Cafe-Bar is back with sparkling, sophisticated style at the Edinburgh Festival
As we approach Midsummer’s Day, the Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe will be blossoming into colourful cultural action in just a few weeks. By the end of July, the annual troupes of buskers, bands and trick cyclists will be entertaining the crowds up and down the High Street; Strolling players, actors and singers will be handing out flyers to entice us all to see their shows.
The world may come to town in August but there is a rather special hidden gem of a place to escape the madding crowd for an hour or two. In the heart of the Old Town beside St. Giles Cathedral is the Signet Library which, during the Edinburgh Festival, turns into the Pop Up Pommery Champagne Café Bar.
This is the fourth year for the very successful and innovative hospitality venture by Heritage Portfolio, creating a unique setting for a a glass of champagne, cocktails, gourmet lunch, afternoon tea or dinner.
And this year it’s back with a louder, fizzier Festive POP – enticing, appetising Champagne and Whisky Tasting events as well as great value Edinburgh Military Tattoo Dinner nights.
The Signet Library is a grand Georgian building dating to 1822; during a visit to Edinburgh, King George IV described the ornate design as “the finest drawing room in Europe”.
Such glamorous, gracious surroundings just so perfect for a classic and classy Pommery Champagne bar. And what a fine list of Champagne is offered!.
Sample for instance, two delicious Festival time tipples – Pommery Summertime Blanc to Blanc – a golden tipple and delicate taste, or Pommery Brut Rose, with a hint of strawberries. Share a bottle of Pommery Brut Royal or if celebrating in style, try Grand Cru Vintage for extra special sparkle. For a fun treat, enjoy the single mini bottles of Pommery POP to be sipped slowly with a straw.
As well as Champagne, a selection of cool Cocktails – nothing more Summery than an ice cold Pimms, or perhaps sip a decadent Martini; French wines, quality sprits and beers too for all tastes.
With drinks sorted, now let’s study the menu. An inspired idea are the Sharing Platters: Seafood – Scottish smoked salmon, mackerel, trout; A choice of Italian feasts – Mediterreanean roasted vegetables, mozzarella, olives, etc, or Charcuterie, Parma Ham, chorizo, salami served with crusty bread.
And who could resist fresh Lobster with wedges and aioli.
For something lighter or a quick lunch, there’s soup and sandwiches, as well as Bar snacks, bread and olives; coffee and home-baking.
Afternoon Tea is ever popular today especially with the ladies, so experience a special Aristocratic indulgence with a Pommery Afternoon tea (sandwiches, scones, cakes), with a glass of Brut Royal. And we should raise a glass of Pommery to Anna, Duchess of Bedford who invented this traditional savoury and sweet treat to satisfy the appetite, as the Duchess described it, “the sinking feeling” between 3 – 5pm, with many hours to go before Dinner.
As you dash around between Fringe Venues by day and then on to a Festival play or concert in the evening, call in to the Signet Library for a pre or post theatre Sharing Plate or Lobster supper with a bottle of bubbly…
Tried and tested over the past few years, and now very popular with city residents and visitors, this is a sophisticated sanctuary amidst the Festival madness to enjoy fine food and drink. The Cuvee Louise Lounge is an intimate and romantic VIP area which can be booked for special occasions and privatge tastings.
And there’s more to the Pommery Cafe-Bar experience this year as mentioned. As part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, a fascinating series of Food and Drink Events presented by professional experts will take place in the Upper Signet Library.
Sara Hicks, the UK Ambassador for Pommery Champagne will be giving several tutored tastings, complemented by delicious food. 13, 14, 15 August, @ 5.30 and 7pm.
If the world of Whisky is all rather confusing, the best person to find out all about it is Annabel Meikle. She worked for twelve years in the whisky industry, was global ambassador for the Glenmorangie Company, and has now established a training consultancy, The Whisky Belle with the tag line, “Distilled with Passion.”
Having taken part in a sneak preview of The Whisky Belle’s “Chocolate, Whiskies and Cocktails” event, I can highly recommend this vivaciously entertaining and informative presentation by Annabel Meikle.
Learn about nosing the rich aromas of vanilla and almond and sample a refreshing whisky cocktail or two complemented by hand-crafted chocolates from the Highland Chocolatier.
3, 10, 17, 24 August @ 2pm.
“Single Malt Sundays” is The Whisky Belle’s second presentation to learn more about premium single malts from around Scotland, served with a platter of delicious Tapas to show how whisky can be paired well with fine Scottish food.
3, 10, 17, 24 August @ 5pm.
Tickets for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo can be as rare as gold dust, especially for the Saturday late night performance with fireworks over the Castle. Heritage Portfolio has therefore planned an exclusive VIP Dinner and Tattoo package: a 3 course meal with a Pommery cocktail and ticket to the Tattoo. Guests will be escorted after dinner to the Esplanade, just a few minutes walk up the Lawnmarket. The package is available on selected dates in August, Thursday – Saturday.
These Signet Library Tastings and Tattoo Dinner package are listed in the Festival Fringe brochure. (See Events). www.edfringe.com
The Pommery Pop Up Café Bar will once again welcome thirsty and hungry Festival goers from 1 – 25 August, 2014, 12 noon till late. Reservations not always necessary but certainly recommended.
“ A Must for anyone in Edinburgh during the Festival. A sophisticated haven just next to the buzz of the Royal Mile. Staff were welcoming, knowledgable and friendly … a fantastic selection of snacks, meals, cocktails and, of course, champagne. The decor is stunning. I couldn’t recommend the Pommery Champagne Cafe Bar enough. Miss it, miss out.” Laura M. 21 August, 2013.
“The Pommery Champagne Café Bar is my absolute favourite place to be during the Edinburgh Festival. ….Festival Heaven. ” Holly, 20 August, 2013.
For more information on the Pommery Champagne Café Bar and Festival Fringe events:
The Whisky Belle – Tastings, Training, Consultancy: http://www.thewhiskybelle.com
Juniper is rather a hidden gem of a Drinking Den for those in the know – just off the beaten track from the popular Cocktail Bars along George Street. Since opening in the summer 2013, it has gradually become the coolest place in town to meet friends for a drink; linger longer over a G&T, glass of bubbly or refreshing cocktail – and with iconic city views.
27 April 2014: Before Juniper pops a cork to celebrate its first birthday, it was named ‘Rising Star Bar of the Year’ and also ‘Bar of the Year – Edinburgh and the Lothians’ at the Scottish Hotel Awards. Congratulations.!
It could not be more central, located at the East End of Princes Street within the Royal British Hotel which first opened in 1899. Juniper is the former grand Drawing Room of the hotel, now revamped with glamorous style: in the main bar salon the colour scheme is bold with chairs and sofas in shades of aubergine and lime.
Next door is the more traditionally designed Library – wood panelling, velvet-draped wing armchairs, fireplace.
So why did Juiniper win the award for Edinburgh Bar of the Year?
Well, it stands out for its fabulous, funky design and deliciously decadent Cocktails. Imagination is at the heart of the décor + the brilliantly-conceived alcoholic concoctions + friendly, knowledgeable service = a fabulous, fun night out in a casually sophisticated setting.
As the bar tenders claim –
“We are passionate about cocktails .. So go on, be adventurous and try one of our amazing creations – you’ll not be disappointed!”
The new Summer drinks menu – Bar Book Vol. III – has just been launched to tempt and tease the nose and palate with new, weirdly inventive Cocktails and Classics with a twist.
Under Recommended Cocktails I selected a Wet Gin Martini – served ice cold, this is a blend of Blackwood’s Gin with Lillet Blanc and a drizzle of lemon oil. Lillet blanc – (French aperitif of white wine with herbs and orange peel) – is the key ingredient in James Bond’s Vesper Martini created by Ian Fleming in Casino Royale. It hits the spot in an instant. Suave, cool and classy, like Bond himself.
Meanwhile, my drinking buddy Ken sampled a Vieux Carre – an American whiskey cocktail invented by Walter Berger at the Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans around 1928, naming it after the Old Square in the French Quarter of town. This is a strong yet subtle mix of spirits – Bulleit Rye whiskey, cognac, vermouth, Benedictine liqueur and aromatic bitters. The result is a sweet-sour, smooth drink to savour slowly to appreciate the complex depth of flavours.
(For theatre lovers, Vieux Carre is also the title of a play by Tennessee Williams who lived there and a fine production was performed at the Edinburgh Festival a couple of years ago.)
Juniper’s Cocktails are inspired by the history, culture and architecture of Edinburgh. From the list entitled The New Town, I ordered the Margarita, Ice on the Side. I do love a refreshingly sharp Margarita, but this is a clever contemporary version. All the ingredients, and more, are here: Tequila, Cointreau, Agave Sec, Lime, artistically served in a small carafe. Then you choose your own fruit flavoured ice. For me, Blood orange & rosemary – which has had to be prepared in advance (think of the work by the bar tenders!).
I add a couple of cubes of ice into my glass and then pour in the Margarita. The rim of the glass was not actually salted (as stated on the menu), but this is a truly innovative cocktail with the taste of a Mexican summer. 9/10.
In contrast, Ken chose an Old Town tipple, Trambell Sour – a reinvented Whiskey Sour featuring Ilegal Reposado Mezcal, (a speciality Mexican Agave), American rye, lemon and egg white to create a seriously rich, smokey cocktail to entice all the senses.
Yes, the mixologists here are certainly passionate about devising some deliciously complex cocktails with a real kick. You will not be disappointed, whatever your preferred style of spirits, from Bourbon to Rum, Gin to Tequila.
The summer drinks menu also features Midsummer Martini ( Hendricks and Elderflower liqueur et al), and why not share an Orient Express – a luxury, romantic “journey” for 2, (Saffron gin, Lychee, White tea syrup, Moet & Chandon). Ken and I shall be back to sample this one! (We are actually going on the Orient-Express from London to Venice next week!).
And you don’t just have to sip a drink or two at Juniper – Bar nibbles and Street Food snacks available too. And do call in for an aperitif before lunch or dinner at the adjoining Twenty Princes Street Grill, serving quality modern Scottish cuisine, which was ‘Specially Commended for Food & Drink’ at the Scottish Hotel Awards.
Juniper, 20 Princes Street, Edinburgh EH2 2AN. t. 0131 556 4901
For readers who enjoy travelling by ship, a relaxing summer cruise or Arctic Expedition, this well crafted novel offers a behind-the-scenes insight of life at sea from the perspective of those who work on board. If you are fascinated by the Titanic, then this is a modern day dramatic seafaring tale.
The author is Captain Michael Lloyd who experienced a 35 year career as a Shipmaster. He worked as Chief Officer and in Command of ships in the Baltic, the Arctic, the Antarctic, Northern Alaska, Northern Canada and Russian waters on a variety of Ice Class vessels. His wide experience from Passenger to Container Ships, led to writing books and articles on seamanship and navigation manuals.
Observing the massive development of mega-cruise ships offering family, Disney-style fun on the sea cruises, Captain Lloyd has recently been concerned about the change in management and seamanship. And then in January 2012, almost a century since the Titanic hit an iceberg in the Atlantic, the Costa Concordia struck the rocks off the Italian island of Giglio. On board were 4,252 people of whom 32 lost their lives.
Cruise Ship is a work of fiction in terms of the characters and the three ships portrayed. But the story is based on reality – the professional roles of the Captain, Officers, Hotel staff and Crew who are responsible for the safety of the passengers.
The background to the story – “The cruise ship was a dream. A seagoing pleasure city. The passengers came for that dream. Voyage after voyage she proved that dreams come true and slowly the sea became forgotten. But the sea did not forget the ship.”
Jim Clariby is a former Captain who has been made redundant but his passion for life at sea is undiminished and is desperate to step back on board, even if he has to accept a lower rank. Jim is a well drawn, fully rounded character. He appears honest and straightforward as he reveals his inner thoughts and emotions; a reliable narrator.
Finally he is offered the position of Safety Officer on the Sea Breeze and immediately takes on the challenge to ensure maritime rules and regulations are in force. Meeting Captain Benson and other officers, he is informed of the boat drill.
“ We are due to sail at 1900. The first sitting for dinner starts at 1830. So when do we have the drill? Tony wants it at 1800 before we sail but everyone else wants it tomorrow morning. What do you think”?
“1800 before we sail.” replied Jim promptly.
It’s this sense of integrity and decisiveness which we observe in Clariby’s professional manner as we sail smoothly along. Promoted to Staff Captain on the Majestic Sea, he notices with alarm the modern day roles of Captain and Officers where socialising at cocktail parties take precedence on this floating hotel.
“Jim took a deep breath: I believe we would have a problem with panic if we ever had to abandon ship. All the passenger direction is controlled by the hotel staff who only have very basic training….” ………
“ Those of you responsible for getting the passengers into the boats must ensure they are full. We do not have enough room for everyone in the boats.” There was a shocked silence.
“ Go and count the boats – there are 12 on each side, multiply 24 by 150 and the answer is 3,600. How many people on the ship? … 4.200.”
The narrative speeds along at a fast rate of knots, moving between dramatic events, the personal stories of passengers, staff and crew on board the Majestic Sea. We also witness the contrasting life on board the Norwegian ice-breaking Oil Tanker, the Vacuum Pioneer.
Captain Karl Johnsen and his team “have a familiarity with the ocean, which ensures a deep understanding of what the sea is and ensures their respect for what the sea can do.”
The description of the voyages, berthing in port, the work of the Pilot, drinks parties, formal dinner, romantic encounters and daily routine is all colourfully captured.
And at the centre of the action Jim Clariby watches and wonders, gradually more concerned about the illegal behaviour, corruption and conflicts above and below deck.
As the ship heads towards Arctic waters,
“At that moment, a rift appeared in the cloud cover allowing moonlight to shaft down to the sea, illuminating an extensive sheet of ice on the water. The Third Officer shouted “Ice!” and pointed ahead…..”
Michael Lloyd has written this novel as a cautionary tale to highlight the potential problems and peril if safety standards are compromised. The Titanic was said to be unsinkable and the Captain dismissed ice warnings; the Costa Concordia set sail before the lifeboat drill and sailed off navigation course. Lessons have been learnt from these disasters at sea, until the next one ..
Cruise Ship is a page-turner of a thriller with a rollercoaster filmic journey of a plot, dramatising what could happen during a dream vacation on one of the supersize “seagoing pleasure cities” sailing around the world today. Film Rights anyone?
“Now my last words on this. You are on a ship, not a hotel, regardless of what some of you might wish.” Jim Clariby.
Cruise Ship by Michael Lloyd.
Monument, a division of the Witherby Publishing Group. www.witherbys.com.
As featured in a recent news report in The European, Edinburgh is such a thriving and popular city for business and tourism, it’s prime for hotel development. And no wonder!
Scotland’s capital beat London, Paris, Venice and Barcelona to attain the title “Europe’s Leading Destination” at the World Travel Awards. The Guardian/Observer poll named Edinburgh as the “UK’s Favourite City” for the 14th year. Edinburgh Airport was named “Best in Europe” for the third time, as passenger numbers reaching a record high, and more direct flights to and from the USA, Middle East and across Europe have been launched to offer visitors easy global travel connections.
So, it’s clear that Edinburgh needs good quality, well priced city hotels to attract all these global visitors. After the launch of the first Motel-One Edinburgh-Royal in 2013, the doors have just opened to welcome the first guests at Motel One Edinburgh-Princes.
Located at the East End of Princes Street, the purpose built 140 bedroom hotel on four floors offers views of Calton Hill, Princes Street Gardens and up to the Castle. Quick and easy access from Waverley station and the Airport bus is just a five minute walk and the brand new Tram link is up and running on a route from the city centre to the Airport.
The term “No Frills” was coined to describe the low cost airlines such as Ryanair and Easy Jet, giving passengers the basic flight with no extra facilities or hospitality. The ingenious concept behind Motel-One which was launched in 2000 in Munich, is based around “Viel Design fur wedig Geld” – “Great design for little money.”
The distinctive, cool, clean colour palette of turquoise and cappuccino- brown creates a fresh and fashionable décor. Architectural design is guest friendly: the Reception lobby leads seamlessly into the spacious L shaped One Lounge Bar and Breakfast café, where huge picture windows show off panoramic city views.
While there’s a Motel –One Brand Look, the bespoke One Lounge-Bar is inspired by the heritage and culture of each city destination. Princes Street is named after the two sons of King George III., Prince George and the Duke of York. To reflect this, here at Edinburgh-Princes a stunning mural illustrates the grand and opulently dressed Royal family.
This multi purpose One Lounge has ample tables and banquette seating to cater for guests from morning coffee to late night drink. Stylish Arne Jacobsen Egg chairs dressed in a unique Motel-One blue tartan add an ironic Scottish touch. As a modern take on a Highland country house, you can sit beside the “blazing log fire.” Well, it looks cosy, but may not keep you warm.!
Bedrooms are economically furnished in the blue-brown-cream colours with everything you need for a good night’s sleep: comfortable kingsize bed, quality cotton, soft pillows & duvet, moveable desk-dressing table, armchair, television; Shower room. In a nutshell, expect a smart, compact design which is ultimately practical for the modern traveller.
The clever concept behind the Motel-One collection of hotels is based on three simple facts: central location, affordable prices and high quality in service and design. With a diverse choice of local restaurants with easy access to public transport, no requirement for in-house Dining or hotel car park.
Breakfast is served as an optional extra (£7.50) – a healthy Continental buffet of fresh fruit, croissants, boiled eggs, tea and coffee. The Bar also offers a mini menu of tasty ham and cheese toasties, the ideal homely One Snack, day or night.
Motel-One currently operates 50 hotels in Germany, Austria and Scotland and this fast growing, ambitious company has a bold vision aiming for 72 hotels by 2016. Around the UK, London Tower Hill opens this year, followed by Manchester and Glasgow in 2015. The Glasgow hotel beside Central Station will be the largest hotel in Scotland.
I have had a sneak preview of the Edinburgh-Princes and look forward to visiting soon for an overnight stay. I just love the fun and funky Bar with unique city views. In the meantime, this Motel-One virgin checked in at this brand new hotel and was clearly won over.!
“This was the first time I had ever stayed at a Motel One and based on my experience will not be the last. From the moment I arrived I felt welcome. The member of staff on the reception was happy, bright and extremely efficient. My room was cleverly fitted out to maximise the space, fresh crisp linen on a super kingsize bed and a great shower. 10/10 for the hotel, quality, staff and price.”
Motel-One Edinburgh-Princes, 10 – 15 Princes Street, Edinburgh EH2 2AN
www.motel-one.com t. 0131 550 9220. Room rate per night from £89.
Review of Edinburgh-Royal