It's very easy to entice the humans and I to go back to Scotland: just say the word. We can never get enough of the gorgeous and very dog-friendly country...
So when - early December 2017 - the Royal Yacht Britannia requested my presence in Edinburgh, to take part in a very special photoshoot, Maman and I were invited to stay at an aptly regal, newly dog-friendly hotel.
Impawssible to miss award-winnng 5* The Balmoral and its majestic clock tower, a landmark in the heart of Edinburgh. Adjacent Waverley station (where we arrived from London on board the Caledonian Sleeper train), on the main shopping street, the prestigious property is known for its timeless elegance and glamour. It began life as a grand railway hotel a century ago, and continues to respect the traditions set by its founders, right down to the kilted doormen.
There are 168 rooms and 20 suites on site, most with castle or city views, a Michelin-star restaurant, brasserie, whisky bar, tea room, large pool and spa. Known for being home to lavish weddings and conferences, it dressed for Christmas with art installations and luxurious decorations.
The Balmoral has introduced a pet policy in Summer 2017, with a selection of rooms now welcoming dogs. Stanley the golden retriever can also be seen some days in reception, assisting his manager of an owner and guests, or writing for the Daily Bugle, the property's own newspaper.
The door to the Deluxe Room we were allocated, accessible via the lifts or grand staircase, opens on a hall with ample storage on one side, and a lavish marble bathroom on the other. Featuring a large bath, shower, dressing table, fluffy bath robes, toiletries and slippers, it is decorated with black and white photographs of a very famous local that used to go by the name of 007.
Further down the corridor we enter in the main area, featuring a king size bed, table, desk area, seating area and stunning views over the city and castle (complete with sunsets) from the large windows. Thanks to the pair of binoculars I even managed to take a peek at the Christmas market and spot the best food stalls.
In a corner, as part of the canine welcome package, I found a stylish dog bed, bowl and some locally-made treats (from Harry's Bakery) with very Scottish recipes like Haggis or Salmon and cream. In addition to this, I was treated like a VIP (Very Important Pup) with a hamper containing a bottle of Pawsecco as well as a specially made bandana in the hotel's very own tartan (the same tartan worn by the doormen and staff).
Dogs cannot go into the brasserie, restaurant or tea room. However and this was a first for the experienced traveler I am, a list of local eateries, bars and even shops within a five minute walk of the hotel comes with the canine package, in the room - a brilliant idea we'd never seen before!
We were treated to room service for breakfast on both mornings, and the choice was so vast it took ages to decide - from continental classics to cooked Scottish breakfast or à la carte dishes such as haggis, salmon platter or eggs royale, to freshly pressed juices, coffee and tea, with local ingredients taking the spotlight. We MAY have ordered a tad too much on the first morning, so I had to sacrifice myself and can confirm that the smoked salmon and haggis are delicious!
I hear from Maman that the Palm Court tea room is splendid and serves the best scones (cream or jam on top, we are still not decided) and we both had coffee overlooking the room on another occasion, seating by the harpist and relaxing to the sound of music.
From the moment we arrived until we checked out, everyone in the team made us feel welcome, with plenty of cuddles and information given - nothing was too much asking. I particularly liked the tartan worn by all, matching my very own The Balmoral bandana! I did even get to try myself as a corgcierge, loved staying so much I was hoping they'd hire me!
There is one very special fluffy member of staff at the Balmoral already though, and that is Stanley the golden retriever. The handsome receptionist had taken some time off on the weekend we visited, so we will have to come back to meet him and thank him for such a warm welcome.
Le Woof - #Corguide Approved
- a clear pet policy, send prior to arrival, so we knew what was ok or not, and what to expect. It includes a fee but that comes with a comfortable dog bed, bowl and treats. One dog per room only and dogs over 20lbs can stay but with prior consent from management.
- a list of local eateries, bars and even shops provided to canine visitors as an alternative to the hotel's food and bar outlets which can only accommodate assistance dogs. Breakfast can be served in the rooms.
- a list of local pet sitters is available from reception for guests wishing to go out without their dogs as those cannot be left alone in the rooms.
- everything down to the treats is local.
- the four-legged receptionist, only the second one we've come across so far (with the first one being in Alsace), what a brilliant idea!
I give The Balmoral 5 Marchelin stars, for such a wonderful and memorable stay! Merci beaucoup and do let me know when the corgcierge position becomes available! :)
Watch a short film of my Instagram Stories during the stay:
BOOK Your Own Luxurious Stay at The Balmoral, HERE and/or let me know what your favourite thing about Scotland is in the comments!