Stepping out into the world of travel once again feels different for many, while some have been itching to pack up the car and head off to pastures new for some time, others just can’t see it happening in a safe and positive way for themselves. So, how are hotels, apartments and residences ensuring their guests feel, not only safe, but also allowing them to enjoy themselves and open up to utter relaxation once more? I was headed to Edinburgh to find out.
Like many, my planned local and overseas trips had been cancelled or postponed this year due to the extensive travel restrictions in place and rather then bemoan my ‘misfortunes’ I, like many others, took what positives I could from spending more time at home, utilising FaceTime to connect with friends and family more and making the most of my garden to enjoy some barbecues and fresh air.
But when the time came I was glad to be out and about again, and to make up for my lack of culture-absorption, sightseeing and exploring, my first trip out of my cave was to be one of the most enchanting cities I have ever visited; Edinburgh.
Edinburgh is one of those places that provides you with an all-round city experience – the buzz of a capital with the people, restaurants, shops, cars tooting, unmissable historic attractions, jaw dropping views from the castle and unique architectural features at every turn, so as soon as I knew the opportunity was up for grabs, I couldn’t wait to pack my bags and head north to escape the frustrations that had beset us all this year.
Despite parts of the north and Aberdeen being sent to local lockdowns and a quick Internet search informing me that many hot spots wouldn’t be open to greet me, it wasn’t to deter from the excitement of a stay at one of Cheval Collection’s newest recruits to their burgeoning portfolio of totally luxurious apartment buildings.
Earlier in the year I had the pleasure of residing in one of Cheval’s eight London properties (Gloucester Park in the city’s museum district) so I was fully aware of the level of resplendence I was to experience and, for this reason, I was enthused. My previous experience with these short or long stay apartments left me totally safe in the knowledge that a break here would be ideal for anyone emerging out lockdown and slipping their toe into the travel pool once more.
A new offering for the luxury brand, Cheval The Edinburgh Grand joins Old Town Chambers and Abbey Strand Apartments at Holyrood in the Scottish capital within the burgeoning portfolio of splendid apartment offerings that Cheval boast.
Sitting in the former National bank of Scotland in St Andrew Square in the city’s new town area, you really couldn’t wish for a better location in which to stay, while the building itself boasted some impressive features, paying homage to its history. The converted bank embodies the nature of Edinburgh itself; an old beauty standing the test of time with that mix of modernity to keep it alive and thriving.
Upon arrival at the apartments I was wowed before I had even set foot in the lobby with the grand columns outside and huge heavy wood door making quite the welcome. Inside the reception area and it is hard to not be in awe as you look up at the circular atrium which leads right up to a domed glass roof.
Apartments consist of one, two or three bed offerings and vary in layout and size but share the same overall aesthetic and amenities as well as the desire to keep the tradition of the building intact. Decorated with a touch of the classic and contemporary, the 50 apartments are ready to house one to six people and I was fortunate to see a few different options during my stay.
The first thing guests will spot on entry to the apartment is the Covid pack which sits on the dining table. Providing you with a face mask, hand sanitiser, antibacterial wipes and gloves, the pack is one of the many ways in which you are promised a secure stay. This is in addition to sanitising points at the entrance, guidance and a halt on housekeeping during your stay, unless specifically requested.
Each luxury apartment holds a similar style of décor with velvet fringed sofas and low, super comfy leather armchairs in the lounge, marble topped dining tables with wood chairs and/or soft leather feel banquet style booths and Victorian style bathrooms. Modern kitchens are helpfully equipped with an integrated washer dryer, fridge, oven, hob, and all of the utensils, crockery and kitchenware you could ask for throughout your stay, while there is wood flooring throughout.
Bedrooms boast built in wardrobes with a safe and robes along with seriously comfy beds and fluffy pillows, while the décor throughout is smart, stylish and cosy – brought to life with the array of prints adorning the walls, the thick, heavy curtains and soft furnishings to tie in the palette within each apartment. Coffee machines, TVs, speakers and soft lighting are present throughout while some boast different features such as stand-alone bathtubs, twin sinks, a breakfast bar, and views of Arthur’s Seat.
I loved the smart décor and helpful touches throughout and noted how secure the apartments are with access via an entry code, which is to be used to gain entry to your corridor and room. Due to the apartments being in such a central spot there is no parking but there are car parks nearby including Waverley Station where you can get a discount, which ideal if you’re staying for a while and need your car with you.
In addition to the apartments, the building boasts the highly rated Hawksmoor Edinburgh on its ground floor and the basement bar and ground floor restaurant, Lady Libertine. The spacious Hawksmoor is a top-notch steak and seafood restaurant offering seafood delights from the Scottish coast as well as some of the finest steak from across the UK in addition to cocktails and light bites. Lady Libertine, while still temporarily closed, usually provides live music, cocktails, wines and food within its sumptuous surroundings.
Close to Waverley train station, the shops of Princes Street, an array of eateries, the scenic Princes Street Gardens, the Victorian Gothic Scott Monument and within easy walking distance of Edinburgh Castle, Cheval The Edinburgh Grand is in the perfect spot for exploring everything the city has to offer.
The central location was perfect for exploring the city either on foot or by an informative open top bus tour. Some may find the prospect of joining others on one of these bus tours a bit naff, but I have to champion this method of exploration. I love the fact that you can sit down, be driven around the hot spots of any city and find out a wealth of information as you go, and it just so happens that the tours start at St Andrew Square.
I thoroughly enjoyed my tour with a live guide and learned some greats historical facts about the city as well as some of its inhabitants, the grisly history and amazing architecture. There are a few good Harry Potter gems to be seen and you will be able to hop off at any of the sights (including The Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle, the Georgian New Town and more) to explore a little further, ideal if you want a quick lift to the castle!
To plan your trip to the city in great detail, head to Edinburgh.org to find out more including what attractions are currently open.
In a nutshell
Cheval has once again proved that it is the leader in providing stylish, discrete, upmarket, centrally located properties that offer the utmost in luxury convenience and style. Cheval The Edinburgh Grand sits in the most prime position for exploring all of what this enchanting city holds and, as for any Covid worry – you can be sure of a safe stay here.
Address: 42 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh EH2 2AD
Phone: 0131 230 0570
If you like the sound of a stay in Cheval’s latest luxury apartment offering or one of its other sophisticated self-catering properties in Edinburgh or London then head over to our competition page to be in with a chance of winning a two-night stay for up to four people. The competition closes at the end of September, so be quick!