06 MAR 2019: Edinburgh is the eccentric jewel in Scotland’s crown. More so at the palace to all things rococo, the Prestonfield House Hotel – which, in its crimson pinstripe and velvet upholstered walls, is a shrine to excess that even Liberace would have found extravagant. Full of saucy opulence, ancestral portraits and soft amber light cast by giant chandeliers, to say the hotel is stuff of pure fantasy is a bit of an understatement.  

Here a black-kilted waiter sashays you to your dinner table at one of Rhubarb Restaurant’s two oval Regency dining rooms. To find something agreeable on a dinner menu in a nation whose people deliberately consume sausages made of congealed blood, takes a particular kind of vigilance.

Thankfully the selection offered is inventive and delivers one of the best meals you’ll eat all year - charred mackerel with pickled cucumber, almonds and white grapes as a starter; and for mains there’s grilled grey mullet and globe artichokes, smoked paprika, gnocchi, and black olive crumb, with basil oil; and for dessert, a custard tart, roast hazelnuts with blueberries and hazelnut ice cream.

Their sumptuous rooms are nothing to sniff at either. Prestonfield, the concierge will advise, has won near every award going, from Hotel of the Year to Tattlers Top 20. He’ll tell you of its plus 300 year old history as you sink deep into the Antler chair in the Whisky Room, and deeper still into your tumbler of rare malt, an interesting diversion that’ll kept you entertained for some time.

As the Prestonfield, set in 20 acres of gorgeous parkland, is just ten minutes from retail heaven, be sure to order a rickshaw to take you shopping.

A centaur-type transporter will effortlessly zip you through the traffic and deliver you to a one-stop shopping experience on Thistle Street which will quickly drain the colour from your black credit card. From Jimmy Choo’s found at Pam Jenkins glorious shoe boutique, to Kakao by K - the cutest little shop filled with unique Scandinavian designs that don’t cost the earth and where browsing comes with a glass of bubbly, and across the road is 21st Century Kilts offering an alternative to trousers in fabrics ranging from leather, lime and purple denim, camouflage and pinstripe.

Lunch at Edinburgh’s high-class chippy, L’Alba D’Oro on Henderson Row, is a must; and for a dreamy cream tea there’s Eteaket, a gorgeous little tea room on Frederick Street, who stock a variety of truly addictive teas like toffee infused Rooibos Crème Caramel, sweet Gunpowder Deluxe, spicy Chai and Chocolate Abyss latte.

Have your rickshaw deliver you to your new accommodations at 2 Cambridge Street - a high ceilinged Victorian townhouse at the foot of Edinburgh Castle. Tastefully dressed in period stripes and antique furniture. The house oozes style with its ruby walls, crystal chandeliers and framed photographs of various stiffly posing people. A chic French influence runs throughout, especially in their two bedrooms, which are let on a bed-and-(fabulous) breakfast basis.

For a brilliant way to wind down a weekend in Edinburgh, try The Stand Comedy Club, found in the basement of 5 York Street. They run live stand-up comedy shows every night and have historically hosted comedians like Billy Connolly and Frankie Boyle. Be on time as seating is limited. Haggis, neeps and tatties - Scotland’s signature dish - are on the dinner menu.

Getting there from London:

Avoid airport delays and take the easy option – a high-speed 4½ -hour train from London’s Kings Cross to Edinburgh, which enhances the genuine Scottish experience, giving you time to take in the unique views of the beautiful Scottish countryside.

 

 

 

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Cindy-Lou Dale

Cindy-Lou Dale is a professional editor, writer and photographer, specializing in high-end travel, luxury motoring and affluent lifestyles. She also writes compellingly of current affairs, African politics and introduces her readers to new-age philanthropy.

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