What’s there to do in Edinburgh when you’re stuck in the city, no public transport, shops open, many open restaurants, and you are banned from the office? Walk around the city, take photos of the snow and warm up with drink breaks at posh establishments, because hotels never close.
First up, The Balmoral hotel. Rates here are insane and my CEO claimed that one day he’d have to give it a try, on his own dime of course. He also recommend this as the best bar in the city. Of course, I had to try it.
The hotel is very grand from the outside, so I was surprised by how small and quaint the lobby was. Oh well, we were after the bar. Wait, it’s closed for renovations through summer. Ok, fine, Palm Court it is. What sounds more grand, Plaza Hotel than Palm Court? Nope, can’t enter there either for some reason. I don’t know why, I was well-dressed, black pants and leather boots and a tailored coat. Let me in! Instead, I was escorted to what seemed to be a sad airport lounge. Nothing screamed ‘nicest hotel in the city’ about the ambience, except for the price tag.
I ordered a Cherry Champagne which was gin, cherry bitters, sugar, and rose Ruinart. The drink was tasty, maybe a little warm, but something different. It was accompanied by some smoky almonds and the bottom of the bag of beetroot chips. They were so crumbled they were inedible. This is something I’d never complain about on a normal day, but when your prices are more than The Savoy hotel’s, deliver. So, not anxious to return to the hotel, at least not until the bar opens up.
Next up, was The Dome. Another truly, grand building from the outside, this used to be some physician’s teaching spot and is now a fancy looking restaurant. The dome was gorgeous and the flowers were pretty, but fake.
I had a glass of Ruinart (9 GBP) and had lunch at the bar. The whole service staff was pretty grumpy and I guess I might be too if I was in a room of tourists paying top dollar for a sandwich.
The crostini I had for lunch was pretty good, though. Carrot, pear and prosciutto, and artichoke crossed the flavor profiles nicely, but this would be hard to share as an appetizer.
Finally, a day later I tried Harvey Nichols. I love this store. Quite a range of brands and everything is out to touch and ogle. There is even a champagne nail bar, who doesn’t love that. I had a glass of bubbly in their restaurant which was unnotable, including the view of the park below. Again, service was super spotty. I don’t need to do this again.
Then, I bellied up to the chocolate bar. I saw this at Christmas and thought it was so charming. Cakes, pies, and cookies tantalizing patrons via small conveyor belt. On a sleepy Saturday afternoon, there were a couple of pots of jam and mini champagnes. I’d come back here when it’s busier and give it another go, maybe during a more festive time of year. Also, I’d go for dessert where fondues, over-the-top ice cream sundaes, cakes, and indulgent cocktails are all the rage.