LIVING in Glasgow I have visited Edinburgh many times but always with an eye on the last train home. “Ah”, I thought wistfully, as I waited for Waverley to leave at 11.30pm, “if only I stayed in Edinburgh and could enjoy all this properly!”
Well, thanks to Braid Serviced Apartments by Mansley, I was able to do just that. Staying in their Thistle Street two bedroom apartment, tucked between George Street and Hanover Street, we had the heart of the New Town within easy reach and the rest of Edinburgh beyond.
This type of serviced apartment is now popular with tourists. After reports of substandard accommodation being offered for hefty sums and hotel prices soaring post-lockdown, serviced apartments offer a ‘sweet spot’ of consistent quality, a central location and fair prices. There is more space than a typical hotel. Our apartment had two huge bedrooms, two bathrooms and a fully equipped kitchen/living room.
The hands-off nature of a serviced apartment means that you arrive at reception and are quickly checked in, but then have peace of mind for the duration of your stay, which is fine with us as we were not the first visitors to the city. The sun had made a rare appearance when we arrived, so we headed straight for Calton Hill viewpoint. Suitably amused by the view – and the fire dancers practicing at the top of the hill – we headed back to the apartment in search of dinner.
We certainly didn’t need to go far. After a quick change, we walked through the door and walked straight into the Dusit Thai restaurant, two doors down. We had good intentions of exploring the town for a place to eat, but the delicious smells coming from Dusit were enough to bring our adventure to a halt and soon see us seated at a table for two. It was probably the best Thai, if not the best curry, I have ever eaten. We ordered a Poo Pad Pong Karee (a stir-fried chilli crab dish) and a Chicken Panang Curry to share – I could have drank the sauce in soup.
The next stop was to visit the best bars in town in search of a cocktail. We started at the Cauldron, a magic-themed bar where you order your drink by waving a wand to get the bar staff’s attention, and the cocktails bubble and sparkle as they arrive. Next, we headed to the 1920s-themed Lady Libertine Bar for a ‘Stinging Gimlet’ performed with Peychaud Bitters, before ending our evening at Bar Tonic, where a laid-back DJ was on hand for the soundtrack of the night.
The next morning we prepared breakfast in the apartment; essential fuel for a walk to Arthur’s Seat. This volcano, listed as Edinburgh’s number one attraction on TripAdvisor, offers unrivaled views as a just reward for the 279m ascent. Next, head to the Camera Obscura for more 360-degree views of the city, plus optical illusions and interactive exhibits.
A short walk was enough to get back to the apartment and then an even shorter walk to our dinner spot, Chez Jules Bistro. Locals love it for its simple and flavorful take on French cuisine. I was certainly pleased with my coq au vin and my indulgent dauphinoise. Full of food – and a bit too much wine – we were grateful for the brief walk to the apartment and the chance to collapse on the sofa in front of the television.
Departure the next morning was hassle free, let alone the leisurely drive to Waverley to catch the train home. No “legging it” required!