Sometimes it’s easy to forget what’s sitting on your doorstep. OK, so maybe we all remember the nearest good wine shop, that fabulous local bar, and the location of great local restaurants. But that's not quite the point.
Despite being the second most visited city in the U.K. by foreign tourists, Edinburgh often loses out to other destinations when it comes to Britons on a domestic jaunt. The serenity of the Scottish highlands and islands, the Lake District, Cornwall, and the Cotswolds are widely seen as the ultimate long weekend destinations, yet the nation's other capital, the one north of Hadrian’s Wall, could well be more dramatic than all of those put together.
And that drama has nothing to do with the world famous Festivals that leave the city reeling from their annual influx of culture vultures who descend on the city in their millions during August. If there was a time in the year people see as the best moment to visit, then for many that’s likely to be amid the planet’s most prestigious arts and comedy event. Yet arriving at any point in the calendar, the city is guaranteed to make an impression.
Even the train station can drop jaws. Arriving into Waverley and you’re immediately surrounded by what makes Scotland’s finest so special. The aesthetics of Princes Street Gardens are to die for. A landscaped expanse of green in the heart of a buzzing urban sprawl that drop down towards the railway lines like a lush miniature valley, welcoming travellers and returning residents alike, it’s enough to make you feel sorry for every other Network Rail property in the land.
Of course that’s not the real reason we’re in town. A few minutes down the track, close to Haymarket, in and amongst some of the most handsome terraced town houses you could hope to take a picture of, lies The Chester Residence. A group of serviced apartments that TripAdvisor ranked as the best luxury accommodation in Britain, from the moment you step inside there’s an air of understated opulence about the place. Walking into our sizable second floor lodgings and one thing is clear; nothing is too much trouble for those lucky enough to call this atmospheric property ‘work’.
From a handy portfolio of high-end restaurant recommendations, to 24-hour wine deliveries, our penchant for fine food and exquisite alcohol fits in with the remit. Sitting down a few hours later in front of a roaring open fire in the enormous living room and dining area, with shadows flickering off walls and splendid high ceilings, glass of red in hand, it’s difficult to imagine a more atmospheric way to wind down after a long evening spent exploring the streets outside.
Every room is designed with both luxury and functionality in mind, meaning the Chester Residence is the kind of place where everything you think of has already been thought through, and, better yet, acted on. Not least the need to give guests the best possible night’s sleep- with a huge king-size bed complete with sumptuous feather pillows and Egyptian cotton linen. Or indeed offering visitors a truly refreshing shower to shake off the cobwebs- a requirement that was more than met with the spacious rainfall offering in a bathroom lined with Molton Brown cosmetics, shampoos and gels.
Those looking for something even more impressive might want to opt for The Owner’s Residence. Whereas we were more than delighted by our one bedroom Grand, the height of luxury is found in this true one-of-a-kind apartment that boasts everything from a private cinema to bespoke furnishings made by Luis Vuitton and Armani Casa. Worth a look if you’re keen to secure what might be the best address in a town full of five-star contenders.
Outside the historic rooms themselves and the selling points of the Chester Residence don’t let up. Haymarket is easily amongst Edinburgh’s most delightful districts, resplendent in stunning streets and plenty of options for food and drink. Meanwhile, the ‘real centre’ is only a short 15-minute stroll away, landing you directly in the thick of Scotland’s history. The National Gallery is one of the first sights you’ll come to, and thanks to both its excellent permanent and intriguing temporary exhibitions should not be missed.
From there access to the Old Town, with its maze of steep roads and narrow back alleys, is easy, and well worth stretching your legs for. Not only is this the home of the Castle, which sits perched atop a hill looking down on the buildings like some perennial guardian, the area is also home to the Royal Mile, boasting the likes of Parliament House, and the stunning St. Giles’ Cathedral.
With such sumptuous surrounds within easy reach, it makes sense that the Chester Residence has established itself as a go-to address for those in need of a central location, access to Edinburgh’s best sights and attractions, and a home from home that genuinely surpasses expectations. Staggering back, tired, following a day taking in historic masterpieces, stunning architecture, and that other great Scottish work of art- whiskey- all that’s left to do is fall back onto the enormous leather couch, fire up those living room flames (via remote control, of course), and enjoy a few last moments of aristocratic pleasure before retiring for one final night’s peaceful slumber.