In September 2013 we spent 9 days in Scotland, splitting our time between Edinburgh and Islay. Below is a breakdown of each day on our trip including where we stayed, what we did, where we ate, and everything we loved most.
I cannot stress enough that Scotland is a place you must visit. The people are warm, welcoming, and sincere, and the landscape is just breathless. And the whisky? Unlike anything you can get anywhere else.
West Bow Street Flat (Old Town) – The location of this flat couldn’t have been better. It is located on the street that many say served as JK Rowling’s inspiration for Diagon Alley (y’all do know that she wrote Harry Potter while living in Edinburgh, right?) I had searched high and low for a reasonably priced nice hotel room but because our trip coincided with the end of the Festival season there was nothing to be had. We’ve never rented a flat while vacationing in Europe, so we learned that there are some things that took some getting used to – an electric shower, for instance – but all in all, I would highly recommend going this route. Not only did we have more space and privacy, but we were in a better location (right around the corner from The Grassmarket) for less money.
The Bowmore House Bed & Breakfast – This lodging was arranged for us through Scottish Routes as part of our four-day Islay whisky tour. Prior to our trip I became friendly with the host, Andrew, on Twitter and Instagram so when we arrived it was like hanging out with old friends. Andrew and his wife are gracious hosts, and they really make you feel welcome on Islay. We really enjoyed the large Bowmore Suite overlooking Loch Indaal, and the AMAZING breakfasts we ate each day. I’m blaming the Bowmore House for the five pounds I gained while on vacation.
The Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh (The Caledonian) – I had originally booked a castle hotel outside of Edinburgh for our last two nights in Scotland but about a month before our trip I changed my mind and decided to spend our time in the city. Rather than staying in Old Town I looked into hotel options in the New Town, near Princes Street. I was thrilled to find an upgraded room at The Caledonian for the same price as a popular three-star tourist class hotel down the street. I booked a castle view room immediately and didn’t give it a second thought. When we checked in I wasn’t surprised to find out that there were a lot of additional fees on top of our base rate (I’m really tired of luxury hotels charging for WiFi – get it together hoteliers!), but it was still entirely worth it. Our room was pure luxury. OMG. Aside from the breathtaking view of Edinburgh Castle, the bed was so, so comfortable, the bathroom was large and came equipped with high end toiletries. And the decor was simply perfect. I think I need to have a master bedroom someday that looks just like our room at The Caledonian.