Posts Tagged ‘Scotland’

The Booking Office, 17 Waverley Bridge, Edinburgh, Scotland

The Booking Office Waverley BridgeOn a recent visit to Edinburgh, I took the opportunity of meeting up with friends I have known since we counted our age in single figures. That is far longer than any of us need admit to. We needed somewhere central so that everybody could get there easily. As I was getting a train out of the city about 5pm, we chose The Booking Office which is a Wetherspoons bar and bistro near the Waverley Station, the main railway station in Edinburgh, Scotland.The Booking Office out

We met in the mid afternoon, and I thought the place would be relatively quiet. How wrong I was! As The Booking Office is so very near the station, it was extrememly busy. We did manage to get a table, but only because we grabbed it when other people left. However, the bar was well staffed. People ordered hot and cold drinks as well as food at the bar and an army of staff were kept busy serving the drinks at the bar and delivering the food to the tables.

The Booking Office in 2The Booking Office had a lively atmosphere and, as it was so busy, tables would have benefitted from being cleaned more frequently and more thoroughly. This was true of the restrooms too. However, there is good disabled access and service was quick. I was not particularly impressed by The Booking Office, however, as it is so inexpensive and conveniently situated, I may well use it again.

Valerie Penny

Apex Hotel Haymarket, 90 Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh, Scotland

Apex city-roomOn a recent visit to Edinburgh, Scotland, I needed an inexpensive room for an overnight stay in the city centre. The Apex Hotel Haymaket fit the bill. The hotel is situated at the West end of Haymarket Terrace and so there are hotles closer to the train station, however, The Apex Haymarket is of a higher standard but around the same price. The hotel, before it was extended, would originally have been an elegant family home with the servants’ room in the attic on the top floor.

The reception is around the corner from the main road and is on Magdala Crescent. The street-side entry to the hotel restaurant is from Haymarket Terrace. Reception is small, only one desk, but there was only one person ahead of me, so I did not have to wait long. The receptionist was courteous and efficient and complimentary maps of the city centre are readily available for those unfamiliar with the city.  Tha Apex Haymarket is also convenient for local transport. There is a bus stop directly outside; the tram and train station are just a short walk to the East. Apex room 2.jpg

I had booked a small double room as I was only in the city for one night and would not be in the room for long. The room was on the fourth (top) floor, so I was in the original servants quarters. How times have changed! This was a bright, colourful room with an en-suite showerroom and full, complimentary hostess tray. The room was small, but that was fine, it was advertised as small and the price paid was commensurate with that.

The bed was comfortable and, although the room was hot that night, I slept well. The shower was powerful and the room with en-suite was spotlessly clean. Access to the hotel and restaurant is disabled friendly.

Apex outside Breakfast was an extra charge, the price was £2.50 less if I booked it before midnight than afterwards! It was tasty, but service was slow. The coffee, tea and toast were brought to the table as were the cooked options. The continental breakfast was self service. Everything was freshly prepared and I enjoyed it.

I would definitely use The Apex Hotel Haymarket, Edinburgh again and recommend it as an economical, central Edinburgh hotel.

Valerie Penny

Imperial Palace, 36 Inglis Green Road, Edinburgh, Scotland

Imperial palace outIt was important to find a good restaurant for Mother’s Day. There were various requirements: Mother had to like the food, that excluded Indian, Italian and Mexican restaurants, so Chinese it is. The restaurant had to allow wheel chair access: that ruled out restaurants Kowloon, Rendezvous and Lune Town (reviewed on this site 16 December 2013). However, step forward the Imperial Palace. Imperial Palace inside

The Imperial Palace, 36 Inglis Green Road, Edinburgh, Scotland is very close to one of the main Chinese Supermarkets in Edinburgh and is well frequented by patrons of Chinese heritage. The menu at the Imperial Palace is extensive and interesting. Many of the traditional classic dishes you would espect from a Chinese restaurant sit comfortably beside more unusual offerings including Chicken Feet in Black Bean Sauce and Tofu and Fresh Fish Head Soup Garnished with Colianders.

imperial palace foodWe were a party of five, Mum, my sister and I and ours husbands. We chose a variety of starters. Mum went with chicken wings, my husband with spare ribs and the rest of us chose vegetarian spring rolls. They were all delicious. Our main courses included Mum’s favourite, sweet and sour pork with egg fried rice, my tofu and vegetables with black bean sauce, my husband’s cantonese style duck and my sister and brother-in-law went with special fried rice, deep fried aubergine,  Singapore Thin Egg Noodles and Mixed Vegetable with Pickled Ginger and Pineapple. We all enjoyed our meals very much. The boys managed desert and my mother was encouraged to a little ice cream.imperial palace food 2

The Imperial Palace allows easy wheelchair access. The table we had was round, giving easy opportunity for everyone to chat. The staff are attentive but not intrusive and there is ample parking nearby. We all had a delicious meal at the Imperial Palace and will certainly use this restaurant again.

Valerie Penny

The Grill Room Colessio Hotel 33 Spittal Street, Stirling, Scotland

I visited The Grill Room at the Colessio Hotel, Stirling, Scotland, both for breakfast and dinner.

colessio-outside
The dining room is modern and brightly lit. The staff are pleasant and courteous and although I was dining alone, I was never hidden away or offered an unattractive table.

colessio-foodAt breakfast The Grill Room offers a substantial cold buffet including fruit, cold meat, cheeses and criossants. A additional hot meal is also offered and table served.
The dinner menu is varied and had some extremely interesting choices as well as some tasty vegetarian options. If I stayed at the Colessio Hotel again, I would use The Grill Room. However, I would not seek it out, if I were not resident.

Valerie Penny

Colessio Hotel, 33 Spittal St,Stirling, Scotland

bloody scotlandI recently attended the Bloody Scotland Crime Writers’ Festival in Stirling, Scotland. The talks and events took place mainly in the Albert Halls and the Golden Lion Hotel. However, I chose to stay in the 5* Colessio Hotel. I had been to a meeting at the hotel some years ago and was favourably impressed. It is central, and has a wide variety of health and spa facilities.The Colessio Hotel is part of the Aurora Hotel Collection which is a small but growing portfolio of hotels and lodges in Central Scotland.

I was greeted peasantly at reception and taken up to room 115 by a young lady from reception. I was very hot and was delighted to have the benefit of bottles of mineral water in the room. so I sat and relaxed and drank my mineral water and ate a packet of complimentary cookies, which were very tasty.

colessio-outside

However, I became increasingly aware of a draft at my back. I got up to check where t was coming from and found a hole in the window. Not just a crack, a great big hole. Luckily, I had not unpacked. So, before going to my first meeting, I explained the issue and requested a room change from reception.I was told the staff had no idea that the window was borken and was asked what kind of room I would like. I asked for one without a broken window! I was re-roomed to room 118. It met my modest requirements. It was disappointing to note that room 115 was re-let to alternative guests. If I were manager of the Colessio Hotel, that would not be acceptable. The staff certainly knew of the broken wndow when room 115 was re-let to those other guests.colessio-bed

That apart, my stay in the Colessio Hotel was very pleasant. Both rooms 115 and 118 are relatively small, but the main building of the hotel is an old Victorian building is a 9-minute walk from the Stirling Smith Museum & Art Gallery, a 12-minute walk from Stirling Golf Club and a 6-minute walk from The Thistles Shopping Centre. However, the rooms are modern and feature flat-screen TVs, free WiFi, and tea and coffeemaking equipment, plus large en suite bathrooms. 

colessio-room

Room 115 is a disabled friendly room with a wet room. The photos here are from room 118.

colessio-bathroomThe staff were courteous and helpful. They could not have been more pleasant. Breakfast in the Colessio Hotel was served as a generous, varied continental buffet. There was also an option of an additional served hot breakfast.

The bar is well staffed and the bartenders are attentive. Evening meals, served in the hotel restaurant are from a wide, varied reasonably priced menu. Several tasty vegetarian choices are on the menu. The reastaurant is pleasant to be in as it features a striking palette of black and white  with designer touches evident throughout.

There is a gym and an indoor pool at the Colessio Hotel, but I did not have time to use them. All in all, the Colessio Hotel is a very nice hotel, but it is not as luxurious as many 5* hotels that I have visited. In none of the others was I offered a room with a broken window.

Valerie Penny

 

 

 

Scott’s Bar and Restaurant Largs Yacht Haven, Irvine Rd, Largs, Scotland

scotts in largs

It was a long time since I had been to Scott’s Bar and Restaurant at Largs Yacht Haven. It had changed beyond all recognition when I joined a recent family celebration hosted by my brother-in-law and his wife to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary. It was a lovely occasion.John & Lesley 25

We had a long table by the window. The menus were interesting and varied. I was particularly surprised and pleased that there was a complete substitute vegetarian menu that I could choose from.

red wine at scottsOur nephew recommended the haggis tower starter to my husband. It was a good shout as he enjoyed it very much. I chose from the vegetarian menu. The vegetables tempura were delicious. Throughout the meal red and white wine, beer and cider all flowed freely. John and Lesley were very generous hosts. Also, the service at Scott’s was excellent. We had a dedicated server taking our orders and ensuring all was well. It was lovely to feel so valued. We had the long table, by the window, at the top of this photo.

table at scotts

For the main courses, fish and chips was a popular choice. This was served in a beer batter with mushy peas and a slice of lemon. Having eaten his own portion, our nephew then “helped” his girlfriend with her fish before moving on to “share” my meal. This young man has hollow legs: he takes a lot of feeding!

food at scottsI cannot blame him for wanting to share my maincourse, though. I had chosen the vegetables fajitas which arrived sizzling to the table. They were served with sour crea, cheese and a chilli sauce. It was very tasty, but there was no way that I would manage to finish the four pancakes offered. My husband chose the ribeye steak. It was large and cooked exactly as he had asked. His steak was served with onion rings, mushrooms and grilled tomatoes. This was a big success. (Our nehew had no chance!)

largs marinaIt is amazing to admit that we made it to desserts and coffee, but we did. My husband chose  a selections of icecreams. The quality of the icecream was excellent and left him a little space to “help” me with my chocolate brownie. The bownie was tasty, but, to my taste, slightly dryer than I would have liked. The selection of coffees was wide and included decaffinated choices.

After our meal, we adjourned to the bar for a night cap before the evening came to an end. Scott’s is a very sleak gastro pub now. Although it had been a long time since I had been to Scott’s Bar and Restaurant in Largs, Scotland, we had a lovely meal and a fun evening, so I highly recommend it and doubt it will be so long before I am back again.

Valerie Penny

 

Oscar’s Cafe, Bar and Restaurant, The Esplanade, Saltcoats, Scotland

oscars outsideMy husband and I had arranged to meet friends for dinner at Oscar’s Cafe, Bar and Restaurant at The Esplanade, Saltcoats, Scotland but they were unable to make the date. However, as we had been looking forward to the evening, we decided to go anyway. What a fun evening!

Access is by a small flight of stairs or by a ramp, so those with mobility difficulties have easy access. The service at Oscar’s was friendly and polite. We were seated in a booth and enjoyed people watching through the evening. Oscar’s caters for a wide variety of diners: families with children, couples both young and not so young, larger groups and a private party was going on in the function area upstairs. This restaurant also runs a Disney movie silently on a large screen behind the bar. This is a brilliant way of keeping the younger diners amused.

The menu is varied and does cater for vegetarians. My husband had the chicken and chorizo sausage pie. He really enjoyed it. I had the vegetarian fajitas: also delicious. The atmosphere in Oscar’s was excellent. The restaurant was happy, busy and good-natured. This certainly added to our enjoyment of our evening.Oscars inside

For pudding my husband had a chocolate brownie, which he said was one of the best he had tasted. I had a chocolate nut sundae. it was delious, but enormous and I had no chance of finishing it! We rounded off our meal with coffees. We did not really need to have coffee, but we were having such a lovely time, it would have been a shame to leave earlier than we had to.

I highly recommend Oscar’s Cafe, Bar and Restaurant, The Esplanade, Saltcoats, Scotland and will dine there again.

Valerie Penny