A Night at the Lowry Hotel Manchester*

Whenever I’m feeling like a bit of a change of scenery, I have a tendency to find myself down in Cheshire. They’re usually just a day away, and I always feel like I’d like to spend a little more time in the back of the woods, so, I absolutely jumped at the chance to enjoy an evening at the five star Lowry Hotel.

Perched on the banks of the river Irwell, the hotel is perfectly placed for a city break in either Salford or Manchester (or both!) and is a stylish retreat from the buzz outside. After driving down from Edinburgh, the hotel was an absolute treat to check into, and I can easily see why it’s the pick for Manchester United to spend their evenings in prior to big matches!

The hotel itself is a slick mixture of clean lines and pops of colour. The room we were shown to was a Superior Deluxe River View, which was wonderfully roomy, and had everything you could need for a cosy night away. Since we had been driving down, we ended up just staying in the room – making use of the Lowry’s absolutely stunning spa, and indulging in a bit of room service.

I also spent a good few hours in the bathroom, enjoying a long soak in the tub with a good book (I’m currently loving His Bloody Project), and getting to spend some time just enjoying myself was exactly what I needed.

The Lowry stock their bathrooms with seriously generous tubes of one of my favourites – Aromatherapy Associates! They staff were also incredibly helpful – after I burned through the entire tube of shower gel in a single bath, it was only moments until the turndown service came and restocked me with gallons of the stuff!

I also really appreciated the nod to the hotel’s namesake with the Lowry print in the bathroom. It was a cute little touch, and made the bathroom feel more personalised than some hotels I’ve been in recently.

So, after wallowing in the bath, and then padding back from the spa, still in our fluffy robes, it was time for supper, which came in the form of a room service burger (really, is there any other option?). And honestly, we were absolutely blown away by the quality of the food. I didn’t take a photo (I was super tired and absolutely starving), but only 15-20 minutes after ordering, plates of juicy burgers and crispy fries arrived, and we absolutely inhaled them! Thankfully check-out at The Lowry isn’t until 12pm, so we got to enjoy an absolutely glorious night’s sleep before padding down to check out. Still full from our midnight feast the night before, we didn’t quite make it to breakfast – but it looked delicious with a wide array of both hot and cold options.

Rooms start at £125 per night, and can be booked here

Many thanks to the Lowry Manchester for having me!

Margaret Dabbs London Salon – Alderley Edge*

For someone who lives in Edinburgh, I’ve found myself spending an increasing amount of time in Cheshire. One of my favourite of the villages is Alderley Edge, a surprisingly chic little town with the best beauty salons you could imagine!

Over the summer, a new spot appeared on the high street – the rather wonderful Margaret Dabbs has opened on of her lauded salon-come clinics, which get poor, over-worked hands and feet looking and feeling their best. With a menu which offers everything from a regular file and polish to waxing, I opted to go for one of the signature Margaret Dabbs Signature Medical Pedicures to get my feet looking perfect for the party season.

The salon itself is a stunning airy space, stocked with every Margaret Dabbs product you can imagine. It’s an absolute haven to visit, and after making the four hour trek from Edinburgh, it’s exactly where I wanted to be.

Rather than most nail salons, which smell of acetone, and can be a little hectic, Margaret Dabbs was pure perfection. Prior to be shown to my treatment room (yep, all Medical Pedicures are conducted in your own little room) I had a good nose around the salon, and fell in love with pretty much every product I played with.

There was a rainbow of nail colours to choose from, all are nail friendly, and the polishes can even be bought, in case you’re after a touch-up at home. Honestly, I could have stared at the colours for hours!

Then it was time for me to head through to one of the private treatment rooms for my Medical Pedicure. Rather than most salons, whose pedicures consist of a fruity smelling scrub and a quick buff, Margaret Dabbs are all about the feet. Your technician is a highly trained podiatrist, who can spot any issues which might be occurring, and knows exactly how to get your toes looking and feeling lovely.

The entire pedicure takes place with dry feet (no soaking at all happens), and as I sipped on a glass of prosecco, my podiatrist wielded a scalpel with surgeon-like precision. Within an hour, my feet, which had been looking less than lacklustre, were soft and smooth. My nails were filed and buffed to perfection, and I felt absolutely heavenly. Honestly, I wish there was a Margaret Dabbs salon closer to me than Alderley Edge, as I would have a standing monthly appointment if I could – it was that delightful! Until then though, I’ll just have to head down to Cheshire more often!

Margaret Dabbs’ Medical Pedicure is priced at £85 and you can see their whole list of treatments here

A Last Minute Gift Idea from Macdonald Hotels

By booking your loved one a meal at the luxury Scottish Steakhouses in the Macdonald Hotel (with a stay after) you will truly spoil them this year.

By doing this, you are offering more than a weekend away, you are offering memories to be made. Whether it’s your significant other, parents, friends or family, everyone will enjoy a stay at one of the many stunning MacDonald Hotels. The Macdonald Hotels pride themselves on first-class catering and service which can be found at The Scottish Steak Club, the onsite restaurants. Serving only the highest quality produce and finest Scottish cuisine in a contemporary setting, the restaurants work with whole raw ingredients, sourced directly from local suppliers, and the menus offer an ever-growing range of organic food and drink. The imaginative interpretations of classic Scottish cuisine can’t fail to delight diners.

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Image taken from MacDonald Website

MacDonald Hotels can be found across the UK with locations in Falkirk, Preston, Burlington, Windsor, Manchester and Oxford to name a few.

BOOK NOW!     http://www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk

The Macdonald Hotel Trail

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It’s pretty much exactly at this point in the year that I start to look for places to head for long weekends, and short breaks away. I don’t know if it’s the dark nights, the cold temperatures or a mixture of the two, but I just feel like treating myself a little. I figured that you might be the same, so when I heard about a new idea with Macdonald Hotels, I couldn’t wait to share it with you!

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The idea is that you can go on something of a treasure hunt throughout a number of the properties, experiencing the best of the locations you go to. I think I’d start at the Macdonald Randolph. It’s a flagship property, and boasts a spa and one of their incredible Scottish Steakhouses. Centrally located, it is the perfect base to be able to explore the town – the opportunity to soak up some culture at the Ashmolean and the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

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Only about an hour from Oxford is the Macdonald Windsor hotel. Situated in a series of former townhouses, it’s the chicest spot in town. Again, the hotel boasts one of the lauded Scottish Steak Club restaurants (the fillet is meant to be beyond incredible) and is centrally located which means it’s perfect if you fancy a bit of a tour of Windsor’s sights!

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The hotel has been recently renovated, and the rooms have been transformed into gloriously decadent spots, perfect to enjoy a bit of luxury! A few minutes from the hotel is Windsor Castle (you can tour the castle in evenings until the end of December), and if you’re in the mood for something a little more heart-fluttering, the Royal Windsor Racecourse is also nearby. If you’re entertaining little-ones this Christmas, they’re the perfect excuse for a night or two away at The Macdonald Windsor – Legoland and Chessington World of Adventure are both nearby, which means they can go exhaust themselves in the parks, while you get to enjoy the hotel!

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Obviously, all good things need to come to an end, but the drive back up to Edinburgh doesn’t need to be all doom and gloom! The Macdonald Burlington is the perfect pit-stop for an overnight stay. I’ve never really gotten to explore Birmingham, but the shopping is meant to be incredible!

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The Macdonald Burlington is located right in the heart of the city-centre, so it’s amazing if you’re looking to treat yourself. Of course, all holidays have to be rounded off with a special meal, and The Scottish Steakclub is exactly where I’d be heading!

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With fresh  and sustainably sourced Scottish meat served in all of the locations, The Scottish Steak Club is the perfect sot for a smart, celebratory meal. There is a great mix of dishes on the menu, so even if you’re not in the mood for steak, you can enjoy something absolutely delicious (the burger sounds unreal!)

I can’t wait to start planning some travels!

 

 

 

Charlie Anderson artwork unveiling at The Principal Hotel, Edinburgh

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If you’ve been on George Street recently, you might have noticed a bit of a renovation going on over the past few years, as the George Hotel has been transformed into The Principal Edinburgh.

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The building is one of the city’s grandest, and the hotel spans what was once a bank, three Georgian townhouses, as well as a more modern addition to the rear. It’s an absolutely glorious building, and by far the best hotel in Edinburgh. There is even a coffee shop (Burr & Co) and restaurant (The Printing Press) onsite, meaning that if you’re lucky enough to stay in the hotel, you don’t even need to step outside, whilst still enjoying some of Edinburgh’s best spots!

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As well as getting to have something of a nose around the hotel, we had been invited for the official unveiling of a specially-commissioned artwork by British artist Charlie Anderson, to celebrate the hotel’s new look. We gathered in the bar of the Printing Press, sipping on signature vodka cocktails (Kelpies) or seriously strong Old Fashioneds whilst General Manager Andreas Maszczyk introduced Charlie and explained a little about the renovations.

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The artwork celebrates the best of Edinburgh – portraits of some of some of the city’s most prominent citizens are scattered throughout the piece, interspersed with a quotation from Sir Walter Scott. The top etching is taken from the original plan for the building (when it was still a bank) and it’s a really lovely representation of all that Edinburgh has to offer. We then heard from Charlie about the creation process and how he incorporated all of the elements of the piece together.

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Then it was time to head upstairs to have a bit of a nosey at the rooms. We were shown to one of the hotel’s Junior Suites. Overlooking George Street, we could see the sparkling lights shimmering through the curtains, but it was absolutely silent. Then, sipping on prosecco, we got to have a real look around and hear more about the hotel in general.

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The room itself is absolute perfection. Decorated in soft greys and whites, it’s exactly how I want to redecorate. With a velvet chesterfield at the bottom of the bed, and soft flannel drapes, I can’t imagine a better place to wind down.

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It was so lovely to hear Andreas talk about the hotel – the level of service and comfort that Principal Edinburgh prides itself on is seriously impressive. Every room has an old-school red phone which can pretty much grant every wish in under an hour. Whether you want to order room service or theatre tickets, it will be at your door in under 60 minutes! We were also shown all the extra little touches in the room – rather than an overpriced minibar there are complimentary tuck boxes, and the framed and wall-mounted televisions are all equipped with Netflix and the like, meaning you can sit back and enjoy a couple of episodes of your favourite shows. The hotel is now pet friendly too! Four legged guests are provided with their own beds and bowls, meaning they get as much of a treat as you do!

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The bathrooms are just as dreamy as the bedrooms too! The suite’s was an absolute confection of white marble, fitted with a glorious roll top bath and rain-fall shower. Also, they are using one of the best water softener for water softening. All the rooms in the Principal Edinburgh hotel rooms come with these showers, which sound absolutely incredible! We then got the chance to explore the Forth View Suite, which has the most wonderful views over the skyline of Edinburgh. Getting to pop outside and see the castle all lit up was incredibly special. Unsurprisingly, it’s already booked up for New Years!

Rooms at the Principal Edinburgh start at £149 per night and you can find out more here.