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DrinkUp Staycation: The Edinburgh Grand

Edinburgh is brilliant. Beautiful architecture, steeped in history and most importantly - brimming with award-winning bars that are all within an (albeit brisk) walk of each other. Add in that the train from St Pancras is just a very manageable four and a bit hours and there you are - deposited right in the heart of the city and perhaps most importantly a few minutes walk from one of the best hotels we’ve stayed at in a while – The Edinburgh Grand.

This impressive building which was once the National Bank of Scotland has been transformed into much more than a hotel – coming in through a very grand, pillared lobby – the building is centred around an enormous monochrome spiral staircase which is the source of many Instagram images as the geometric carpet creates glorious optical illusions when you look from the top down.

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The rooms are billed as apartments so come with full kitchen and dining area. The beds are reassuringly huge and the bathrooms have an art deco feel with enormous bath tubs and rainforest showers. Luxurious.  Regardless of which room you’ve booked– we’d recommend asking for a quick tour of the penthouse which sleeps six but also has a private roof terrace that could easily accommodate a soiree of say – ten, twelve people with panoramic views of this outrageously beautiful city.

However – we’re here to eat and drink right, and while the city is crammed full of tasty little basement bars – The Edinburgh Grand has it all under one roof. It’s basically Toys R Us for grown ups.

undefinedHawksmoor Edinburgh

Hawksmoor – you hopefully know our love for these guys. Everything they do is superb quality, they’re great to their staff and write cocktail menus that dreams are made of. So no surprise the Edinburgh incarnation is no different. As always they’re supporting local so there’s more seafood on this menu with three fish mains alongside the Isle of Mull scallops, the Eyemouth crab and of course – lashings of lobster at every turn. Nick Strangeway’s Cocktails & Dreams menu has made it’s way north so tuck into the Finer Colada (pineapple rum, coconut whiskey, champagne and citrus) or if you’re going old school – yep the Shaky Pete’s Ginger Brew is of course on the list.

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The Register Club – found in the West Wing of the building this is like going back in time and feels like an exclusive members club, though in reality – it’s open to all (though reservations are preferred). Open from 10am til 11pm – this is a space of many guises with a cocktail bar, a games room, a meeting space and all-day dining sitting seamlessly within the terribly grand panelled walls. There’s a fairly extensive cocktail list which is certainly designed to suit the space and something like the Luncheon Shrub (Tanqueray No TEN gin, mandarin and lemongrass shrub and roast coffee bitters) would hit the spot perfectly.

Lady Libertine Wine Bar – on the ground floor (and finally with its own street entrance now the building work is finished) is an all-day dining, counter top wine café. Open right through from 8am til midnight – there’s pastries then mezze style sharing plates, late night bites and of course - a cracking wine list from sister-business The Bon Vivant’s Companion over on Thistle Street. Green marble table tops, polished wood, comfy leather bar stools and more nods to art deco design make this a great place to stop in for – well – just about anything.

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Lady Libertine Basement – there’s more. Head down to the basement and into a room that wouldn’t feel out of place in Manhattan opens up before you. The monochrome tiled staircase leads you down into what used to be the bank vaults with a sweeping bar running the whole length of the room, an impeccably lit back bar and a very appetising cocktail list. We started with Fourteen Autumns - Tapatio Blanco Tequila, rhubarb, Campari, Manzanilla Sherry and sumac salt. What’s not to enjoy there!? Add in some of the best DJs in the city, a late license til 3am and lots of deliciously dark corners to hunker down in and we REALLY wish this bar was closer to home.

A Studio Apartment at The Edinburgh Grand currently starts from £120 on a Winter Offer and sleeps two. The Penthouse starts from £1,120 on a Winter Offer and sleeps six. Trains to Edinburgh Waverley leave from Kings Cross St Pancras and take, on average, 4.5 hours.