Here at Female First we recieved an invite to experience the Marriott Weekends offering. The invite said:
Make the most of your free time to rediscover your Weekend Self which will cater for all whether you are you a laid back coffee connoisseur, a sensation seeker, wildlife explorer, or a fan of vintage art, they had a weekend break for everyone.
Take an adventure in a new city, or why not discover a hidden gem in your own, with over 50 great UK locations and great insider knowledge, Discover Your #WeekendSelf with us
The Marriott Hotel is situated just a couple of miles out of the city Centre on the main route to Edinburgh Airport, (The Airlink Bus stops outside of the hotel). it was an ideal placed base to stay. It is only 5 minutes' drive from Edinburgh Zoo. The M8 junction is 1 and half miles away and the Gyle Shopping Centre is next to the hotel.
The Source Grill Restaurant and Chats Lounge Bar are ideal for a meal or drinks.
The Leisure Club also features treatment rooms, a spa bath, a sauna and a steam room.
Each bedroom has 24-hour room service and Marriott’s luxury bedding with Egyptian cotton sheets.
On arrival, the staff were amongst the most helpful and pleasant I have met, providing a speedy check in as well as giving us a guide through the layout and whereabouts of all services and amenities.
The room - we had was a suite and all I can say is weren’t we spoilt, separate sitting area, massive double bathroom come shower room. The bedroom again was pure luxury, huge wardrobes and drawers, TV, mini bar coffee table and chairs and a desk. The master piece was the super king size bed.
After a great night’s sleep, followed by a first-class breakfast in the restaurant we set off to explore, we decided that we would take a City Bus Tour as this was the best way to get our bearings and then plan where the best places to visit are situated.
The tour took around 90 minutes but was extremely entertaining – the tour guide had a great knowledge of all the tourist ‘must sees’.
After the bus tour, we decided to grab a coffee while we planned our agenda for the rest of the day and into the next two days.
First up was Holyrood Castle, none other than Her Majesty the Queen official residence when she is in Scotland. We also booked in to look around the Scottish Parliament building which are situated just across the road.
The visit to Holyrood Castle saw us following in the footsteps of royalty including the private rooms of the unfortunate Mary Queen of Scots during a critical episode in her reign took place here with the killing of her loyal aide David Rizzio. Other notable residents were James II, Bonnie Prince Charlie and Queen Victoria. The whole visit was narrated by a taped commentary provided to each visitor.
We then took a walk from here up to Arthur’s Seat in the adjacent Holyrood Park for some of the best views of the city.
Then it was a walk up the hill along the length of the picturesque Royal Mile, to end up at imposing Edinburgh Castle, one of the top tourist attractions in Scotland. The route is lined with historical buildings such as Oliver Cromwell’s residence, the Café where JK Rowling dreamed up Harry Potter as well as the many beautiful gift shops.
The castle took us until late in the day to get around finishing after dark, which left just enough time to grab a quick snack before finishing the day on a spooky ghost tour after dark, descending into the underground world of Mary King's Close, an abandoned street buried beneath the modern city, where we got the gory tales of its former residents.
Then it was back to the hotel feeling very tired after a thoroughly enthralling day for a steam and sauna to ease the aches of a hectic day on the tourist trail.
Showered and changed we decided to have a relaxing late meal in the Sources Bar and Grill
The menu was good and being a vegetarian I was well catered for with a wide choice of options. I went for the Courgette Gratin and extra sides, while my partner in crime went for a steak cooked to perfection by the hotel chef.
I must add the head waiter and the rest of the staff made the experience fabulous as they really look after us. Then off to bed ready for an early start to take in as much as we could that Edinburgh had to offer.
The newly renovated National Museum of Scotland, was next on the agenda, a treasure trove of diverse exhibits, with great interactive sections for kids. Also of interest was the - Our Dynamic Earth exhibition an exciting science museum delving into the geology of the region
Next down to the Scottish National Gallery, or admire more contemporary works at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Then a visit is the Scottish Portrait Gallery, where we came face-to-face with characters out of Scottish history.
Then the Royal Botanic Gardens – known by the locals as ‘Botanics’. Scotland’s premier green kingdom has been in business since 1670 and is set in over 70 acres of landscaped grounds. This is also a lovely location for lunch where the Terrace Café will provide some al fresco dining but look out for the squirrels and birds!
Just the afternoon left, so what to do. How about The Royal College of Surgeons Museum? Inside you’ll find William Playfair’s pathology Museum, the oldest in Britain, with its human anatomical specimens from the 18th century and an exhibition chronicling surgery from Roman times to the present and the discovery of antisepsis and anaesthesia.
Once again, we jumped the bus back to the Marriott to relax and talk about our second interest packed day and enjoy a glass or two of wine in Chats bar and as we felt rather tired we decided to have a light evening meal in our room.
A visit to Edinburgh Zoo to see the Panda’s and the penguins before heading back into the city centre to try a whiskey tasting at the Whiski Shop. This turned out to be very enjoyable and would recommend it to any one visiting. Of course, I had to indulge myself with a couple of bottles to take home.
Then an afternoon shopping Edinburgh’s high street, with Princes street being home to department stores such as M&S Top Shop, River Island, and House of Fraser, while just off Princes street on the north side there are a myriad of small quirky independents.
We decided to catch an evening meal in one of the many places to eat and drink, which range from cozy pubs and bistros to stylish cocktail bars and no less than five Michelin-starred restaurants we opted for the Mussel Inn which boasted a great fish menu and boy did they deliver on that boast.
A relaxed breakfast in the Source grill then back to the room to pack our bags for the journey home.
We went in January but if you're visiting during the summer months, and particularly August, you can take in all the action at the world-famous Edinburgh festivals – from the high culture on show at the International Festival, to the kaleidoscopic diversity of the Fringe. There's also a Book Festival, Science Festival, Jazz Festival and more – Edinburgh is a true festival city. New Year's Eve is also a brilliant time to visit, when you can take part in the massive Hogmanay street party and witness a stunning display of fireworks over the castle.
As far as accommodation, Edinburgh has some great Hotels but the Marriott has got to one of the best around.
Research from Marriott hotels in the UK, reveals large numbers of Brits are opting to take short but sweet breaks in their own region this summer, with as little as one night away, 25 miles from home, now regarded as a leisure break.
The Great British Break Report, reveals one in three of those who have travelled within their region or county has taken a break fewer than 50 miles from home in the last 12 months and 15 per cent have stayed even closer – travelling just 25 miles.
Four out of ten (41 per cent) Brits have chosen to take a break in their own county or region and almost two thirds (62 per cent) have stayed in the UK in the last year alone. A further seven per cent haven’t taken a micro-break yet but intend to later this year.