Standing proudly at the end of Edinburgh’s mile-long, shop-lined Princes Street is the historic and undeniably palatial Balmoral Hotel. Built in 1902 as a railway hotel, it is now one of the city’s most elegant landmarks, completed with kilted doormen at its entrance. Guests can day-dream their way through afternoon tea in the Drawing Room, eat like kings and queens in the refined surround of the Number One restaurant, or sample the bounty of Scotland’s best distilleries in the high ceilinged Bollinger Bar in the Palm Court.
The Balmoral’s ornate clock tower is a city landmark, always turned 2 minutes ahead so guests don’t miss their train at the adjacent Waverly Station. Head there for a grand tour of quintessential Scotland aboard The Royal Scotsman, which lets you choose from2-to7-night itineraries through the Highlands and beyond. You and 35 fellow passengers will travel in the relaxed and romantic ambience of the Edwardian era on an Orient Express train. From the kilted piper who greets you on the station platform to the restored grandeur of the mahogany-panted parlor car and richly refurbished private compartments, the attention to detail is everywhere. You’ll journey through glens and mountain passes on remote and little-used railway lines with frequent stops to visit castles, distilleries, and scenic harbor towns. The elegant dining cars host excellent meals reflecting the local bounty, from full Scottish breakfast to dinners featuring loch prawns, smoked salmon, or rack of lamb. The wine selection in surpassed only by the whisky tastings; enjoy your dram or tow to the full-you’ll not be driving home tonight.