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none other than James Bond himself, dashing Sir Sean Connery, the Balmoral, part of the international Rocco Forte Hotel Group, even boasts its own unique tartan. Each member of the Balmoral team wears its particular plaid in some shape or form, ranging from neckerchiefs to complete kilts, designed by the Highland dress experts, Kinloch Anderson. Staying at the Balmoral will put you in elite company, as the hotel’s guests have included the likes of Sir Paul McCartney and J.K. Rowling, who finished her Harry Potter series while in residence here. Potterheads can even book the luxurious J.K. Rowling Suite, which includes a signed marble bust of the author and Hogwarts-themed memorabilia throughout. Unwind with a dip in the Balmoral’s luxury pool, take a steam, or experience one of Rocco Forte’s elite treatments. Then whet your


appetite for Scots cuisine at one of the Balmoral’s premier eateries: try the elegant Palm Court for an afternoon tea, or Hadrian’s Brasserie or the Michelin-starred Number One for dinner.

Castle, home to many of Scotland’s monarchs of yore, and stroll down the Royal Mile, a collection of historic streets in the center of town, ending up at Holyroodhouse, Queen Elizabeth II’s official residence in Scotland. Marvel at the historic structures making up the campus of the University of Edinburgh, one of the oldest higher-education institutions in Europe, or peek behind the veil of Scots history in a fascinating exhibit at the National Museum of Scotland. Don’t miss an excellent afternoon tea or whiskey tasting at any number of venerable Scots institutions, including upscale tipple-territories in the New Town, built in the last 250 years. If you’re looking for white-glove service in the heart of Edinburgh, look no further than the Balmoral Hotel. Situated right outside the Edinburgh Waverly train station, the sprawling property, opened in 1902, was once a railway hotel for commuters and travelers; today, the Balmoral, which shares its name with Her Majesty’s favored Scottish estate, rears its noble head, crowned by a massive clock, above the city skyline. Reopened in the 1990s by THE BALMORAL: HADRIAN’S BRASSERIE

One can’t-miss dish is the hotel’s signature smoked salmon, the recipe of which Executive Chef Jeff Bland spent a full eighteen months developing. The locally sourced fish is cured over whiskey barrel chips to give a particularly Scottish twist. And no culinary experience would be complete without a tipple of fine Scotch. Imbibe at the Balmoral’s Whisky Bar, boasting one of Edinburgh’s most distinguished collections. roccofortehotels.com/hotels-and-resorts/the-balmoral-hotel As soon as I put my boots on the ground in Edinburgh, I felt at home, and I only returned to the hectic environs of New York with greatest reluctance. Even as I write this, with the Atlantic Ocean between us, the hospitality and history of Scotland still beckon to me. Needless to say, I’ll be booking my return trip soon. – Carly Silver


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