Classic view of Edinburgh featuring Edinburgh Castle and the clock tower of The Balmoral Hotel
You can keep summer, as far as I’m concerned. In Scotland, it’s mainly rain and midges anyway.
Bring on the autumn – there’s a sharpness to the air and berries in the hedgerows, the trees put on their best show of the year – and that’s without all the mists and mellow fruitfulness going on.
Still, there’s no denying we are winding down to the less pleasant prospect of long dark nights and blizzards. So, just before the Christmas shopping frenzy begins, it is time to take some time out.
Cocktails are optional but if you want the perfect ingredients for a boost to the spirits take one relaxing spa treatment, add a stylish boutique hotel, complete with an excellent dinner and friendly staff, and you will be amazed at the effects of this perfect recipe.
The High Street, part of the Royal Mile, in Edinburgh’s Old Town at night
And, best of all, choose to experience this in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Halfway down Hanover Street in Edinburgh’s New Town is Zen Lifestyle. A calm oasis of purple and white awaits me before I am led away into Melissa’s treatment room. More than two hours of massaging sounds like quite a prospect, but it is amazing how time just fades into irrelevance.
A one-hour body massage manages to get rid of all those knotty problems in the back and shoulders and, just as I’m beginning to drift off, it’s time for the facial.
Taking over an hour to have your face washed may seem a bit extreme, but that’s before you experience the Red Carpet Facial.
After being cleansed, exfoliated, masked, infused with collagen and detoxed with Dr Murad products, I felt years younger.
The New Town is regarded as a masterpiece of city planning
However, this thorough cleansing procedure is just one option offered by Zen Lifestyle and, if you are interested in heavy duty treatments, there is everything from dermal fillers, laser treatments and injections, some of which are carried out by Dr Rita Rakus on her visits from the Knightsbridge clinic.
Feeling incredibly relaxed, the last thing you want is for this slightly other-worldly feeling to be destroyed by a quick blast of urban traffic. So it was perfect to take a short walk up Hanover Street and along George Street to another oasis.
However welcoming, though, Tigerlily could not be described as calm. The perfect boutique city hotel, it is a riot of colours and designs. No muted lighting and soft music here, this is the place for drinks, dinner and fun.
The restaurant has three different areas surrounding a large bar, each one with a different ambience.
Glossy and glittery, the bars would lift the spirits of even the most jaded office worker, while the stylish lounge – with huge comfortable seats around a welcoming fire – provides a quieter, more intimate space.
Steaks and seafood – with a nod towards Thai cuisine – is the basis of the menu. After a starter of sesame prawns with Thai salad, the pan fried seabass with samphire and saffron vanilla sauce was a delicate delight.
If you like steaks, Tigerlily is the place and my dining partner ordered 250g of prime fillet steak which, he said, was one of the best he’d ever tasted. If you really want to indulge your carnivorous cravings, you can opt for the 500g Jurassic cut of prime Aberdeen Angus.
With 150 different cocktails on the menu, we went for the classic Cosmopolitans but really the world is your oyster. But, if cocktails aren’t really your thing, there is a wide selection of craft beers, Champagne and non-alcoholic concoctions.
Tigerlily has 33 bedrooms, all styled differently – from Georgian four-posters to flamboyant florals. There’s even one suite all in black if you feel like being ultra dramatic.
My room was elegant, comfortable, spacious and, despite being in the heart of the city, remarkably quiet. With a huge bathroom stocked with White Company toiletries and a luxurious king-size bed, it was time to bring this perfect day of city relaxation to a close.