Reviewed by Stella Young
How excited were we, the prospect of a child free night away… staying in a castle! We happily bundled our little people off to stay with their grandparents for the night, and set off for Melville Castle in Edinburgh. Melville Castle is an 18th Century Country House Hotel, brasserie restaurant and luxury event venue in 50 acres of beautiful woodland estate.
As we had plans to meet friends later that night, I had phoned the hotel the day before enquiring about eating times in the brasserie and transport in to Edinburgh centre. The lady I spoke to was most helpful, explaining that dinner is usually served from 6pm, but if we needed to eat earlier she would speak to the chef to see if we could be accommodated at 5.30pm. She also explained there was a bus that goes from the end of the drive, or local taxis for transport in to the centre.
After a bit of a losing battle with our satnav, we finally found our way to the castle. There was plenty of parking available directly in front of the main entrance. We were greeted by the receptionist, a pleasant young lady, who gave us directions to our room, information regarding where the brasserie was for our evening meal and the dining room for breakfast. Breakfast is served between 8 – 10am.
We were allocated a superior room, which was on the second floor. The room was very spacious, with antique like furnishings. This just added to the whole ambience, after all, you wouldn’t expect things to be ultra-modern; it just wouldn’t be in keeping with the castle feeling. A grand 4 poster bed, huge wardrobe with safe, a writing desk and dressing table etc…, one modern thing though was the flat screen television. And a handy refrigerator tucked away in the dressing table. There is also high speed internet access, a hospitality tray with complimentary tea & coffee, toiletries and grooming amenities. There was also a corner bath/hot tub in the corner of the bedroom, perfect for a night of relaxation. Our room was located at the rear of the castle and overlooked gardens adorned with a fountain in the middle. The whole setting was very peaceful and tranquil, not even the sound of cars anywhere close by.
After soaking up our new surroundings, we headed down to the brasserie for our evening meal. The menu consists of set meal options, 2 courses for £19.95 or 3 for £24.95. Whilst mulling over our food options, we ordered some drinks. Hubby opted for draft Peroni, whilst I chose the house white. The house wine was very reasonably priced at £4.25 for a large glass, other wine options only came by the bottle, ranging in anything up to around £33 a bottle.
I plumped for the soup of the day for my starter, which was tomato and basil. I found the soup to be very rustic and flavoursome, and complimented perfectly with some bread and butter. My husband chose the Ayrshire bacon, black pudding and sausage terrine with tomato chutney and HP sauce jus. The combination of flavours was strange at first taste, but after a few bites, he found they were totally suited. On to our main courses, I had ordered the mushroom ravioli with rocket salad, parmesan and white truffle oil. I also requested a side order of fine green beans. I cleared my plate, delicious fresh food. Only slight comment is that I think the ravioli could have benefited from a little sauce with it. You may have guessed by this point, but I am vegetarian and polar opposite from my husband when it comes to food. He opted for the daube of roast beef, served with creamed potato, roasted root vegetables and rosemary jus. Delicious fall apart beef, and also commented the potatoes were lovely. Then finally, a course that a vegetarian wife and a meat loving husband could share… Dessert! I did really want to sample the Scottish cheeses with fruit chutney and oatcakes, but under duress, I agreed to the white and dark chocolate fondue with biscotti, choux buns, banana and mini meringues. I must admit, I may have had more than my fair share of some of these sweet treats.
After our meal, we took a taxi in to the centre of Edinburgh, reception arranged this for us. Had the Edinburgh Fringe not been on, we probably would have just stayed in the hotel lapping up the luxury for the night, but we went out for a couple of hours. We returned later that night, and had a drink or two in the bar before retiring to our room and four poster bed for the evening.
Normally on an overnight stay, usually we still like to get home to our own bed, but it has to be said the bed was VERY comfortable. We woke up feeling totally refreshed after a good nights sleep, and headed down to the busy dining area for breakfast. Breakfast was a help yourself buffet, consisting of hot options – bacon, black pudding, haggis, sausages, scrambled eggs, mushrooms, baked beans and tomatoes. We both piled our plate high and cleared them almost as quickly as we filled them. We were also served a choice of tea or coffee and toast from the waiting staff. Fresh juices were also on offer, orange, cranberry or apple. Also on offer was a selection of cereals and continental options, such as croissants.
Sadly our visit to Melville Castle seemed to be over too quickly and it was time to go home. A great venue for a couple’s getaway, and an obviously beautiful setting for a wedding. Made me a little sad I am married already, as I did daydream coming down the open staircases about how nice it would be to be a bride making her big entrance.
Edinburgh is not exactly cheap when it comes to booking hotel rooms, so I would definitely consider paying an extra few pounds to stay in a castle in the future, it beats your bog standard hotel chains hands down. Every member of staff we dealt with was very polite and professional. Overall, we found nothing at all to complain about.
This may not be an ideal location if you want to be central, but perfect if you want to escape for the hustle bustle of day to day city life.
Mr & Mrs Young give Melville Castle 5 out of 5, and would love to return in the future for some sheer indulgence.
Classic bedrooms range from £129 to £159, Superior bedrooms from £149 to £179 and suites from £179 to £199, all per night prices. For more information or to make a booking visit www.melvillecastle.com or call 0131 654 0088.
Melville Castle, Gilmerton Road, Edinburgh, Midlothian, EH18 1AP | 0131 654 0088