Sunday, 15 November 2015

and sneaks a night away with friends

Six months. It's really been six months since the move.  Time then for a catch up with old friends from work.  We met up somewhere which is actually fairly in the centre of mainland Scotland, though far from the "Central Belt", so we all had an equal distance to travel.

Kinloch Rannoch is in the middle- honest

We got a good deal at the Macdonald Loch Rannoch Hotel at Kinloch Rannoch in the heart of Perthshire. Our trip coincided with the arrival of storm Abigail bringing with her the first snows of winter, though luckily mostly confined to the hills. I'd wondered what the hotel would be like as Trip Advisor had some mixed reviews, and when I arrived,  the notice on the front door warning of reduced winter hours gave my over eager imagination thoughts of The Overlook Hotel.

What a silly!  Inside it was warm and bright, and other guests were finishing off their lunch.  I was early, the first of our party to arrive, which is  not like me, but was welcomed and checked into my room by the very friendly receptionist.

Schiehallion, the view when it's not sleeting

 I'd been allocated a loch view room, in fact we all had, which was lovely even if the glorious view was being temporarily obscure by sleet. We were tempted by the swimming pool but the lure of comfy chairs, tea and chat kept us in the lounge until it was time to change for dinner.

 Duly glammed up we  enjoyed  some  bubbly and  made our way to the restaurant. Our deal included a three course dinner, this excluded a couple of menu items unless we paid a supplement but that didn't bother us as there was a good choice and we each chose a different main course. It was good to see that the restaurant was busy, perhaps because of the deal, and the young staff coped very well. We moved back to the lounge after dinner and even though we'd discussed coffee seem to have ordered more drinks. You know, as a night cap to round off a lovely day

And off to bed.

I switched on the television to catch the end of Children in Need. ...............

Mrs Marina Starke likes Paris

                                                           Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite

Friday, 6 November 2015

and DogStarke comes too

I received my Dog Friendly Newsletter the other day, and it raises a good question. What does dog friendly mean? I've often been disappointed when my carefully filtered search throws up a "dog friendly" hotel which restricts dogs to their rooms and then only with their owner present. So not terribly friendly at all. Sometimes we've had to choose this option and popped her in the car at meal times but would usually choose somewhere which allowed DogS to stay with us in the bar area while we ate.

Not being able to take your dog to a hotel might be seen to be a "luxury worry" but not all trips are for leisure. We had to make one recently. There aren't boarding kennels  nearby, MasterS lives in Edinburgh and can't always oblige,  and being new to the area we can't call on friends to dog sit. So DogS had to come too. But the hotel has changed its dog policy. Which meant she had to spend the night in her crate in the car. And I spent part of the early morning in the car with her.* You know just in case......

Luckily we could use the  hotel bar and the reason for our trip kept us out most of the day but the change in policy means we are unlikely to return to a place which has a strong pull for MrS. We've heard varying explanations for the change in policy, one citing irresponsible dog owners. So we must all make sure that our dogs behave in the places where they are welcome.

Many people are confused about the regulations concerning access to pets. Dugs'nPubs have good advice on their site and this article covers the legal aspect. I don't get back to Edinburgh very often but when I do, tend to plan my visits around dog friendly shops and cafes. There are lots of websites listing dog friendly venues, DugsnPubs is particularly good, but for what it's worth here are my top tips, for Edinburgh and further afield.

Whistles, Edinburgh branch, George Street

Ooh! Ruby shoes, independent shoe store. on Bruntsfield Place.

SpaceNK Edinburgh branch also on George Street

Nancy Blacks, Argyll Square Oban for all your clothing and chandlery needs

Hamilton and Inches fine jewellery and silver on George Street, Edinburgh. (Silversmiths to you know who)

The Bear'sPaw, Warmingham, Cheshire friendly pub with good food and rooms.

Falko, Konditormeister scrumptious bakery, Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh and branches in Gullane and Cockenzie (not been to this one)

The Traddock, Austwick, near Settle a lovely place with great food,comfy rooms and a very warm welcome.

Rocksalt Cafe/Deli, Leith, Edinburgh great breakfast or lunch spot.

Cafe Tartine great all day dining on  Leith's Commercial Quay.

The Finnieston and its sister and neighbour Porter and Rye, fish and steaks and cocktails on Argyle Street, Glasgow.

The Pelican Cafe further along Argyle street near Kelvingrove museum.

The Real Food Cafe, Tyndrum, When you need a sit down chippy.

and not forgetting

The Tigh an Truish our friendly local, food at weekends and often music.

The hotels below only allow dogs in rooms but do genuinely welcome them.

Tiroran House, country house hotel on Mull

Blythswood Square, smart hotel with spa, Glasgow.

Airds Hotel a Relais et Chateaux hotel in beautiful Port Appin

Text heavy today. But here's  DogStarke enjoying her hols.

enjoying Calgary beach on our trip to Mull

Happy Travels,

Marina x

*it was actually surprisingly comfy