Luxury Holiday Guide Blog

Destinations that are a cut above the rest

The Queens Hotel – Leeds

The Queens

The Queens

The Queens hotel is the most famous landmark hotels in Leeds, offering a rich history and a fantastic location right in the heart of City Square. The hotel has recently undergone a huge refurbishment and renovation project to restore the building to its former glory, retaining much of the original charm and character from when it first opened as a hotel in 1937. As one of Leeds premier 4 star hotels the Queens is ideal for a luxury city break and its location adjacent to the railway station makes it a great place to host meetings and conferences.

Inside The Hotel

Once you get over the stunning exterior, The Queens offers the kind of luxury hotel experience the Q Hotels brand is famous for. With 215 sophisticated bedrooms all stylishly refurbished with comfortable beds, flat screen televisions and excellent furnishings it’s an experience which will leave you in known doubt as to why the hotel has become famous in the area. For those looking for the ultimate luxury hotel experience The Queens features the QClub, Leeds’ only executive floor which has 18 plush rooms and an exclusive executive lounge for patrons to enjoy.

The hotel caters for a variety of business needs as well, with a total of 16 meeting and conference rooms which can be tailored to the needs of each client. The Queens ballroom has a capacity of 600 for those looking to stage a larger scale event of conference, while smaller parties are able to access the executive boardrooms which can accommodate up to 14 people.

Weddings are also catered for at the hotel, the combination of the grand hotel setting mixing with the high standard of service to provide an excellent venue for couples to celebrate their big day. The hotel has a team of wedding coordinators with a wealth of experience to help everything go smoothly, and can deal with every issue from organising flowers and entertainment to delivering a bespoke menu and hiring an excellent photographer.

How to find the hotel:

The Queens

City Square


Tel: 0113 243 1323
Fax: 0113 242 5154



Where to eat in Edinburgh?

View of Edinburgh

Being from the west coast of Scotland, anytime I want to have a good night out, have a fantastic dinner or even go for a bit of shopping, Glasgow is always there for me.

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, caters for all the above and is only a short car, train or bus journey away. I think this is one of the reasons that make Edinburgh that wee bit more special for me. That and the fact that there are just so many great things to do in Edinburgh!

Edinburgh is obviously Scotland’s capital city and I love to travel through whenever I can. Each time I go to Edinburgh, I always find there is something else to do that I haven’t done in previous visits.

Walking through the streets is an adventure itself. As soon as you leave Waverley Station, Princes Street with its retail stores and hotels, including the notorious Balmoral Hotel, are right in front of you. If you are visiting Edinburgh for shopping then you will almost certainly end up on Princes Street.

If good food is your thing, Edinburgh has plenty to offer. Fine dining? Why not dine in one of Edinburgh’s Michelin-starred restaurants. First stop is Number One. This restaurant is housed in the five star Balmoral Hotel and run by executive chef Jeff Bland and his team. Number One has retained its Michelin star ten consecutive years.

Next on our stop is Kitchin in Leith. Kitchin was set up by Tom and Michaela Kitchin in 2006 and within a year of opening, the restaurant was awarded a Michelin star. The combination of Tom’s cooking and the quality of ingredients on offer is what makes this restaurant so popular. Expect to see a menu a bit different from the normal French classics.

Another Leith favourite is Restaurant Martin Wishart. Martin Wishart opened in 1999 and has retained the restaurant’s Michelin star since 2001. His aim was to use the very best ingredients Scotland had to offer to bring some of the finest traditional and modern to French cuisine to Edinburgh. I think he has succeeded.


It’s all fine talking about Michelin star fine dining, but what about if you are just looking for a more informal lunch or dinner? Well Edinburgh has that covered too.

One of my favourite places to eat in the city is the Malmaison Edinburgh in the Leith area. The Malmaison Edinburgh was once a sailors mission many years ago but is now a stunning boutique hotel. Their brasserie is fantastic, with a mix of classic French cuisine made from the very best local produce. They also do an amazing Mal burger which is a pretty good choice for lunch.

The Hotel du Vin & Bistro near the Royal Mile is also another great place to grab a bite. Again this is a hotel restaurant but it’s one of the quirkiest hotels in Edinburgh city centre. It used to be an asylum back in the day. You don’t find that every day! I really like the atmosphere in the bistro, it serves fantastic food and has an extensive selection of wines to accompany your lunch or dinner. If you’re not too sure about what to choose, the sommelier will be able to recommend something depending on what dish you’ve ordered.

For even more restaurant recommendations, visit

Happy eating in the capital!



Macdonald Hotels and Resorts

Macdonald Hotels and Resorts


Forty apprentices from across Scotland recently received a warm welcome at The Roxburghe Hotel, Edinburgh from David Guile, Chief Executive of Macdonald Hotels & Resorts as they celebrated ‘graduation’ within the hotel-groups Modern Apprenticeship (MA) programme.

Established in December 2010 with an initial intake of 80 through a contract with Skills Development Scotland, the apprentices, all full-time employees of Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, follow a structured rolling program.  This is directly linked to the standards set by the UK’s largest privately owned hotel group.

At any one time, the hotel group runs approximately 60 apprenticeships at various levels (1-3) and all for individuals aged from 17-years old.  On successful completion of their 12-18 month long training, graduates receive a nationally recognised award which reflects their skills and level of competence within their chosen role from food and beverage to housekeeping and front office.

David Guile commented: “Macdonald Hotels & Resorts is committed to providing the highest standards of product and service.  From front of house to food and beverage and back office functions, we are passionate about providing the highest possible standards of training and career development and rewarding those individuals who wish to improve their skills and excel in hospitality.

“We are extremely proud of our apprentices, who have worked extremely hard within their hotels to earn the right to graduate with invaluable skills and recognised industry qualifications.

Caroline Bellenger, HR Director of Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, added: “Since we initiated the programme two years ago, the modern apprenticeship program has had a positive impact across the group.  This includes staff retention, increasing self confidence, maximising opportunities for personal development and further enhancing the quality of customer care.  Moreover, the scheme has provided a clear career path for those who commence at Level 2, with approximately 16 gaining a supervisory position following graduation.”

Macdonald Hotels & Resorts, named 2012/2013 AA Eco Hotel Group of the Year recently, employs over 4,400 staff within its UK-wide portfolio of over 40 hotels and resorts.

Well done to all the winners

Back row – left to right

Marie Pollock – Training Manager Macdonald Hotels & Resorts

Cameron Dale – Macdonald Cardrona (Peebles)

Simon Redmond – Macdonald Rusacks Hotel (St Andrews)

Mhairi Mackenzie – Macdonald Inchyra Hotel (by Polmont)

Jillian Aitken – Macdonald Inchyra Hotel (by Polmont)

Justyna Liszege – Macdonald Houstoun House Hotel (by Uphall, West Lothian)

Nicola Lyon – Macdonald Crutherland (East Kilbride)

Michael Leslie – Swan Hotel (Grasmere)

Peter Hudson – Macdonald Houstoun House Hotel (East Kilbride)

Michael Donaldson – Macdonald Aviemore Resort

Darrell Parker – Macdonald Aviemore Resort

Istvan Pilhofer – Macdonald Aviemore Resort

Michael Mackay – New Drumossie Hotel (Inverness)

Anna Zarins – New Drumossie Hotel (Inverness)

Sarah Stewart – New Drumossie Hotel (Inverness)

Azalea Rae – New Drumossie Hotel (Inverness)

Graeme McCaul – Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa (North Berwick)

Steven Renton – Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa (North Berwick)

Kirsty Hunter – Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa (North Berwick)

Jodie Graham – Macdonald Holyrood Hotel (Edinburgh)

David Guile – Chief Executive, Macdonald Hotels & Resorts


Front Row (left to right)

Carl Beckwith – Dalfaber (Aviemore)

Katie Whelan – Dalfaber (Aviemore)

Christina Denwette – Macdonald Rusacks Hotel (East Kilbride)

Grace O’Reilly – Macdonald Houstoun House Hotel (East Kilbride)

Carlene Miller – Macdonald Houstoun House Hotel (East Kilbride)

Gina MacPherson – Macdonald Aviemore Resort

Fiona Young – MA co-ordinator

Caroline Bellenger – HR Director, Macdonald Aviemore Resort

Gabriella Galova – Macdonald Aviemore Resort

Chrsitina Silva-Espinosa – Macdonald Aviemore Resort

Laura Telford – Macdonald Aviemore Resort

SZusanna Barta – Macdonald Aviemore Resort

June Sinclair – Dalfaber (Aviemore)

Fiona Knox – Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa (North Berwick)

Zoe Mackail – Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa (North Berwick)

Mojito’s @ Village Urban Resorts


Village Urban Resorts Logo

When  I think of the Village hotel I imagine business people visiting for overnight stays or fitness fanatics going to use the gym. For some reason I have always overlooked the fact that Village hotels also offer dining facilities.

I  recently visited Village Hotel Leeds south  and dined in their Victory pub and Kitchen. It was late afternoon and the restaurant had a pretty buzzing atmosphere with groups  of friends meeting for dinner and men in suits working on their laptops whilst dining.

We were seated in a comfy corner and mulled over the menu. There’s a good choice to select from and the usual pub favourites such as burgers, gammon  and meaty steaks.

We went to the bar to make our order of Deep fried whitebait ‘salt n shake’ (£4.95) and Prawn Cocktail (£6.75). Both arrived pretty quickly and were well presented on wooden  boards and the whitebait in a cute  little pot and smelling delicious. We got tucked  in and enjoyed it, the whitebait went down perfectly with some  vinegar and the prawn cocktail had a nice light Marie Rose  sauce  to accompany it. Moving on to our mains, we opted  for 7oz Rib Eye steak (£13.50) which was served  with fried egg and chips and then my guest  chose the Mac and Cheese (£6.95) from the pasta menu. The steak was cooked  perfectly and went down nicely, the portion size was pretty big but I still  managed to eat it all – you don’t get a figure like mine just watching food!

We thought  it would be rude not to get desserts, I chose Chocolate Brownies (£5.50) and was given the option to have whipped cream or ice-cream (I chose Ice-cream). When it arrived it was massive and as much as I tried I couldn’t get through the whole thing. It was nice but would have preferred it to be hot.

My guest  chose the Lemon meringue pie (£5.50). Considering her plate was empty I think it was a good end to the meal.

The staff were attentive but not over the top like some  places, they asked if we were happy with everything and offered to get anything else we might need. The whole experience was very relaxed and that was thanks  to the chilled out (but helpful) staff.

It’s certainly a place I would visit again for a chilled out Sunday  lunch or a meal one evening after work.

The Spa Town of Tunbridge Wells

Tunbridge Wells has been attracting visitors for over 400 years, thanks to it’s glowing reputation as a spa town, it proximity to London and the glorious Kent countryside which envelopes the area. At one point it was the playground of royalty and the aristocracy, rivalling Bath and Brighton as the place to see and be seen, and nowadays still has plenty on offer for those visiting the town. The history of the town is evident in the architecture, a wonderful mix of styles ranging from Regency villas to large Victorian villas and quaint clapboard cottages. The town offers a number of heritage walks, showing visitors around all the historic hotspots the town has to offer.

Tunbridge Wells is the only spa town in the South East of England, and is immensely proud of its rich heritage, with visitors still able to enjoy the spring water once enjoyed by Queen Anne, Queen Victoria, Samuel Pepys and Daniel Defoe over the last 400 years. The area is also a hotspot for those looking to stay and relax in a spa hotel. Tunbridge Wells offers a unique blend of relaxation, style and history and will continue to prove popular with those looking to spoil themselves and indulge in a bit of luxurious relaxation.

Marbella Gets Huge Investment

Marbella’s not an area that’s short of wealthy holidaymakers looking for a bit of luxury, but the town on Spain’s Costa del Sol is going to see massive investment from one of the areas most affluent visitors. Abdullad Ben Nassar Al-thani, Qatari sheik and recent purchaser of the nearby Malaga football club, has added his substantial wealth to the redevelopment of the La Bajadilla port to allow for and even bigger expansion which will accommodate the anchoring of large cruise ships. This will be a huge boost to the area economically to the area, and will realise one of Marbella’s longest held ambitions as a resort.

Catering mostly for the higher end traveller, Marbella and cruise passengers seem like the ideal match and the towns famous Puerto Banus luxury shopping district will hold a lot of interest for those looking for an expensive souvenir. The area offers an extensive range of luxury hotels and is a popular hangout for celebrities and the rich and famous, and is also a golf haven with several high end courses nearby. It seems this is set to continue well into the future following the investment from Qatar, and could end up being an even more exclusive resort than it already is.

Tallinn – Euro Capital of Culture 2011

Tallinn is the capital and largest city in Estonia. It is situated on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland, in north-western Estonia. The city has a population of over 400,000 people.

This year, Tallinn has been chosen as one of the European Capital of Culture cities. Every year, cities are chosen to host a range of cultural events which allows the city to draw many new visitors and allows it to showcase all it has to offer.

Tallinn is a mixture of both old and new towns. The old town was built up in the 13th century and is one of city’s biggest tourist draws. Twisty cobblestone lanes with old style iron street lamps lead you around past gothic designed buildings and medieval churches, surrounded by a city wall, still with guard towers. Here you can find such tourist spots as the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and St. Catherine’s Passage.

In the more modern part of Tallinn, Freedom Square, the Kumu Art Museum and Rotermann Quarter can be found. The Rotermman Quarter used to be an old industrial complex but has under gone extensive renovation to help bring Tallinn into the 21st century. The area now has its own trendy shopping centre and plays host to many cultural festivals throughout the year.