Steph Boyle heads to the capital for a luxurious stay at the capital’s most iconic five-star wedding venue
I remember the first time I set foot in the Balmoral. It must’ve been eight years ago. My boyfriend (now my husband) and I had booked a stay and dinner as a treat for our anniversary. I’ll never forget how special we felt from the moment we started up the steps that take you into the grand and beautiful lobby. Every detail was outstanding, from the floral displays to the staff uniforms. I’ve always associated the hotel with luxury and perfection, so when I returned late last year, I knew I was in for a real treat.
Couples who choose the Balmoral for their wedding no doubt experience the same feelings of awe as I did when they visit for the first time. You might think a hotel of this size and stature is only for huge weddings, but you’d be wrong. Parties of two will feel just as comfortable and looked-after as full-scale events of up to 250 guests. That’s because the hotel has so many gorgeous nooks and crannies to celebrate in, as well as larger suites such as the Sir Walter Scott and the Holyrood.
Sir Walter Scott is the hotel’s largest event space, and has spectacular panoramic views of the city’s best landmarks from its tall windows. It mirrors the elegance of the rest of the Balmoral, with columns and corniced ceilings – it’s a room fit for royalty.
It really is the detail that makes the hotel so very special, and with the help of a dedicated wedding planner, you’ll be able to select everything right down to the very smallest touches. If you’ve always dreamt of a red-carpet arrival, consider it done! Is there a specific cocktail or dish that you want on your menu? No problem! Chef Kevin Sutherland and his team are at your service. The Balmoral takes particular pride in its food and drink, which is far beyond your usual wedding fare. Think Orkney scallops to start; slow-roasted rump of beef with wild mushrooms to follow; and caramel tart with muscovado cream to finish. You can expect the same high-quality cooking and service whether you’re catering for a handful of people or a ton of guests, each dish beautifully crafted by an expert team.
It’s no surprise that stunning photo ops are easy to come by too. As always, the staff are on hand to ensure your day runs smoothly, and can escort you to the rooftops for spectacular shots over the city.
A completely bespoke day is no problem for the team here but packages are also available if you’d prefer a little guidance. The Royal package includes canapés, wine, the wedding meal, menus, place cards and a seating plan, as well as Chiavari chairs and floral arrangements as standard. It has some other treats in store too, such as an overnight stay in the Castle View suite for the happy couple, plus a champagne breakfast – expect to be starting married life in a state of total bliss.
Any guests who book in for the night will be completely spoilt too. I stayed in one of the Executive View rooms and can tell you from personal experience that you feel soothed as soon as you walk through the door. The furnishings and colour palettes manage to be both traditional and modern, vibrant and serene. The bed is the most comfortable I’ve ever slept in, and ordering dessert and hot chocolate to enjoy in my robe really was a lovely thing to do. The Balmoral is, and will always be, the mark of true Scottish luxury.
If getting married at one of Scotland’s most luxurious, award-winning hotels is on your wish list, the Balmoral has all you could ask for
The numbers As mentioned, the hotel can accommodate any size of wedding up to 250 guests. With ten suites to choose from, and further options elsewhere in the hotel areas, you’ll find the right space for you.
The packages The bespoke route is encouraged to really put your own stamp on your day, but there are a couple of excellent packages too. The Royal package starts at £170 per head, while the Crown package comes in at £295. Each includes almost everything you need for a perfect day, although the latter does give you exclusivity, meaning no other wedding can take place at the same time. Speak to the wedding team to find out more.
The accommodation With 167 bedrooms and 20 luxurious suites, your guests can all stay before and after the big day, soaking up the hospitality of this wonderful hotel. They can also enjoy the Rocco Forte Wellness experience; a spa, pool and gym await.
The food and drink If you and your other half are foodies, you couldn’t do much better than the Balmoral. Not only are the wedding menus extensive and delicious, but the hotel also boasts a French brasserie, a contemporary Scottish restaurant and the Palm Court, where an award-winning afternoon tea is served. You could even host a pre-wedding dinner or post-wedding brunch in one of these spaces.
Did you know? The hotel has its own poet-in-residence. Marcas Mac an Tuairneir is one of Scotland’s finest Gaelic poets.