The weather outside was horrendous. It was raining the kind of rain that gets you wet right through and feels like the clouds are touching the ground, suffocating you. Whilst the date said it was Spring, the weather said otherwise. But strangely enough, the fog and rain suited our trip to Fingal Edinburgh perfectly.
We arrived around 3pm; the wind howling and rain lashing against us and stepped inside to… quiet, peace, calm, luxury. For one night, we would be able to escape the madness of outside and experience our own little adventure on a floating hotel.
The staff welcome was as warm as the stunning reception area. We were shown to our cabin and told the story of our room, the ship and the inspiration behind the decor.
For those of you not lucky enough to know Fingal yet, it is located at Alexandra Dock by the Shore. She spent her life in Oban and Orkney as part of the Northern Lighthouse Board, ferrying workers and supplies to some of the remotest parts of our country.
As a result, the inspiration behind Fingal’s decor is very much lighthouse based – albeit far more luxurious than the poor workers would have experienced in their time. Every lighthouse that features was built by Robert Stevenson, grandfather of his more famous namesake. Our own room, Lismore, featured artwork and beautiful map artistry on the walls.
During her working life, the ship faced stormy seas, rough treatment and far less glamorous circumstances that she is now accustomed to. Her £5 million transformation includes luxury heated flooring, walk in showers, enveloping beds, Gatsby-style bar and restaurant and a stunning events ballroom.
Indeed, our Classic Cabin’s decor had no expense spared. It comfortably fitted two, with a desk area, huge bed, exquisite wardrobe, bar and plenty storage options which most hotels always fail to consider. Above the bed was a subtle soft and up-lit suede roof complete with a compass pointing accurately due north.
The bathroom too presented these subtle luxuries; toiletries (full sized) from Noble Isle, coupled with a heated tiled floor and beautiful sink area was possibly my favourite part of the experience. Stepping into the shower was heaven. (As a result, there are no photos – it is better, I think, to keep the best bits private).
Of course, there are varying sizes of cabin; from a larger luxury version all the way to expansive luxury duplexes and the Skerryvore Suite. These range up to £1,500 a night.
As we are rarely out in Leith without the car, we ventured tentatively back out in the howling wind and rain to have dinner at one of the many nearby restaurants, The Compass. I have to say the food, wine and atmosphere did not disappoint and I would highly recommend this cosy restaurant, complete with fire, to anyone. It won’t be long before we return.
However, the lure of Fingal pulled us right back in post-dinner and we spent our evening with our wine in the bar area.
There is no doubt that the ship feels incredibly expensive. Everything is gold and shiny and textured. The attention to detail everywhere you look is so impressive. Whilst there are a few things that still need a slight touch of love, Fingal is a true beauty.
It is important to note that you can book to have drinks and food without being a guest of the hotel. It might be for that reason we felt the story of the ship didn’t fully translate through to the bar. Everything was clean and crisp but the boats history and character was missing somewhat. However, the vibe was very Gatsby and I can think of no nicer way to spend a Saturday evening. They also offer afternoon tea, which I can only imagine to be incredibly special.
We spent the loveliest of evenings both here and in the cabin. I can say the bed surpasses The Old Course – once I collapsed into the soft duvet and pillows I never wanted to leave.
But having seen a glimpse of the Fingal Edinburgh breakfast from the Blu Blazer Guy, I knew we were in for a treat so I eventually pulled myself up and out to eat. As expected, the range and quality of food was fantastic. Phil opted for the full breakfast whilst I went for the large buffet selection: cold meats, cheese, pastries… it was perfect.
The time came too quickly that we had to depart. We said our goodbyes and stepped outside. That bitter blast of wind that hit me as we were arriving gave me a right good slap as I left. It was time to get back to the real world; leave the glamour and warmth of our floating hotel and arrive back on land with a thump.
The wind hitting us helped me to sum up what Fingal Edinburgh really is. It is an escape from normality, from the weather, from life. A chance for peace, quiet and calm. No matter who you are or where you are from, you step on board and feel you could be anywhere in the world. For that reason, and many more, we will return to our little floating escape in Edinburgh.
Fancy another escape?