What do you do when you land early in Edinburgh and can't check in to your airbnb until mid afternoon?
After months of planning, my good friend and I had decided to each take 1 of our young adults to The Fringe Festival. It was everyone's first time to the Fringe and only one of us had been to Scotland before.. and that was 35 years ago.
No one slept on the plane from Chicago to Edinburgh. We had bought tickets for plays, acrobatic shows, stand up comedies and a full on concert. We had booked an airbnb 6 months before in walking distance of most of the Fringe venues and we were, to say the least, wound up.
We arrived at 6:00 a.m. The older adults were tired, the young 20 somethings were dragging and gloomy. Our cab driver, who earlier had decided to take us to a restaurant that he said would be "a good place to perk up", all of a sudden perked up himself and said, "Why don't you go to a really upmarket hotel and see if they will take your luggage for a small fee and have breakfast there! You can get your bearings and walk around a bit afterwords." This seemed brilliant and we were dropped in front of The Glass House Hotel, about a 9 minute walk from our "home" for the next 2 weeks.
I went right up to the manager and boldly made our proposal. He said, “Oh no, we don't do that.” At this point the surly millennials wandered in behind us. I am not sure if it was their height, she is 6' and he is 6' 4”, or the fact that I may have mentioned something like "They are on a photo shoot." (I can't believe I still do that sort of stuff. ) whatever, the manager changed course, and said “ Follow me.” The bellman took our bags and we followed. He steered us through to a small but elegant breakfast room where a full on Scottish breakfast was laid out including all sorts of really cool smoked fish such as kippers and haddock, plus porridge, fruit and delicious real french buttery croissants. After seating us he spoke only one word which I love hearing in Europe, “Please”, and pointed to the buffet. Afterwords, we were asked if we wanted to tour the Hotel. We accepted and found ourselves in a lovely garden with statues and lots of gorgeous green everywhere. Then, he took us to a back living room area that had comfy couches with tartan pillows on them surrounding the warmest and most inviting indoor fire pit I had ever seen. Within minutes, each of us had claimed our sofa and were asleep.
Eventually, we had to leave this oasis and check in to our more meager Airbnb. We collected our bags only to find out that he, the manager, Mr. Gibson, would not allow us to pay for breakfast. Wow. Please imagine what young people this size can eat! What a way to start a trip! Thank you, Mr. Tom Gibson for what was a much needed dose of genuine Scottish warmth and hospitality!
P.S. We did not know it at the time, but The Glass House Hotel hotel is a 5 star luxury hotel in the top category in all the guide books. But, it is in the best category in my book. And not just because they welcomed us to Edinburgh with style and graciousness, but because the hotel itself had a wonderful and rare combination of being pared down, clean and glamorous, and yet, it was also homey, with well thought out special places that had Scottish Tartan pillows and indoor fireplaces and.... actually a big glass house that made you get dreamy just thinking about all the happy occasions it would hold in the coming seasons. Sigh.