Rarely does the perfect balance of demand and opportunity present itself; but when it does, and that opportunity involves a property as perfectly apt as The Panoramic Penthouse Apartment, all is right with the world.
Invited by Canadian travel publication; Drift Magazine, to write an article based around the vast and often turbulent history of Edinburgh’s Old Town, I was delighted to comply. A city I have known and loved for many years, it would be my pleasure to delve deeper into it’s colourful past and find out exactly what has moulded the architecturally beautiful place that the Scottish capital is today. (more to follow on this soon)
For the purpose of this article, the selection of The Penthouse Apartment, presented by The Edinburgh Address, was a considered choice; with it’s positioning in the heart of the Old Town; a stunning, modern structure climbing high above the city from the site of the old Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. A true phoenix rising from the ashes, The Penthouse now forms part of the cosmopolitan community of similar properties, offices, a hotel, bars, restaurants and a gym, collectively known as Quartermile.
The Quartermile is a prestigious, award winning development, boasting some of the most expensive and desirable real estate in Edinburgh. In an unrivalled location within the city’s world heritage site, The Penthouse is located on the top 3 floors of this glass fronted modern building, which is sympathetically set amongst the historic architecture of the late 1800’s.
Having stayed with The Edinburgh Address before, I was familiar with their personal meet and greet and happy to meet Karen and accept her expert guidance to the secure, underground parking space (the apartment has two). Their face-to-face service is exceptional, unique and not reliant on a rather impersonal key code system, favoured by some of their contemporaries. It is refreshing and necessary to be introduced to the property, which is quite often privately owned, by a reliably informed representative, as questions are typically numerous.
Seven floors above ground level, The Penthouse Apartment not only offers privacy and seclusion from the vibrant city below, but the most amazing views of the entire Edinburgh skyline and beyond. Floor to ceiling windows on all sides; some double floor height; frame Edinburgh’s landmarks perfectly; The Meadows, Arthur’s Seat and a view down the east coast on one side; the stunning Edinburgh Castle on the other. A bird’s eye perspective on the capital, a private lookout, yet cleverly designed, so as not to be a reciprocate benefit! Four levels of progressively impressive views, with the pinnacle from the rooftop, home to a spacious hot tub and a scene, I would challenge you could better…anywhere.
So distracting is the impact of the outdoor vista; the sleek design features of the luxurious interior, provide a mere, secondary powerful punch. Four floors of expansive, ultra-modern and stylish living space offer everything anyone could wish from a self-contained stay in the city.
Entry level is dedicated primarily to sleeping quarters – a term which should be read very loosely. The master suite with a wall of windows, needs no further adornment; simplicity, light and hi-tech gadgets, however, add to the indulgent picture, coupled with an impressive bathroom suite complete with his and her vanity and a decadent designer bath, finished with the same picture-perfect view. As an added note, the two, expansive walk-in wardrobes of the master suite made me thankful, for once, that I know not, how to pack light!
The rooms pay homage to the history of the site on which the Penthouse stands; the old ERI, yes, but also Simpsons Maternity Hospital; their names heart-warmingly memorializing that very fact.
A further suite at the opposite end of the building is equally impressive and a cosier, more intimate double sits next to the perfect children’s play bedroom, on the same level. Climbing ropes, a slide and endless, interesting accessories make up this haven for the little ones, with a unique and exciting bed compilation, which shall, no doubt, keep them occupied for hours!
Children are superbly catered for within the Penthouse, making this an ideal family retreat; cots, buggies, special seating and innumerable toys are all available, lessening the need to travel with everything but the kitchen sink and also a comfort, should something be left behind.
Level two; probably my favourite; opens up to an open-plan, relaxed day space, incorporating a stylised kitchen, walk-through dining area; large enough to seat ten comfortably; and a light and relaxed lounging and TV area, which I was to enjoy more of, later. Untypical of a property of this type, the outdoor decked gardens on all levels, are luxuriously vast, with multiple seating and eating options, lavender and alpine strawberry beds and a barbecue for authentic al-fresco cooking.
A sadly short stay, didn’t allow as much time to bask in the many delights of the Penthouse as I would have loved; enough however to familiarize myself with some of the modish gadgets. Lighting and media, for example are all controlled from central panels, as are the master room’s window blinds, from a convenient remote control next to the bed. Typically baffled by coffee machines, a built-in version was thankfully simple to use in the designer kitchen and ready stocked with fresh beans.
Settling down with my laptop (champagne chilling in the chiller), I found the view far too distracting to focus on any worthwhile work. A slightly voyeuristic eye on the world, I instead, got lost in thought as I watched office life unfold within the surrounding glass buildings.
In the real world, a dinner date in the city beckoned but a mental note was made to hasten back to my penthouse aerie, where I knew that the best sunset was likely waiting.
Deciding where to sit offered the biggest dilemma of the evening, literally spoiled for choice as to which outlook offered the best view. I was soon comfortably ensconced on the Roche Bobois sofa and perhaps unsurprisingly not drawn by the 3D TV nor the array of mezzanine level entertainment. The unfiltered view in front of me offered all the entertainment I would want; gratis therapy for the mind and soul and the most wholly satisfying experience of my stay. When you enjoy something as much, you leave a little bit of you behind; and that I did, when I was to reluctantly leave the following morning; a bit of my heart remained at Quartermile.
To know that this building has grown from something, which was a large and important part of Edinburgh’s history is edifying and to stay here, if only for one night; was an experience which has been added to the long list of things that make me even more proud to call Edinburgh my second home.