When it came time to book a hotel for Edinburgh Marathon weekend, we checked out hotels in the Edinburgh city centre and they are all nice, but the ones we were most interested in were completely booked. (We have previously stayed at the Apex in the Grassmarket, which I would recommend for a clean, well located, and reasonably-priced option.) Ultimately though, we decided to stay outside of Edinburgh and we were both really happy with that decision this past weekend.
We had to go into Edinburgh when we arrived on Saturday afternoon to pick up the Brit’s running vest (he ran for MacMillan and has raised over £1000!). Our original plans included spending some time walking around the city we love so much (we really do!), but after 4 hours in the car, we were ready to be at the hotel and for some relaxation.
So, we headed out to North Berwick, which is about 30 miles to the east of Edinburgh and is located right on the sea. We chose to take the coastal trail drive out to North Berwick and it was absolutely beautiful with the sun shining the entire way. We were booked in at the MacDonald Marine Hotel. And, when we arrived, we got to chatting with the front desk attendant who was running the half marathon on Sunday. He had run the full marathon before, so he gave us some pointers about the course. I’m quite sure he really enjoyed speaking with us because when we got to our room we had definitely been upgraded. I know for certain that I booked us into a standard double room (and the price we paid reflected that booking), but we walked into a suite that was larger than the downstairs of our house — king size bed in a bedroom with double doors, a full sitting and living room, and a massive bathroom! Regardless, we enjoyed every moment of that suite (and the Brit made sure to watch his share of the England cricket match on the satellite telly)!
We walked into North Berwick along the golf course and ended up on the beach that was full of people enjoying the British summertime. It was so nice to soak up the sun and the fresh sea air. It was the perfect temperature for shorts, so I couldn’t help to chuckle at the little kids running in and out of the freezing sea water in their bathing suits. It was just the perfect afternoon to be on the beach.
One of the great perks of this hotel was the pool and indoor/outdoor jacuzzi, so when we got back from our walk (and enjoying some delicious ice cream from a nice Scottish man who once lived in northern Pennsylvania), we took full advantage of the jacuzzi and pool. It had been such a long time since we both had a chance to relax like that together. It was just so nice.
The hotel has a fine dining restaurant called John Paul at the Marine and also the option of ordering food in their bar area. On Saturday night, the Brit was in the mood for fish so we decided to book in at John Paul at the Marine. The food was very good. The Brit had a salmon and lobster ravioli for his starter and turbot for his main while I enjoyed the monkfish cheeks for my starter and the basil gnocchi for my main. We were both tempted by the desserts and normally we would order two separate things, but the apple and rhubarb crumble with ginger ice cream appealed to both of us so we each ordered our own. (We are not so good at sharing when it comes to dessert.) So delicious. We do ‘carb loading’ in our own special way…haha!
We booked the ‘bed and breakfast’ rate, so we had breakfast in the morning before heading into Edinburgh. They had a nice breakfast buffet with cold and hot food, but my stomach is touchy when I run so I couldn’t eat much off the hot buffet. I had four pieces of toast with jam, a banana, and a sausage — breakfast of champions!
After the marathon, it was so perfect to come back to more than just a small hotel room. We could spread out and lounge on the sofa in the living room while we watched television. For dinner on Sunday night, all we had on our minds was a massive hamburger with chips (chunky fries) and a few pints. Unfortunately, there was no burger on the bar menu at the hotel so we inquired at the front desk if they could recommend a place for a burger, and we were really happy when they said that anything on the room service menu could be ordered while seated in the bar. Oddly, there was a burger on the room service menu, so we were overjoyed not to have to walk far to get what we were craving.
Let me just say that these burgers were 21-day aged Scottish beef and absolutely amazingly delicious. Oh my. Also, it was the most expensive burger I’ve ever eaten at £14 (roughly $21), but we both agreed it was worth every penny (or shall we say, pence). I had two pints of cider and the Brit had two pints of lager during the meal. When we finished I had remembered seeing a little placard for their drink special that sounded delicious, so we ordered one to take to the room and share. It is now quite possibly my favorite drink — a cucumber collins with elderflower juice. Wow. So, so good. Both of us enjoy our gin and tonics, so I figured this would be something we enjoyed and it definitely was. I definitely plan to learn how to make this drink!
I’m pretty sure the drink after the 26.2 miles helped us both to fall asleep before 9:30 PM and bring to a close what was truthfully a great weekend. Despite running the marathon, both of us said multiple times how relaxed we felt, and I’m so glad we had a chance to get away for a few days.