I’m a big fan of Oprah Winfrey and I’m not alone. Every week, nearly fifty million people tune in to hear her well-chosen words of wisdom, celebrities clamour to be granted an interview with Her Majesty, and her power is so great that Oprah is thought to have been the direct cause of around a million voters swinging in Barack Obama’s direction at the last election. So when I found out that America’s most influential woman had been spotted recently in Edinburgh I just had to find out why this grande dame had chosen Scotland’s capital as her destination of choice.
American Royalty – Oprah with the Obamas
Despite Edinburgh’s one hundred and ninety-one days of rain a year it really is a great place for a bit of stargazing. This year alone, Edinburgh’s cobbled streets have welcomed VIP guests from the Pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI to the pop star, Lady Gaga.
Positively crackling with culture and heaving with history this splendid city has long been the realm of sovereigns, intellectual heavyweights, and leaders of finance but with the ever-growing summer Fringe Festival and the recent explosion of über-cool bars,clubs, restaurants and hotels Edinburgh has now become a hot weekend haunt for PYTs and fashionistas too.
Apparently, Oprah swooped in to the Athens of the North to interview another self-made billionaire and fellow wonder woman, J.K. Rowling. The story goes that two of the world’s richest self-made women took tea in room 652 of the elegant Edinburgh Balmoral Hotel – now dubbed the “Harry Potter Suite” as it’s where Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Much as I would have loved to, I didn’t manage to stay at the beautiful Balmoral but I did take the time to pop by and sample their amazing award-winning afternoon tea, as enjoyed by the billionaires. Oprah was otherwise engaged so I promised my darling husband some “afternoon delight” if he would be my escort me for a day of old school glamour.
Initially he wasn’t half as excited as I was at the prospect of teeny tiny sandwiches and flouncy cakes but after taking
one step through the Balmoral’s majestic revolving door, complete with kilted footman, he was assured that even if the food was dainty the atmosphere was certainly going to be grand.
The opulent Palm Court is just gorgeous, the high-ceilings and harp music evoking a lovely atmosphere of time-honoured allure. We soon settled into a discreet and cosy booth for an A-list afternoon indulging in two of my favourite things – champagne and cakes! The cute crustless sandwiches were divine and the cakes, especially the Heather
Honey Scones, had me in raptures. I can totally understand why J.K. decided to stay for here for months – I would never leave if I had the promised of these heaven-sent scones every day!
The Balmoral Hotel has pretty much everything that you would expect from an iconic Edwardian hotel. A Michelin starred restaurant (Number One), a great cocktail bar (The Balmoral) – try the Wild Rose, a delectable mix of rose and strawberry infused vodka with orange and cranberry. It also has an acclaimed spa on site and a regular sprinkling of stardust from its celebrity guests.
The Balmoral’s prime city centre location also means that there is a vast array of great girlie shopping literally on its doorstep – America Ferrera was spotted dress shopping at the Totty Rocks Boutique earlier this year and Oprah Winfrey is apparently a big fan of Scotland’s cosy cashmeres and warm wintry knits
Hide our cake-filled tummy and keep out the chilly Scottish winds with this beautiful Alexander McQueen Chunky Knit Fur Cardigan.