On seven trips to Scotland spanning nearly five months of time, I’ve completely missed Scotland’s third largest city, Aberdeen, the “Silver City,” save for two paltry nights. This situation is largely a result of Aberdeen’s geographical position in the far northeast of the country, an area that I typically skip as I round the corner westward toward Speyside. Come to think of it, a city focus is largely missing here on Traveling Savage – excluding Edinburgh; in addition to Aberdeen, what about Dundee? Perth? Inverness? More Glasgow? The road goes ever on and I’ll be sure to keep this in mind for future trips, but allow me to rectify this void, at least slightly, with today’s post.
My second trip to Scotland last year kicked off with a week-long celebration in Shetland at their world-renowned folk festival. Before the long, dark ferry journey into the North Sea, however, I spent a sunny day rambling around Aberdeen and a night relaxing at The Skene House Rosemount. When it comes to international travel, few things are more important than that first night. You’re tired of waiting in lines, getting discombobulated and recombobulated, and slogging through transportation connections while severely hungry, thirsty, and jet lagged.
This trip began with a long bus ride to Chicago followed by a trans-Atlantic flight with a layover in Dublin, and a train ride from Glasgow to Aberdeen. By the time I found The Skene House, after what seemed like miles wandering around downtown Aberdeen with my luggage, I was working out the best way to create a smoke signal in the middle of the city. The Skene House has three locations around Aberdeen, and their suites are luxury serviced apartments with hotel services and facilities. It’s a nice combo.
After checking in, I was led outside and across the street to what looked like a sturdy old church – the architecture of Aberdeen is uniformly silver granite and very easy on the eyes. This building had been converted into luxury suites, and I made my way downstairs to my room. The layout was modern and somehow natural light poured into the lower levels. My room wasn’t a room at all – it was a modern apartment with a full kitchen and lofted bedroom.
The main room and kitchen composed a bright, single space with comfortable hotel-like furniture. Just off the kitchen hid a nice bathroom with slate-wall shower and spotless porcelain fixtures. Nothing beats a good shower after a long day of travel, and I was ready to hit the streets of Aberdeen with renewed vigor after making myself at home. A flat-screen TV was mounted on the wall above a desk area conveniently loaded with plugs, outlets, and adapters. It was the best workspace I encountered on my trip.
A cool, spiral staircase led upstairs to my eyrie bedroom. This loft really made the place feel huge, and I caught myself lamenting my one-night stay within minutes of having arrived. That’s usually a good indicator of the comfort level of the accommodation.
I always forget how bad jet lag can be coming to Europe from the USA. My trip to Scotland last March killed me with jet lag for the first few days. This trip? Not even an extra yawn, and I thank the bed at The Skene House for this. I slept like a baby – one that sleeps straight through the night – and woke up without an ounce of jet lag. Since The Skene House offers traditional hotel amenities, I was able to enjoy a continental breakfast rather than needing to make my own in the room. The cold spread was a feast that kept me going until dinner on the ferry.
I didn’t have a chance to settle in at The Skene House with only night, but it’s easy to see how it could be an ideal base for an extended stay in Aberdeen. The location of the Rosemount just northwest of the port is ideal for walking the city and stopping in its many beautiful green spaces. Most important of all – for me, at least – is that it was homey and comfortable, and it took the edge off a very long day of travel and the lonely prospect of five weeks on the road.
Skene House Rosemount provided me with a reduced rate for my stay. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.