Macdonald Marine Hotel and Spa, North Berwick

As a resident of Edinburgh, I rarely have a reason to leave the city.  Everything I need is at my doorstep: beautiful views, exciting culture and great pubs.

I’m lucky enough to have one of my older brothers, John, living in the same city as me.  My brothers and I are often mistaken for girls, due to our (some might say feminine) Swedish good looks.  We’re not actually Swedish and all grew up in Macclesfield, so I think our mum has some explaining to do.

Anyway, John is a man who not only shares my feminine characteristics, but also shares my passion for Edinburgh.

One weekend in early November, we realised we’d spent most of 2017 in Edinburgh and it was getting a bit silly.  We therefore decided it’s time for a holiday, let’s just do it.

We pondered over Barbados, Majorca and Thailand, but in the end, we decided to be adventurous and go to North Berwick.

North Berwick is one of those places that people always say, “Oh it’s a lovely part of the world, you must visit”.  These people are not wrong. It’s a lovely part of the world.

Macdonald Marine Hotel Bedroom

The grand white steps leading to North Berwick’s Macdonald Hotel echo the final scene of ‘Layer Cake’.  But luckily no one’s being shot by a skinny drug addict.  That would be a rather sour start to our holiday.

We have a quick welcome dram of local whisky and are shown to our room.  The hotel is huge.  Think ‘The Shining’, but a jolly remake with a happy ending.  John, picking up on a similar vibe leaps out of the large bathroom shouting “Here’s Johnny!” which scares the living daylights out of me.  Jokes aside, it’s a truly charming hotel.

We head out for the night and take a stroll across the lovely long beach.  We soon realise it’s actually pretty weird for two brothers to have a midnight beach walk and quickly head to the closest pub before we’re arrested.

The pubs in North Berwick are very close together which is great as we’re on double whiskies.  The locals are friendly to us city boys and happy to listen to us (me) talk rubbish for 30 minutes.

We head back for a nightcap in the grand hotel bar and chat to the staff.  Again, very friendly and happy to listen to us (John this time) talk rubbish for 30 minutes.  He’d had a few double whiskies by that point.

We call it a night and hit the hay, contemplating what our view might be in the morning.

Macdonald Marine Hotel Bathroom

We wake up at 7:00 a.m. and I deliver a swift People’s Elbow (anyone with brothers will understand this term) to John, before catching our first glimpse of the captivating North Sea.

Heading down for a very refreshing breakfast, we look out over some gorgeous scenery, a lovely looking golf course in front of the Scottish ocean shimmering in the sunshine.

The hotel really is situated in a stunning location. Something the chap behind us decides to tell his wife, “This is view porn, eh?”

Offered another whisky (they know us by now) by the charming staff, we check out and head back to the city.

Looking back, North Berwick has beautiful views and great pubs, with my brother and I providing the culture, so we’ve decided to put a deposit down on a house…

…only joking.

We wouldn’t stay anywhere else but The Macdonald Marine Hotel and Spa.

The Details

Macdonald Marine Hotel and Spa, North Berwick, Cromwell Road, North Berwick, East Lothian, EH39 4LZ, Scotland

Tel: +44 (0)1620 8977300 / Local: 0344 879 9130


The hotel is situated on the East Coast of Scotland and is only 30 minutes outside Edinburgh. It’s a 50-minute drive from Edinburgh Airport and just 0.4 miles from Berwick Train Station. It is also close to West Links Golf Course.

Type of Hotel: 4-Star Hotel

Number of Rooms: 83 individually styled rooms including complimentary Wi-Fi and an award-winning thermal spa

Insider Tip: Be sure to take in the view with a stroll across the lovely long beach in front of the hotel.

Price Band: Medium

Reviewer’s Rating: 9/10

Author Bio:

Tim Harfield is a PR Manager, male model and freelance journalist based in Edinburgh.

Photographs courtesy of Macdonald Marine Hotel and Spa

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