They say the journey is always better than the destination, I’m not so sure, sometimes they have equal billing. On a recent trip up north, I pondered this and other nuggets buried in my mind.
A train up to Edinburgh is always an adventure and I can’t help but be reminded of W. H. Auden and his atmospheric 1936 masterpiece Night Mail. As I trundled up the North-Eastern line the words appear in my head without me trying ‘…. This is the night mail crossing the border bringing the cheque and the postal order’. The GPO film for which it was written is a classic reminder of a first-class job still done today by postal staff sorting mail through the night.
I was travelling to Edinburgh’s Picardy Place to check out another first-class addition to the bar scene, Wine House Hotel 1821. Created by the renowned Scottish restaurateur Sep Marini and Italian wine legends Zonin1821, it is housed in a superb Georgian terraced building, offering just four boutique styled rooms. There’s a large first floor multi use space, which is ideal for parties and events (I dined there on my visit). The basement offers a snug bar with nightclub vibes and is home to a vibrant cocktail emporium.
The main event is undoubtedly the ground level walk in bar with wine library. Yes, you read that correctly a wine library, which offers a place for contemplation, relaxation and books. In fact there are plans, as it develops to have book recommendations for the wine you choose. It’s a super stylish space designed by world-renowned architect Claudio Silvestrin with careful use of wood and a very natty long table with built in wine cooling system.
With over two centuries of experience and nine highly regarded estates in Italy the wine speaks for itself. You can arrange tastings, tutorials and here’s a smart idea from long ago you can buy wine over the counter as well as drinking it on the premises.
Auden’s words still ring true ‘ … Letters of thanks, letters from banks, letters of joy from girl and boy, receipted bills and invitations to inspect new stock or to visit relations, and applications for situations, and timid lovers’ declarations’. I think the above will apply to Wine House Hotel 1821, so best book that ticket to ‘crossing the border’ as soon as you can to this wine lovers utopia.
The Wine House Hotel 1821, 4 Picardy Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3JT, Scotland
Tel: +44 (0)131 557 1821
The hotel is located in Greenside and is just 0.3 miles from Edinburgh Waverley Railway Station, which is less than a 10-minute walk away.
Type of Hotel: Boutique Hotel
Number of Rooms: 4 boutique styled rooms
Insider Tip: Park yourself just outside the library in the corner banquette, it’s the comfiest seat and you can always catch the bar staff’s eye when you need to.
Price Band: Mid-priced with rooms starting from £150 per night.
Reviewer’s Rating: 7/10
Neil Hennessy-Vass is Contributing Editor for Our Man On The Ground as well as a widely-published globetrotting food and travel writer and photographer.
Photographs by Neil Hennessy-Vass