New Year, New Resolutions

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The Christmas decorations are slowly being returned to their dusty homes; the fridge is no longer the keeper of an army’s supply of festive foods and the radios have ceased playing the iconic Christmas classics because as much as we would love for it to be Christmas every day, sadly that is not the case. Christmas Day and New Year’s Day have come and gone with their abundance of good food, good company and good times and this of course means it is that sorrowful point of the year where all the goodwill and celebrations have ceased and we have to return desolately to our desks. However, while January can be a tough slog, what with the cold weather and the Christmas bills still cowering in our wallets, nevertheless it is still a brand new start meaning all kinds of potential lie ahead. Whatever adversity or struggles you faced in 2016, now you have a blank page upon which to write a whole new chapter and to start all over again.

Therefore, this is where New Year’s resolutions come into play because a new page means a new opportunity to change our ways. We have all heard of them and we will have all probably devised a few over the years with the best of intentions. However, it is irrefutable that while resolutions are fairly easy to come up with, they are a lot more difficult in practise. The reasoning is because normally resolutions are often related to cutting something out of lives, and that ‘something’ is normally a vice or indulgence – the things that bring us a lot of joy and pleasure, even though we know they are bad for us. Therefore, resolutions tend to pertain to goals like losing weight by cutting out bad food or to stop smoking. However, while the results of such resolutions are undoubtedly rewarding, it can be hard to get excited for the process as they require a lot of discipline. Therefore, how about balancing out your tougher resolutions with a goal that is fully rooted in fun, fulfilment and adventure with no discernible negatives? This goal will allow you to see things you may have never seen; to meet people you may have not otherwise met and to create memories that will last a lifetime. Guessed what it is yet? If not, we can only be talking about the New Year’s resolution of travelling of course!

Ok, so we know what you are thinking, travelling is expensive and normally resolutions can be associated with cutting costs. However, travelling really does not have to be all that costly when you consider staying a little closer to home and engaging in a staycation. So often people talk of wishing to travel more but this does not mean that you have to dig out your passport and fly somewhere exotic. Travelling can simply be visiting the hidden gems that are only a few hours away as even in our own hometowns, there are wonders that we will have not experienced. Sometimes the most enlightening thing we can do is experience our home town and home country through the eyes of a visitor because then we realise all the potential fun, history, beauty and culture there is to soak in which we often can otherwise ignore.

It is undeniable that most people wish they could travel more as everyone loves new experiences and to escape from their home for just a few days. However, we appreciate that time and money are both inhibiting factors that can get in the way of the dream.  Therefore, this is where a city-break staycation can come into play. You can get all the excitement and cultural enrichment at a fraction of the cost and potentially without even having to take time off work. With locations in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Glasgow, we have apartments in some of the UK’s biggest and best cities full of world-class dining, attractions and entertainment. People from all over the world flock to experience the heritage and beauty of such locations and so should we! This has been validated by the fact that Scotland made Rough Guide’s 2017 list for one of the Top 10 ‘Must See’ Destinations. Not only will you get to escape from your daily routine just for a few days but you will always get to experience something new. Do not believe us? Check out just some of the fun and excitement that lies ahead in our respective locations in the coming months:

Aberdeen

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Spectra Festival, Aberdeen

Festivals

Spectra – 9th Feb – 12th Feb 2017

Aberdeen Jazz Festival – 15th Mar – 19th Mar 2017

Look Again – 27th Apr – 1st May 2017

May Festival – 26th May – 28th  2017

Aberdeen International Youth Festival – July 2017

TechFest – 26th Aug – 25th Sep 2017

North East Open Studies – 9th – 17th Sep 2017

True North – September 2017

DanceLive – 12th – 28th Oct 2017

Sound – 26th Oct – 12th Nov 2017

For more details, visit https://aberdeenfestivals.com/ 

Birmingham

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Birmingham Weekender

Chinese New Year – 29th Jan 2017

Muller Indoor Grand Prix – 18th Feb 2017

Yonex All England Open Badminton Championships – 7th Mar – 12th Mar 2017

Birmingham Pride – 27th – 28th May 2017

ICC Champions Trophy – 1st Jun – 18th Jun 2017

Aegon Classic Birmingham – 17th Jun – 25th Jun 2017

Colmore Food Festival – 30th Jun – 1st Jun 2017

Dinosaurs in the Wild – 24th Jun – 24th Aug 2017

Birmingham Weekender – 22nd Sep – 24th Sep 2017

Birmingham Comedy Festival – 6th – 15th Oct 2017

Birmingham International Marathon – 15th Oct 2017

Edinburgh

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Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Six Nations Rugby – Feb – Mar 2017

Edinburgh International Science Festival – 1st Apr – 16th Apr 2017

Imaginate Festival – 27th May – 4th Jun 2017

Edinburgh International Film Festival – 21st Jun – 2nd Jul 2017

Edinburgh Jazz & Blue Festivals – 14th Jul – 23rd Jul 2017

Edinburgh Art Festival – 27th Jul – 27th Aug 2017

Edinburgh Festival Fringe – 4th Aug – 28th Aug 2017

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo – 4th Aug – 28th Aug 2017

Edinburgh International Festival – 4th Aug – 28th Aug 2017

Edinburgh International Book Festival – 12th Aug – 28th Aug 2017

Scottish International Storytelling Festival – 20th Oct – 31st Oct 2017

Glasgow

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Piping Live!

Celtic Connections – 19th Jan – 5th Feb 2017

The Glasgow Tattoo – 19th Jan – 21st Jan 2017

Cirque Berserk – 24th Jan – 29th Jan 2017

The Glasgow Film Festival – 15th Feb – 26th Feb 2017

Gin Festival Glasgow 2017 – 3rd Mar – 5th Mar 2017

Glasgow Book Festival – Mar 2017

International Comedy Festival – 9th Mar – 26th Mar 2017

Glasgow Science Festival: Glasgow Explores – 8th Jun – 18th Jun 2017

Summer Nights – 3rd Aug – 13th Aug 2017

Piping! Live – 7th Aug – 13th Aug 2017

Total BWF 2017 World Badminton Championships – 21st Aug– 27th Aug 2017

The Mackintosh Festival – 1st Oct – 31st Oct 2017

Have we managed to sell you on the resolution of travelling more in 2017? If so, we can further help cut the costs associated with travelling because with apartments that are capable of holding up to six persons but that are not charged per person; our serviced apartments are the perfect cost-effective alternative to hotels. This is particularly true when you consider how that as our apartments come complete with a fully-equipped kitchen and lounge, you can further cut down on the costs associated with dining out. Never tried a serviced apartment before? Well, it looks like you just found another new resolution! Book today at www.thespires.co.uk, email info@thespires.co.uk or phone 0345 270 0090.

Images
http://jaco.co/SPECTRA-Aberdeen-Festival-of-Light
https://www.visitengland.com/experience/free-events-in-september-birmingham-weekender
http://www.cntraveller.com/recommended/cities/edinburgh-festivals-guide
https://www.scotsmagazine.com/articles/things-cannae-miss-piping-live-2015/

 

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Your One Stop Serviced Apartment Shop

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If there is anything that we pride ourselves on about our apartments it is their ultra-convenient and central locations. However, if you believe bias to be clouding our judgement, check out these vibrant and quirky word clouds we compiled from Trip Advisor reviews which only attested to how all our guests also agree that we come top when it comes to location.

Our post codes only speak to this as with highly sought after locations on renowned UK streets including Edinburgh’s Hanover Street and on the doorstep of Birmingham’s ultra-exclusive retail paradise known as the Mailbox, we are clearly right in the hub of all the excitement and adventure that cosmopolitan Britain has to offer. However, while we do reside in some of the UK’s biggest and best cities including the glittering granite exterior of Aberdeen and the world renowned hospitality and friendly banter of Glasgow, we appreciate that maybe you want to explore horizons further afield. For instance, maybe you are feeling courageous and want to pay the infamous Loch Ness Monster a visit or perhaps the bright lights of the UK’s greatest metropolis and dear capital London is calling you. Wherever you like, whatever destination your heart desires, from Dundee to Manchester to Liverpool to Newcastle to Belfast, with ‘The Apartment Collection – By The Spires’ we can find the perfect serviced apartment accommodation for you. Wondering how? Let us explain.

While we would love to say that we have managed to grow overnight and launch brand new apartments in cities from the top to the bottom of the country, unfortunately that is a dream for another day. However, that has not stopped us from developing connections with serviced apartment providers all across the country and subsequently alongside the title of ‘serviced apartment operator’, we also would like to add ‘serviced apartment agent’ embossed on a gold name plaque. Consequently, no longer can we just provide you with the ultimate experience in serviced apartment accommodation when you stay directly with us, but we can also source you the best possible stay even when you are not staying with us. At The Spires we are all about delivering our guests with the best experience possible and this is something that we want to continue whether you are staying with us or not. Therefore, we will only source you accommodation with serviced apartment providers who we believe share the same values and ethos as us in relation to customer service. Consequently, we are taking the stress out of your hands in relation to scouring the internet to see if providers are really living up to their proclaimed reputation through those rigorous Trip Advisor checks. All you have to do is dial the magic telephone number to The Spires and you can put your feet up as we do all the sourcing work for you through our network which we have accumulated afters years in business.

Therefore, we really are a one-stop-shop when it comes to serviced apartment living. From offering up our own apartments to helping you find accommodation when we do not have apartments in the city locations you want to stay in, one call to The Spires will sort out all your accommodation enquiries. Whatever the destination, serviced apartments really are the perfect cost-effective alternative to traditional hotels as the flexibility, freedom, space and convenience they offer just cannot be rivalled – wherever you venture in the world! Therefore, whatever your travel circumstances, whether you are travelling for 1 night or 1 year,  whether you are travelling nationally or internationally or whether you are flying solo or as part of a family trip, we will be able to source you the best stay so you do not have to.

With the October holidays on the horizon (an ample opportunity to explore all the treasures that the world has to offer) it is the perfect time to consider visiting somewhere new. Therefore, make sure to visit our dedicated ‘The Apartment Collection – By The Spires’ website to get the inspiration rolling or if you already have a location in mind, phone us at 0345 270 0090 to get your holiday booked. Wherever and whenever, The Spires have your every travel need sorted.

http://www.theapartmentcollection.co.uk/

Who said No Pets Allowed?

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When you go on holiday there are so many logistics involved beyond where to go, with whom and when, you also have to consider the practicalities regarding your home in terms of ‘who should I leave the spare keys with?’ or ‘who is going to check our mail?’. Some of these practicalities are easy to organise however some require a little bit more thought, and even come at an expense. This is because it might not just be the house you are leaving behind, but also potentially your most loyal sidekick and family member – your pet. Whether you are going away for as little as one night or even for a more extended period, one of the most complex and guilt-ridden issues is ‘but what do we do with the pets?’. Organizing pet care is never easy and it is always likely to come at a high cost; particularly as you are undeniably going to want to leave your beloved furry pal in the most loving and safest of hands. While there is a rise in the number of exclusive, five-star pet only resorts where all furry residents are truly pampered from exercise classes to designated ‘cuddling sessions’, we present an alternative which may be slightly cheaper than those minimum $60 per night fees and which entails no separation whatsoever.

When it comes to traditional accommodation such as hotels, it is often not even an option to bring your pets with you – particularly your affable, bouncing pooch. This is particularly dangerous if you have to move away for a considerable long period of time such as if you are relocating because who wants to be without those warm furry hugs for so long? Therefore, options such as dog-sitters or a stay in a kennel rise to prominence although anyone with dogs knows the pain and guilt that is involved with leaving your pets behind in a foreign place with unfamiliar room-mates. However, at The Spires we are all about creating that home away from home feel, and nothing helps create that quite like inviting your beloved furry friends along with you because after all, dog is man’s best friend!

Consequently, that is why at our Aberdeen apartments we do not want to tear the family apart and subsequently offer the opportunity for you to bring your four-legged friends with you. While we do charge an additional non-refundable £100 surcharge for deep-cleaning purposes (we all know how fur has that amazing ability to spread itself everywhere), this pales in comparison to the cost incurred by hiring out pet-friendly care – particularly for prolonged periods of time. Likewise, knowing that you are able to bring your favourite furry partner in crime with you just saves on so much of the stress and time associated with looking at alternative options. Other requirements involve the signing of a pet disclaimer; the abidance by The Spires’ pet policy as well as The Spires’ pre-approval prior to your stay. However, we will guide you through every step of the way and so it could not be easier to have a pet-vacation this year with The Spires in Aberdeen saving on the costs; guilt and emptiness associated with leaving your pets behind. With our apartments being located in a quiet, residential area, this also means that your four-footed pal will enjoy their many naps uninterrupted and that they can enjoy tranquil walks along idyllic streets when the time comes for their favourite ‘walkie’.

However, while the summer holidays are coming to a sad close that does not mean that summer itself is over. While, Scotland is not necessarily renowned for its blistering heat, that does not mean that tourists have never been caught out unaware by those crafty sun rays. Therefore, while you are packing all kinds of holiday necessities from travel sized shampoos/shower gels to sunscreen aplenty, have you spared a thought of what to pack to keep your pooch travelling it up in style too? As we have already mentioned, pet travel is really picking up in the UK and with that is a whole new market of goods you could never imagine. Therefore, while our apartments have easily adjustable settings for you to control the temperature the way you like, do not forget to pick some of these top pet travel accessories to help keep your pet from toasting too much under that warm fur. From sunscreen wipes, iced treats, cooling vests/mats to water fountains and freezer-friendly water bowls, we bet you never knew you might require a whole other suitcase or packing list just for Fido!

Therefore, to book you and your furry best pal into The Spires just make sure to email us at info@thespires.co.uk or phone 0345 270 0090.

Meet our Travelling National Sales Manager: Craig

Name: Craig Duguid

Job Title: National Sales Manager

Job Function: I am responsible for driving business into the apartments with the able assistance of my sales and reservations team.

Time with Company: 13 years this December

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How many countries/continents/cities have you visited (rough estimates allowed!)?

Ok here goes: 19 (3 of which were purely for connecting flight purposes) countries, 31 international cities and too many in the UK to count, 4 continents – mainly all for work, but some leisure

What has been your favourite country and your favourite city?

I don’t think I can pick just one as every country is so different.  I always find something I like in each place.  There are countries I have visited which I wasn’t so sure about to start with but have grown to love e.g. India.  It was a real shock to my system the first time I visited as I had never been anywhere like that before.  My first visit was to Mumbai which is so busy and hectic and the mayhem starts the minute you step off the plane, however this is something I now find so exciting and to me what makes India the place I love.  There is always something going on in Mumbai and every one of your senses is kept busy constantly.  The people are so friendly and I have made some great friends over there.  I recently visited Australia for the first time this year.  It’s somewhere I have never been too bothered about going to mainly because of the distance and the time it takes to get there, but I have to say I was absolutely blown away by it.  It is such a fantastic place with so much to do, and it has such a great feeling.  I am also a huge fan of Kuwait and Kuwait City.  I have visited it several times and again have always been made to feel so welcome and have made some great friends.

What is your favourite thing about travelling?

I love going to new places and experiencing new things and meeting new people.  As I am usually there on business I don’t always get to see as much as I would like to.  I am also a bit of a transport geek so love travelling by aeroplane and train.  I love experiencing different airlines and travelling on different aeroplanes!  Favourites so far are the Dreamliner and A380!!  I also managed to travel by train on my recent trip to India.  I travelled from Chennai to Bangalore and I have to say it was amazing.  The train was old and rickety and there was so much chaos at the stations, but it is a system that seems to work and work well.  I booked a first class ticket which cost around £30 and included a 3 course meal.

If you had to travel with only one accessory/item, what would it be?

Hate to say it, but has to be my phone.

Do you have any funny travel stories or any travel disasters?

I have not had any disasters and have too many funny stories to pick just one, however I have had a few exciting things happen: An earthquake in LA, an earthquake in New Zealand, an hurricane in Maryland (US), getting hit 3 times by lighting on a flight into Heathrow (one hit was just outside the window from me and I felt the heat) and trying to land during Hurricane Bawbag in 2011 on a flight from Gatwick to Aberdeen which got a few metres above the tarmac before the pilot decided “maybe not” and we returned to Gatwick as all airports to the north were closed – it wasn’t the most pleasant of experiences!

Travel map or travel app?

Travel app every time.  I would be lost without Google Maps!

Do you have any travel tips for both corporate or leisure tourists e.g. how to pack?

Can give for both.

Corporate – make sure you have chargers and adapters!  Also if you are travelling with hold luggage make sure you have essentials in your hand luggage – spare clothes, toiletries, etc. in case your hold luggage doesn’t arrive!

Leisure – lay out everything you think you need, then only take a quarter of it!  Remember sun cream.

What countries are on your travel bucketlist?

Japan, Russia, Nepal, Poland – in fact too many to mention.

Which destination surprised you the most and you would recommend?

India

Selfie stick for travelling – yay or nay?

The selfie stick is so last year.  I now use my watch to take the best selfie!

What is your favourite accommodation type and why?

Apartments obviously for both business and leisure travel.  When travelling on business I do like my own space after a busy day.  Nothing better then stretching out on a comfortable sofa watching TV knowing I have refreshments in my fridge.  Can also eat what I want, when I want it and not be restricted by hotel restaurant opening times!  When I am travelling for leisure it is normally with my family so we much prefer the space and comfort an apartment offers rather than being crammed into a small “family room” which hotels offer.

Finally….post your favourite travel selfie

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See the sights, smell the roses… and catch the Pokémon?

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Image: http://www.saferinternet.org.uk/news/pokemon-go-gaming-gone-mobile

Trends, fashions and fads come and go, and it is clear which one is here to stay for summer 2016 – Pokémon Go. Yes, unless you have somehow managed to miss the numerous social media postings dedicated to the latest trend (borderline phenomenon) seizing not only a nation, but the whole world, or have been spared the incident of bumping into someone actively engaging in a little Pokémon hunting on the street, it is clear that there is nothing more all the rage this summer. Normally mobile phone apps and games are associated as taking the human population to whole new levels of anti-socialness; however Pokéman Go seems to be having a miracle effect which is counteracting this magnetic force. Yes, we are still besotted with man’s new best friend, the mobile phone, but now it is encouraging us to voluntarily enter into the light and freshness of the great outdoors and explore. Such is the power of the Pokémon Go because with the augmented virtual reality app projecting images of everyone’s favourite childhood anime onto city landmarks so it looks like they are really there on your mobile screen, people are going out in their droves to partake in a nostalgic game of Pokémon hunting because the only way to catch them all, is to actively explore the surrounding environment – sitting on the couch will get you nowhere. Of course you also have the assistance of GPS technology on your smart phone to help lead the way also.  Pokémon Go is a truly global craze with it having captivated the eyes of citizens spanning 35 countries and becoming more addictive than those little known apps of Facebook and Whatsapp.

With the UK basking in the glorious freedom of the summer holidays and even enjoying a little bit of tropical summer sunshine, Pokémon Go has come at the best possible time. It is the optimum season to explore a new city and what better way to see it than with a fun interactive activity which will keep all members of the family, whether it is the young or the young at heart, engaged and excited. Already players have remarked how it has taken them to parts of the city they had never thought they would venture; likewise it is helping them to connect with other players and to forge social bonds. Fortunately, with apartments in four major UK cities, wherever you stay with us you are right in the heart of some of the UK’s best Pokémon hunting grounds. Therefore, discover all about the Pokémon Go hype in some of our favourite UK vacation spots and be inspired to come visit us and explore our new cities from a new perspective.

Aberdeen

A legion of unique Pokémon characters have finally invaded the Silver City with even some rare ones also to be found. Of course, it is irrefutable that Pokémon would be hiding in the most dynamic and buzzing part of the city – the city centre. Therefore, when you are hitting up Union Street, make sure to take an extra few moments outside the prime shopping area of St. Nicholas Centre as three “Pokestops” are rumoured to be found there. Likewise, if you wanting to view some of the amazing talent on stage at the Music Hall or His Majesty’s Theatre, you might be able to see more than real famous faces, but also some virtual Pokémon ones too. The beauty of Pokémon Go is also that you do not necessary know where you will find the Pokémon, this is why you can venture all across the city in the hopes of finding one and engaging in a little bit of sightseeing and social interaction along the way. Therefore, the app has had people exploring the beautiful length of Aberdeen’s stunning sandy beach; various churches and it has even seen them take day trips to Stonehaven because those little Pokémon sure get everywhere! With Pokémon being rumoured to be located at all kinds of Aberdeen attraction hot spots from the beach to the fishing community of Fittie to tranquil public areas like Seaton Park, it is clear that Pokémon Go could be the perfect activity that will allow you to become acquainted with the sparkling silver exterior of the renowned Granite City.

Birmingham

Known as Britain’s “Second City”, it is of little surprise that the exciting metropolis of Birmingham is absolutely teeming with Pokémon waiting to be discovered. Pokémon mania has even swept the citizens of Birmingham so much that an organised mass Pokémon Go walk was devised that was held on Saturday 23rd July, reflecting the comradery that the virtual app is creating – up to 1,000 walkers were expected. Rumoured Pokémon hotspots include the Jewellery Quarter, St. Paul’s Square and of course along the sides of Birmingham’s vast canal system. They can even be hunted down within the walls of iconic Birmingham attractions including the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, so it is not just art that can be found and admired! Likewise, if you are hitting up the bargains and the temptation of Grand Central shopping centre, you may find more than just good deals. Therefore, from sightseeing to shopping and even to eating, Pokémon Go may be the perfect addictive activity that will allow you to fully explore one of Britain’s most famous metropolises.

Glasgow

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http://www.glasgowlive.co.uk/news/glasgow-news/ultimate-guide-pokemon-go-glasgow-11614786

Priding itself for the warmth and friendliness of its citizens, it is no wonder that Pokémon would feel welcome along the dynamic and effervescent streets of Glasgow. With its renowned reputation for its nature scene and its abundance of parks, it is no surprise that many Pokémon have been rumoured to be hiding among the shrubbery such as at Glasgow Green. However, while hiding in parks or even by the Clydeside, they are also of course hitting up popular city central locations from the likes of the Duke of Wellington statue (the one famous for having an ever-present traffic cone residing on its head), George Square, Kelvingrove Museum and even within the haunting beauty of the Victorian cemetery; the Necropolis. Likewise, other rumoured hotspots include the Finnieston Crane as well as the Armadillo and the Hydro which means you may get a dual batch of entertainment if you are stopping by the check out the latest musical talent on stage.

Edinburgh

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https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1omOow1m09QBs1-UVcJ89wSnRI-g&hl=en_US

Of course there is no city in Scotland that Pokémon could desire to infiltrate more than the cobbled historic streets of Scotland’s stunning and animated capital. With some of the most iconic attractions and streets in the nation, it is irrefutable that a couple of Pokémon would want to pop up at these stops. Therefore, it may be of no surprise that if you want to engage in a little bit of Pokémon hunting, than prime locations such as the Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street Gardens, Leith Docks, Edinburgh Zoo and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art certainly pave the way for victory. These are attractions that you would want to visit anyway but doing it under the guise of Pokémon hunting, also gives it that added extra bit of fun. Likewise, it may also bring you to attractions you had never considered previously such as Lochend Park or St. Margaret’s Well which is a well that has been in existence since 1362 and therefore possesses its own unique level of historical value. The hype of Pokémon Go mania in Edinburgh has even reached such a level that local taxi drivers are offering Pokémon Go tours, so if you are feeling a little tired and want a crafty (albeit pricy!) way of viewing the city, this could be the alternative as the route set out claims to stop at 50 “Pokestops” in 20 minutes.

So there you have it, if are really getting swept up in the phenomenon that has captured the nation and their phones, how about a Pokémon Go tour with The Spires? With apartments right in the city centre of these 4 active Pokémon spots, you could not be any closer to all the excitement and hype. While we cannot guarantee that the little monsters will be found under the beds in our apartments, you are bound to find some lurking not too far away whether they are in attractions, parks, restaurants or even transport spots. Therefore, let us know how many you catch and share with us any top tips – maybe we will try and engage in some Pokémon hunting of our own!

Welcome To Royal Deeside

Balmoral (36)

When people come to visit the UK, it is often due to the desire of exploring the rich historic tapestry that is often associated with the country. Indeed people want to explore the scenic landscape and its historical landmarks that tell the enlightening stories of times long gone. Moreover, it is not just the stories of the past they crave, but also those that interweave tales that involve the monarchy and royalty because after all, who does not wonder what it would be like to to be a majestic ruler? Therefore, it is no surprise that iconic Great British landmarks are comprised of renowned attractions such as Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Mile and Buckingham Palace which are steeped in history with a royal glow. However, when people think of cities like Aberdeen, more often than not they have associations of a corporate destination, as opposed to a place where they could visit for leisure purposes. While Aberdeen is prime business territory, it is clear that it offers much more than that and while The Spires is located only minutes away from the bustling city centre complete with shops and restaurants, it is also important to consider what lies in the other direction – Royal Deeside.

So you may be asking, what makes Deeside so royal? Well, it is the royalty, Queen Victoria in particular, that has made the area so renowned due to it being a popular holiday destination with them both in the long ago Victorian times and even today with Queen Elizabeth. The phrase, “royal seal of approval” certainly applies in this context! A particular royal landmark that particularly cannot go without being missed is the Balmoral Castle seeing as Prince Albert built Balmoral Castle particularly as a retreat for himself and Queen Victoria. Queen Victoria was such a fan of the area, she bought land there and even famously proclaimed “Every year my heart becomes more fixed on this dear paradise“. As a regular holiday destination for the royal family, Royal Deeside is unmistakeably a prime visiting spot for any Royal fanatic. A particular sign of interest to look out for on a trail across the towns and villages that comprise Royal Deeside is the Royal Warrants which symbolises the businesses that are a supplier to the Queen’s household – Ballater in particular is a favourite with businesses from butchers and garages being fortunate enough to have the Warrant bestowed upon them.

A particular highlight of Royal Deeside includes the “Victorian Heritage Trail” which has been a tourist favourite for over 150 years and is where you can even walk in the footsteps of the royalty. Along this trail you will encounter all kinds of quaint, charming and scenic villages and towns such as Banchory, Ballater and Braemar which are in stark contrast to be the fast-paced city life of Aberdeen. Braemar in particular is renowned for its Highland Gathering which is known to be one of Scotland’s best and is a major tourist draw – potentially as it remains a royal favourite.

The other element that makes Royal Deeside so iconic is its absolutely stunning landscape which provides the perfect backdrop for all kinds of activity in nature from walking to cycling to skiing to just pure wildlife watching – it is a tranquil haven away from the bustling streets of the city. While Aberdeen is marked for its sparkling granite skyline, Royal Deeside is renowned for the diversity of its nature and the enchanting atmosphere – from mysterious forests to the gentle tinkle of crystal clear rivers to dramatic mountain faces. Every corner is undeniably a photo opportunity and a chance to escape reality!

From castles including Balmoral, Crathes and Braemar to distilleries to heritage centres, there is so much to found and enjoyed in Royal Deeside whether you are travelling by yourself or with the family. Therefore, when you come to stay with us in Aberdeen, do not feel restricted by the city boundaries – there is so much more to be found on a day trip out of the city; particularly with The Spires sitting at the entrance to Royal Deeside.

To learn more: http://www.visitaberdeen.com/royal-deeside/

                                http://visitroyaldeeside.com/

Image: http://www.lifeofpottering.co.uk/2015/05/the-cairngorms-balmoral-castle.html

#ScotSpirit

What do you think differentiates Scotland from any other destination in the world? Could it be its renowned warm hospitality; its rich historic tapestry; the absolutely jaw-dropping stunning landscapes and scenery (be it dramatic cliff faces or tranquil beach fronts) or the exhilaration and adrenaline-pumping energy of all the adventures that are available from bungee jumping to mountain biking? Whether it is these answers or another, what is resolutely irrefutable is how Scotland is like no other country on Earth – it is truly unique in its appearance, its energy, its character and in its spirit. No other destination can replicate the emotion and wonder to be found in Scotland and what is so pure about it is that once you experience it, it is everlasting and becomes a part of you. Therefore, this is what has culminated in VisitScotland launching its very first global marketing campaign for Scotland – The Spirit of Scotland campaign.

The Spirit of Scotland campaign aims to reflect the amazing potential that Scotland can bring as a holiday destination – in terms of the memorable and exciting experiences it offers. What adds to the campaign is how it reflects the true hospitality and generosity that characterises Scotland by VisitScotland working in association with tourism providers to allow vulnerable and disadvantaged families to have their own memorable Scottish holiday so that they too can benefit from the magic. The campaign is built on the foundation of several prominent spirits which uniquely characterise Scotland and its people, now known as the “Seven Spirits of Scotland” (the seven deadly sins are so old-school):

Warmth – We mean the atmosphere, food and people as opposed to the climate!

Humour – In Scotland, we love to have a laugh (particularly at ourselves) and there is always something amusing going on.

Guts – Participation in some of Scotland’s most daring activities and adventures or even just the indomitable spirit of people overcoming any obstacle and barrier in their way.

Spark – With the 2016 focus year of “Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design”, it is clear for all to see the inspiration that Scotland provides from its unique inventions; its modern architecture and its irreplaceable artwork. Cutting-edge, innovative and creative – there is more to Scotland than just heritage.

Soul – Scotland is renowned the world over for its stunning, idyllic and dramatic landscapes and scenery whether that is beautiful natural wonders; dramatic mountain views or tranquil coastal walks.

Determination – Linking back to the ‘guts’ involved in engaging in some adrenaline-pumping activities or taking on a challenge, it is undeniable that a sense of perseverance and tenacity can sometimes be required on a trip to Scotland.

Fun – What can better characterise Scotland other than fun?! Whether you are visiting one of the myriad of visitor attractions on offer or exploring the streets of one of our bustling cities, a sense of enjoyment and excitement is always lurking around the corner.

What Is Our Chosen Spirit? Warmth

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With everyone getting involved from visitors to tourism providers, we want to take the chance to become an ambassador of this campaign by identifying with one of the “Seven Spirits” and what could be a more appropriate one than Warmth. Having studied abroad and having worked in a diverse workforce, I am very proud to state how if there is one thing that international guests always comment on about Scotland, it is the amazing kindness and generosity that Scottish citizens provide to guests. This was no different than when I worked Front of House at The Spires because we welcomed guests from all corners of the globe and everyone positively commented on just how open and embracing the Scottish people were. Likewise, if there is anything The Spires likes to characterise itself on, it is its warm sense of hospitality and providing a home away from home sensation which emanates through the design of our apartments to the greeting provided by the enthusiastic, passionate faces that await you at reception. Hospitality is so important to us it even forms an integral part of our brand values with “Service”, “Respect” and “Smiles” being key underlying principles. Consequently, wherever our guests come from and for however long they stay, we strive to make sure everyone feel instantly welcomed and at home – no request is too big.

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It is the warmth provided by our staff to our customers throughout their whole stay which encapsulates the true essence of Scotland and while the scenery, landscape and activities make for a wonderful time; it is the hospitality that really completes the experience. When our guests arrive, when they come home after a long day exploring and even when they leave, we strive to have them leave with fond memories of their stay with us and to know that they experienced the best and warmest service available. Regardless of which of our Scottish cities guests stay in, be it the dynamic powerhouse of Glasgow, the breath-taking beauty of Edinburgh or the sparkling silver landscape of Aberdeen, we want them to know the magnificent warmth that typifies our nation as a whole – even if it is not so warm outside! We are so eager to replicate the spirit of Scotland it has acted as a significant form of influence on the design of our newest Edinburgh apartments with Scottish touches playing a role throughout including beautiful artwork designed by a Scottish artist.

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Wanting To Show Your #ScotSpirit?

A crucial element of The Spirit of Scotland campaign is the incorporation of social media. Subsequently, an integral part of the campaign is the use of #ScotSpirit on everyone’s favourite social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to encapsulate everyone’s unique experience in Scotland. Therefore, whether you are visiting us in Scotland or you are lucky enough to live here, make sure to spread the spirit and magic of Scotland by using #ScotSpirit alongside your unique photos and stories – it is time to let the world know just how awesome and amazing our corner of the world is for both holidays and living.

For more information, visit https://www.visitscotland.com/about/uniquely-scottish/scotspirit/