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Sample Marine life; LISA GRAY lives like the lady of the manor in North Berwick.

Byline: LISA GRAY

ONCE known as the 'Biarritz of the north', North Berwick has been a popular holiday destination of Scottish families for generations.

Just 25 miles east of Edinburgh, the small and picturesque seaside town adopts a fortunate position on the Firth of Forth and was once a royal burgh of East Lothian.

Boasting a busy high street and golden sandy beaches, its reputation as a holiday haven is well-deserved - and what better base from which to explore than one of its grandest buildings - the majestic MacDonald Marine.

Situated on the coast, the 19th century Victorian house makes a stunning addition to the rugged landscape - and the locals are clearly proud of what proves to be a superb place to stay.

My husband and I opt to travel by train, a very pretty journey via Edinburgh, and are greeted by a friendly dog walker almost as soon as we leave the platform.

Spotting our suitcase, he greets us and says: "Ah, you must be off to The Marine. Let me show you the way."

The evident joy local people take in the surroundings is abundant throughout our stay, with every employee at the hotel also going out of their way to help us make the most of our time there.

We are swiftly checked in and settle into a spacious and luxurious room with beautiful views over the water and one of several local golf courses. Furnished stylishly and true to the grandeur of the house, there has been thoughtful attention to detail, with comfort made absolute priority.

The Marine boasts the award-winning Craigleith Restaurant, another example of hospitality at its best.

The elegant eatery champions local produce and offers a menu making taste and quality ingredients paramount. The fish and seafood is among the best we've ever tasted and breakfast does not disappoint either, with a wide selection to suit all tastes.

The Centre, is walk from Those really looking to indulge can also take a rich afternoon tea in the bar.

Meanwhile, the hotel's on-site spa is the stuff of dreams.

Here, your worries can evaporate as you rest in an al fresco thermal spa pool, the combination of hot bubbles and cold air proving a truly exhilarating experience.

There is a complex of different saunas and steam rooms, including an ice room and 'aromatherapy grotto', as well as a large pool, wellequipped fitness suite and relaxation room.

A variety of treatments is offered at reasonable prices, with the whole facility emanating tranquillity.

For those able to tear themselves away from the hotel, the town centre is easily accessible via a coastal path.

Seabird just a short the hotel One must-see attraction is the Scottish Seabird Centre on the harbour, a centre of expertise for ornithologists and nature novices alike. Visitors can learn about the many native species, such as puffins, seals, gannets and guillemots, with interactive cameras, films and displays bringing nature to life.

Elsewhere, there are numerous boutiques, art galleries and plenty of walks to enjoy, making the resort ideal for a short break.

North Berwick has lost none of the charm that earned it such a sterling reputation with holiday makers - and a stay at the opulent Marine will make you feel like lord or lady of the manor.

FACTFILE Lisa Gray | stayed in a double room at the Macdonald Marine Hotel & Spa, Cromwell Road, North Berwick, East Lothian. EH39 4LZ. Weekend rates start from PS143 per night. Price per night is subject to availability and all rates vary according to season.

T | he Scottish Seabird Centre has a gift shop and the Seabird Cafe and is open every day except Christmas Day from 10am. Entrance to the cafe and gift shop is free and Discovery Centre admission is PS4.95-PS8.95. See seabird.org for more information.

F | irst Transpennine Express operates intercity rail services across the north of England and provides hourly services to and from Scotland. Tickets can be purchased with no booking fee at www.tpexpress.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

The Macdonald Marine Hotel and Spa in North Berwick

One of the hotel's elegant bedrooms

The Scottish Seabird Centre, is just a short walk from the hotel

The hotel's award-winning Craigleith restaurant

Drift away in the spa
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 29, 2015
Words:707
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