A hot bath and a glass of prosecco was just what I needed. After a day whizzing around the shops and cafes of Windsor, reminiscing about the places I worked in and frequented as a teenager, I was ready for a good soak.
I was booked in for the Diamond Jubilee package at the modern Macdonald Hotel situated across the road from historic Windsor Castle. Slap, bang in the middle of the shops, bars, restaurants and sights this superbly located hotel was once home to a department store where I purchased my school uniform. Some rooms have direct views of the castle as well as Windsor Guildhall where both Prince Charles and Elton John were married (not to each other!) Now Caleys, as the school uniform store was named, is the name of the steak restaurant situated in the hotel and at where we were to dine on a 3 course meal, which is included in the Jubilee package.
Upon checking into the room I was greeted with not only regal purple finery on the bed and graphics of Windsor town on the wall, but also with commemorative Diamond Jubilee mugs, a sparkly cupcake from Caleys, entrance tickets to the castle and the aforementioned bottle of prosecco on ice.
It probably would have been polite to wait for my boyfriend, who I would be showing around my home town, to arrive; but I glanced at the bath, the scented bath oils, the Bose speakers which could direct relaxing music from my iPhone into the bathroom and the prosecco in the ice bucket – and I popped the cork!
I at least waited for the boy to arrive before going to dinner. Although 3 courses at Caleys came with the weekend package after enjoying chicken liver parfait to start and chunky sausages and mash, with a little taste of the boyfriend’s steak, for mains, I was beat. From what I saw, however, it would be worth saving space for the traditional English puds on your own visits.
We finished our meals and headed to ‘the arches’ – a lively row of bars hidden in the old railway arches. Some other bars and restaurants have come and gone from the High Street (the one called the Duchess of Cambridge is definitely new!) but the arches have remained almost the same since I last visited Windsor about 5 years ago. Bar Yello is still free to enter, blaring out dodgy 80’s tunes and projecting even dodgier 90’s films onto the big screen. There were the ubiquitous queues outside Scotch Bar and Vanilla’s and despite being on the VIP guest list for the latter we still had to pay £10 to get in. It played good club tracks and had glittery walls though so I shan’t complain.
The next morning I was regretting hogging the champagne but the hotel breakfast buffet was there to help. Bowls of fresh fruit, muesli and yoghurt plus lots and lots of toast and pastries later I was feeling slightly better. We popped across the road to the castle before the tourist buses arrived and were inside the impressive walls in next to no time. The weather was not on our side though – the castle being on a hill meant we were exposed to the worst of the wind and rain. Having visited the state rooms and dolls house collection as a child, and the boy having been on a tour recently, we decided to cut our tour short. With fortuitous timing, however, the Queens guard were heading out too! With pomp and ceremony they changed sentry, barging through the crowds barking ‘Make way for the Queen’s Guards’, and then I posed next to the new guard on duty, like all good tourists should.
Back at the hotel we collected our luggage they had kindly looked after and hopped on the short train ride back to London. For those with vehicles valet parking is included, which saves a lot of time fighting for a space with the local shoppers.
The Macdonald Windsor has style, steak and a seriously good location for a visit to the Royal borough. Visit their website for details on how you can toast the Queen on her anniversary – you never know, she might pop out and thank you!
Thanks to the Macdonald Windsor for inviting me to revisit my home town in glam style.
Diamond Jubilee Break
One night accommodation with breakfast and dinner from the Scottish Steak Club menu in Caleys Lounge
A chilled bottle of bubbly to toast the Queen and “Royal Turndown” gift on both evenings
2 tickets to visit Windsor Castle
This break is priced at £185.00 per night for 2 people sharing a Classic bedroom.
Castle View Suites available from £265.00 per night on the same package.