Aberdeen, Scotland

Scotland's third city was our first on our trip. We spent three nights in Aberdeen, which was easily accessible with a flight from Amsterdam, a nice alternative to flying into Glasgow or Edinburgh and driving for 3 hours. The Granite City, really should be known as Oil City now as North Sea oil means direct flights from Dubai and Texan accents in the bars. It also means money in the city and money needs great hotels. There are two to choose from and they could not be more different: Marcliffe Hotel and Spa and Malmaison.

Marcliffe is a warm, comfortable five-star country hotel that sits on 11 acres a few minutes outside of the city core. The rooms are properly outfitted in a classic style, without a great deal of character, just proper. The sort of hotel where serving high tea at 4pm is most fitting.

On the other hand...

There is the Malmaison, a chain with a distinct "naughty house" style. The rooms are big and uniquely decorated with dark plaids of navy, wine and forest green. The bar is happening and the brasserie combines casualness with incredible steak and the wine list to match.

While there is a room for both hotels catering to different guests, we were very much taken with Malmaison. It will be the recommend for us.

Lovely dining room in the atrium at Marcliffe

The Brasserie at Malmaison

Prefer more privacy, take the chef's table

Select your own piece of organic beef

Quaint ceramic butter or are they cheese dishes

The hip Malmaison bar

The classic styling of the Marcliffe rooms

At the Mal, you could find a foosball table, a super king size bed and

... a soaking tub in the middle of the room