On Thursday 7th February, BBB were invited on a day trip to Edinburgh by private terminal experts Signature Elite Class. Not only was this to be a chance to experience the airport service first hand, but the itinerary included other treats such as a tasting at Glenkinchie Whiskey Distillery, lunch at Dalhousie Castle, a visit to the Royal Yacht Britannia and afternoon tea at brand new luxury ‘floating’ hotel Fingal. It was set to be quite a day!
BBB Partnerships manager and PA Alex Popoff reports…
Arriving at Luton Airport Parkway station, a mere 30 minutes from St Pancras by rail, I was met by a Signature Elite Class luxury car and taken in comfort to the private terminal at Luton Airport – it could not have been easier. Pulling up outside the terminal building, a friendly greeting awaited me at reception. My boarding pass was taken and I was ushered straight through to a private room along with my fellow invited travellers for tea, coffee and a stunningly elegant breakfast of miniature pastries, exotic fruit plates and creamy yoghurts, topped off with Moet on ice (of course).
Spacious and comfortable, the private room was calm and luxurious in mute greys, tastefully decorated and with large windows looking straight onto the runways. Guests travelling in groups or looking for complete discretion can opt for one of 2 private rooms, or the main lounge area is equally lovely, equipped with a world-class coffee machine (and barista), time-appropriate food and drink options and in the evenings, the vibe of legendary music club Ronnie Scott’s is channelled with cocktails, dimmed lights and jazz music.
We were then escorted through the security process; any hold luggage is left at reception on arrival and taken care of for you straight through to your car on the other end, and for those of us travelling with hand luggage only, the process could not be simpler. Having separated our liquids as in standard airport procedure and walked through the scanners, we were straight through in just a couple of minutes, directly to the luxury vehicles waiting at the doors to take us to the plane.
Another impressive element to this is that travellers are taken through the security by group (as opposed to with others from the private terminal), so guests with children, with mobility issues or famous faces can pass through with minimal hassle. Guests are given the option of boarding before or after the general public, but before is advised and we waltzed onto the aircraft like it was our own private jet!
After a very easy flight, we landed at Edinburgh and were met by luxury vehicles on the tarmac to take us directly to the terminal. We were introduced to the Signature team, who told us all about their impressive private jet and air travel services, then boarded our private transfers courtesy of Sleigh to our first stop, Glenkinchie Distillery. Sleigh are a first class chauffeur and transport company who we learnt specialise in high profile clients – they have indeed been responsible for many of the Royal visits, film premieres and more across Scotland, so we were in excellent hands!
Glenkinchie was fascinating. Our guide Willie was possibly the most entertaining tour guide I have ever had the pleasure to meet! The visit was interesting, highly enjoyable and ended with a tasting! A very serious looking individual with several large bodyguards in tow was also enjoying a visit, so it’s great to see that all types of visitor are well catered for!
Next stop for the day was Dalhousie Castle & Aqueous Spa, a converted castle luxury hotel just 30 mins outside Edinburgh. Driving up to the property is breathtaking – the scenery of sweeping hills, trees and stunning architecture is wonderful. After a royal welcome on the door, we were taken to the Dungeon Restaurant where we ate first class lunch surrounded by stone walls, suits of armour and candlelight – magical!
After lunch, we viewed everything the hotel had to offer in terms of facilities and learned a little of the incredible history of the place. The various public spaces include a library bar, a fabulous chapel-esque room for weddings and parties, a banquet room and stunning outdoor grounds. We also saw the various underground passages that provide secret entrances and pathways between the rooms, meaning Murder Mystery events, surprise party performers or naughty guests are all accommodated! The rooms are what you’d expect; tasteful castle elegance with lush upholstery, muted colours and traditional art. Overall, the hotel is a great location very close to Edinburgh and would be perfect for weekends away, corporate stays, celebrations and luxury stop-overs.
Back in the car we went and off to Royal Yacht Britannia, the largest tourist attraction in Scotland welcoming over 400,000 visitors per year. The general public enter via a connection in the adjacent shopping centre, but we arrived like family and were welcomed up the royal gangway!
Our host took us behind the ropes and into the personal spaces enjoyed by the Queen, much to the envy of the visitors around us, and we learnt about the possibilities for events aboard the yacht.
Evening hire is available on an exclusive basis, you can dine in the official banquet room and enjoy drinks on the deck. Any occasion would be stunning here and truly memorable, but I can imagine wedding dinners, brand launches, entertainment industry parties and more would be ideal. The rates were less than you might imagine, so definitely somewhere I’d love to host an event in future!
Next up was the Fingal, a luxury floating hotel just 1 minute in the car round the port from the Britannia. Fingal started life in Glasgow and was the final ship built by Blythswood Shipbuilding Company in 1963. Her duties included sailing the storm lashed seas, bringing vital supplies and equipment to some of the most remote lighthouses in Scotland.
Each cabin on Fingal is named after a lighthouse. The specific lighthouses have been chosen by NLB due to their characteristics, location or history. Today, Fingal has been transformed, through a journey of glamour and sophistication, to provide stunning cabin-style accommodation in the form of double rooms, duplex rooms and the incredible Skerryvore Suite, with private dining area (ideal for entertaining), large living space, private outdoor deck, Super King bed and luxurious bathroom with freestanding bath. The details on board are all carefully considered, with everything from fabric design, wooden finishes and even the beautiful Italian Art Deco circular lift adding to the ambience of the boat.
The event space on board is also impressive, a wood panelled hall space with mezzanine that would be the perfect backdrop for a wedding party, a birthday or even corporate dining.
After a delicious afternoon tea in the hotel’s dining room, we set off once again for the airport and after a very fast flight back to London, were met once again on the tarmac by luxury vehicles to take us to the Luton Private Terminal. Those travelling with luggage or internationally would then have their bags brought to them in the lounge and their passports checked, all whilst enjoying a snack or some more champagne. The full benefits of the Signature Elite Class service were highlighted when we were off the plane and out of the terminal in 15 minutes, on our way back to London! To take out of the stress of the public terminal, baggage carousel, immigration etc, and save in all likelihood an hour to boot, makes this service invaluable and I’m certain will be popular amongst celebrities and busy professionals who value privacy and stress-free travel.
Personally, I never want to travel any other way again! It was a delight, from start to finish, and I wholeheartedly recommend it as a good value add-on for any trip. I know the network of airports that this service is available is to be extended this year, so I have no doubt it will become a BBB favourite for 2019.
For more info, please contact the BBB team.
SPECIAL OFFER – travellers can benefit from 20% off the usual price for any bookings departing from Elite Class London Luton (the offer is valid for any bookings confirmed and paid for before 31st March 2019, travelling any time).
To book, just email firstname.lastname@example.org quoting BBB.