Macdonald Windsor is situated in the shadow of Windsor Castle occupying one of Windsor’s most iconic and much loved buildings with a long association with the Caley family. Caleys was one of Windsor’s oldest stores attracting the attention of the legendary Harry Gordon Selfridge and the John Lewis Partnership. The Caleys department store was the smallest but oldest of the John Lewis stores and carried two Royal Warrants before it ceased trading in 2006.
Macdonald Hotels opened the 120 bedroom hotel on September 13th 2010. The hotel is designed by Amanda Rosa. I was staying in the Turquoise Suite, one of the hotel’s luxurious Executive Suites on the third floor. Each suite is named after the birthstone of the hotel’s original Heads of Department linking the past charmingly with the present.
The hallway has a large full length mirror perfect for checking your ensemble before leaving the room. A lamp and large dishes of winter Pot Pourri on the side table add a decorative homely atmosphere with double doors leading into the main suite.
The Lounge area has a flat screen TV, firm but comfortable large sofa and coffee table with some indulgences courtesy of the hotel management. These are a selection of fruit, bottle of Italian red wine and a little box containing something special.
A yummy cupcake with vanilla frosting and starry sprinkles.
A table with two chairs is by the window upon which is a bottle of complimentary Speyside Glenlivet mineral water, two cut crystal glasses, bottle opener and an empty ice bucket. Fresh ice can be ordered as required from Reception.
Pictures on the wall reflect the hotel’s royal location with shots of the Royal Guardsmen.
The Study area is comfortably appointed with desk, chair, armchair and footstool. Postcards and notepad with pens are also provided in addition to the telephone and iPod player / alarm clock.
The bed is dressed in Liddell cotton bedlinen with plump 85% duck feather and 15% duck down pillows and a lightweight but warm 100% polyester duvet. A runner and throw pillows set off the luxurious look.
Tea & Coffee making area with a Nespresso machine and six Nespresso pods, a kettle, tea and coffee cups, a selection of Clipper teas, Douwe Egberts coffee sachets, Cadburys hot chocolate and a couple of packs of mini Scottish shortbread.
The bathroom has double vanity basins, bath, rainfall shower and was stocked with Arran Aromatics Tea Tree & Lavender toiletries and fluffy Liddell Irish cotton towels.
Free Wi-Fi is available in all guestrooms and throughout the hotel without tedious logins only one easy click away which makes working from the suite on the laptop both efficient and comfortable.
After a walk around town and some shopping, it was back to the hotel to get ready for dinner at Caleys Scottish Steakhouse, the hotel’s in-house restaurant. The dining room is spacious and comfortable decorated in dark wood and leather with quirky design touches like a giant fork hanging from one wall. One enters the restaurant passing the hotel bar with its cartographic feature wall.
The ambience is relaxed and smart casual as I sit on a comfortable leather chair with a plump cushion surrounded by subdued lighting and soft jazz playing in the background. For the starter I choose the John Ross Jr smoked fish platter consisting of slices of oak smoked salmon, smooth potted mackerel pate and hot kiln roasted Scottish salmon with pickled cucumber, citrus crème fraîche and toasted sour dough.
The platter is served with a chunk of lightly toasted sourdough bread. The hot kiln roasted salmon had a rich smoky aroma. Thickly sliced oak smoked salmon benefited from a squeeze of lemon to brighten the flavours. Lightly pickled cucumber and onion with capers and dabs of citrus crème fraîche balanced the richness of the fish. The generous portion of smooth potted mackerel pate is served with wafer thin shards of melba toast.
I order the Sirloin Steak for my main. The meat is supplied by Scotbeef, renowned as one of the country’s highest quality suppliers of Scottish beef, aged for at least 21 days and cooked on the AA rosette restaurant’s Josper Grill whose natural coals add depth of flavour to greatly enhance the food being cooked.
There is a choice of sauces including Béarnaise, Peppercorn and Strathdon blue cheese. The beautifully tender medium rare sirloin steak is served with grilled flat cap mushroom and beef tomato.
The steak comes with either chunky hand cut or skinny chips. If you’re watching the carbs, swap the chips for the delicious Rocket & Parmesan Salad.
For dessert I choose the Dark Chocolate Brownie swapping its usual accompaniment of Arran Dairies vanilla ice cream for the restaurant’s Blood Orange Sorbet.
The dish is served with sharp Morello cherry sauce and smooth unctuous salted caramel cremeux. The dense fudgy brownie has a lovely crust to it and was a delicious end to a delightful meal.
Breakfast the next morning is just as delightful. The buffet style Continental breakfast offers fresh fresh fruit, cold meats & cheese, danish pastries, croissants, bagels, cereals and dried fruit toppings. Beverages include fresh juices of orange, apple, grapefruit, cranberry and tomato in addition to Clipper herbal & fruit teas. The waitress serves your choice of white or wholemeal toast with a pot of tea or coffee and takes your hot breakfast order. I chose The Full Macdonald Breakfast which includes award-winning Charles Macleod Stornoway Black Pudding.
After breakfast there was plenty of time to witness the Changing of the Guard which passes right outside the hotel and do a spot more shopping before returning to the hotel for a quintessentially British Afternoon Tea. Served in the Caleys Lounge and the comfortable sofas in the long hotel lobby, the classic afternoon tea consists of a selection of afternoon tea sandwiches, warm fruit scones, preserves, Devon clotted cream, selection of sweet treats served with your choice of leaf tea. I chose Earl Grey with lemon.
The sandwiches were filled with ham and mustard, cucumber and cream cheese, smoked salmon and finally egg mayo.
There were plain and fruit scones with strawberry jam and Devonshire clotted cream.
The sweet treats consisted of cherry and almond fruit cake, chocolate brownie, mini banoffee pie, Eton Mess, and two yummy macarons in flavours of vanilla and chocolate. What an indulgent end to a luxurious staycation at Macdonald Windsor!
For further information about Macdonald Windsor or to check availability and room rates, please visit www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk/our-hotels/macdonald-windsor-hotel
23 High Street, Windsor, Berkshire SL4 1LH
0344 879 9101