One of my favourite types of holiday is a city break. I normally stay in hotels for the convenience of a short stay, but recently I was invited by Mansley to stay in one of their Highland Apartments in Inverness.
(As I received a complimentary overnight stay in return for this feature, this post is marked as an AD)
My one-bedroom river view apartment is centrally located in the Highland Capital of Inverness, with stunning views of the River Ness and Inverness Castle, the start/endpoint for the North Coast 500. It’s also conveniently within a leisurely 10-minute walk of the bus and rail station, and a short walk from many visitor attractions.
BEFORE YOUR ARRIVAL AT HIGHLAND APARTMENTS
Included in the booking confirmation is an invitation to download the Mansley Serviced Apartments App, which helps you to make the most of your stay. You can become familiar with the Highland Apartments even before you check in!
Highland Apartments by Mansley requests you to provide your personal information 3 days beforehand via the pre-check-in notice, and on your arrival day, you are emailed with the access code for the building and apartment. All the pre-arrival communications were timely and had all the information I needed.
CHECK IN/OUT AT HIGHLAND APARTMENTS
Check-in is from 4 pm, and the Highland Apartments are prepared in line with Mansley’s enhanced cleaning, disinfection, and sanitising COVID-19 protocols. If you arrive early in the city, for a fee Mansley will store luggage but as there's no reception, this must be arranged in advance (and you can request this via the Mansley app). In the apartment, there’s also a key left for you, but I loved being able to just use the key code to get in and out of the apartment.
On weekdays, check out is by 10 am and by 11 am on weekends, with the option of adding a later checkout to your stay for a nominal fee, good if you want to have a leisurely weekend morning before your onward travel. Again, with prior arrangements, you can arrange with Mansley to store your luggage to enable a final day of exploration.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF HIGHLAND APARTMENTS
Firstly, the apartment was very spacious. Mansley has done an excellent job of ensuring that the apartments have everything you need for your stay while keeping a clutter-free space. With multiple seating spaces inside the apartment, (reading chairs, two comfy sofas, a dining table/chairs, and a private balcony with outdoor seating to enjoy the view), you are spoilt for choice for relaxing spaces.
The floor-to-ceiling views are seriously impressive and give an amazing panoramic view of the west side of Inverness and the Great Glen leading down to Drumnadrochit. However, if you want privacy then all the windows in the living space have mechanical roller blinds which are operated by remote control.
As the riverside apartments face west, on a sunny day you’ll be treated to some stunning evening sunsets. During my stay in the winter, the city is beautifully illuminated with pretty Christmas lights along the Ness riverside.
As the apartments are in the centre of Inverness, I did notice some traffic noise in the early evening but nothing that kept me awake at night.
In the one-bedroom apartment I stayed in, as well as the living space there were:
- The Bedroom: Contains a super king-size bed, with lots of storage space, a dressing table, dressing gowns and slippers. The bed was one of the best I have ever slept on!
- Bathroom: A small but perfectly formed ensuite with over bath rainforest shower, and complementary Bee-Kind Gilchrist & Soames toiletries.
- Kitchen: This was well-equipped with pans, oven dishes and utensils, and plenty of glasses, cutlery and crockery, as well as plenty of cupboard and fridge/freezer space to store your own food and drink supplies. A welcome basket with cereals, milk, juice and fruit is also provided.
- A second bathroom with toilet and sink: I didn't expect there to be a second toilet in a one-bedroom apartment, but this would be so handy if your partner was taking a long bath!
- Utility cupboard: with safe, sink, washing machine, iron and ironing board, and clothes horse
- Complimentary: tea, coffee, dishwasher detergent, washing up liquid and tea towels. Beautiful fresh flowers were also in the apartment.
LIVING LIKE A LOCAL
Serviced apartments give you a lot of flexibility. Firstly, you’re not tied into a hotel breakfast, which leaves you free to cook your own, use the complimentary welcome basket, or investigate local options (I recommend Girvans – a local favourite, Rendezvous on Church Street or my new fave, XOKO on Bridge Street). If you want to enjoy evening dining at home, many of the popular restaurants offer a takeaway service. Alternatively, you are within easy walking distance of Tesco, Marks and Spencer, Coop and Morrisons supermarkets, as well as local butchers and fish shops, so you can source your own ingredients. For a full rundown of eating and drinking in Inverness, read this post!
If you're working in the apartment like I was, the Wi-Fi was secure and very reliable, in case you are staying on business. All too often I've despaired at the lack of decent Wi-Fi in a hotel or the difficulty of finding a secure connection, especially if I've been on a deadline!
If you opt for a longer stay, useful facilities like a washing machine and drying facilities help you to catch up on your holiday washing, and if you've got kids with you, you can either book a two-bedroom apartment or request the use of a travel cot and high chair.
Daily housekeeping is obviously one of the biggest plus points of staying in a serviced apartment, and while during the Covid-19 pandemic a full daily housekeeping service is suspended, removal of rubbish and recycling, linen and towel replacement can be done on request, beds are changed every three days, and if you are staying for a week, full housekeeping service will be arranged to be carried out when you are not in the apartment.
If you've been touring around the Highlands, or intend to use a stay in Inverness as a base to do lots of day trips, there is a private secure car park which is charged at £10 per day which is very reasonable as the nearest public car parks are at least a 5-minute walk away and more expensive. However, there's a lot to do within easy walking distance.
Even on just a one-night stay, I felt the benefit of staying in a serviced apartment. Having such a lovely living space with west-facing views really did mean that I felt more relaxed than if I was in a hotel and restricted to the four walls of a bedroom. The central location of the Highland Apartments and the quality of the furnishings and decor is also second to none. If I was having a longer stay, I would definitely feel like a Highland local!
For more information on Highland Apartments by Mansley and to book your stay, look at the Mansley website (you can also book apartments in Edinburgh, London and Cheltenham).