DUNDEE is known for its three J’s: jute, jam and journalism.
But a fourth now deserves to be added. And it is joy!
Now I haven’t been to Dundee in more years than I can remember and my partner Leona had never been there.
What I remember is the imperious RRS Discovery docked in the city’s harbor.
He of course transported Scott from Antarctica on an expedition to the frozen polar region at the turn of the last century.
However, the big old ship was a bright spot in an otherwise dark collection of busy roads and concrete parking lots.
But how times have now changed for the better. The Central Waterfront has been completely regenerated with an injection of £ 1 billion.
The V&A Museum is visually stunning and is a centerpiece of a real class. It was designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma who said he wanted to create a “living room for the city”. It also includes the famous Oak Room by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
The design museum – the only one in the UK outside London – opened in 2018 and drew a million visitors before the lockdown.
And he was also immortalized on television by local hero Brian Cox’s hit American drama Succession when his character Logan Roy attends a function. But back in real life, it made for a great tour with Mackintosh’s permanent exhibits and model ships worth seeing.
For our visit, we stayed at the 4H Apex City Quay Hotel and Spa, which is just a five minute walk from the V&A. This is one of the many new modern hotels and in my opinion some of the best.
Location wise, it couldn’t be better – right in the center of the seafront and a stone’s throw from the city center. With secure and free parking on site, there were no issues with driving for our weekend getaway.
The interior of the hotel was immaculate and the clear Covid measurements provided quick peace of mind. It is modern and spacious with a glass facade allowing you to view the harbor from the lobby where you can enjoy a drink. Our room was equally impressive with a super comfy king-size bed and the deep soaking tub in the bathroom was welcome.
But when it comes to a highlight, the Japanese-style Yu Spa was definitely up there. The spa includes an ozone pool, sauna, hydrotherapy hot tub and Elemis Spa treatment rooms.
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Spa treatments can be booked for an additional fee, and a couples’ treatment room is available if you really want to be romantic.
Now one of my favorite things about all hotel stays is the breakfast and it certainly didn’t disappoint. I ordered a full Scottish breakfast which came within minutes and was delicious.
The hotel’s Quayside Bar & Grill is also a great place for lunch, dinner, and everything in between and is open to non-guests as well.
We ended our breakfast with a walk along the banks of the Tay. Along with breathtaking views of the water, we also encountered a 36ft stainless steel whale, water fountains, and an urban beach where kids can enjoy the sand, albeit on a sunny day.
Cyclists and parents with strollers smiled as we admired the seagulls hovering over the misty water. From that vantage point, I looked at the Tay Bridge with fresh eyes and realized how long it is.
Next to our hotel was also what I can only describe as a bouncy castle game, floating on a cove in the harbor. All perfectly safe with life jackets of course.
In September, the new Dundee Cycle Hub opened to encourage visitors to cycle. You can hire a bike to explore the new modern surroundings as the city seeks to have net carbon neutral emissions by 2045.
As we unfortunately left our room, a member of the housekeeping staff asked us if everything had gone well during our stay. Now it’s extremely rare for the staff to be anything but polite, but that genuine thoughtfulness was a lovely way to end the trip.
Dundee goes places and the Apex City Quay hotel leads the way.
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Rooms at the 4 * Apex city Quay Hotel and Spa Dundee start from £ 69 room only or £ 100 guest room.
Standard Room, 2 persons, Room Only from £ 69 and Bed & Breakfast from £ 100.
Visit apexhotels.co.uk/destinations/dundee/ or call 01382 202404.
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