The lift at the George Hotel goes up just seven floors but has the effect of transporting its occupants from the bustle of city life to the tranquility of the coast in a matter of seconds.

The hotel is situated on the St Andrew Square side of George Street, a mile or so of boutique stores, sophisticated restaurants and more zebra crossings than an African safari. It is unapologetically high-end, the go-to city centre spot for the young, trendy and wealthy. For those of us no longer young, and who were never trendy or wealthy, it's still a lovely area for a wander in the spring sunshine, through the square, down Princes Street and back along Rose Street. There we squeeze into the last table at the back of a pub jammed full of Welsh rugby supporters gleefully watching their team hammer Scotland on the big screen, and stop for a seat and a pint.

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From there it's back to the hotel to check in and take the aforementioned lift to the seventh floor and our room with a view. And what a view it is, as we peer across rooftops to the Firth of Forth and beyond to Fife. Granted, it isn't as gratifying as a paddle in the water but from our location it's the best we can hope for.

Suitably revitalised - although that might have been because someone else had the kids - our thoughts turned to dinner, having quickly scoffed the crackers, cheese and jar of chutney that were laid out in our room on arrival. Down we went to Tempus, the hotel's restaurant, working our way politely through a throng of black-tied guests arriving for a charity dinner and into the adjoining bar for a drink. The dining area has an almost Gothic vintage feel to it - according to the wife, anyway - with our kilted waiter offering a modern Scottish subtext to the ornate surrounds. The food is terrific, the option of tapas-style main courses eagerly snapped up by my dining companion. The 28-day dry-aged Orkney sirloin steak served with hand-cut chips wasn't too bad either, leaving just enough room for dessert.

Graeme Macpherson was a guest of the George Hotel, 19-21 George Street, Edinburgh. B&B starts at £129. Visit or call 0131 225 1251.