Edinburgh's West End

You will have noticed on my social media that I spent a couple of days in Edinburgh last week. Part of my visit was to explore Edinburgh’s West End – a large area of the city centre – as they invited me to try out some of their shops, restaurants and beauty salons, so that I could recommend the best places to you.

old stone steeple

flower shop

Edinburgh’s West End is one of the older parts of the city – full of cobbled roads and quaint Georgian crescents. It’s all very picturesque and I loved my time here. One thing I will say though, is that if you are disabled and unable to use stairs, you will find it hard to get to a toilet in anywhere other than one of the bigger chain restaurants. The layout of the older buildings means that the toilets are all down a flight of small, stone stairs to the basement – something my crutch and I discovered nearly too late!

Where to get pampered

sleeping beauty salon william street

sleeping beauty salon edinburgh

sleeping beauty salon inside

I started my day in Edinburgh’s West End at the Sleeping Beauty Salon on William Street. I’ve been to (and reviewed here) their salon in Edinburgh’s Radisson SAS hotel, so I was keen to try out their flagship. It’s so lovely, warm and welcoming inside, and they focus on using Elemis products in their treatments.

sleeping beauty salon treatment room

Elemis Biotec Facial machine

I was there to try an Elemis Biotec Firm-a-Lift Facial (£75). This hour-long treatment focusses on sculpting your face and strengthening your facial contours through massage, LED light therapy, muscle contractions that you don’t even feel via a very jazzy machine, and lots and lots of hydration to plump the skin.

The facial began with a relaxing cleanse, tone and exfoliation, before a delightfully-cooling gel – a powerful lifting serum – was applied to my skin and the large, interesting machine was put to work. The therapist used two metal-pronged ultrasonic frequency wands to deliver pulses into my muscles to exercise and tighten them. You don’t feel your muscles contracting – it just feels like a couple of those metal eye cream applicators are being moved slowly across your entire face. This treatment also uses Galvanic Technology – the use of positive and negative ions to deliver the active skincare products deep into your skin, minimise signs of ageing and deeply cleanse the skin too. My favourite part of the facial was the hydrating section at the end – the use of an oxygen wand that makes a little sucking noise on the skin as it energises and hydrates.

This facial did everything I wanted it to do – smooth out any fine lines, deeply hydrate my skin, firm my skin and my jawline and leave me with glowing, healthy-looking skin. I will definitely be getting myself another one of these as the results were amazing and the treatment was so pleasant and relaxing.

mathew watt hairdressing

mathew watt hair inside

If your hair needs some TLC, I also want to recommend Mathew Watt Hairdressing. This stylish, but friendly, salon offers everything, but I opted for the famous, conditioning Olaplex treatment and a quick trim.

olaplex hair

Olaplex is a two-stage in-salon treatment that uses an active ingredient to work at a molecular level on your hair, to repair broken bonds in your hair caused by heat or chemical damage; to strengthen your hair against breakages; and to deeply condition and add shine to your hair. My stylist applied Olaplex No.1 The Bond Multiplier to my newly-washed, damp hair. This product is very runny and makes your hair feel and look very wet. You leave it on for at least 10 minutes, but as long as you can is beneficial. Olaplex No.2  The Bond Perfector has more of a traditional conditioner feel to it. This is applied over the top of No.1 and again left on for as long as possible. My hair was then washed again, cut and blow-dried, and I couldn’t believe how shiny, strong and healthy it looked and felt. I’ve washed my hair many times since, and that Olaplex treatment has made a big different to my hair. I’m not sure of the price of this treatment, but industry standards seem to be around a £50 add-on to whatever else you are getting in the salon.

Where to eat

the huxley edinburgh

the huxley edinburgh menu

After all that pampering, you’ll need to stop for a bite to eat. I can really recommend The Huxley – a modern pub-restaurant right at the end of Princes Street. The food here is amazing, fresh and full of flavour.

the huxley oreo milkshake

the huxley garlic butter fries and chicken satay

I went for a yummy Oreo Milkshake (£4) alongside one of The Huxley’s Not a Starter, Not a Main dishes (perfect size for lunch) – Chicken Satay (£6.50) – and a side of Garlic Butter Fries (£4). Yes, those fries are every bit as good as they sound! I was really impressed with the food here – the chicken was freshly grilled and you got huge, quality pieces of meat. I had a seat right by the window and enjoyed watching this busy end of Edinburgh’s main shopping street Princes Street. The Huxley is the sort of place that you could quietly work on a laptop for an afternoon while enjoying their menu.

Where to shop

paper tiger edinburgh

Edinburgh’s West End is packed full of independent shops and boutiques. One of my favourites is Paper Tiger – a stationery, paper and crafty shop. It’s a real treasure trove inside and stocks everything from Origami craft kits to quirky greetings cards, beautiful wrapping paper and pretty notebooks.

edinburgh clothes store

If you love clothes, you need to check out the Frontiers Woman boutique. They have a great range of luxury women’s clothing and accessories from popular brands such as Paul Smith, alongside smaller labels too. You will fall in love with something in here and you can feel safe that it’s a unique find too.

Have you spent time in this area of Edinburgh before? Do you have any recommendations?

This is a collaborative post with Edinburgh’s West End, but all opinions are my own.

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