Tuesday 12 March 2013

A Guerlain masterclass at the Caledonian Waldorf Astoria Hotel

My fascination with Guerlain began after watching the first episode of a BBC Documentary called Perfume, in which they followed the prestigious House of Guerlain as they looked outside the family for its next perfumer-in-chief, the esteemed Thierry Wasser. The sheer decadence that surrounds every element of Guerlain was captivating, it was impossible not to get swept away with the story of one of the oldest perfume houses in the world.

Fast forward to now and you can imagine my utter delight and honour at being invited along to a masterclass led by brand ambassador Richard Hawkins (one of only a handful of highly specialised fragrance experts in the world) at a venue as elegant and luxurious as the brand itself, The Caledonian, Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

the absolutely stunning Pompadour at the Caledonian.

From the moment I walked into the reception to the minute I left (after the most spell binding facial I will ever have- review to follow) I felt like a movie star. The hotel located on Edinburgh's historic Princes Street is absolutely beautiful, we were greeted in the Pompadour which is one of the most spectacular rooms I have ever been in! The duck egg blue hand painted wall decor was out of this world and is so fresh, bright and inviting- the absolutely perfect location to learn all about the iconic Guerlain brand. After some delicious brunch nibbles we took our seats as Richard took us on a captivating journey through Guerlains history and the stories and secrets behind their fragrances. Introducing us to the different natural ingredients, inspirations and design ideas behind each scent, he expertly led us from the initial conception right through to the final bottles for each one and it was absolutely enchanting- I could have listened to him talk for hours!

Guerlain is so steeped in history that there is so much to learn, my perfume knowledge was not up to scratch but after this masterclass I am so keen to find out more and actually take on board what I wear and what it says about me. Am I as mysterious and distinctive as Mitsouko ( favoured by greats such as Marilyn Monroe and Jean Harlowe)? or am I more exotic and sensual like Bridget Bardot or Rita Hayworth and their scent of choice, the iconic Shalimar? From bergamot to black pepper and every note in between there is story to tell and it was an absolutely pleasure to get to hear just a few of them from someone as passionate and as experienced as Richard.

The masterclass then shifted to make up and we were walked through some of Guerlains most famous  pieces, I was most familiar with their famous terracotta bronzer that I have seen countless people bring out of their make up bag over the years, but I was less familiar with some of their other products. However now the lipsticks, with their innovative designs and stunning shades, are now firmly on my lust list along with countless of their other products! I can safely say Guerlain is so very much on my radar after my experience, a brand as aspirational and synonomous with elegance and luxury, is one I can absolutely see myself saving for and splurging on. There is something about having a product or scent that feels really special that I love, one that can make you feel like a different person just by having it in your handbag to take out and use is really magical and it is these little pieces that are really worth their price tag.

After such a magical morning we were then whisked away to the beautiful surroundings of the Galvin Brasserie De Luxe within the hotel and were treated to an outstanding 3 course lunch. From the impeccable service of the staff to the well thought out and executed menu the experience was heavenly and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Whether you are looking for an afternoon tea, some fine dining or just a cocktail with a an elegant backdrop then you must give the Caledonian a look in. I was really pleasantly surprised with their offer of a set menu for only £15.50 for 2 courses or £18.50 for 3, this is a complete bargain if you ask me- the food was incredible and the surroundings gorgeous,so it is not to be missed if you are in the city!

The hotel has just launched the UK's first ever Guerlain Spa and it is absolutely beautiful- luxurious does not even cover it! Keep your eyes on the blog for my upcoming review of the most sensational treatment I have ever had, the Orchidee Imperiale.

Many thanks to both Guerlain and The Caledonian for such a wonderful day.

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