The 1819

To celebrate 200 years of Edinburgh’s first purpose-built hotel and World Gin Day, we’ve collaborated with Eden Mill to create our first ever bespoke gin. Here at Apex Hotels, our guests are always at the forefront of what we do. Our gin, ‘The 1819’, named after the year Waterloo Hotel originally opened, pays homage to one of the hotel’s most famous guests; world-renowned botanist Asa Gray. Gray was one of the first guests to stay at the Waterloo Hotel, Tavern and Coffee House in 1819 – in the same building that’s now our Apex Waterloo Place Hotel – so it’s only fitting we’d take some ginspiration from him to commemorate the building’s 200 year anniversary.

When the hotel originally opened in 1819, the architect Archibald Elliot used the slogan ‘an establishment where strangers can see the manners of the people and mix with the society of the place’. To this day, that statement rings true. Back in the 1800’s, Princes, Earls, writers, actors, entertainers, singers, dancers and many other travellers stayed at the Waterloo Hotel. Elliot’s vision for the hotel was summed up in his original proposal when he wrote that ‘there has never existed a Tavern where more than fifty persons could be entertained with ease or comfort’ so he set out to design a large-scale hotel to bring his vision to life.

Bringing it back to the present, 2019 has seen an extensive refurbishment of all our bedrooms at Apex Waterloo Place Hotel. We’ve taken inspiration from the building’s traditional Georgian features to ensure the rich history is honoured. The high ceilings, large windows and historic fireplaces accent the chic and contemporary design Apex Hotels is known for. Modern fittings, luxury linens and Instagrammable suites make Apex Waterloo Place Hotel the perfect fusion of 1819 history and 2019 chic.

Asa Gray, who’s considered the most important American botanist of all time and who was close friends with Charles Darwin, frequented the Waterloo Hotel during the 1800’s and called it ‘the finest hotel’ he had seen. To honour the hotel’s history and commemorate the next chapter for Apex Waterloo Place Hotel, we’ve taken some inspiration from the Father of American Botany himself and created our very own personalised gin (with some help from the tutors at the Eden Mill Blendworks Gin School in St Andrews).

We recently refurbished Apex Waterloo Place Hotel to put our own contemporary spin on the historic building whilst ensuring its traditional Georgian features were honoured. In a similar fashion, we’ve taken a classic gin and made it our own. ‘The 1819’ is our bespoke blend of botanicals created by our expert team of Waterloo Place bartenders. The gin is an exciting floral blend that takes the classic juniper berry base and adds rosemary and allspice to give it a smoky finish.

Our bartenders from Apex Waterloo Place Hotel along with General Manager Alan Harbisher and Deputy General Manager David Steele attended the blendworks session in St. Andrews to create the bespoke gin. Watch how they crafted the gin below.

The team have also came up with five signature cocktails using ‘The 1819’ to ensure you get the most out of your gin when you sip with us. Read all about them here.

Image: Sandy Young photography

Join us at Apex Waterloo Place Hotel to raise a glass to the next 200 years and to new beGINnings!

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