We all love to treat ourselves to a little luxury from time to time.
Spa days, fancy dinners or weekend getaways are all perfect lavish treats. But with the latter in particular, there’s one place you should definitely have your eye on for your next north-east getaway.
The Beach Apartment is run by Ashleigh Forbes, owner of Platter catering company and business partner Karen McEwan of This is 36 Floral.
The pair were only handed the keys this summer, but they’ve already won awards and put their stamp firmly on this gorgeous getaway apartment.
Panoramic sea views, quirky decor and an open-living feel gives this place its inimitable character.
Christmas-themed workshops running this month are also diversifying the apartment space and widening its appeal to local artists and creatives.
For Ashleigh, this idyllic getaway was love at first sight.
‘Too good an opportunity to pass up’
“I’d never worked in accommodation before, but it was too good an opportunity to pass up,” says Ashleigh.
“Truthfully, it was the apartment itself that I totally fell in love with.”
“Lesley Duff owned the apartment previously. Her and her husband Brian are serial entrepreneurs having built Molly’s Cafe and Aunty Betty’s ice cream shop here in Stonehaven.
“But when they were eyeing up retirement, our paths crossed and Lesley offered the proposition to take the apartment on and make it our own.
“Karen and I thought we could put our own stamp on it and bring our strengths to what was already a successful business that people really loved.”
A passionate north-east entrepreneur herself, Ashleigh already knows a thing or two about making things look special.
Her and Karen have modernised the apartment whilst keeping the building’s history at heart.
“The building has always been reminiscent of seaside culture being by the beach and that’s at the core of what we offer,” Ashleigh explains.
“The decor is extremely unique; we try to keep things fun with some of quirky items and mix with the history of antique pieces that all have a story tell.
“But the most noticeable thing of all is the view outside.
“When you come into the apartment, you’re struck with a panoramic view of the sea, which changes in feel all year round from summer to winter.
“It’s a really special and engaging place.”
Two bedrooms, two bathrooms and an open-plan layout give The Beach Apartment what Ashleigh describes as a “sexy pad” kind of vibe.
The space is wholly relaxing, typifying the getaway notion to a tee whilst also having plenty of sought-after local amenities on its doorstep.
Personal touches for each of its guests also add to the luxury feel that the apartment evokes.
But as well as being hired out on occasion for bridal suites and photoshoots, the festive period has inspired Ashleigh and Karen to further extend the capabilities of what their apartment can offer.
“As well as marketing the apartment for stays, we want it to be a place where people can come in and hire for workshops and events to create a place in Stonehaven where local people can go and learn new skills – which I think there’s a lack of here at the moment,” says Ashleigh.
“We’re currently hosting a range of festive workshops from local artists up until December 18.
“We have Laura from Juniper Press coming in to do a Christmas card-making class as well as Christmas bauble painting, which should really get people in the festive spirit.
“We also have Nishu from Chheliflow who will be hosting a tranquil seaside watercolour painting class.
“Pushing these kinds of events for local people of all abilities to come together, meet new people and learn new skills is something that we really wanted to push.
“I hope these festive workshops will be cathartic and wholesome experiences.”
Local appeal of The Beach Apartment
Honouring previous owner Lesley’s legacy is something that’s been imperative for Ashleigh with The Beach Apartment.
But not only have her and Karen already done this despite coming into their getaway venture with little experience, but they’ve also set an impressive precedent backed by five-star reviews that champions their apartment – and Stonehaven – as a top getaway destination.
We think what we’re offering is really special not just in Stonehaven, but across Scotland.”
“I’m really passionate about Aberdeen and the Shire,” says Ashleigh.
“I hate this doom and gloom narrative that’s been created over the years with people here being self-deprecating a lot of the time.
“There are a lot of people here really trying to make it an exciting place to be.
“For me, the apartment has been a passion project. We want to maintain the standard we’ve set and we think what we’re offering is really special not just in Stonehaven, but across Scotland.
“There’s so much beauty and so much on offer here and we’re really just about championing that.”