Out of Edinburgh, deep in a valley, hidden behind an automatic gate and down a winding woodland lane alongside the river. That’s where you’ll find it.
Just a few miles out of the capital in Dalkeith is the location of what has to be one of the Central Belt’s most luxurious homes for rent – The Old Millhouse.
The perfect location for setting up base for your trip to the city or the ideal setting for a leisurely long weekend away with friends or family.
Nestled in the depths of a deep valley and unseen from the road (and the road unheard from the property), this sturdy, strong conversion reflects a tranquility perhaps at odds with its once bustling industrial nature.
You see, The Old Millhouse was never a building erected for leisure. It was, of course, built for work; for industry; for toil.
Such is the juxtaposition of former use on the site and current tranquility that something amazing happens when you first witness the four-storey, five-bedroomed property.
You would be mistaken for thinking that it was never industrial at all.
In fact, such is the quality of what the owners have done during the renovation, the building seems to have always been there in its current guise. It is almost instantaneous.
The high-quality finishes in every nook and corner of the house mean that the former dusty, dirty nature of the building has now transformed into a streamlined, elegant and wholly other-worldly experience. And that’s what this property is.
Let the luxury wrap around you
Not just somewhere to sleep, shower and change. It is a destination within itself and an experience to be savoured and soaked up through every fibre of your being.
And as the luxury wraps around you, much like the soft-to-the-touch dressing gowns in every room, you could be forgiven for forgetting why your tasteful surroundings were there in the first place.
And that’s not to say that it forgets what it was, either.
The Old Millhouse has reinvented itself. It has subtle nods back to its former life; when the current owners bought it after a fire it was a shell of a building, what they were left with now hangs in picture form on the manicured walls. Seeing how far it has come to its now refined self underlines the point I am making. It is chalk and cheese.
Waited on hand and foot
Speaking of food, there is the option while staying at the Old Millhouse to enjoy a private chef. We took this option, and if it’s unadulterated joy and a slice of the high life you’re looking for from your break, then I suggest you do too.
We were very lucky to have chef Liz Pardoe provide us with a delicious meal with wine pairing – which included three canapes, a delicious duck confit and a heavenly poached pear dessert, among a range of other tasty treats.
So good was the food and the service, that I would recommend hiring Liz for any event you have coming up, whether at the Old Millhouse or not.
It was a treat usually reserved for nights out – but why can’t they be enjoyed during nights in, too? A moment of decadence, of an experience normally for those high-flyers in the city and all with no pots to worry about at the end of the night. Bliss.
While we sat in the orangery with our wedding music playlist for background noise playing through bluetooth speakers, being served fine-dining standard food without leaving our (temporary) home, I thought to myself – this is what truly unwinding feels like.
It wasn’t the first time it had crossed my mind during our 24 hours at the Old Millhouse.
It had also flickered across my brain while relaxing in the swimming spa which sits in the 3.5 acres of land the distinguished home is wrapped in, jets turned up and underwater lights on.
The feeling recurred while I was taking our pet pooch Bruce for a stroll beside the river, looking back on the grand structure a short way in the distance.
And then again, while sitting at the table, listening to my favourite music with fine food and delicious wine on the table.
This is what it feels like to truly relax. To let absolutely everything go and enjoy what was right there in front of me. To allow myself to switch off from the noise, the distractions, the blur of modern living, and just be.
I think the greatest gift we can give ourselves right now is permission to just be present. To not think or worry about the things that have clogged up our every waking moment for the last couple of years. We deserve it.
The only problem I could find with the Old Millhouse is that we weren’t there for anywhere near long enough – which is something those workers back in the building’s formative years would never have thought.