Top 5 country house hotels in Scotland
In these post-Covid times, everyone is looking for great spaces where people can move freely. Social distancing means physical distancing at least for those who are not family members, relatives or close friends. For many nature, countryside and outdoor activities will be at the top of the list in the weeks and months to come. When leisure or, to use the official term, non-essential travel is permitted again, accommodation in country hotels with their own gardens and private estates will be prioritized by discerning travelers.
Naturally located in picturesque locations, these mansions and what they have to offer will be essential for those who wish to relax, regenerate and rejuvenate physically and mentally. The combination of extremely comfortable beds, healthy breakfasts, inspiring daytime activities and evening culinary delights will ensure everyone is ready to get back to life! Here are my 5 best country hotels in Scotland.
The Greywalls Hotel, with its approximately six-acre formal walled garden, was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1901. It was built as a country house for its original owner, the Hon. Alfred Lyttelton, an avid golfer who insisted that the house be built very close to 18th Green at Muirfield Golf Course in Gullane, one of the best golf courses in the world, not far from Edinburgh. During the day, you can enjoy in-depth local insight into the wonders and countryside of the lowlands, as well as unique experiences at a gin or whiskey distillery. Alternatively, they can explore the Firth of Forth on a private boat, including a visit to Bass Rock with the world’s largest gannet colony or the nearby Museum of Flight for the more aviation savvy.
Guests can stay at Greywalls in one of their 23 luxurious rooms or suites. If guests prefer more privacy and self-catering accommodation, Colonel’s House, located just 500 meters from Greywalls, or The Cottage Rooms – two small and four large charming bedrooms located at the entrance to the aisle – is best. choice. Spread over four rooms, including a whiskey room and a veranda, Chez Roux restaurant in Greywalls offers settings depending on the occasion, season or time of day. The service corresponds to that of a refined gastronomic experience: welcoming but refined, attentive and discreet.
When Scottish tennis superstar Andy Murray acquired Cromlix, located near his hometown of Dunblane, it signaled not only his desire to invest in his home country, but also the chance to reinvent the glorious era of the large country house. The champion of the US Open, Olympics and Wimbledon completely renovated and transformed this elegant Victorian mansion into a 5 star luxury destination.
Set in beautiful countryside, the Cromlix Hotel, once the home of the Lairds of Cromlix, is set in 34 acres of secluded woods and gardens with its own chapel and small loch. The hotel, which opened in the spring of 2014, is redefined for the 21st century with lavish surroundings and impeccable but discreet service. Knowing who is the owner explains that the on-site tennis court is in Wimbledon colors!
Five suites and ten rooms, a door lodge, a reception room, two lounges, a veranda, a dining room, a pool table and meeting rooms await to be discovered by the residents of the hotel. Each of the guest rooms has its own unique design and character. The light shines in the bedrooms, all subtly decorated and enjoying a splendid view over the well-tended park of the surrounding countryside. The hotel has a Chez Roux restaurant, offering reasonably priced and very tasty menus that emphasize the use of local, seasonal produce wherever possible. Dining at the Cromlix is a dining experience that doesn’t need to be confined to the restaurant. There are many hidden places within the hotel that can accommodate a more intimate and private dining experience.
The Pearl Hotels are the proud custodians of this magnificent mansion which is, as the name suggests, situated in the most famous valley of the Scottish Highlands. Glencoe House is a historic mansion and the former home of Lord Strathcona. It offers elegant accommodation set in the tranquility of 10 hectares of private gardens. The award winning Glencoe House offers 5 star luxury suites in the Western Highlands and is an ideal location for all occasions – from a short and exuberant break to a unique and very special wedding venue. For the more adventurous, the Glencoe area offers plenty of activities such as walking, hiking, fishing and mountain biking as well as skiing and snowboarding in the winter. For those who want to get there more easily, tours can be arranged, for example to the Glencoe Visitors Center or a ride on the ‘Harry Potter’ train that runs through Glenfinnan.
One of the unique features of each suite at Glencoe House is a large private living room which has many original features such as marble fireplaces and ornate ceilings. The charming en-suite bedrooms amplify the country house vibe, making guests feel like residents of their own historic mansion, but with the convenience of 21st century technology such as free wifi. Guests can retreat to their suite and enjoy the view of Loch Leven while sitting in front of a log fire or gazing at the stars from their private hot tub. Breakfast is served in the privacy of the living room dining table, making the start of the day easier. After a day of sightseeing, guests may also wish to stay in their spacious private suite for dinner, where a three-course menu can be served and enjoyed again at the dining room table. There is really no shortage of memorable experiences offered by this country house.
Kinloch Lodge is a very special place. It’s a place to escape the noise and hectic pace of modern life. A place to relax and rejuvenate, where guests can do things at their own pace. The Isle of Skye is often and rightly described as one of the most spectacular places on the planet. Kinloch and the Sleat Peninsula lie in a particularly beautiful part of the island. The hotel is at the end of a long drive, at the foot of a mountain and at the head of Loch na Dal. Here, guests will find some of Scotland’s best food, roaring fires, whiskey galore, and luxurious beds that make it even harder to say goodbye at the end of their stay.
Each of the 19 guest rooms at the North and South Kinloch Houses is individually decorated in colors and textures chosen to reflect Skye’s distinctive landscape. Each is furnished with antiques, prints and striking paintings, and most of them have open views to the sea-Loch na Dal or to Kinloch Hill. Food is taken very seriously and is the crowning glory of the Kinloch experience. Lady Claire Macdonald began cooking at Kinloch with a mission to make the most of the wonderful local produce on offer, simply cooked and generously served. The enthusiastic team of chefs is armed with an ever-growing list of local suppliers and amazing produce and their mission is to bring the island and its rich pantry of seasonal ingredients to life: from shore to moorland. and from the mountain to the sea.
Set in 58 acres of parkland at the end of a beautiful sea lake, the Torridon has one of the most spectacular and idyllic spots in the country. The resort offers something for everyone, whether guests yearn for an invigorating outdoor escape, or simply a pampered, restful vacation in a luxury country home, or shedding their muddy walking shoes and sitting by the sea. ‘a crackling fire in a cozy bar.
The aim is to provide each guest with their own unforgettable experience based on their personal preferences, so that outdoor activities like mountain biking, coasteering, gorges scrambling, guided mountain hikes or shooting range arc are available. If guests prefer a maritime adventure, whale watching cruises, sailing trips or yacht charters can be booked at the hotel reception.
Upon return to the hotel, you can relax in one of the 18 individually designed rooms or suites. All rooms combine Scottish heritage with Victorian-era features and touches of flamboyance while many offer enchanting views over Loch Torridon and the majestic mountains. In the evening, the hotel delights its residents with exquisite cuisine, a beautiful location and an intimate dining experience. The 1887 restaurant menu features innovative cuisine prepared with fresh produce from the Torridon farm, the vegetable garden and the surrounding land and lakes.
Best of all, these five country hotels can be combined into an ultra-luxurious Scottish countryside experience. The distance between them varies from 60 miles (96 km) to 85 miles (136 km), thus allowing a full round trip to include the five country houses, from Edinburgh Airport to Inverness Airport with a total distance of only 400 miles (640 km)! Depending on whether clients decide to stay one, two, three, or four nights at each of these mansions, a seasoned travel designer can turn such a trip into a one-off or tailor-made country experience. Touring Scotland from hotel to hotel in a chauffeured limousine will also highlight the following attractions:
– Greywalls Hotel: Scottish Seabird Center (Bass Rock), Rosslyn Chapel (Da Vinci Code), Glenkinchie Distillery (Lowlands Corner of Johnnie Walker)
– Cromlix Hotel: Trossachs National Park, Dunblane Cathedral, Stirling Castle, Wallace Monument, Battle of Bannockburn Experience
– Glencoe House: Glencoe Valley (Skyfall / Bond), Glen Etive, Ben Nevis (highest mountain in the UK), Glenfinnan Viaduct & Monument (Harry Potter)
– Kinloch Lodge: wild walks, foraging, Cuillin Hills, Talisker Distillery, Eilean Donan Castle (“The Highlander”)
– Le Torridon: guided walks, cycling and sea kayaking, Applecross Pass & Peninsula, Inverewe Garden, Hebridean Whale Cruises (from Gairloch)
Dorothy Welsh is the CEO of Luxury Scotland. Luxury Scotland offers true Scottish hospitality, culinary delights and unique experiences.
If you would like to become a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog to enhance your profile, please contact us.