Tall medieval towers, historic houses, royally-blessed buildings — no two luxury hotels in Scotland are the same. No matter what corner of the nation you visit, it is possible to stay in total comfort, with restaurants of the highest quality and local attractions to appeal to all tastes. Here are six of the most luxurious of all.
If you want to visit one of the wildest corners of Britain, but do so in comfort and style, then a stay at The Torridon is ideal. Situated at the end of the famous Loch Torridon on the west coast, nestled among 58 acres of immaculate parkland and surrounded by mountains and stunning views whichever way you look, this hotel boasts a whisky bar with over 350 single malts and a restaurant committed to serving the finest locally sourced fresh ingredients. It is also conveniently near the long distance route billed as Scotland’s answer to the US Route 66, the North Coast 500.
Also on the North Coast 500, but on the far north east coast of Caithness, this 15th-century castle is the most northerly Grade A listed building in the United Kingdom. There is a choice of elegant rooms in the tower itself — or you can choose to sleep in Europe’s largest tree-house with a bedroom. With the sandy beach of Sinclair Bay a stone’s throw from the castle, a bagpiper to wake you in the morning, and the possibility of the northern lights in the skies overhead, Ackergill Tower is a unique and very special hotel in this far corner of Scotland.
When it comes to history, this hotel really does take some beating. Bonnie Prince Charlie slept here on several occasions, including the nights before the Battle of Culloden, when the Jacobite cause came crashing down in defeat. Culloden House is surrounded by its own woodland and beautiful gardens, with an multi award-winning restaurant and a friendly, relaxed atmosphere with a warm Highland welcome. There are also championship golf courses close by and even a sauna in the dungeon!
The dining rooms are furnished with gifts from the King of Norway, Queen Victoria stayed there for a week and, with Albert and Michel Roux Jr. in charge of the kitchens, it’s home to chef royalty. And that’s before the location is even mentioned. Inverlochy Castle is a royal experience indeed, as luxurious as they come and in an area of Scotland famed for its beauty and vistas. Glenfinnan, where Charles Edward Stuart raised his father’s standard, is just a short distance away, as is the Great Glen Way, the falls in Glen Nevis, and the mighty bulk of Ben Nevis itself.
Designed by the Edwin Lutyens — called ‘the greatest British architect of the 20th (or of any other) century’, Greywalls is oddly named — as the walls themselves are more of a welcoming honey or cinnamon than grey. The formal walled gardens, another Roux restaurant, luxurious massages, and the fact the house is on the edge of the world renowned golf links at Muirfield all add up to a unique stay. Edinburgh is only 30 minutes drive away and the area around the hotel is full of hidden treasures to explore. The guest at Greywalls will be forgiven for feeling they have somehow been transported back to the Edwardian age, perhaps during a long Indian summer.
Often people book into a luxury hotel for a very special occasion; whether a honeymoon or a milestone birthday, they are often seeking a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It doesn’t come more once-in-a-lifetime than a stay at Skibo Castle, as this is literally the case. Home to the prestigious Carnegie Club, the rules are such that unless you are a member you may only stay once in your life. This is opulent luxury at its most magnificent, with a 7500 acre estate surrounding the building — a 13th-century tower which has been added to over the centuries. If the name seems familiar, it might be because this was the venue for Madonna and Guy Ritchie’s wedding in 2000. Skibo is elegance, unbeatable service, style, and splendour, all near the lovely town of Dornoch, in an area of Scotland famed for its surprisingly warm micro-climate.