Oh Scotland! I love you. I love the history, the landscapes, the nature, the castles, the poetry, the whiskey, and the men! What’s not to love? We wrote about Scotland earlier this month, and here we dive into our many favorite hotels and resorts. Truly, it will be hard to choose!
The Fife Arms
The Fife Arms is far more than a 19th-century landmark hotel; it is a living museum of Braemar’s history. Built in the 19th century, The Fife Arms Hotel is a Braemar landmark and is a category B listed building. Its size is evidence of the popularity of Braemar in the wake of Queen Victoria’s visits and her purchase of Balmoral. The building displays many of the traditional architectural characteristics of the area with its timber bargeboards, pink and grey granite, and multi-gabled principal elevation. The building has retained all of its timber sash and case windows with its distinctive Arts and Crafts multi-paned upper sashes and a large number of original chimney stacks. Every element has a story behind it – one of the 46 guest rooms pays tribute to Robert Louis Stevenson, who wrote Treasure Island here; in a common area, abstract wall murals echo the flow of the Clunie River outside. Timber and other materials in the newly built section are locally sourced, as are most of the fresh seafood and game, seasonal produce, and over 300 varieties of whisky. Explore the extensive network of hill trails; get an acupressure massage; or visit nearby Balmoral Castle, which is open to the public from April through July.
The Balmoral, A Rocco Forte Hotel
The Balmoral may be the city’s premier address – it’s a luxury hotel that pampers its guests. Many of the opulent rooms and suites look out on Edinburgh Castle, the Old Town, and Arthur’s Seat, capturing the beauty and mood of the Scottish countryside. Pampering starts in the award-winning spa, a sanctuary of highly personalized service. The indulgence continues at Michelin-starred restaurant Number One, serving dishes that fuse modern Scottish cuisine with international flair. Have Afternoon Tea at Palm Court or try out the fashionable Brasserie Prince. The Balmoral’s signature whisky bar, SCOTCH, pays homage to Scotland’s national drink and is home to one of Edinburgh’s largest collections. While you take a seat on one of the tweed sofas and let their kilted Whisky Ambassadors help you choose from over 500 varieties.
Tucked away in Edinburgh’s bustling St. Andrew’s Square, you’ll find the grand yet intimate Gleneagles Townhouse – a 33-guestroom property with a discreet entrance and glamorous neo-Victorian vibe. Rooms embrace the building’s noble heritage with high ceilings, antique rugs, and free-standing tubs. Timeless charm blends with all today’s needs in our boutique hotel bedrooms. Deeply comfortable, they’re sanctuaries of downtime as the city sleeps. The all-day restaurant serves international dishes like west coast langoustines, pumpkin, and feta tarts. And in the rooftop bar, Lamplighters, you can sip cocktails inspired by author Robert Louis Stevenson, paired with panoramic views of the city.
Royal Scotsman, A Belmond Train
From the moment you step onto Royal Scotsman, you are swept up in a world of myth, legend, and timeless luxury. Delve into a land of soaring peaks, deep valleys, mirror lochs, and looming castles. Enjoy a tasting in a world-famous distillery, then enter the forest for an exhilarating clay pigeon shoot. As night falls, mingle with fellow guests over candlelit dinners and live ceilidhs – a fine finale to the day’s adventures.
Cheval Edinburgh Grand
Situated on St Andrew Square in the city’s New Town area, the Residence pays homage to its former life as a historic banking landmark, The National Bank of Scotland. The well-known building has been beautifully renovated to house 50 fully equipped serviced apartments, with options to accommodate from one to six guests. Each apartment seamlessly incorporates the building’s historical roots with a slick contemporary design. The interior décor has been intricately chosen to enhance authentic features, including original dark wood paneling, fireplaces, brass door handles, and decorative cornice. Take the lift to the fourth-floor venue, the Register Club, for afternoon tea or all-day eats, then stroll through the neighborhood filled with cafés and high-end retailers. Be sure to check out the local branch of the London-based department store, Harvey Nichols, while you’re there. If you visit Edinburg over the holidays, remember Edinburgh’s Christmas Market in the East Princes Street Gardens.
Iverlochy Castle Hotel
You will find regal respite at Inverlochy Castle Hotel, managed by ICMI, set within Scotland’s foothills of Ben Nevis. Built in 1863, the castle was a private home for 100 years before being converted to a celebrated country-house hotel. Your bedroom is one of 18; each has a unique design, private bathroom, and amenities that include a flat-screen mirror television and Bang & Olufsen sound system. Outdoor activities include fishing for wild brown trout and hunting grouse or stags. Dine at Albert and Michel Roux Jr at Inverlochy Castle, savoring the finest dishes offered by the legendary father and son, using local produce. During a visit in 1873, Queen Victoria wrote of Inverlochy: “I never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot.” A regal endorsement, indeed!
When Scottish tennis superstar Andy Murray acquired Cromlix, close to his hometown of Dunblane, it signaled not only a return to his roots but the chance to reinvent the glorious era of grand country house living. Experience the decadent lifestyle once enjoyed by the lairds of Cromlix at Scotland’s majestic Cromlix, managed by ICMI. Just three miles from Dunblane, the hotel is nestled on 34 acres of secluded woodlands and boasts all the luxuries you could imagine, including in-room spa treatments, Peter Reed 400-thread-count linens, and indulgent bath products. Dine at the renowned Chez Roux restaurant, which features dishes like lobster mousseline and beef Wellington. Furnished with specially sourced Scottish antiques, Cromlix showcases its heritage yet has been tastefully redesigned for the 21st century. Cromlix is the perfect venue for a variety of outdoor activities. Rent quad bikes, explore via a four-wheel-drive vehicle, or participate in your own Mini Highland Games, all available close by.
Glenapp Castle is a fairy-tale castle hotel in southwest Scotland. Romantic towers and turrets rise from the 21-room baronial castle, set on 36 acres of ancient woodlands and stunning gardens. Stroll among the exotic plants in the walled garden or walk through the glen before enjoying a cup of tea and homemade scones in the restored Victorian tea room. You can play tennis, take a bike to explore, channel your inner Katniss on the archery targets, or enjoy an exciting private sea safari to the iconic Ailsa Craig. The restaurant’s six-course menu is one of the finest gourmet experiences in Scotland. Be sure to book a private Hebridean Sea Safari in the Glenapp boat as part of your stay, explore the beautiful Scottish islands, see some amazing sea and bird life, and create unforgettable memories.
Do any of these intrigue you? We’d love to arrange a Scottish whisky-tasting tour or show you the sights from Outlander. We have excellent partners in Scotland who can design a travel experience that will make your heart sing. Creating a memorable travel experience is more than simply booking a posh hotel. We’d love to help!