We always get excited when Connoisseurs Scotland Hotels are recognised by the industry through awards. The last few months have been very important because a number of Connoisseurs Scotland Hotels have received some of the top awards in the industry. Amongst their competition were some of the very best hotels in the UK and in some cases, the world.
As well as awards, Connoisseurs Scotland Hotels have been in the list of recommended hotels by a number of well-known international publications as well. More and more both the Industry and Media professionals are recognising Scotland as an important international destination and luxury hotels in Scotland as examples of quality in high end hospitality.
To mention a few:
One of the latest awards was received by Inverlochy Castle Hotel at the Annual Condé Nast Johansens Award for Excellence. Inverlochy Castle has been awarded Best Destination Hotel, along renowned luxury hotels such as Coworth Park a member of the Dorchester Collection and Limewood Hotel, both in England.
Stobo Castle Health Spa has been awarded ‘Readers’ spa of the year: Scotland’ by The Good Spa Guide, competing with the best spas in Scotland such as The Carrick Spa at Cameron House Hotel, The Spa at Turnberry Resort and Kohler Waters Spa at The Old Course Hotel. They were also amongst the nominated to the national award competing with renowned luxury hotels such as Armathwaite Hall in Cumbria and Lucknam Park Hotel in Wiltshire.
Gleneagles Hotel has received enormous amount of recognition this year. ‘Best Golf Resort in the World’ at the prestigious 2013 Daily Telegraph Ultra Travel Awards for the second year running, Best UK Luxury Resort Spa at the World Luxury Spa Awards 2013, Best of the Best Family Programme at Virtuoso 2013 which took place in the USA, Best British Fixer at the Conde Nast Traveller Spa Awards 2013, amongst others.
Kinloch Lodge has deservedly received enormous attention from both the industry and the Media, featured by the Sunday Times as one of Britain’s best remote hotels, number 1 of The Independent‘s 10 Best Autumn activity breaks, recommended by The Guardian as one of their Top 10 hotel restaurants in the UK and by The Telegraph, it also retained its Michelin star and Brazilian chef Marcello Tully has been invited to do wonderful charity work overseas which was also covered by The Herald Scotland.
The Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa was awarded Scotland’s Leading Hotel in the World Travel Awards 2013. The Atholl in Edinburgh was in Conde Nast’s HOT LIST 2013, as one of the best in the world, amongst some of the most luxurious venues in the planet. The Torridon Hotel was nominated Hotel of the Year at the respected Cateys Award 2013, again, competing with two fantastic English venues: Gravetye Manor in Sussex and The Pig in Hampshire.
The Airds Hotel and Restaurant was awarded three new AArosettes this year as well and as if all this recognition wasn´t enough, as many of you know, Lonely Planet has listed Scotland as the 3rd best country to visit and Edinburgh Castle was awarded top UK Heritage Attraction for the second year in a row, at the British Travel Awards 2013.
Well done to all hotels and staff, we look forward to even more celebrations and recognition to the hotels next year.
Although around 5 million people live in Scotland, it is estimated that over 50 million people all over the world can claim Scottish ancestry. 19% of ancestral tourists in Scotland come from the US, 15% come from Canada and 13% come from Australia, we welcome a large number of visitors to Scotland who have a strong connection to Scottish culture and heritage.
Luxury Scotland has once again partnered with Visit Scotland in a global celebration of Scotland’s heritage and ancestry. Homecoming Scotland 2014 is the ideal opportunity for people from all over the world to learn about their family roots. Genealogy activities will play a big part in tourist expenditure, local hotels, businesses and travel operators must be ready to inform visitors.
In 2014 Scotland will also be the host of two important international sporting events – the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and The Ryder Cup. Special events celebrating all things Scottish will take place all over Scotland, from food and drink festivals to art exhibitions and walks. Once again we are preparing ourselves not only to a great boost in the country’s economy but a significant positive impact in the local economy as well.If 2013 has been a positive one so far, 2014 will be even better!
Connoisseurs Scotland Hotels will be welcoming tourists all over the world preparing unique activities and packages to encourage visitors to explore the best of Scotland whilst learning more about their ancestors and family’s history.
If Scotland runs through your veins, this is the time for you to make special plans to return to your ancestral home and enrich your life with knowledge and experiences to pass on to generations to come.
Visit our website to see some of the special itineraries we have created for visitors to experience the best of Scotland according to their interests.
We look forward to seeing you all!
We often write about current themes, events and unique experiences one can have in Scotland. But we don’t always share with you our very own personal experiences as regular guests traveling around Scotland.
Every so often one of us working behind the scenes of Connoisseurs Scotland will open the book of our personal experiences and share with you a little chapter. To help you weave a tartan of imagery and feelings brought by this beautiful country we live in and the wonderful places available for us all to visit.
My Luxury Scotland begins at One Devonshire Gardens Hotel in Glasgow, at the Balfour room with memories of a special Christmas lunch almost one month before Christmas. Staff were like no other, bringing a Christmas tree to the bedroom and preparing a Christmas menu so I could celebrate it before spending Christmas overseas. The journey then develops into a sunny day and a beautiful scenic drive from Glasgow to Inverness via Loch Ness, arriving at Rocpool Reserve Hotel & Chez Roux to have spa treatments in my bedroom followed by a relaxing bath in an outdoor private jacuzzi, ending with my first encounter with Chef Albert Roux’s Souffle Suisesse: Still my favourite dish of all times.
My Luxury Scotland is a mid-week break at the Boath House during Spring, listening to the owner herself and staff preparing the breakfast table in a bright private sitting room just outside the room and leaving a stunning breakfast ready to be enjoyed. One of the most romantic scenes any guest can experience. It was also a long 5 hour drive to the Pool House in Poolewe, going through some of the most beautiful and dramatic vistas in Europe, arriving at a hotel that made me feel like reaching home and being surrounded by family, staying at a glorious and lavish bedroom full of antiques (where Brad Pitt had stayed a short time before!), waking up with the sound of otters and seals by the window and making new friends while having superb wine and food in the company of unassuming ultra-wealthy strangers.
My Luxury Scotland is driving to Inverlochy Castle and stopping the car on the driveway, dumbfounded , just to admire its beauty before finally being greeted by the friendliest and most welcoming staff. It’s staying in the bedroom Queen Victoria stayed and for a moment imagining what it would have been like, years back when past was present. It’s finding the best friend of a cousin I never met as one of the waiters and learning about past guests that visited the hotel every year for over 15 years until they unfortunately passed due to old age.
My Luxury Scotland is seeing and being amazed at the size of a Russian Red King crab at the Marcliffe Hotel & Spa in Aberdeen. It’s having a sports massage that took me all the way to the shores of Thailand and reaching my car 3 steps away from a private door to my bedroom. It’s also watching a seaplane land on Loch Lomond after watching golfers play golf from a breathtaking rooftop outdoor jacuzzi at the Carrick Spa at Cameron House on Loch Lomond. It’s tasting Martin Wishart’s art in the form of dishes and being followed by ducks on my way to a bedroom so big that it took me 8 steps to reach the bathroom.
My Luxury Scotland is also the habit of stopping by The House of Bruar every time I drive by it to stock up on Swiss chocolate that usually finishes before I reach home. It’s to be amazed at the quality and variety of local products and spending more than I should on them.
These are just chapters of a thick book of luxury Scotland memories and experiences made all the more precious by the hotels we work with and their staff.
Luxury is personal to all of us and it comes in different forms, sometimes they are moments sometimes they are experiences, this is a glimpse of what luxury scotland means to one of us.
Last weekend most of the country stopped to watch Wimbledon’s men final. Facebook reported more than 20 million posts, comments and “likes” relating to the competition and once again for a short while, Scotland and its people became the subject of conversations all over the world.
So what does Andy’s victory mean to Scotland and tourism?
Andy Murray is more than one of the world’s best tennis players (according to Ivan Lendl, he really is the best tennis player in the world now), he is a reflection of Scotland’s culture and national identity. From his background in Dunblane and overcoming adversity to the closeness to his mother Judy, Andy is the every day Scot who’s made it big with sheer determination (and a little bit of help from luck, what happens when “preparation meets opportunity”).
Andy’s victory means a lot to Scotland, on a historic level and on an emotional level as well, numerous tweets and facebook posts expressed the public opinion, “a Scotsman lent to England for one of Wimbledon’s most historic matches”, “he is British now, he will go back to being Scottish after the win”. Timing is a very important factor, a time when Scotland is more than ever working towards independence, the Year of Natural Scotland when we celebrate all that is Scottish: the culture, the history, the wildlife, the art, the scenery, the people who made and make history.
Andy’s victory is the cherry on the cake for The Year of Natural Scotland. It’s a representation of all that we are proud about Scotland and what we want the international community to remember us by: A country of great actors (represented by the focus the Media has given to Gerard Butler at the final), of great inventors as well as great sportsmen. Andy being the latest and currently most important one.
We also need to remember that Andy now has a luxury hotel in Scotland, Cromlix, opening in April 2014. It’s the perfect circle, Wimbledon has given international recognition to Scotland’s athletes as well as Scottish hospitality. The hotel was being mentioned again in articles all over the globe, bringing attention to Scotland as a destination, now more than just beautiful, we dare to say fashionable.
Wimbledon’s result means a lot to Scotland’s tourism sector and to the next generation of sports talents. We are proud of Andy and we congratulate him for his well deserved achievement, but we also congratulate Scotland as a nation for believing in itself and for being delighted to share its best fruits with the global audience.
We can’t wait for Cromlix to open and we hope the excitement brought by Wimbledon lasts for years to come!
Have you ever fallen in love with a building?
Buildings carry the history and heritage of the location where they are built. They interact with the landscape and when they become part of our life, we develop a relationship with them. Buildings are the background of memories, they give us both protection from the weather and privacy but they also give us great inspiration. Our home is a reflection of who we are. A country’s buildings are the reflection of its culture.
Scotland is mostly known for so many things. Our heritage, our history, our scenery, our larder, our inventors and people. The great majority of visitors don’t come to Scotland in search of buildings like so many do when visiting Prague or Rome. But once in Scotland, very soon visitors realise what a rich architectural history we have. So many different styles of buildings share the same space, each representing a different era and our different needs and influences throughout history.
Scottish castles were built to protect, Palladian mansions were built to boast wealth and entertain whilst urban housing narrate the story of Scotland’s middle and working classes. Edinburgh Georgian terraces, tower-blocks, Glasgow tenement flats, urban gardens, churches and kirks, each and every building has a story to tell. They reflect our rich history and our ability to preserve and interact with the past by adding layers to old buildings and bringing them to the present.
For the architecture lover, we recommended buildings such as Glasgow School of Art, The House for an Art Lover, Hill House, The Burrell Collection, The Lighthouse in Glasgow, Glasgow city chambers, Bute House, The Scottish Parliament, Duff House, Haddo House, The Scottish National Gallery, Clyde Auditorium, McManus Galleries, Glamis Castle, Culzean Castle and Hopetoun House amongst many. There are some incredibly beautiful modern buildings in Scotland, many of them have won international awards, take your time to discover hidden gems as well as famous buildings.
Learn about their history and you will learn more about us!
It seems that nature and wildlife have decided to encourage our appreciation for ‘The year of natural Scotland’ by providing us with a few unique opportunities!
A couple of weeks ago a walrus has turned up on the shoreline of North Ronaldsay in Orkney, experts say this is a very special and unique occasion since they don’t usually appear that far south of the North Pole and Arctic Ocean.
Locals used to seeing whales and seals were ecstatic to see the healthy new visitor and a number of tourists have traveled to the area to have the chance to see Mr Walrus.
A higher number of barnacle geese has been spotted in many of the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s 120 reserves around Scotland (a number of them close to Connoisseurs Scotland hotels), and more and more images of thriving Scottish wildlife have popped up all over social media platforms this winter.
The Year of Natural Scotland is in full swing!
If you have had the chance to capture a special image of Scottish wildlife this winter, remember that entries for this year’s British Wildlife Photography Awards are now open! The BWPA is open to all photographers practising in the UK, amateur or professional.
If you are on facebook yourself and enjoy seeing freshly taken images of Scotland’s scenery and wildlife in your newsfeed, we recommend you to check these pages:
There are very few things that feel more special than actually seeing wildlife in their natural habitat, get out there with or without camera and make these special memories happen!
Almost a month ago the year of 2012 came to an end. 2012 was a very important and meaningful year to Connoisseurs Scotland: We celebrated our 20th anniversary, welcomed new properties to our portfolio, attended several international travel events in France, Germany, Spain, America and Brazil and our photography competition was a great success with 357 entries and ten prize winners giving us the opportunity to learn about the work of talented professional and amateur photographers from all corners of the globe. Work on our android and I-Phone apps started and is now completed and we received 29% more visitors to our website. 2012 will remain in our history as a very special year and we must thank all Connoisseurs Scotland’s guests, members and Commercial Partners for having a great part on this.
2012 was also an exciting year to Scotland, during the Olympics we were busier than London in some areas, Edinburgh Festival received extra 4 million visitors spending over £261m in Edinburgh; it was the year of creative Scotland and we saw so much talent and creativity taking place in all sectors. Glasgow was the location for Brad Pitt’s zombie movie World War Z, the movies Brave and Skyfall brought a lot of attention to Scotland and we expect their benefit to last for many years.
We look back and we feel our lives were enriched with all that took place last year. We even survived the end of the world!
2013 is a promising year, despite the fact that the number thirteen has mixed views and superstitions. We will have the Scottish Open, Johnny Walker Championship, The Open Championship 2013, Ricoh Women’s British Open, Fife Jazz Festival, Glasgow Film Festival, Melrose Sevens, Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, Edinburgh Festivals, Perth Festival of the Arts, Dumfries and Galloway Wild Spring Festival, The Scottish Challenge, Tiree Music Festival, Snowdrop Spectacular, Scottish Food and Drink fortnight, Wickerman Festival, The Scottish Traditional Boat Festival and so many other exciting events. We are also celebrating Scottish nature and wildlife with Visit Scotland’s theme for 2013: The Year of Natural Scotland!
There isn’t a better year for visitors to come to Scotland and appreciate the outdoors, we will be keeping you informed on everything that the properties have planned to encourage you to get out there, submerse yourself in Scotland’s magnificent scenery and recharge yourself at Connoisseurs Scotland Hotels.
Many overseas visitors ask hotel staff how we celebrate Christmas in Scotland. They wonder if the dishes and the type of celebrations we have at the hotels are very different from the ones we have at home, with our families.
Christmas holidays as we know them today, are very recent to Scottish history. Pagan Celts celebrated the winter solstice (the shortest day of the year) in a celebration called Yule which is the name of the midwinter festival of the pagan Norse and Teutonic people of northern Europe. The celebration happened to encourage the gods to allow the sun to return.
The Catholic Church took over this celebration and after the protestant reformation in the 16th century, Christmas celebrations were banned and outlawed because it was considered a papist festival. The ban existed for nearly 400 years, until the 1950’s. Until then, Christmas was like any other day in Scotland, everyone went to work as usual and did not celebrate it. The real celebration took place on Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve), which is the true traditional winter celebration in Scotland!
A traditional Scottish Christmas has traces of both Celtic and Christian religions. It’s a powerful theme for an essay itself! Christmas trees for example are the result of an ancient pagan idea that the evergreen tree represented a celebration of the renewal of life.
Unlike what happens in many countries, Scotland celebrates Christmas Day more strongly than Christmas Eve. Same as in every other country, the celebration is an opportunity for the family to gather. The dishes are very similar to the ones cooked in other Western countries: a traditional turkey lunch, gammon, ham, chicken, Brussels Sprouts, roasted potatoes, vegetables and Christmas puddings.
Connoisseurs Scotland Hotels celebrate Christmas in different ways, some providing a traditional lunch and dinner, others developing a more elaborated gourmet experience and gala evening. Most hotels have special packages for the festive season and become incredibly busy this period of the year.
We are very proud of the level of attention and detail Connoisseurs Scotland Hotels give to their menus and packages during the festive season. It’s an exciting time to be in Scotland and the cold weather makes the whole experience even more Christmassy and wholesome.
The definition of tradition is “a long-established or inherited way of thinking or acting”. What is most interesting about all Scottish traditions is that they are the result of Scotland’s history and challenges. When you spend Christmas in Scotland, you will have a glimpse of Scotland’s colourful heritage: From Celts and Vikings to Anglo-Saxons and Romans. The underlying characteristics are warmth and the unforgettable Scottish Hospitality.
To read more about Christmas Festivities in Scotland and to learn about what Connoisseurs Scotland Hotels have prepared for their guests, please access our Christmas newsletter
Have a wonderful Christmas!
Breakfasts are one of the best things about staying at luxury hotels. No matter what or how much we are used to eat in the mornings (if anything), hotel breakfasts are a temptation impossible to resist. Being able to choose a varied number of items from a menu and knowing that not only they will taste good but will also be fresh and beautifully presented makes many of us guests and luxury hotel lovers want to go to bed earlier the night before so that breakfast time arrives faster.
Very few drinks taste better than the freshly-squeezed orange juice we drink at hotels in the morning. Some might even say that the glasses we drink them from make them taste better, just like a freshly brewed tea served in fine china.
Who hasn’t overeaten pastries because they smell and taste so good that you fear regretting not having enough of them later in the day? Who hasn’t had continental breakfast as well as a cooked breakfast just because they can?
We are very lucky to have produce of outstanding quality in Scotland. All Connoisseurs Scotland hotels go to great lengths to make sure they use fresh local produce. Egg yolks are yellower and taste better, berries look and taste fresher than the ones we normally buy at the supermarkets, seasoning smells stronger, salmon tastes lighter and looks like a real peachy colour fish, not something that has been coloured pink to the mass market.
The type of breakfast we have at a hotel is a reflection of the hotel’s character and personality as well. Extra items that are only available in the area, little details about presentation sometimes express the hotel’s history, their relationship with their community and with Scotland as a whole.
Turnberry Resort & Golf course in Ayrshire celebrates Scotland by offering Arbroath Smokie, Scottish Griddle Cakes and ‘Burns Breakfast’ (Arran cheddar hash potato with haggis, fried egg and hollandaise). They are a breath of fresh air to the health conscious by offering Bircher muesli and granola, dried mango and papaya as well as rhubarb & ginger, avocado & heather honey compotes.
The Pool House in Poolewe offers one of the friendliest and most Scottish of porridges you could ever find. Soaked overnight by the owners themselves, with a touch of salt and a splash whisky.
Kinloch Lodge in the Isle of Skye encourages local producers by offering local dairy yoghurts, kippers and eggs Florentine.
The Boath House Hotel in Nairn gives credit to excellent local producers by sharing their names and a bit of their history with their guests: Golspie Mill, Hardmuir Farm, Peelham Farm, George Campbell and Sons and Uig Lodge Smoked Salmon are amongst them.
The Marcliffe Hotel & Spa offers the type of waffles with syrup that you could only find in US diners. Large, light and wonderfully sticky. You can count on one hand how many restaurants offer waffles as good as that in Britain’s largest cities.
Inver Lodge Hotel in Sutherland offers scrambled eggs with smoked salmon where the salmon is so beautifully seasoned that it’s almost spicy. It ruins every other scrambled egg with salmon you have thereafter.
These are only some of the examples of breakfasts you can try (and experience) at Connoisseurs Scotland hotels.
We might want to prepare them at home and cook them just like they do, but they simply never taste the same.
Every country’s cuisine tells a story. In Scotland, you start your day with one.
Good Spa Guide Awards: The Old Course Hotel and Spa & the Carrick Spa at Cameron House on Loch Lomond are amongst this year’s winners!
We are ecstatic with the news: Last week the Good Spa Guide has announced this years’ winners.
Two Connoisseurs Scotland’s members are amongst the best spas in the country: The Old Course Hotel and Spa & The Carrick Spa at Cameron House on Loch Lomond.
Congratulations to both, we are celebrating the news too!
These are some of the comments received by the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa:
“The interesting and unusual spa in this elegant hotel offers luxury combined with excellent water-based therapies.”
“With excellent and unusual treatments, the hotel is delightfully luxurious without being stuffy. Spa addicts will find something very new and different here.”
“We loved the quiet elegance and the rooftop spa garden complete with hot tub – perfect for couples!”
And this is the comment received by the Carrick Spa at Cameron House on Loch Lomond:
“Cameron House is a comfortable hotel on the shores of Loch Lomond. The spa offers a complete spa and thermal experience for hotel guests and day-spa visitors alike. It’s a spa with a view, and a green, soothing view, no less.”
There are a number of outstanding hotel spas in the UK but both hotels have something that very few luxury spas do: Incredible, breathtaking views.
Now it’s time to look at your diary and pick a date to pay them a visit to celebrate their achievement letting them do what they do best: Pamper you.
To make your booking please visit their websites:
Scotland has over 500 golf courses and several hundred golf hotels. Ireland is equally rich in challenging and rewarding golf courses. Luxury Scotland in association with Ireland’s Blue Book have created two unique Scottish and Irish Golf Tours which we believe to be one of gthe bst introduction to some of the best Golf Courses and Luxury Hotels in Ireland and Scotland.
The 12 Day Scotland & Ireland Golf Tour is an exciting and well planned itinerary featuring Gleneagles Hotel and the PGA Centenary Course which will be the venue for the 40th Ryder Cup Matches in 2014. the tour continues on to the Old Course Hotel at St Andrews and the opportunity to play the legendary Open Championship course and Kingbarns, voted one of the top 100 golf course in the world by Golf Magazine. The itinerary then moves to Ireland and includes play at The K Club, the classic Killarney golf course, Doonbeg – designed by Greg Norman and a round at one of the world’s top links courses, the infamous Old Course at Ballybunion Golf Club.
We are delighted to welcome Kinloch Lodge into Luxury Scotland.
Kinloch Lodge is the highland home of Claire and Godfrey Macdonald. Located on the Isle of Skye. Voted one of the world’s top 25 small hotels in Condé Naste Traveller Magazine, Kinloch Lodge is renowned for its marvellous food and is Skye’s only Michelin-starred restaurant. It is also one of only seven restaurants in Scotland to be awarded the Michelin Guide’s Red Grape for their wine list.
To help celebrate their latest Michelin star and red grape awards, Kinloch are hosting a champagne evening in November – full details >>
The Torridon, one of Scotland’s most romantic hotels, has joined the ranks of Luxury Scotland.
The Torridon is one of Britain’s foremost retreat hotels with a reputation built on superb food and pampered luxury with a personalised touch. Set in 58 acres of parkland at the end of a magnificent sea loch, has one of the most spectacular and idyllic locations in the country. One of The Torridon’s unique features is the Torridon Boathouse – an idylic two bedroom hideaway on the shores of the Loch Torridon.
Whether you are looking for a reviving outdoor escape, a relaxing family holiday or that romantic breaks for two – The Torridon has the answer.
Scotland is a country rich in reminders of an exciting and colourful past. There are literally hundreds of castles, tower houses and fortified houses in prominent and sometimes foreboding settings – beacons on the landscape that beckon us to find out more.
Our resident travel writer has chosen Castles as the subject for the October newsletter from Luxury Scotland. Today the castles throughout Scotland are well worth a visit. Just choose any region in Scotland and within a few miles you’ll come across the remains of a stronghold built on a cliff edge, a well-preserved fortress sitting on a loch-side or a magnificent castle fully functioning and open to visitors.
To discover more step back in time and enjoy our latest newsletter article – Scotland’s Countless Castles
NOTE: This is a 10Mb PDF file viewable online or downloadable for viewing and printing.
Our Luxury Scotland’s custom mouse mats have arrive!
With a unique illustrated map by Michael A Hill, this ultra thin and very stylish mouse mat will add a touch of luxury to any desk. Ideal for travelling it is thin and light enough to be stored inside a diary, note book or even under a laptop lid.
The mat is a quirky reminder of all things Scottish with our member properties and selected Scottish icons incorporated into Michael’s delightful illustration. A novel gift for that someone special or as a something to brighten up your desktop.
If you would like a chance to have one of these mouse mats just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org telling us why you should have one – and we’ll send a mat to the first 100 interesting respondents.
ED: Whisky and mouse not supplied!
According to our resident travel writer, there’s no better way to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of Scotland than to escape to the country and explore Scotland’s National Nature Reserves and National Parks. Go Green in Scotland and there is a veritable feast for your senses awaiting you amongst those green and pleasant landscapes
For lovers of the outdoors there is the promise of undisturbed wildernesses, waddling puffins, seabirds and seals, and carpets of wildflowers on woodland floors. Take a Scottish nature break or ecoholiday in Scotland and you could bring back memories of wonderful discoveries, new sites and sounds as well as discovering the joys and luxury of some of Connoisseurs Scotland’s hotels and destinations.
Full details on our monthly Luxury Scotland newsletter – now in downloadable PDF.
Luxury Scotland is delighted to announce that Airds Hotel at Port Appin has joined Connoisseurs Scotland and is featured on our Luxury Scotland web site. The Airds Hotel is a delightful family hotel run by Shaun and Jenny McKivragan. Winner of the 2011 Small Luxury Hotel Award at the Scottish Hotel Awards, Airds is famous forstunning views, fine dining and understated luxury.
Voted Scotland’s Small Luxury Hotel of the Year for 2011, this renowned 4-star hotel sits in a the romantic setting on the west coast of Scotland overlooking Loch Linnhe. The atmosphere and ambiance at Airds Hotel is one of relaxed elegance with a hint of country house style.
The hotel’s three AA rosettes confirm that only the best will do for Chef Robert MacPherson who has developed a reputation of international acclaim. Guests at Airds delight in the dishes inspired by our chef’s enthusiasm for Scotland’s wonderful larder.
In contrast to the laid back luxury and gourmet dining, guests will find a host of activities and sightseeing options at Airds Hotel. Sea safaris, sailing and even surf boarding are all available here and nearby Lismore Island is a particularly popular for cyclists. For mountain bikers the Nevis range just 45 minutes drive from Airds offers 60km of off road trails suitable for all abilities. Whether your preference is fishing, sight seeing or simply soaking up the fresh air, Airds Hotel can arrange it.
Then, after all that activity, it’s back to the comfortable, relaxing accommodation of Airds and an opportunity to indulge in some of the best of Scotland’s larder.
For more details and a chance to check out some special promotions visit:
Editor: One the best kept secrets at Airds is the small luxury cottage in the grounds of the hotel. Ask discreetly for details quietly.
Whether your choice is for relaxed cycling in Perthshire or challenging downhill trails in the Glencoe Mountain, there are biking trails in Scotland and cycling holidays throughout Scotland to suit every kind of cyclist.
This month our Luxury Scotland Article covers a range of cycling breaks and biking holidays in Scotland. For gentle family cycling holidays in Scotland there are rides through lush forests and natural parks, along old railway lines, and beside picturesque lochs. For the adrenalin seekers there are active mountain bike holidays in Scotland hurtling down the UK’s longest purpose-built downhill descent in Sutherland, along red-graded biking routes in the Carron Valley in Stirlingshire and for real addicts, the epic Glen Sligachan ride on the Isle of Skye.
More details of cycling in Scotland can be found in our July newsletter:
‘The Ups and Downs of Cycling in Scotland’.
So get on your bike and enjoy Scotland!
Look closely at the Luxury Scotland web site and you’ll find our new map. An inspired creation by Michael A Hill, this illustrated map adds sparkle and character to the locations of our Luxury Scotland members and hints at the activities and attractions close by.
Consider this the starting point for our own adventure and watch how this magic map plays an important role in the run up to our 20th year celebration in 2012.
Luxury Scotland is inviting guests to join the thousands of whisky aficionados making their pilgrimage to the Scottish Highlands with a stay at The Marcliffe Hotel & Spa or Rocpool Reserve Hotel – two of the luxury properties in the Luxury Scotland collection.
Staying at these hotel, guests will be able to enjoy Scotland’s “water of life” in style with luxury accommodation right in the heart of Scotland’s largest whisky producing region.
Located in the Speyside region, these five-star properties offer the perfect base for exploring the source of the great Scots malt whiskies – heavy, rich sherry flavored malts and light, complex floral malts for which the area is so famous.
From savoring a scotch and chatting with the knowledgeable locals in Rocpool’s whisky bar to taking a tour through the historic distilleries along The Malt Whisky Trail, guests are offered rare insight into one of Scotland’s best-known traditions.
The Malt Whisky Trail is a 68-mile route through the picturesque glens of Speyside features the Speyside Cooperage and seven of the area’s well-known distilleries, including Benromach, where guests can hand-fill their own unique bottle; Glen Moray, which offers a comprehensive tasting and distillery tour led by the manager; and Strathisla, producer of the famous Chivas Regal brand. Continue Reading >>
Scotland has a lot to offer on the water front – scenic coastal paths, dolphin spotting, sailing, angling, kite-surfing, white-water rafting, land yachting, cruising Scottish Highlands and islands… plus lots more
This month our intrepid travel journalist, Linda Jackson, explores some of of Scotland’s 31,000 lochs, lochans, rivers and 6,000 miles of coastline to find Scottish active outdoor vacations that you just can’t resist.
Adrenalin-seeking adventurers might head for the lochs of the West Highlands of Scotland where they’ll discover Inverlochy, a luxury hotel in the Highlands that offers a wide range of outdoor pursuits guaranteed to match the adventurer in you.
Surrounded by some of Scotland’s best sailings waters, Crinan Hotel is not only ideally placed for sailing, but also for fly fishing, family-friendly day boat trips and boat charters round the Isles. Passing by boat through the Crinan Canal, rich in history and wildlife, is a scenic and memorable experience with fifteen locks and seven bridges to tackle.
Savour 30 minutes of flight-seeing by seaplane around the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond when you stay at Cameron House on Loch Lomond – this is an exciting opportunity to catch a bird’s eye view of the famous loch and surrounding national park
Full details in our June newsletter Article – Water Water Everywhere >>>
Bernd Doerler is a well known food & travel writer who is currently visiting Scotland for Der Feinschmecker Magazine. Bernd is in Scotland researching an article about Luxury Scotland. Earlier this week he visited 21212 Restaurant in Edinburgh, Gleneagles, Greywalls and the Glenkinchie Distillery in East Lothian.
We hope to keep you updated on Bernd’s trip and the Scotland article.
The name ‘Prestonfield‘ was on the lips of many media reports and broadcasters today as the results of the Scotland’s elections were discussed. Prestonfield is a stunning luxury hotel in Edinburgh just minutes from Scotland’s parliament buildings and was the setting for Alex Salmond’s declaration of victory in the Scottish Elections. Those familiar with our Luxury Scotland website will know that Prestonfield is one of Scotland’s top luxury hotels and a members of Connoisseurs Scotland.
Even though the hotel was only the backdrop to Alex Salmons presentation it was commented on by many of the press and media. One Radio 5 commentator remarked at the existence of a chandelier and chaise longue in the gents restroom. Once described as a stunning mix of opulence, grandeur and comfort is was a fitting venue for Alex Salmond’s victory presentation.
Full details at: http://www.prestonfield.com/
Choosing which of Scotland’s golf courses to play might well be a headache for golfers looking to enjoy a Scottish golfing break. Scotland has a fabulous variety of courses - championship golf courses, loch-side gems, lush hillsides courses, leafy woodland courses and exhilarating links golf courses by the sea.
To make a golfers life easier, many of Scotland’s regions offer special golf passes that allow you to play a number of top courses at bargain prices. But where to stay? Many of Luxury Scotland’s hotels have their own courses while other member properties are very close to some of Scotland’s golfing gems.
If you found our recent feature on Wellness and Scottish Spas interesting then you might be excited at the chance to participate in one of the Detox and Weightloss camps being held next month at Stobo Castle.
Join TV Fitness and Wellness expert Amanda Hamilton at Stobo Castle for her InShape Bootcamp Break. Designed to help you achieve fast results the course costs £650 per person for 3 nights and includes:
- Confidential pre-arrival support and welcome talk
- Three nights’ en suite accommodation
- All meals with menu designed and planned by Amanda Hamilton
- One detox day including healthy juice, broth and supplements
- One Body Check + One Body Scrub
- Between 3 and 4 hours of exercise per day
- Full daily programme of indoor/outdoor activities
- Guided nutrition and fitness workshops
Skibo is also offering a range of additional treatments at an exclusively discounted rate during the course.
The InShape Bootcamp runs from Monday 2nd May, departing after lunch on Thursday 5th.
A 4 night package is also available at £822.50 per person departing on Friday 6th May 2011.
Full details and reservations at http://www.stobocastle.co.uk/Tariffs/amanda_hamilton
On Easter Sunday the Easter Bunny will be popping up at The Old course Hotel in St Andrews and holding a Childrens Workshop to make and decorate Easter bonnets and Easter eggs, before taking all the children on an Easter Egg hunt.
The Old Course Hotel at St Andrews has an innovative three-night family package including tickets to The Scottish Deer Centre and the St Andrews Aquarium with a picnic lunch provided by the hotel on both days. The package, which is valid on the nights of Friday 22nd, Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th of April costs £850 for two adults and two children, and is based on a family of four sharing. Subject to availability.
At Greywalls in East Lothian there might not be any Easter Bunnies but they do have an eggcellent Easter package. Between 22nd and 25th April Greywalls are offering 2 nights B&B with dinner for two on one of the evenings in their Chez Roux restaurant. This package includes complimentary afternoon tea for two on arrival.
Acknowledged as one of the very best country house in Scotland, Greywalls in East Lothian is an ideal retreat for anyone contemplating a family gathering, a wedding, corporate event or a classic golfing holiday.
I was lucky enough to be showing an American couple some of the sights of East Lothian. After a visit to Dirleton Castle, just a few minutes drive from Greywalls, we arrived at the hotel for some lunch and to view the splendid gardens. Even at this time of year the gardens have a very calming and contemplative effect on visitors. with the spring colour still a few weeks away the gardens were alive with all manner of small sculptures and well trimmed box hedges.
We enjoyed a light lunch in the lounge in front of a warming, flickering fireplace. Excellent service as usual. It seems no matter when I travel to Greywalls the gardens and the house reflect a peaceful tranquility that makes any journey worthwhile.
Our Luxury Scotland newsletter for February focused on Wellness and showcased the fabulous selection of Scottish spas and health spa treatments to be found within the Luxury Scotland properties. Written by our Writer in Residence, Linda Jackson, it was a timely reminder, now that the days are getting longer and Spring has arrived, to look after our bodies and souls in time for summer.
Winter Seafood in Scotland is our newsletter article for February. Written by travel writer and broadcaster Viv Devlin it contains some fascinating notes on Scotland’s seafood as well as information on Scottish seafood suppliers and some delicious recipes. Over 5,000 fishermen and 2,000 fishing boats work the Scottish coastline and islands.
‘Good Food’ tourism is a fast growing business and Scotland is well positioned to thrive on the many regional specialities that a visitor can enjoy. Over two thirds of visitors to Scotland say they are keen to taste traditional Scottish dishes and Scotland’s fresh local produce. With Luxury Scotland’s excellent city and country house hotels, Michelin and Award winning restaurants, it’s easy to plan a gastronomic journey
Whether you are an experienced angler or you have never fished before, you may get hooked by an enjoyable and very informative article written for Alba Fishing by Linda Jackson, one of Luxury Scotland’s regular travel writers.
Scotland boasts some of the best and most exciting fishing in Europe. With locations ranging from wide smooth flowing rivers, deep pools in secret locations, dramatic rushing waters in the highlands, Scotland’s fishing heritage has produced a class breed of gillies like no others with skill and local knowledge passed down over the generations.
Alba Game Fishing, one of our partners at Luxury Scotland, combines elegant hotels and exclusive fishing venues off the beaten track to provide a unique Scottish fishing experience for their clients, who get the whole place to themselves for the day… not disturbed, not fished by the public and completely private. Because of that, fishing is dynamic and the experience is unforgettable… regardless of what they eventually bring home!
Most of Alba Game Fishing’s clients tend to be beginners and on corporate days over three quarters of those attending have never fished before. Interesting to note the number of budding female anglers is rising year upon year and, perhaps not surprising, attract more fish than the guys. (Editor is now smiling).
The spotlight lights have been switched off, the film crew packed up and now, after days in the editing suite our CEO and latest screen idol emerged with some tantilising video clips that help communicate the magic and luxury that is ‘Luxury Scotland‘.
Featuring castles, food, golf, whisky and exploring Scotland’s capital cities, these videos will be used to promote the wonderful experience and the member hotels that make up Luxury Scotland. One of the videos showcases the luxury yacht that has become such a favourite of HRH Queen Elizabeth II – the MV Hebridean Princess. As well as providing a portal to some Scotland’s 5 star luxury hotels, Luxury Scotland offers visitors the option to travel in style on The Royal Scotsman, to be chauffeured in idylic luxury by our partners Littles Chauffeur Drive or, like royalty, enjoy the dramatic beauty of Scotland’s West coast aboard a luxury yacht.
One of our Luxury Scotland news articles highlighted the various outdoor activities that you can enjoy.
So whether you favour paragliding or rock climbing – or if you have never tried canyoning in Scotland , you might be inspired by this newsletter article entitled A Sense of Adventure.
In our Luxury Scotland Newsletter for November, food and travel writer Viv Devlin describes a recent visit she made to The House of Bruar and in particular on the food hampers on offer from this Luxury Scotland partner.
The House of Bruar prides itself on showcasing some of Scotland’s finest produce, clothing and rural artwork. Nestled at the food of the Falls of Buar visitors can browse and purchase a wide range of quality gourmet foods from Scotland in the modern food hall, House of Bruar also features an excellent restaurant and a series of shopping experience covering outdoor clothing, men’s and women’s fashions, gifts and tableware with many of the items are sourced from Scottish suppliers. House of Bruar opened in 1995 and continues to develop as one of Scotland’s most exciting retail experience.
The country living department and the art gallery were added a few years ago and continue House of Bruar’s mission of delivering some of the best of quality gifts from Scotland – www.houseofbruar.com
Viv’s article is very enjoyable and comes just in time for some festive inspiration.
Beam me up Scotty!
This week I found myself centre stage as the narrator in a short film we are making for Connoisseurs Scotland. As I sipped my whisky at Prestonfield House, a crew of cameraman, sound recordist, producer and others were recording my every move. Daunting at times but great fun and an exciting project which will help show our potential visitors a glimpse of this fascinating country of ours. Our filming schedule included shots from Calton Hill over looking Edinburgh Castle and the Old Town, whisky tasting at Prestonfield and golf at St Andrews.
Next week we travel west to film Turnberry and other locations. Scotland is looking wonderful cloaked in all the Autumn colours and I hope we capture this in our finished production. More details on our progress will be posted here next week.
I was on the road again this week and very happy to call in at Boath House in Nairn, just as it was awarded the coveted AA Hotel of the Year Award for Scotland for 2010. This beautiful building, once described by the Scottish Field as ‘the most beautiful Regency House in Scotland’ is home to Don and Wendy Matheson who have lovingly restored it over the past 15 years.
Already a recipient of a Michelin Star this latest award is surely the icing on the cake.
Wendy is a very competent garden designer and to wander about the 20 acres of woodlands, gardens and the trout lake which is inhabited by geese, swans, ducks and other wildlife is always a pleasure.
Congratulations to all the team at Boath House for this very special award.
On my way through Dunkeld for a little retail therapy and lunch at The House of Bruar, I stopped off at The Hermitage for a walk with my two dogs. The Hermitage is about 9 miles north of Perth and is famous as a wonderful place to walk. The walk follows the banks of the Tay and passes Britain’s tallest tree. Famous visitors to this spot include the composer Mendelssohn, the poet Wordsworth and the famous children’s author Beatrix Potter.
Another beautiful day, sunlight glinting through the trees, Scotland at its best.
Out on the road again this week and stayed at the newly re-opened Greywalls. Walked into the restaurant to be seated by Silvano Giraldin of Le Gavroche, there for a two week stint instructing staff on The Art of Table. As Jeremy Clarkson might say, that was super cool.
For dessert I had Chocolate Praline Croustillant, with Caramel Sauce and this was without doubt the finest desert that I have ever had anywhere in the world.
Can’t wait to go back again.
At a glittering ceremony held at Prestonfield on Sunday evening, Jeremy Hawkings, Chief Executive of Connoisseurs Scotland was awarded the Fellowship for Outstanding Industry Contribution 2010 by Lord Macdonald of Macdonald at The 2010 Scottish Hotel Awards.
Other winners were Prestonfield and Inverlochy Castle Management International who gathered an impressive collection of awards, including Hotel Management Company of the Year and Luxury Hotel of the Year for Inverlochy Castle.
Luxury Scotland members were out in force at the annual Scotland EXPO held last week at the SECC in Glasgow. The sun shone and the travel trade showed great interest in our stand. I had an appointment packed two days with over 20 appointments each day with travel agents from all over Europe and many from the US and Canada. The amount of interest in our hotels, the Royal Scotsman train and the Hebridean Princess was phenomenal. A very busy and positive two days – hard work but very exciting.