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: