Any globe-trotter will attest to the difficulty of traveling where their native language isn’t spoken. English-speakers may assume they’re safe here, but the Scottish have their own Scots language derived from Gaelic that shines through in our No. 1 pick’s name.
Inverlochy Castle hails back to its roots in the ancient Old Inverlochy Castle. The Gaelic word “inver” means “at the mouth of” and “loch” means lake. Old Inverlochy Castle is on the banks of beautiful River Lochy where it meets up with Loch Linnhe. The thoroughly elegant and state-of-the-art Inverlochy Castle Hotel was originally constructed in 1863 as the home of Lord Abinger. Now styled to treat you as lord and lady, this classic Victorian castle caters to your modern day romantic or family Scottish vacation. Stay in one of 17 splendidly furnished rooms with sweeping views of the surrounding scenery, including views of Ben Nevis, the tallest U.K. mountain. After exploring the ornate Drawing Room and eating scrumptious meals like Isle of Sky crab, head out to the loch for some fishing, a stroll through the walled garden or stay in for a game of snooker (similar to the U.S. game of pool).
To really explore the West Highlands, lace up a pair of hiking boots, grab a mountain bike, strap on a pair of skis or go pony trekking.
Children are welcome at Inverlochy Castle and will be amused with activities like the snooker and game room, woodland walks, children’s high tea, videos, games and more.
Related Onsite Offerings
In your Inverlochy room you will find a 30-inch Phillips mirror TV, personal laptop with Internet access, a safe, CD player, iron/ironing board, DVD player and a Playstation II is available upon request.
The Edinburgh Residence
On the fashionable West End of Edinburgh, minutes from historic shopping on Princes Street, is your new residence. We don’t mean that you have relocated, though after staying at our No. 2 spot, it would be hard to leave!
The Edinburgh Residence is home to your Edinburgh vacation five-star luxury suite. If you’re bringing the whole clan, townhouse suites are the size of a tennis court, which is certainly enough room for everyone to sprawl out. Etchings hang on the walls, deep royal purple and red accent the room with ornate plaster ceilings and one suite’s sash window looks out to the magnificent Edinburgh Castle. In total, there are 29 rooms, all with the original oak doors and bedecked in an antique-chic style that reflect the historic and classy atmosphere of the city itself, right outside of The Edinburgh Residence’s door. For the wee ones, Edinburgh provides plenty of diversions. Visit Gentoo Penguins and Indian Rhinos at the Edinburgh Zoo. Hear a story at the Scottish Storytelling Center. And then walk across the street to the Museum of Childhood where rooms full of dolls and treasures will delight not only your children, but the child within you, too.
Related Onsite Offerings
The Edinburgh Residence also offers The Family Fun Package to make the weekend even easier for parents. Enjoy two nights lodging with breakfast, a children’s goody bag, a personalized story book, nighttime milk and cookies and more.
In Edinburgh over the holidays and fancy a Festive Afternoon Tea at The Edinburgh Residence? From the end of November to the beginning of January, indulge in homemade ginger bread, a scone with Scottish clotted cream, a glass of hot mulled wine, tea or coffee and much more.
7 Rothesay Terrace, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK EH3 7RY
Cameron House Hotel
Apart from the slim chance you may own the title of “king” or “queen” and actually rule over a kingdom, it is difficult to find somewhere you can stay and be treated like royalty. Well, let us roll out the red carpet for you at our No. 3 pick situated on the captivating shores of Loch Lomond.
Cameron House Hotel has played host to a variety of purposes, including baronial mansion, wildlife safari park and private residence of lords and ladies. Now it is a resting place of luxury and sophistication for you on your Scotland holiday. Perhaps your first stop is not your room, but the Cameron House Whisky Bar with its impressive selection of 270 whiskies. Or, you can wait to sample this famous Scottish beverage in the evening and instead head to The Great Scots Bar for a delicious meal and views of Loch Lomond through the full-length windows. Egyptian cotton linens and duvets are a sure bet for a sounds night’s slumber, but in your waking hours, find tranquility at the Spa at Carrick. Soak in the rooftop infinity pool while gazing out at the Scottish scenery and treat yourself to a spa massage.
The legendary figure of Scottish rebel Rob Roy is rumored to have hidden from the English army in the same area where Cameron House Hotel is located.
Related Onsite Offerings
Cameron House Hotel has a sister property, the Carrick, in Loch Lomond National Park that not only houses the spa but also stunning golf courses, including the Wee Demon, a challenging nine-hole course.
Though Cameron House offers more than enough whisky than can be had in one sitting, the Glengoyne Distillery is only 9.6 miles away and boasts premium world-famous malt whisky.
How does a country retreat sound? Before you start envisioning acres of pecking chickens and buckets of slop being carried out to pigs, let us tell you about our No. 4 spot. Wrapped in the sublime serenity of the Ayrshire countryside, Enterkine House is a charming Scottish getaway.
Enterkine calls itself “The Informally Formal Country House” and we couldn’t agree on a more suitable title. As you take the winding tree-lined avenue up to the doors of this five-star home, you will feel the hustle and bustle of St. Andrew Square in Edinburgh or the Clockwork Orange metro in Glasgow fade away. Recline in a library leather chair or visit significant literary places, like the Alloway cottage where Robert Burns, the National Poet of Scotland, was born. If you truly want solitude surrounded by Scottish beauty, hop a ferry to the Islands of Arran. You will definitely want to be back on the mainland in time for dinner, though. Enterkine’s chef, Paul Moffat, uses fresh ingredients from Scottish gardens, farms and sea. Succulent dishes like breast of Gressingham duck and Scottish and French cheeses served with quince jelly and walnut bread are a very fine way to end the day.
Enjoy onsite Scottish sport at Enterkine House with activities like clay pigeon shooting, archery, riffle shooting and quad biking, similar to riding ATVs.
Related Onsite Offerings
If you’re looking for a unique and romantic getaway, the Woodland Lodge is it. A quaint fairytale cottage set on Enterkine’s property, this secluded and snug dwelling is perfect.
From Glasgow, take M77/A77 to the Monkton roundabout, where you will take the left lane following signs for Ayr/Girvan. Before the next small roundabout on the A77 (Sandyford Toll) take the left turn off onto A719/B742. Follow signs for Mossblown and Annbank. At the crossroads in Mossblown, turn left and then right, following signs for Annbank. At the right hand turn for Annbank, do not actually turn up to Annbank, rather go past the turnoff and Enterkine House’s entrance will be on the left side about 50 meters.
Fairmont St. Andrews Hotel
We trust that the founding site of a popular world-wide game also knows a thing or two about providing onsite luxury lodging. Our No. 5 pick not only claims a stake in the famous pilgrimage land of golfers, St. Andrews Bay, it also holds its own with superior rooms and amenities.
The 520-acre Fairmont St. Andrews Hotel not only sports pristine greens for golfers, it gives you games at a value. Such as taking a twist on tradition and offering Afternoon Tee: discounted tee times on the Kittocks Course after 3 p.m. and a soup and sandwich lunch. No matter what time of day you want to golf, Fairmont St. Andrews has two onsite courses at your disposal: the Kittocks and the Torrance. For those that would rather swim than swing, the Fairmont St. Andrews Health Club has a sparkling indoor pool, bubbling Jacuzzi and sauna and steam room. Return to your Deluxe Room – or any of the other luxe accommodations – with full length windows that give way to vistas of St. Andrews Bay. Snuggle into a cozy bathrobe or duvet and enjoy the subtle tartan décor that enhances the Scottish ambiance.
Visit the British Golf Museum or explore one of seven different sections of the Fife Coastal Path, which provide phenomenal views of Scotland’s coastal lands.
Related Onsite Offerings
Fairmont St. Andrews Spa, rooms with heated bathroom floors and separate showers and tubs, tea and coffee making facilities, US/UK compatible outlets, high-speed Internet, hair dryers and more.
Though St. Andrews does not run on the train line, the nearest station on the main line from London, Edinburgh and Aberdeen is Leuchars. From Leuchars, a 15-min. car, taxi or bus ride can bring you to St. Andrews. For more information, contact the Fairmont St. Andrews concierge.
Fludha Guest House
If you recall our caution that language would be a distinct characteristic of Scotland, then you should be prepared to practice. That is, practice the tongue twister of telling people you are going on holiday in Kirkcudbright.
The unique names continue with our No. 6 spot, located in the Dumfries and Galloway area and bearing the name Fludha Guest House. The only five-star guest house in the area, Fludha’s hosts take pride in catering to your comfort. With hospitality that rivals the famed warm welcome of the Southern U.S., you are ushered to a room that is tastefully decorated and appointed with soft, inviting beds and classic furnishings. The food and wine placed before you will astound your senses and please your tummy – for example, deep fried brie wedges with red currant jelly and haggis-stuffed chicken breast wrapped in smoked bacon and served with a whisky sauce. Fludha’s hosts feed more than just their guests, too. As you’re eating breakfast or lunch, a glance through the dining room window will reveal bird feeders with native wonders flitting about. Catch sight of a red-legged partridge – a rare find in Western Scotland – or a sparrow hawk.
Related Onsite Offerings
Guest rooms come complete with complimentary bath products, extra large power showers, large flat screen TVs, refreshment tray, laptop for guest use, Internet access and more. Outside is the garden area with tables and chairs on a patio area.
Kirkcudbright’s streets behind the harbor were the homes of generations of creative artists. This is why the city is called “The Artists’ Town.” Kirkcudbright is also known for its pastel-hued houses and wide streets with family-owned shops.
For a romantic day excursion, have a boatman take you to the island within River Dee to tour Threave Castle and its gardens.
You don’t have to schedule an audience with the Queen Mother in order to discover what being royalty feels like. All you have to do is stay at Glennap Castle, our No. 7 spot on the Ayrshire coast.
Secluded in a romantic castle with turrets and towers, at Glenapp Castle your fairytale getaway is outfitted with all the creature comforts. When you step into the Entrance Hall you are greeted by a literal red carpet, wood-paneled walls and a grand staircase. From here you will be guided through stately rooms like the Colquhoun Dining Room with burgundy colored drapes and matching candles that cast a glow over your plate of roasted scallops with baby leeks, crispy parma ham and a champagne veloute. Your room comes next, with its ornate chandelier, soft buttery yellow walls and windows that look out over the maze of gardens and waters of the Irish Sea. For a closer look at the beauty found outdoors, stroll through the 36 acres of gardens. Bursts of vibrant color from rhododendron, passion flowers and thistles – Scotland’s national flower – accompany your walk.
Children are more than welcome at Glenapp Castle. Parents can treat themselves and their wee ones to nearby Cream O’ Galloway. Their organic specialty ice creams include flavors like banoffee – a Scottish favorite that is a mix of banana and toffee – and the whisky, oatmeal and honey mix.
Glenapp Castle was built in 1870 but when it came into the hands of Graham and Fay Cowan in 1994, it was in disrepair. Over the next six years, the couple restored Glenapp to its former glory and opened its doors to the public.
From Glasgow, head west on M8. After crossing the Kingston Bridge, take Junction 22 for M77/A77 to Kilmarnock and Prestwick Airport. Follow A77 past Kilmarnock and Ayr and through the small town of Girvan. Pass through the village of Ballantrae and cross the River Stinchar as you leave. Take your first right 100 yards beyond the river and arrive at Glenapp Castle. To preserve the privacy of the grounds, there is no sign posted.
One important lesson we feel we should pass along is this: if you decide to split a bottle of the award-winning whisky, we suggest drafting a custody schedule. One thing you should share without rules and restrictions, though, is our No. 8 spot.
Glenmorangie House is a short drive from the sought-after Glenmorangie Distillery. You don’t have to be up for a Whisky Weekend, however, to enjoy all that Glenmorangie House and the Highlands have to offer. And speaking of what Glenmorangie House has to offer, would you prefer to stay in a cozy public bedroom, charming main house room with views of Easter Ross shoreline or the gardens or a cottage with tartan furnishings from local Anta? Luckily for us, Glenmorangie House has all of these options to best suit your Scotland holiday. Highland tradition puts emphasis on gathering together, and we can’t think of a better gathering spot than the dinner table at Glenmorangie House. Amidst rolling green hills and clear blue waters of the Dornoch Firth, satisfy your palate with the selection of Highland beef or lamb and dishes made with herbs and vegetables from the kitchen garden.
Trout fishing, dolphin sightseeing tours from Cromarty and Inverness, Loch Ness boat cruise, golfing at Royal Dornoch, Tain, Skibo, Nairn and Golspie or simply stroll along Genmorangie House’s private beach!
Motivate your workers with a destination workshop or reward them with a retreat to Glenmorangie House. A meeting room encourages concentration while the great Highland outdoors provides relaxing diversion.
From Inverness, drive north and turn right at the roundabout onto B9175 Nigg. After two miles, turn left at the Balintore and Hilton sign. Continue for five miles, passing Hilton’s village school, and onto a single track road. Turn right where the sign for Glenmorangie House is posted and drive one mile to the house entrance.
Hilton Glasgow Grosvenor Hotel
The rows of windows background the four globe lamps standing like soldiers at the entrance bordered by the building’s classic stone railings. Our No. 9 pick has situated itself in the heart of stylish West End Glasgow and situated you in the lap of luxury.
Once inside the Hilton Glasgow Grosvenor Hotel, it’s difficult to remember that there is a world outside. We don’t blame you for getting distracted by the Livingwell Health Club’s 50-ft. indoor swimming pool, afternoon tea in front of Terrace Lounge’s fireplace or the marble bathroom in your deluxe or executive room. But rather than marveling at the view of the Botanical Gardens across the street, pull on your wellies and pass through the high iron gates to the expanse of green grass and glass palace-like greenhouses. As you mosey along the path, look for the natural set of stairs leading down to a dirt path that runs along the River Clyde. What is important to remember after a day browsing Kelvingrove Art Gallery, a 20-minute walk away, or attending your function at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Center, three miles away, is that you will return to the bobar restaurant for prawn and mango skewers.
Along with the Terrace Lounge and bobar restaurant, Hilton Glasgow Grosvenor Hotel is home to the innovative West End Restaurant with tasty fare such as asparagus and parmesan ravioli.
Related Onsite Offerings
Foreign currency exchange, baggage storage, local area transportation, room service, multilingual staff and more.
From Glasgow Airport, take M8 toward Glasgow’s city center. Take the Clyde Tunnel junction and follow signs for Partick/Meadowside. Continue onto Byres Road and the Hilton Glasgow Grosvenor Hotel will be on your left and the Botanical Gardens will be on your right.
Hotel Du Vin at One Devonshire Gardens
We’ve already highlighted the well-known elixir of Scotland, that is, the ample selection of whisky. Now, it’s time to turn our attention to a whole new bottle – emmm, hotel. Rounding out our list of Top 10 Scotland Vacations is the Hotel Du Vin at One Devonshire Gardens in Glasgow.
Not only does Hotel Du Vin live up to its name with a wine-tasting room for vino lovers, it also has a garden cigar shack, original art hanging in its halls, a delicious bistro and more. Relax on the leather sofa with wine glass in hand or relax in the intimacy of your own room, adorned in either Victorian-era style or a modern flair with monsoon showers. Of course, we suggest getting out and about in Glasgow. For the historian, there’s the Glasgow Cathedral. Admire the vaulted ceiling and stained glass windows or explore the adjoining cemetery. Cross the bridge to The Necropolis to admire headstones and memorials of a bygone era. After a day walking in the aforementioned kirkyards or shopping at the Buchanan Galleries, treat yourself to a luxury pedicure back at Hotel Du Vin and grab a glass of your favorite red or white.
Related Onsite Offerings
Luxury duvets, Egyptian cotton linens, bathrobes, satellite TV, CD and DVD player, tea, coffee and milk, toiletries and more.
Dining out is fun, but at Hotel Du Vin, dining in is an experience not to be missed, especially since their bistro won Fine Dining of the Year by Scottish Restaurant Awards 2009.
Hotel Du Vin offers lodging in other travel hot spots like St. Andrews, Edinburgh, Cambridge, York and more.