Welcome to Luxury Scotland’s July Newsletter

July brings a real taste of summer to Scotland. This is a perfect time for touring, whether by car, train, luxury yacht or bicycle.

cyclingIf cycling is your preference then you may be interested in two itineraries produced in conjunction with The Carter Company. If your preference is a life on the ocean wave then consider the newly refurbished Hebridean Princess as your choice for exploring Scotland’s coastline.

food3One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is meeting visitors who have stayed in our member hotels. I often ask them what was the most memorable part of their visit to Scotland. Some say the friendliness of the locals, others say the quiet roads or the dramatic scenery, but by far the most frequent response is the wonderful food they enjoyed. Scotland has an enviable reputation for some the finest food in the world, from quivering fresh seafood, Scotch beef, venison, fresh and smoked salmon, soft fruits and berries from the Carse O’Gowrie and artisan cheeses.

food2On the subject of food, Boath House have an informal wine tasting and four course lunch in partnership with one of New Zealand’s finest wine makers, which will be held on Saturday 4th July with canapés in the walled garden and lunch in the restaurant.

roadholeThe Royal Yacht Britannia are holding Festival Suppers which are proving very successful.
At Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa, their team of award-winning chefs has created their most decadent menu yet. “The Degustation” which comprises eight incredible courses, each one highlighting a different culinary art to be enjoyed at the 3 AA rosette-awarded Road Hole Restaurant.

articleFrom The Torridon, Chef David Barnett delighted audiences at the Royal Highland Show but is now back at the hotel wowing customers with his new range of ice creams.

For all of this and more, our monthly newsletter article is focused on Scotland’s Year of Food & Drink.

Wishing you all a delicious July.

Jeremy Hawkings
Chief Executive.

Hebridean Princess supports marine conservation

On board Hebridean Princess we are privileged to witness some of the most unique wildlife in the British Isles. The varied landscapes and environments of The Inner & Outer Hebrides provide the perfect natural habitat for an incredible variety of wildlife species. On a Hebridean Princess cruise we have opportunities to see rare and spectacular species including golden eagles, puffins, corncrakes, otters, dolphins, whales and sharks amongst many others.

The preservation of the cruising environment in which Hebridean Princess operates, and the marine life which it supports, is of great importance to Hebridean Island cruises and that is why we have a dedicated partnership with the marine conservation charity, Sea-Changes.
Sea-Changes is a charity with a mission of raising funds for marine conservation primarily in the UK. Their vision is to create a world where seas and shores are clean and healthy, marine species are protected and where, far from damaging the oceans, those who use the sea for travel for their leisure pursuits, positively contribute to the sustainability of the marine environment.
Hebridean Island Cruises became the first UK cruise company to provide its guests with the opportunity to make a significant contribution towards marine conservation. Hebridean is committed to asking customers for a recommended donation of £20 as each booking is made. Guests are not under any obligation to make the donation, but all the donations made in this way are collected by Hebridean Island Cruises and handed to Sea-Changers.
To date Hebridean customers have donated over £8,500 to marine conservation and with the addition of Gift Aid the amount raised has now exceeded £10,000.

Ken Charleson, Chief Operating Officer of Hebridean Island Cruises said:

“The preservation of Hebridean Princess’ cruising environment and the marine life which it supports is of great importance to the company. We’re delighted to have formed this partnership in order to give our customers the opportunity to give something back to environment they enjoy aboard the Hebridean Princess.”

For more information on Hebridean Island Cruises please call +44 (0) 1756 704704 or email reservations@hebridean.co.uk

Scotland’s growing reputation as a “foodie” destination

Scotland is rightly proud of its growing reputation as a “foodie” destination. The country’s strong culinary traditions and bountiful larder combined with a fresh take on “eating local” and an emphasis on small-batch spirits makes for an interesting mix of old and new. VisitScotland, the national tourism office for the country, has dubbed 2015 the “Year of Food and Drink,” and many of Luxury Scotland’s member properties are picking up the torch – and the fork – by providing brand new food and beverage offerings that will have visitors from North America flocking to try these exciting offerings.

Whisky may be the national drink of Scotland, but gin is also immensely popular, particularly in Edinburgh where consumption of the juniper-flavored liquor is higher per capita than in any other British city. In honor of this distinction, One Square at the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa has launched its own brand of small-batch premium gin in collaboration with Pickering’s Gin at Summerhall Distillery, Edinburgh’s first gin distillery to open in more than150 years. One Square Gin is based on a unique recipe created by One Square’s team of gin experts—known as the Gin Concierge—in cooperation with the team at Pickering’s. The small-batch creation features 15 botanicals including juniper, bog myrtle, pink grapefruit and Scottish heather. To celebrate the launch of this new spirit, the Sheraton Grand has created an exclusive Gin Package, which showcases the hotspots in Scotland’s gin capital. The package includes accommodations at the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa with full Scottish breakfast, a gin amenity in guests’ room on arrival, a tour of Summerhall Distillery where One Square Gin is distilled, and the chance to gain insider knowledge with a member of the Gin Concierge over a cocktail at the bar.

In other exciting food news out of Edinburgh, the Observatory Restaurant, a brand new dining experience, is now open to the public at the Glasshouse Hotel. With floor-to-ceiling windows, the Scottish-themed restaurant earns its name for its incredible views of the World Heritage Site, Calton Hill. The menu focuses on locally sourced foods—so local, in fact, that many ingredients come from within just a few miles of the restaurant. Head Chef Dan Mellor, inspired by his aim to provide the freshest ingredients possible for each meal, regularly heads outdoors to forage for produce like mushrooms, nettles, wild herbs, elderflower and blackberries. Chef Mellor says his motto is “what grows together, goes together,” a theme that can be seen in dishes like venison served with herbs and vegetables found growing in the animal’s natural habitat. The Observatory, which is now open five days a week from 6 p.m., will feature an upscale dinner menu as well as a pre-theater menu for those looking to dine before heading to a show at the neighboring Edinburgh Playhouse.

For those interested in tasting the culinary offerings of the Scottish Highlands and Islands, the Hebridean Princess’s “Flavours of Scotland” cruise is an ideal way to sample the bounty of the region. This seven-night sailing departing out of Oban will visit no less than three Michelin-starred restaurants—including the world-renowned Kinloch Lodge—in addition to a variety of local food and drink producers. In Islay, a visit to one of the island’s most famous distilleries, Laphroaig, introduces guests to the peaty whiskies for which the region is known. The ship’s local oyster supplier, based on the Isle of Colonsay, will be on hand to talk about fishing for local seafood as well as his other passion, honey and the black-tailed bees he keeps. A cooking lesson paired with lunch at Kinloch Lodge and a tour of Isle of Mull Cheese, a small, family dairy farm, offer guests the chance to sample more local fare. The sailing concludes with a Champagne reception in Mull at Duarte Castle. The “Flavours of Scotland” cruise will depart April 5 and October 4, 2016.

Visitors Invited to Best of Borders Celebration at Luxury Kelso Hotel

Award winning Roxburghe Hotel & Golf Course near Kelso is set to open its doors for a celebration of celebrations later this month (28 June), giving locals the chance to see what the hotel has to offer as well as meet some of the Scottish Borders’ best event suppliers in a stunning stately home setting.

The Celebration Open Day is part of the Roxburghe Hotel & Golf Course’s #CelebrateTheBorders campaign, which aims to showcase everything the Scottish Borders has to offer, from produce to services.

Taking place from 12 noon to 3pm on the Sunday afternoon, the event will focus on bolstering the Borders’ reputation as the top location for celebrations in Scotland.

Visitors will have the chance to view the hotel’s fantastic event facilities and meet with the region’s best event suppliers, from bagpipers to beauticians, whilst indulging in delicious canapés and fine wines in the Roxburghe’s elegant Victorian conservatory.

David Robertson, general manager at the Roxburghe Hotel & Golf Course, said: “Given the region’s incredible landscapes and unbeatable natural produce, the Scottish Borders is the perfect place to host truly memorable celebrations, both big and small.

“Its quality offering attracts visitors from near and far, so by hosting the Celebration Open Day, we want to raise a glass to the many excellent suppliers and producers we’ve had the pleasure of working with at the Roxburghe Hotel & Golf Course.
“We look forward to welcoming visitors to what will be a highly enjoyable afternoon in the Borders countryside. It is definitely the event to attend if you want to make the Borders the location of your forthcoming celebrations such as birthdays and weddings or even just an afternoon tea treat with the family.”

The Roxburghe Hotel and Golf Course is located in the ancestral estate of the Duke of Roxburghe and is home to the Borders’ only Chez Roux restaurant, run by legendary chef Albert Roux OBE, KFO, Britain’s first three-Michelin starred chef.
For more information visit roxburghe-hotel.net

For more information please contact Sarah Ward at Weber Shandwick on 0141 333 0557 / 07809 665773 or email sward@webershandwick.com

San Francisco World Spirits Competition

Luxury Scotland has been featured in this lovely article posted on San Francisco Examiner

 In March, the 15th annual San Francisco World Spirits Competition unfurled at the Hotel Nikko, in which 41 spirits industry professionals blind sipped and evaluated more than 1,500 entries — the largest number to date — from 41 states and 66 countries. I’ve never been, and I’d like to go next year. It’s considered the most esteemed spirits competition in the world.

Flash forward one month and I was in a room that looked like a laboratory (if Pottery Barn designed it) at the petit and picturesque Glengoyne Distillery, 45 minutes from Glasgow, Scotland, where single malt Scotch whisky has been produced for 200 years. I felt a bit like a mad scientist, too, at a table with droppers, a glass beaker and five carafes of varying shades of Glengoyne before me.

It was all part of the distillery’s “Malt Master Tour” ($83 per person), a one-of-a-kind experience in Scotland that includes a guided browse of the facilities followed by a blending session, which results in the ultimate Scottish souvenir: a 200-milliliter bottle of your own creation. When in Scotland.

 Before I continue, let’s answer that pesky “e” question. Some write it “whisky,” others “whiskey,” and both are correct depending on where you are. In Canada, Scotland and Japan, it’s whisky. The Irish like their whiskey, and whether it’s bourbon, rye or Tennessee, whiskey also comes with an “e” in America.

But who wants to spell it? Let’s drink it!

David was my guide at Glengoyne, and I liked him instantly for two reasons: He wore tartan (plaid) pants and he greeted me with a wee dram (Scottish word for nip, sip, splash, taste) of their 12-year-old single malt.

He advised me never to add ice to a single malt whisky, and suggested, reluctantly, that if I had to add anything it should be just a drop or two of water (but this is really a taste preference).

“Do you know what my favorite thing to add to single malt whisky is?” he asked.

“What?”

“More single malt whisky,” he laughed.

Whiskey is produced all over the world, but a lot of people agree, especially the Scots, that the Scots do it best. It is their national drink, after all. When it comes to Scotch whisky, the words “single malt” and “blended” get tossed around a lot. The difference is pretty simple. A single malt Scotch whisky is made entirely at a single distillery (Glengoyne for example) using exclusively malted barley. A blended whisky might use, in part, grains such as corn, wheat or rye, and mix whiskies from multiple distilleries. Johnny Walker is an example of a blended whisky. A common misconception is that single malt Scotch whisky is made from a single barrel or batch, but that’s not the case. Single malt whiskies are most often a well-crafted blend of various ages of whiskies from the same distillery.

At the end of the tour and blending session, David aimed me toward the distillery’s shop. Bottles of Glengoyne lined the back wall: 10-year-old, then 12, 15, 18 and so on, like obedient schoolchildren. But one stood apart from the rest: a backlit mature beauty of 25-year-old amber elixir with a gold medal seal displayed nearby. Curious, I moved in for a closer look.

Turns out Glengoyne’s 25-year-old single malt had just won a Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition weeks earlier. It was one of those “Casablanca” moments: Of all the whisky joints (distilleries) in all the towns in all the world, she had to walk into this one. Yes, a lot of other Scotch whiskies won medals too, but I hadn’t wandered into their joints.

That evening, back at the dreamy Cameron House hotel on the famous Loch Lomond where I was staying (unfortunately not in the Glengoyne Suite), I sidled up to a stool at the impressive Great Scots Bar and drooled over the 270-plus whisky menu, though I already knew what I was going to order.

“A Glengoyne 12-year-old, please.”

“Where you from,” the bartender asked, pouring it in front of me.

“San Francisco.”

“Do you know that Glengoyne just won a gold medal at a competition there?”

I smiled. The Scots sure love to brag about their Scotch. And rightfully so. I like to brag about my city, and was happy for the connection so far from home.

I raised my glass and said, “You’re dram right I do!”

Kimberley Lovato has been writing about travel, food and drink for the last 20 years and has never met a happy hour she didn’t like. She writes at www.kimberleylovato.com.

Donald Trump’s new clubhouse: First Images released

The first pictures of Donald Trump’s new clubhouse in his golf resort in Aberdeenshire have been released by The Press and Journal today.

The clubhouse was designed to complement MacLeod House, offering visitors panoramic views of the coastline, and 18-hole championship golf course.

Extra 19-bedrooms are planned for MacLeod House and Lodge hotel on the Menie Estate. For more information, have a quick peek into The Press and Journal‘s article.

Locator of Trump International Golf Links, Aberdeenshire, club house finished. Picture by KENNY ELRICK     03/06/2015

Locator of Trump International Golf Links, Aberdeenshire, club house finished.
Picture by KENNY ELRICK 03/06/2015

Locator of Trump International Golf Links, Aberdeenshire, club house finished. Picture by KENNY ELRICK     03/06/2015

Locator of Trump International Golf Links, Aberdeenshire, club house finished.
Picture by KENNY ELRICK 03/06/2015

 

Visit MacLeod House‘s website to learn more about this beautiful property.

 

Hebridean Princess will take her guests on a musical adventure of the Inner Hebrides

At the end of June Hebridean Princess will take her guests on a musical adventure that explores the Inner Hebrides, combining wonderful vistas with live classical music in some of the most inspiring locations imaginable. 

By local boat from Iona, guests will visit Fingal’s Cave, the inspiration for Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture and will be entertained by young musicians from the Cantilena Festival on Islay.

This fascinating cruise culminates with a Champagne reception at Duart Castle hosted by Sir Lachlan MacLean, Chieftain of Clan MacLean, before another musical spectacular from the musicians of the Mendelssohn on Mull Festival.

Throughout this season on board Hebridean Princess there are other themed cruises to suit different interests such as gardens, golf, food and drink and of course our very popular ‘Footloose’ walking programmes.

For more information on Hebridean Island Cruises please call +44(0) 1756 704704 or email reservations@hebridean.co.uk

Welcome to Luxury Scotland’s June Newsletter

In July, next month, The Open Championship will return to 
St Andrews for what will be the 144th Open Championship.

oldcourseOnce again the world’s greatest golfers will gather to do battle for the famous Claret Jug on the Old Course.  If you want a taste of what they will enjoy, The Old Course has a two night golf promotion entitled ‘We’re OPEN’ St Andrews Old Course Hotel.

With so much interest in golf, our June newsletter is a review of what you can expect to find this summer in ‘The Home of Golf’.

gleneaglesAt Gleneagles, which has been voted “Best Golf Resort” for a fourth consecutive year at the 2015 UltraTravel Awards, there is a new dedicated Kids’ Amenity Programme called Gleneaglets where budding mini athletes can take advantage of a wide range of sporting activities including golf. So you are never too young to learn how to play golf!

trumpJust north of Aberdeen, there is much excitement at Trump International Golf Linkswith the opening of their new Clubhouse later this month.

roxIn the Scottish Borders, just over an hour from Edinburgh, Roxburghe Hotel and Golf Course are offering Sunday golf for residents. You can stay and play at The Roxburghe Hotel and Golf Course for £165 per person on Sundays until October 2015.

articleLastly we focus on golf in our monthly newsletter article with ‘Golf – Matured and Made in Scotland‘. Written by golf writer Lynda Jackson, this features many of Scotland’s favourite courses and the Luxury Scotland hotels so conveniently located nearby.

Wherever you play your golf, enjoy June!

Jeremy Hawkings
Chief Executive.

Luxury Scotland Member Properties Offer Stunning Views of Scotland’s Landscape

From the rugged terrain of the Highlands to the manicured lawns of the world’s oldest golf courses, Scotland is a country that never wants for a beautiful view. These scenes are easy enough to come by during a day of touring, but visitors craving an iconic Scottish view from their very own hotel room—whether it be of a spectacular Edinburgh cityscape or a castle-topped country hillside—can find their ideal match at one of Luxury Scotland’s 27 member hotels and resorts. In a country that offers so much to see, choosing just one view may prove difficult.

A stay in Edinburgh—a beautiful, historic city that stretches majestically across seven hills—demands a room that takes advantage of the potential for epic views. At 21212, a small, four-room hotel billed as a “five-star restaurant with rooms,” guests can relax in an intimate setting while taking in some the city’s most famed landmarks. The two front rooms look out over the city center all the way to the Firth of Forth, while the back rooms overlook famed Calton Hill and its iconic landmarks (as well as offering a killer view of the fireworks show on Hogmanay, Scotland’s New Year’s Eve celebration). Luckily for guests, the views from the Michelin-starred dining room are also commanding, and can be enjoyed while dining on Chef Paul Kitching’s award-winning contemporary French cuisine.

For golfers and fans of the game alike, waking up to a view of the place where the game was born is a dream come true. Where better to get this perspective than the Old Course Hotel, Golf Resort & Spa, which borders the world’s most famous golf course. The resort offers unbroken views of The Links courses from each of its luxury suites and many of its 144 rooms. For the most all-encompassing view of the course (and the players starting and ending their Old Course challenge), visitors will want to book one of the 35 suites that feature floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies. It’s okay to leave the room: the West Deck—the hotel’s al fresco venue on the Fourth Floor—offers a stunning bird’s eye view of the renowned Road Hole tee as well as long views of the Old, New and Jubilee courses.

Scottish gardens are famed for their profuse flowers and beautiful manicuring…the makings of an idyllic view. The Boath House Hotel in Nairn, which is situated in the middle of 20 acres of gardens, lawns, woodlands and an ornamental trout lake, offers just that. Perhaps the most special views from this 200-year old Georgian mansion can be glimpsed from rooms 3 and 4, which face the beautifully groomed, Victorian walled garden and wildflower meadows, designed and tended to by owner and resident garden designer Wendy Matheson. The gardens, an attraction in their own right, have gained national recognition as a contemporary space sympathetic to its historic origins. The kitchen gardens also provide much of the organic fruit, herbs and vegetables the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant.

When it comes to the long view, Knockinaam Lodge, located at the southwest tip of Scotland, has it—many of the rooms in the main house offer sea views that stretch clear across to Northern Ireland.  The rooms named South and Bay are favorites with guests for their large windows and window seats that allow guests to maximize the vistas. The property’s boathouse, located right next to the private beach, is an ideal place to take shelter from sun or wind and offers the same views from a closer vantage. Guests can take their afternoon tea in the cozy boathouse while watching the wild birds (and occasional seal) play in the bay and listening to the lapping waves. Bonus for history lovers: Sir Winston Churchill met General Dwight Eisenhower at Knockinaam Lodge during World War II.

For guests who can’t make up their minds which of Scotland’s iconic views intrigue them most, the Belmond Royal Scotsman luxury sleeper train may be the perfect solution. A “country house on wheels,” the Belmond Royal Scotsman accommodates just 36 guests in Edwardian-style carriages through an ever-changing landscape, giving the ultimate insight into the beauty of Scotland’s landscape. Each cabin has its own large window, but the observation car, with its open veranda and comfortable interior seating, is arguably the best spot to take in the passing landmarks such as the Kyle of Lochalsh and Cairngorms National Park. Itineraries range from a two-night Highland Journey to a seven-night Grand Tour of Great Britain.

Luxury Scotland’s 2015 Brochure is now available.

The 2015 Brochure from Luxury Scotland is now available. Featuring the finest luxury hotels in Scotland and selected partners from the world of luxury travel, this is an invaluable source of perfect destinations for the discerning traveller.

Inside you will find four of the great golf resorts of Western Europe, Cameron House on Loch Lomond, Gleneagles, Old Course Hotel Golf Resort and Spa and Trump Turnberry, A Luxury Collection Resort as well as romantic castle hotels, country house hotels, town house hotels. Luxury Scotland members include  MV Hebridean Princess, the only cruise ship allowed to display The Royal Warrant and Belmond Royal Scotsman, the most luxurious and prestigious train in the  world.

Driving in the Scottish countryside is a pleasure – a network of some of the most beautiful and dramatic roads in the world, such as the Road to the Isles, which runs from Fort William to Mallaig. On the west coast you will find the most spectacular views of whitewashed cottages looking out to the sea and on the east coast you will find evidence of the whisky industry, distilleries, a cooperage, and more castles than you can imagine.

As you travel around Scotland you can use our 2015 Luxury Scotland brochure to plan your overnight accommodation complete with memorable gourmet dining and the best of Scottish hospitality.

Copies of the brochure can be request by contacting Jeremy Hawkings (CEO) through our web site enquiry form.

>> www.luxuryscotland.co.uk/service

Gleneagles named Best Golf Resort in the World for fourth consecutive year

The Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland has been awarded the prestigious Best Golf Resort in the World title at the 2015 UltraTravel Awards for the fourth year in a row.

The prestigious award was voted for by UltraTravel readers, and presented at a ceremony at The Dorchester in London on 18 May. Other shortlisted properties included the renowned Pebble Beach Resort in the US; La Manga Club in Spain; Fairmont St Andrews; and Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina.

The accolade comes eight months after Gleneagles hosted the 2014 Ryder Cup Matches, described by commentator Butch Harmon as “The best organised Ryder Cup ever”, on The PGA Centenary Course. The hotel is also home to the award-winning King’s and Queen’s courses, as well as the PGA National Golf Academy – which offers tuition to golfers of all skill levels, from the complete beginner to those with dreams of following in the professionals’ footsteps.

General Manager Paul Heery said:

“We are delighted to have been awarded the Best Golf Resort title again, particularly when up against so many excellent properties. This is only possible due to the continued hard work and dedication of the whole Gleneagles team, ensuring our guests consistently receive the highest standard of service.”