Serene in Aberdeenshire: Douneside House
We’re thrilled to welcome Douneside House as our newest Luxury Scotland member.
Located in the heart of Royal Deeside on the outskirts of the majestic Cairngorms National Park, this 17-acre country estate and hotel is rich in history, character, and atmosphere.
Think mahogany panelling, grandfather clocks and antique busts – all softened by the tasteful inclusion of fine textures, fresh décor, and every modern luxury. Of strolling through the arts and crafts inspired terrace gardens, before retiring, whisky in hand, to an outrageously squishy armchair by a roaring fire.
The only thing that could possibly surpass its incredible setting is the warm Highland hospitality that infuses the entire experience. Let’s take a closer look.
Bed down in bliss
Those who wish to make a night of it can get comfortable in one of 13 elegant bedrooms in the main building, ranging from cosy doubles up to deluxe rooms with freestanding tubs and sweeping views of the Howe of Cromar.
Each room has its own style and vibe, but all strike a refined balance between heritage touches and contemporary comforts. Little moments of luxury abound, from the crisp bedlinen and soft Hypnos mattresses to the fluffy bathrobes and fragrant toiletries.
For group and family get-togethers, there’s a range of exquisitely appointed guest apartments and holiday cottages, sleeping from two to six guests. All offer kitchenettes and outdoor access, with wheelchair-accessible and dog-friendly options.
Whether in the main hotel or accommodation, all guests enjoy access to the on-site health club, a soothing sanctuary with its own 12.5 metre swimming pool, sauna and steam room, along with a gym and all-weather tennis court. It’s just what’s needed after a rigorous day exploring the surrounding Highland splendour.
The estate, on a plate
A haven of home-grown hospitality, Douneside House offers a tempting line up of dining options to entice wayfaring foodies to its two restaurants.
The Conservatory makes the most of its light-flooded setting and leafy garden views, dishing up flawlessly presented dishes from breakfast to dinner. Much of the menu incorporates the fresh vegetables, herbs and fruit grown organically on site, often bringing surprising new dimensions to dishes with inspired pairings and inventive ingredients.
For an altogether moodier affair, there’s The Library. This intimate, candlelit space sets the scene with its crackling fire, gilded books and antique ambiance. Settle down in one of just 14 seats and prepare to journey through a triple-rosette awarded, six-course culinary odyssey – complemented by impeccably paired wines, of course.
Time well spent
If you can bear to tear yourself away from the comforting confines of the hotel, you’ll find no shortage of diverting activities in the local area.
At any time of year, the magnificent grounds offer a sensory treat. Immerse yourself in a riot of colour and fragrance in the wonderful walled gardens, find time for wine on the terrace, or seek out a peaceful spot by the stream to contemplate the soul-replenishing mountain views.
For fishing, the estate’s lochan is stocked with brown and rainbow trout, and salmon can be found on an excursion to the rivers Don or Dee.
Keen golfers can swing into action at the nearby Tarland Golf Club, a beautifully maintained 9-hole course offering a tranquil Highland backdrop to the day’s play, with many more courses in the surrounding area.
The nearby Castle Trail takes in the delights of Crathes, Drum, Craigievar and Castle Fraser – along with Balmoral if the Royal Family aren’t in. Or, if you’re for a dram, you’ll can sample some of Scotland's finest at the many surrounding distilleries on the Speyside Whisky Trail.
Ready to make your state visit to Royal Deeside? You can find out more about this Highland haven on the Douneside House website.