Unforgettable sunsets, breathtaking sea views, the warmest of welcomes, wonderful cuisine, the most exhilarating journey, the perfect retreat… just a few typical comments from visitors to Luxury Scotland’s coastal destinations on Scotland’s west coast.
This month we invite you to explore some of Scotland’s coastal gems and think about glorious Scottish short breaks during Autumn and Spring.
On Scotland’s south west corner in a rocky cove surrounded by high gorse-covered cliffs is Knockinaam Lodge.
With thirty acres of gardens and lawns sweeping down to the seashore, this grey stone and white washed Victorian country house enjoys a secluded, serene location on the water’s edge overlooking the Irish Sea.
Step inside to you find a welcoming country house furnished with period antiques, wood panelling, chintz, tartan, armchairs, and blazing log fires. Knockinaam’s ten romantic bedrooms are individually designed with many featuring vintage bathrooms and sea views.
For a truly secluded vacation consider Knockinaam’s self-catering option – the contemporary Shingle Lodge overlooking the beach.
Knockinaam Lodge is steeped in history. Winston Churchill stayed here for wartime meetings with Eisenhower and the hotel features a Churchill themed bedroom, furnished with books and memorabilia.
As well as exploring the hotel’s gardens and beaches, guests can enjoy game fishing, golfing, hill walks, pony trekking as well as visits to Drumlanrig and Culzean Castle and Logan botanic gardens.
Dining at Knockinaam
Head chef at Knockinamm Lodge is Tony Pierce, famed for his celebrated menus based on seasonal local produce, much of which is sourced from Knockinaam’s own garden. There is a wonderful four course menu on offer at lunchtime and at dinner you can enjoy canapés with drinks in the Bar before sampling the superb five course menu which currently features Galloway lamb and venison from around Loch Trool or Lochmaben. All the fish featured on the menu is line caught and landed locally.
Complete the perfect evening with coffee and petits fours in the drawing room or a nightcap in the Whisky bar.
Glenapp Castle is a true hidden gem. Set in a spectacular location just a few miles from the coast, the castle enjoys stunning seascapes and has its own boat for exploring the coastline and islands. This is a place to inspire and recharge. Perfect for couples, family and friends.
There are seventeen guest rooms at Glenapp Castle, all individually designed and beautifully furnished to the same high standard.
Ground floor rooms are quite magnificent and face the garden and woodlands. The first and second floor rooms are spacious with fascinating sea views.
With Glenapp’s splendid gardens and forest areas, rugged beaches, links golf courses nearby, a local coastal spa, and thousands of acres of countryside, there’s no shortage of activities. The Castle’s own boat is available to take guests on discovery trips to the Mull of Kintyre, the Isle of Arran or Ailsa Craig, famous for its bird sanctuary and castle ruins.
Dining at Glenapp Castle
As a luxury, award-winning five star Scottish castle hotel in Ayrshire, Glenapp Castle offers discreet service, a host of activities and an exciting choice of dining options.
Indulge in a delightful afternoon tea, enjoy a three course ‘Taste of Glenapp’ gourmet dinner or a wonderful six-course dining experience in the glorious surroundings of the Glenapp elegant dining rooms. Then discover some famous malts while watching the sun set over Ailsa Craig and the Mull of Kintyre.
You can’t eat and sleep much closer to the sea than at Crinan Hotel in the heart of a picturesque fishing village on the Argyll coastline at the north end of the Crinan Canal. This is where Loch Crinan opens into the Sound of Jura – the gateway to the isles of Islay and Jura and the rest of the Inner Hebrides.
Crinan Hotel has been a haven for yachtsmen, fishermen, sailors and travellers for over 200 years.
Wonderful food, accommodation and a warm welcome have made this outpost famous. Travelling by car from Loch Lomond to Inverary, down the shores of Loch Fyne to Lochgilphead is a superb and memorable drive.
There are plenty of interesting things to see and do while you are at Crinan. Your options include canal or woodland walks or a visit to the historic standing stones at Kilmartin Glen which is an unforgettable opportunity to link with the area’s pre-historic past. Boat trips and expeditions to the islands on board the legendary MV Sgarbh are a must for the adventurous. The infamous Corryvreckan whirlpool is a sight to behold and you may also encounter sea eagles, dolphins, seals and a wide variety of other wildlife.
The Crinan Gallery on the top floor of the hotel holds exhibitions of work by contemporary Scottish artists throughout the year. You can ‘Sleep with the Art’ as each bedroom in the hotel is dedicated to a famous Scottish artist and there are original works in every room by artists including Frances Macdonald (Ryan), proprietor of the hotel and her son, Ross Ryan. Crinan is also the place to consider when thinking about ‘Painting Holidays’ – there are impressive coastal locations and professional guidance can be arranged.
Dining at Crinan Hotel
The catch of the day is landed daily at the pier just by the Crinan Hotel, direct from the fishing boat in time for dinner, so the seafood does not get fresher than at Crinan. You can indulge in fresh jumbo prawns, crab, Kintyre lobster, scallops and mussels. There is always a varied seasonal menu to suit all tastes and this includes locally sourced organic produce such as beef and lamb.
There are several dining options at Crinan. Take your pick from the Michelin Recommended Westward Restaurant, or the very popular Crinan Seafood Bar or the pub which is also known as The General’s Bar. There is also a delightful Coffee Shop near the hotel and adjacent to the Canal Basin which serves delicious home baking fresh from the Hotel’s kitchen.
Head north from Oban towards Fort William along the tranquil coastal road to Port Appin, and you will find the welcoming lights and blazing fires of Airds Hotel on the banks of Loch Linnhe with the Morvern mountains behind.
Airds is located amongst some of the most beautiful scenery in the Scottish Highlands and travellers come from afar to experience the atmosphere of Port Appin.
Set amongst the most spectacular wild scenery, ancient castles and craggy mountains, with just 11 bedrooms and suites and 2 self-catering cottages, this luxury hotel has everything you could want for a relaxing break in the Scottish Highlands.
Guests can simply relax in the lounges or garden, or for the more adventurous, take in some of the best walking and cycling on the west coast. Alternatively, take in a tour of the private Stalker Castle just down the road, set on its own islet in the middle of the loch and famed for its appearance in Monty Python. You might also like to sample a wee dram at the renowned Oban Distillery. From Port Appin you can take the passenger ferry over to the island of Lismore and explore on bike or take the fascinating Lismore Land Rover Safari. Further afield, you can take day trips to Inverary or Mull and Iona. The iconic and spectacular Glencoe is also only half an hour’s drive away.
Dining at Airds Hotel
Dining at Airds Hotel is ‘one of life’s great pleasures’. With its romantic atmosphere and stunning view, it has consistently been named one of the best in Scotland. The menu is based on seasonal local produce, such as locally hand dived seared Scallops, Langoustines, organic Salmon, Loch Linnhe Crab and Highland Venison, served with freshly picked vegetables from the Kitchen garden. The tasting menu complemented with matching wines never disappoints. You can also enjoy a varied lunch menu or the excellent Aird’s Afternoon Tea, with or without a glass of champagne!
Kinloch Lodge is a special place. You will find it on the southern tip of the Isle of Skye, nestling at the foot of Kinloch Hill on the shores of a sea-loch. Kinloch Lodge is the highland home of Claire and Godfrey Macdonald – offering the best of produce, memorable dining, roaring fires, whisky on tap and huge cosy beds. Yes, it will be hard to leave.
The island is an outdoor adventure playground especially for hill climbing up the Cuillins, the dramatic craggy mountain range which dominates the landscape. If that sounds too energetic, there are superb nature walks near the hotel along a waymarked drovers’ path through woodland and lochside to the ruins of a former village, Leitir Fura – you might spot eagles, birds and wildlife along the way.
This is a place to escape and relax, where you can take things at a gentler pace and appreciate the beauty and wonder of this Island paradise.
The Lodge is steeped in heritage and history, and exemplifies all the traditions of warm highland hospitality. The Bedrooms are individually decorated in colours and textures chosen to reflect Skye’s distinctive landscape. The elegant drawing rooms at Kinloch Lodge provide an ideal setting for afternoon tea or pre-dinner drinks or a nightcap to complete the perfect day.
Dining at Kinloch Lodge
Food is the crowning glory of the Kinloch Lodge experience. Marcello Tully continues Claire’s food ethos today, bringing to it his own influence and experience in some of the world’s finest kitchens.
Marcello’s cooking style, his Brazilian heritage, his classical Roux-brothers training and his passion for the Highlands of Scotland are echoed in the food enjoyed by guests at Kinloch Lodge.
Head Chef Marcello specialises in inventive dishes to show off wild and wonderful produce from the Highlands and Islands such as Langoustines, Rabbit stuffed with venison and prunes, Mallaig Hake and Mussels, Chocolate Ganache. The gourmet tasting menu offers wine or whisky flights to complement each course.
The Isle of Eriska Hotel
On a private island on Scotland’s west coast sits Eriska – the Isle of Eriska Hotel. This 19th-century mansion, built in Scottish baronial style, is accessible from the main road by bridge. Set in serene west highland scenery, Eriska offers the perfect introduction to a luxury Scotland vacation.
The Hotel is located on a private tidal Island at the entrance of Loch Creran on the west coast of Scotland.
This is a conservation area of extraordinary natural beauty. Set in just over 300 acres, Eriska has everything you might want for a truly relaxing, leisurely break on Scotland’s west coast.
With an award winning spa, one of Scotland’s top restaurants, 16 luxury bedrooms and 5 spa suites with private garden and hot tub, as well as two garden cottages, each with two bedrooms, garden and hot tubs, the accommodation options will suit everyone. There are also six Hilltop Reserves complete with large balconies and hot tubs overlooking Loch Linnhe. If privacy and self-catering accommodation is what you are looking for, then Arnott’s House, Eriska’s three bedroom self-catering option, will be perfect.
As well as glorious accommodation, gourmet dining and discrete attentive service, Eriska provides a range of on site activities including croquet, guest bikes and golf on a small adjacent six hole golf course. Further activities can be pre-arranged onsite including archery and clay pigeon shooting.
Guests can explore the walking trails through the island’s woodland areas and along the shoreline where they might spot otters, grey seals, and perhaps a golden eagle. Boat trips can be arranged on the loch.
Dining at The Isle of Eriska Hotel
The Isle of Eriska Hotel has several dining choices including a gourmet 3 course dinner and an outstanding tasting menu with optional paired wine flights. Eriska’s famous wine list runs to 20 pages and provides a range of options in terms of price, type and location.
Guests often comment on one of Eriska’s secrets – the famous Farmhouse Cheese Trolley. One of Scotland’s finest, it includes a wide range of local Scottish and other British cheeses. For a more informal option, The Deck restaurant offers a relaxed menu with beautiful views overlooking the loch.
Nothing can prepare you for the experience of dinner at Eriska – Head Chef Graeme Cheevers has created imaginative dishes using fresh local produce and ingredients delivering an explosion of tastes and colours in a wonderful setting.
Inverlochy Castle Hotel
During a Highland vacation in 1873, the young Queen Victoria spent a week at Inverlochy sketching and painting. In her diary Queen Victoria wrote: ‘I never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot’.
Just north of Fort William, we find Inverlochy Castle Hotel. An impressive 19th century castle with a wonderful loch side setting, Inverlochy nestles in the foothills of Ben Nevis, Scotland’s highest mountain. The Castle is surrounded by some of Scotland’s finest scenery and attractions including the Falls at Glen Nevis, the Glenfinnan Monument and the mountains of Glencoe
Each of Inverlochy’s 17 bedrooms and two bedroomed Gate Lodge has its own individual design and character, many with splendid views of the grounds and surrounding mountains. Beautifully appointed bathrooms, luxurious furniture and original antique furnishings reflect the tranquil atmosphere of a bygone age.
Inverlochy Castle Hotel is located in Lochaber and is considered to be the outdoor capital of Scotland. Here you will find the Ice Factor, the world’s biggest indoor ice climbing facility and the UK’s largest articulated rock climbing wall. During the summer months guests can enjoy white water rafting and mountain biking. In winter the location is perfect for skiing and snow boarding.
Less than seven miles from Inverlochy, the 75,000 acres of the Achnacarryhe Estate offers a wide range of activities including wildlife tours, sightseeing & photographic tours, hill walking, stalking and fishing.
Dining at Inverlochy
Dining at ‘Albert and Michel Roux Jr at Inverlochy Castle‘ is a culinary experience to savour, with the legendary father and son taking the helm of the kitchen and creating the finest dishes using local Scottish produce. Each of Inverlochy’s three dining rooms is decorated with period and exquisite furniture presented to Inverlochy Castle by the King of Norway.
The menus features modern British cuisine with French influences which is internationally recognized by all major guides. Starters may include gin-cured Scottish Salmon, seared Scottish Hand Dived Scallops and smoked eel followed by mains including Roast Tranche of Turbot, Scottish Beef Chateaubriand and Rack of New Season Scottish Lamb.
The Torridon enjoys one of the most spectacular and idyllic locations in the Scottish Highlands. Whether you wish for a reviving outdoor escape, a relaxing getaway or a pampered spa break in a luxury hotel, Torridon aims to deliver each guest that exclusive luxury with a personal touch.
You can expect gourmet dining, hearty meals and the best of Scottish hospitality at this coastal hideaway on the shores of Loch Torridon.
Waking up in one of Torridon’s 18 luxurious en-suite bedrooms with views of an ever-changing Highland scenery, never fails to impress.
With such a perfect location, guests will discover adventure and explore the wilderness at Torridon Activities – one of the best multi-activity providers in Scotland.
Dining at The Torridon
Before dinner at The Torridon Hotel, why not sample a glass of Arcturus, Torridon’s very own gin. Arcturus is among the brightest stars that can be seen from Earth and is an appropriate name for this wonderful, hand-crafted gin. It was conceived from foraging local highland botanicals, blended with pure Scottish loch water and distilled and bottled by Dunnet Bay Distillers to produce an aromatic, crisp, clean gin with a dry finish.
The Torridon restaurant will treat you to a showcase of the freshest Scottish produce, much of it grown and gathered from the kitchen garden and Torridon estate. Mallaig landed halibut, West Coast Langoustine, smoked Deeside Grouse and the best of Scotch beef are partnered with an array of fresh garden vegetables, salads, Scottish cheeses and tantalising desserts.
Our Journey along Scotland’s west coast has covered only eight of Luxury Scotland’s member hotels. We hope you have been tempted to explore further and enjoy a short break at one of these hotels. Look out for more articles on the great golf hotels, magnificent city hotels and a range of superlative exclusive use properties.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is accurate and up-to-date to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. (31st August 2018)