All Luxury Scotland Hotels have fascinating rich history, many have hosted an array of visiting celebrities and dignitaries including royalty, prime ministers and even a U.S. president or two. Some tales of these important guests appear below:
Located near Aberdeen in the Scottish Highlands, Fasque Castle was created and developed by two of Britain’s most prestigious families: The Ramsays of Balmain owned the Fasque Estate starting in the mid-16th century, and then the Gladstones of Fasque and Balfour bought it in the mid-19th century. John Gladstone was a Liverpool merchant who made his fortune trading with the United States; he ultimately became a member of Parliament before buying the estate in 1829. One of his sons was four-time British Prime Minister William Gladstone. Though Gladstone’s brother ultimately inherited the estate, it’s said that the Prime Minister loved Fasque and visited it as frequently as possible.
This country house in Gullane was designed at the turn of the 20th century for the Honorable Alfred Lyttelton by an architect named Sir Edwin Lutyens, who also designed buildings in New Delhi and the British Embassy in Washington. King Edward VII was reported to have stayed at Greywalls several times. During World War II, the home became a place for rest and relaxation for fighter pilots based at nearby Drem Airfield. Later in the war, the house was given over to Polish forces, who converted it into a hospital. In more recent years, the hotel has hosted some of the world’s leading golfers, who appreciate the proximity to neighboring Muirfield golf course.
Inverlochy Castle Hotel
Situated in the foothills of Ben Nevis, Scotland’s tallest mountain, Inverlochy Castle Hotel was built in 1863 as a private residence. The hotel is located about two miles away from the 13th-century castle for which it was named, and it became a hotel in 1969. Exactly 100 years prior to that, while the baronial mansion was still a private home, it hosted Jefferson Davis, the former president of the Confederate States of America. In a letter to his wife he wrote, ”The scenery about here is the grandest of all the sublime spectacles I have met in Scotland. You would find a wide field for your imagination in the mists and changing lights and shades which characterize the Scottish mountains.” Four years later the house welcomed Queen Victoria, who spent a week in residence. She is reported to have written, “I never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot.” As a tribute to the monarch, the room she occupied is now called the Queen’s Suite.
Knockinaam, located on the southern tip of Scotland, was the site of a secret meeting between U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower (who later became that country’s president) and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill during World War II. The meeting was said to be one of the best-kept secrets of the war era, despite the fact that residents of the nearby towns saw Churchill while he was in the area. It’s also reported that John Buchan, author of The 39 Steps, was referring to Knockinaam when he talked about a grey stone Victorian hunting lodge in his 1915 thriller that became an Alfred Hitchcock film 20 years later.
MV Hebridean Princess
The MV Hebridean Princess is the only ship to be granted a Royal Warrant by Her Majesty the Queen. The ship, originally commissioned in 1962, was built as one of the first three dedicated drive-on/drive-off car ferries to operate in Scotland’s Western Isles. Starting in 1983 – a time when the ship was known as the MV Columba – the Hebridean Princess became a royal yacht of sorts. First she hosted His Royal Highness Prince Charles (known in Scotland as the Duke of Rothesay), then she welcomed Princess Anne as a guest at a friend’s birthday party, and ultimately she was chartered by the Queen of England in 2006 to celebrate her 80th birthday with her family. The Queen returned for a private vacation with her family in 2010.
The Roxburghe Hotel and Golf Course
Formerly called Sunlaws House Hotel, this property has witnessed its share of drama. In June 1544, a period called the “Rough Wooing,” a roving band of Englishmen came to Scotland and burned down Sunlaws. During the first Jacobite uprising, the property was once again set to flames. In 1770, the property burned down a third time – on that occasion because a servant had left a candle unattended. Amidst all the smoke, however, this property also hosted some influential guests. Bonnie Prince Charlie spent the night here on November 5, 1745, and planted a white rose bush on the grounds.