Luxury Scotland Hotels and Their Literary Ties

Vacation is the perfect time to relax with a good book, and in support of that concept, the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa in Edinburgh has introduced a new form of room service called “Books in Bedrooms,” aimed at giving its guests the chance to buy signed editions from some of the city’s most celebrated contemporary authors. The hotel’s “Book Menu” includes selections from Kate Atkinson, Alexander McCall Smith and Ian Rankin, but also a range of classic Scottish books, children’s books by local authors and guide books to the city. The hotel worked with a local independent bookshop owner, Gillian Robertson, to ensure that guests in any of the Sheraton Grand’s 269 bedrooms can order a book that will be delivered within minutes. But the Sheraton Grand isn’t the only member of the Luxury Scotland collection of luxury properties to tempt guests with a literary experience. Among the group’s 31 members are properties that have been the settings for books, some that pay tribute to great Scottish authors, and those that have offered a home away from home when writers needed a source of inspiration.

Knockinaam Lodge in Dumfries and Galloway, for example, is featured in the John Buchan novel The Thirty-Nine Steps, a classic murder mystery that was made into an Alfred Hitchcock movie in 1935. One of the hotel’s suites is named in honor of the story’s hero, Richard Hannay, who has a special knack for getting himself out of sticky situations. Modern guests won’t want to escape from Knockinaam, however … particularly if they opt for the second-floor Hannay Suite, which boasts a panoramic view of the bay that overlooks the Irish Sea and the Mountains of Mourne. The king-bedded room has a separate lounge area that extends nearly the entire length of the hotel, and its bathroom – which, among other features, has special underfloor heating – is home to a Victorian roll-top bath with a window right above it. In an area known for its stargazing (in fact, this region is home to the United Kingdom’s first-ever “Dark Sky Park”) this is a truly significant feature.

Buchan’s approach to the mystery novel has been said to have inspired Ian Fleming, another Scottish writer who certainly knew his way around a spy story. Cromlix, owned by tennis star Andy Murray near his hometown of Dunblane, has paid tribute to Fleming and other great Scots by naming each of the hotel’s 10 bedrooms, five suites and gate lodge in their honor. Literary luminaries who are celebrated here include Fleming, Robert Burns, Arthur Conan Doyle and J.M. Barrie. The rooms at Cromlix are subtly decorated in individual styles and feature 400-thread count Egyptian cotton bed linens, 32-inch televisions disguised as mirrors, and iPod docking stations. Each suite boasts a freestanding gold-, silver- or copper-finished bath … which, come to think of it, is the perfect place to dive into a great Scottish novel.

On that list of great works in Scottish literature, one is sure to find the Robert Louis Stevenson classic Kidnapped, which was inspired by true events that took place near Appin in the Scottish Highlands. Tensions were high in this part of the country after the famed Jacobite Rising of 1745, and a great mystery still surrounds the murder of Colin Roy Campbell, the local tax collector who was shot in the back while walking in the woods here. Though the chief suspect in the “Appin Murder” of 1752 was a man named Alan Stewart, whose clan had recently been evicted at the hands of the Campbells, Alan fled the area … leaving another member of the Stewart clan, James, to be arrested instead. Though there was much evidence to the contrary and James had what many considered an airtight alibi, he was nonetheless found guilty by a hastily assembled jury that included many Campbell sympathizers eager to retaliate against the Stewart clan. The incident went down in Scottish history as one of the greatest miscarriages of justice and today, more than 250 years later, the murder has never truly been solved. Airds Hotel & Restaurant is located in Port Appin, and its guests can hike through Lettermore Woods just off the coast road between Appin and Ballachullish to see a small memorial that marks the site of the murder that Stevenson made so famous in his 1880s historical adventure novel.

Creativity requires inspiration, and the Crinan Hotel on the west coast of Scotland – a property that happens to be owned by an artist – has hosted several writers over the years. It started in the 1940s with George Orwell, author of 1984; it’s said that when he was a guest at a farmhouse that can be seen from the hotel, Orwell would occasionally visit the hotel as he struggled to finish his novel. As the story goes, he narrowly escaped death in this area, as he took a small row boat through the Corryvreckan Whirlpool, which today can be visited (safely!) on a daily boat trip that the hotel offers on its own classic boat. More recently, esteemed physicist Steven Hawking vacationed here with his wife and daughter in the 1980s as he worked on A Brief History of Time; the long-time hotel staff says he tried to explain to “big bangs and black holes” on those trips. Other authors who have found time to relax here include journalist and broadcaster Andrew Marr, historical fiction writer Dorothy Dunnett, and international best-selling author Frank Delaney.

Emily Roux and Michel Roux Jr to open new Restaurants in Scotland

Albert, Michel and Emily Roux to open contemporary fine dining restaurants at Inverlochy Castle and Crossbasket Castle
Scotland’s food scene is set for a major shake-up after three generations of the world’s most famous culinary dynasty come together to open two new restaurants in first half of 2016.Albert and Michel Roux Jnr, supported by Michel’s daughter Emily, are to open the first of their co-branded fine dining restaurants at the world-famous Inverlochy Castle near Fort William later this month, closely followed by the opening of the second at Crossbasket Castle on the outskirts of Glasgow on 1 May.

Both restaurants will be intimate, seating up to 50 at Inverlochy and 25 at Crossbasket, and will be run by chefs trained in Roux kitchens, whose graduates include Marco Pierre White, Marcus Wareing and Andrew Fairlie.

It marks the first time the father and son duo have collaborated in Scotland. They first worked together in 1985, when Michel Jnr joined the team at London’s Le Gavroche, which he now runs. Emily will also support menu development at the restaurants, making them a true family affair.

Speaking of the new venture, Albert Roux OBE, KFO, who currently runs five Chez Roux restaurants across Scotland, said: “Michel Jnr and I are hugely excited about working together at these two fantastic locations. The ‘Albert and Michel Roux Jnr’ restaurants will offer menus in the style of Le Gavroche but with a contemporary and distinctly Scottish twist, focusing on ingredients that are, as far as possible, hyper-local to each location.

“There is no doubt Scotland is coming of her culinary age. We have a population that loves food and is becoming increasingly aware of the fantastic produce in the seas, fields and forests.”

Michel Roux Jnr said: “There is so much fantastic produce and talent to be found in the area. I’m particularly thrilled about Emily coming on board – my father and I are classically French in style whereas Emily is slightly more contemporary in her cooking. It makes for a great dynamic, and a very exciting time for the Rouxs.”

Both Inverlochy Castle and Crossbasket are managed by Inverlochy Castle Management International.

Nestling in the foothills of Ben Nevis and set amidst the glens, lochs and mountains of the West Highlands, Inverlochy Castle in Fort William is Scotland’s finest, and arguably its most famous, country house hotel. The hotel boasts seventeen uniquely designed bedrooms and three dining rooms, amongst a range of indoor and outdoor facilities.

The 14th Century Crossbasket Castle in High Blantyre on the outskirts of Glasgow has been rescued from ruin and is set to open as a luxury hotel, restaurant and event venue on 1 May.

Businessman Steve Timoney and his wife Alison Reid-Timoney bought Crossbasket Castle in 2011, a year after it was listed on Scotland’s Buildings At Risk Register. Over the last five years the couple have invested over £9 million restoring the building to its former glory as one of the area’s most beautiful historic homes. They have also added a Grand Ballroom to the castle, which overlooks the stunning waterfalls on the River Calder and accommodating up to 250 event guests.

 

The Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa has launched a Book Menu

The Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa has launched a Book Menu giving its guests the unique opportunity to purchase signed copies from some of Edinburgh’s most celebrated contemporary authors including Ian Rankin, Alexander McCall Smith and Kate Atkinson, directly from their bedroom.

The Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa is the only hotel in the city to offer the “Books in Bedrooms” room service. The Book Menu, which is present in all 269 bedrooms, also features a carefully selected range of classic Scottish books, locally-written children’s books and hand-picked guide books to the city that can be delivered to the room in minutes.

The hotel has worked in collaboration with a local independent bookshop owner Gillian Robertson and has been supported by the Literary Tourism Innovation Fund, created by the Edinburgh City of Literature Trust and Edinburgh Tourism Action Group, with a key aim to develop new literary tourism experiences across the city.

Tristan Nesbitt, the General Manager at the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa said: “The Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa has a close connection with Edinburgh’s cultural quarter which is right on our doorstep. Within a day of launching, guests have already purchased several books from our legendary authors and have been thrilled by the opportunity to embark on a literary connection with Scotland’s capital – the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature”

Director of the City of Literature Trust, Ali Bowden commented: “The Book Menu is a fantastic opportunity to bring literary Edinburgh to tourists and enrich their visit to our city. Reading about Edinburgh when staying in Edinburgh can turn a holiday into a captivating experience as the voices of Edinburgh authors lead the way along the wynds and closes in the footsteps of their characters.”

 

For more information on the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa visit www.sheratonedinburgh.co.uk

Muirfield Golf Play and Stay at Greywalls Hotel & Chez Roux

That’s a Golfer’s Dream Package! Stay at Greywalls and play Muirfield Golf Course on a Tuesday or Thursday, accommodation can be taken the day prior or on the day of your tee-time.

 

Muirfield has been voted number one golf course in the world by Golf Monthly for 2015/16. Come and see for yourself what a wonderful course Muirfield is and enjoy Greywalls’ warm hospitality.

This package includes one night’s accommodation inclusive of bed and breakfast, 18 holes at Muirfield and Dinner, from the Daily Menu, in Chez Roux restaurant. Golf must be taken as a fourball and as such 4 caddies closets or 2 large double/twin rooms must be booked.

Single Occupancy     Double/Twin Occupancy
Caddies Closet          £225.00                      N/A
Cottage Room           £370.00                     £530.00
Large Double            £390.00                     £555.00

 

Valid until March 19th 2015. Please note that you must be 16 or over, have a handicap of 18 or better with appropriate certificate, guests must check-in to Greywalls first before going to Muirfield. Full T&C’s available on enquiry. This package is fully pre-payable and non-refundable. 2 Ball enquires are at discretion of Muirfield.

You can see the hotel’s availability and book online or visit Greywalls Hotel’s website to learn more about this beautiful property designed by renowned architect Sir Edwin Lutyens.
To book please call +44(0) 1620 842 144, or email enquiries@greywalls.co.uk (bookings are subject to availability).