The Balmoral

Best Hotels in Scotland

Hotels /


From grand city institutions to rustic restaurants-with-rooms, these are the best places to stay in Scotland

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One of its greatest attractions of Scotland is the charming variety of landscapes: within the fairly small region of you’ll find everything from pristine beaches to castle-topped crags, luscious wilderness to glistening lochs. The cities, meanwhile, are filled with culture, with Edinburgh hosting the largest arts festival in the world. Planning a trip there for once rules allow? Below we highlight the best hotels in Scotland.

Best Hotels in London / Best Hotels in the Cotswolds

Best Hotels in Scotland

These reviews of hotels in Scotland are taken from this year’s Great British & Irish Hotels Guide. You can read the full reviews online or purchase your print Hotels Guide here

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The Torridon

The Torridon – Torridon, Wester Ross

A former and still very grand shooting lodge, The Torridon has one of the Highlands’ most stunning locations. The bedrooms in the main hotel blend its Scottish heritage with Victorian-era features while those in The Stables are simple and cosy. The 1887 restaurant was redesigned last year; now guests can tuck into chef Paul Green’s field-to-fork delights in the pine panelled dining room or conservatory. A more casual option is Bo & Muc, for dishes such as rump of Elgin lamb and beer battered fish. There are many outdoor activities on the doorstep too, from cycling and bird watching to kayaking and hiking.

BOOK

+44 (0)1445 791242 / thetorridon.com

SCHLOSS Roxburghe

SCHLOSS Roxburgh – Kelso, Roxburghshire

A schloss in Scotland? Yes indeed: the Roxburghe Hotel, on a 300-acre estate in the Scottish Borders, was formerly owned by the Duke of Roxburghe and has hosted many aristocratic guests, including, reputedly, Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745. It now mixes traditional Scottish hospitality with German innovation and sky-high standards. Re-opened in June 2019 after an extensive refurbishment by its new owners, the hotel has never looked better. The 20 bedrooms are individually decorated and estate-to-plate ingredients focus on modern Scottish dishes with a French twist in the Sunlaws restaurant. The country sporting and leisure facilities on the hotel’s estate are second to none, from fishing to the 18-hole championship golf course.

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+ 44 (0)1573 450331 / schlosshotel-roxburghe.com

Cluny Castle

Cluny Castle – Sauchen, Aberdeenshire

Cluny Castle is every inch the enchanting, Cinderella-esque venue you would expect to find hidden deep in the rolling hills of Aberdeenshire. Set in over 200 acres of painstakingly landscaped parkland, the castle itself dates back to the 15th century and remains a private home. However, when you choose to celebrate a special occasion – or just spend quality time with family and friends – its magnificent granite walls and turrets become exclusively yours. Relax in the delightfully decorated West Wing Apartment (which sleeps ten), the perfect base from which to explore the stunning landscapes and wonderful golden sandy beaches along the Aberdeenshire coastline.

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+44 (0)1330 833302 / clunycastle.com

Dun Aluinn

Dun Aluinn – Aberfeldy, Perthshire

Looking for an unforgettable Highland experience? Find it at Dun Aluinn. An exquisitely stylish private house accommodating up to 18 guests across nine individually designed bedrooms, it is perched on a hill overlooking the lively town of Aberfeldy in Perthshire.  Views are best taken in from the wood-fired hot tub outside or from the terrace, which comes complete with a fire pit and comfortable outdoor seating. While staying you’ll be expertly looked after by Dun Aluinn’s private butler, housekeeping and concierge services, who can arrange everything from whisky tasting to salmon fishing to guided hikes.

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+44 (0)7850 857550 / dunaluinn.com

The Pierhouse

The Pierhouse – Port Appin, Argyll

Surrounded by the raw, breathtaking beauty of western Scotland, The Pierhouse sits on the shores of Loch Linnhe. A relaxed hotel, it’s the ideal base for exploring this unforgettable part of the world and for sampling the very best of its local produce. Head chef Michael Leathley is in charge of the Michelin-recognised and AA Rosette-awarded seafood restaurant, where he calls his cooking ‘bringing the outside in’ – in other words, the freshest west-coast seafood such as creel-caught langoustines and Loch Creran oysters, plus Scottish meat, game and vegetables, all prepared and cooked using classic, simple techniques. There is a lounge with a wood-burning stove, a Finnish sauna for relaxing after a day spent hiking or biking, and The Ferry Bar where you’ll find an impressive selection of drinks.

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+44 (0)1631 730302pierhousehotel.co.uk

The Dunstane Houses

The Dunstane Houses – Edinburgh

Positioned at the gates of Edinburgh’s vibrant West End, The Dunstane Houses are a pair of handsome Victorian villas that have been transformed into a single, stylish family-run boutique hotel. Infused with the spirit and romance of Orkney, where the owners’ roots lie, the interior blends the elegance of the Scottish capital’s Old Town with vintage touches, contemporary flair and well-chosen art. The 35 bedrooms, spread between Dunstane House and Hampton House, are all different. And at the heart of this unique bolthole the elegantly laid-back Ba’ Bar provides all-day dining from a seasonally changing modern Scottish menu.

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+44 (0)1313 376169 / thedunstane.com

The Machrie

The Machrie – Isle of Islay, Argyll

What a spectacular setting, right by the dunes on the Isle of Islay. The Machrie was given a top-to-toe refresh three years ago and now has 47 clean-lined contemporary rooms, suites and lodges. There’s a newly renovated championship golf course designed by former European Ryder Cup vice captain D J Russell, e-bikes for exploring and scenic coastal pathways on the doorstep that lead to secluded beaches or the hills. The hotel can also arrange fishing trips and guided sea kayaking to spot seals, puffins and other wildlife. When it comes to downtime, there are three lovely lounges to relax in, plus the PureGray spa.

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+44 (0)1496 302310 / campbellgrayhotels.com

Kinloch Lodge

Kinloch Lodge – Isle of Skye

Skye is one of the most spectacular places on earth and Kinloch sits in one of its most beautiful parts, the shores of Loch na Dal. Fittingly, given its history as a hunting lodge, it offers the services of its own ghillie, Mitchell Partridge, for stalking, fishing, foraging and wilderness walks – he’s very knowledgeable and known for providing great ‘craic’. Foodies flock here. Hardly surprising, since it belongs to cookery writer Lady Claire Macdonald and her husband, Lord Godfrey. Although no longer living here, their reputation for the best Highland hospitality continues with their charming daughter, Isabella, at the helm and inspirational head chef, Jordan Webb in the kitchen.

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+44 (0)1471 833333 / kinloch-lodge.co.uk

The Balmoral

The Balmoral – Edinburgh

The Balmoral is Sir Rocco Forte’s beloved five-star property at the heart of Edinburgh, originally built in 1902 in impressive Scottish baronial style as a landmark for Waverley station. One of the world’s great railway hotels, The Balmoral’s clock is cleverly set three minutes fast to ensure guests never miss their trains. Exuding a timeless elegance, the bedrooms have been transformed by Olga Polizzi, deputy chairman and director of design for Forte Hotels. Highlights include the large signature suites: the Scone & Crombie and the Glamis. With up to three bedrooms and spacious living rooms, they make the ultimate Edinburgh base for couples and families.

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+44 (0)1315 562414roccofortehotels.com

The Three Chimneys

The Three Chimneys – Colbost, Isle of Skye

Clued-up foodies have been flocking to this renowned three AA Rosette restaurant with rooms on the shores of Loch Dunvegan for more than 35 years, attracted by its ethos of showcasing Scotland’s bountiful natural larder. Though it’s now part of Gordon Campbell Gray’s Wee Hotel Company (alongside The Pierhouse), nothing has really changed on the food front, with virtually all ingredients sourced from within a few miles, as well as the wider Scottish Highlands. Next door, the House Over-By has six calming, beautiful rooms to choose from, all with luxury pampering products in the bathrooms. It really is the ideal place to stay after a truly unforgettable dinner.

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+44 (0)1470 511258threechimneys.co.uk

Fife Arms

The Fife Arms – Braemar, Aberdeenshire

If you think that Scottish hotels – especially ones close to the Queen’s beloved Balmoral Castle – are set in their ways, then get ready to have your preconceptions turned inside out, upside down and round and round in a whirl. The Fife Arms, in the heart of Braemar, is Instagram gold. Its interiors by Russell Sage recall the busy, eclectic taste of the Victorian era, with the richest of wallpapers, brocades, velvets, taxidermy and grandfather clocks – full of interest and yet never fusty. The art, courtesy of its owners, international gallerists Iwan and Manuela Wirth, is simply amazing: a Picasso dominates the tartan-walled drawing room; there’s a Lucien Freud, a Louise Bourgeois spider, an extraordinary ceiling by Zhang Enli and a flying stag with swan’s wings in the bar.

BOOK

+44 (0)1339 720200 / thefifearms.com

 

Featured image: The Balmoral