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Royal Reservations: The 10 Best Scottish Castle Hotels

Scotland is a land of castles galore. From charming old ruins to grand baronial houses, there is something magical in the architecture of these beautiful old structures that decorate the Scottish countryside. Whether you are a history aficionado or a fairytale-seeker, you will surely delight in castle-hopping across Scotland.

With autumn and winter fast approaching, why not experience the warmth and luxury of actually staying in a castle? After a day of soaking up history and braving the elements, relax by a cosy fire with a dram of whisky in hand in one of our top 10 Scottish castle stays ...

Dalhousie Castle Hotel, near Edinburgh

Escape Edinburgh’s picturesque (but crowded!) cobblestone streets with a relaxing stay at Scotland’s oldest inhabited castle. Dalhousie Castle is a 4-star hotel which stands in 11 acres of grounds on the outskirts of the Scottish capital. Featuring an enchanting arrangement of turrets, towers and crenellations, Dalhousie still retains some features from the original 13th century castle.

Explore the castle and its maze of staircases and secret passageways, before tucking in for the night in one of the individually-styled regal themed rooms. Or enjoy a dram in the splendid oak panelled library, lined with old books and secret, moving bookshelves. Pop downstairs to the Dungeon Restaurant for a decadent meal under ancient barrel-vaulted ceilings.

Dalhousie Castle Hotel, near Edinburgh

Fonab Castle Hotel & Spa, Pitlochry

Located in the pretty Victorian town of Pitlochry in the heart of Highland Perthshire sits the magnificent 5-star Fonab Castle Hotel. The setting is magical - situated on the banks of Loch Faskally where you can breathe the fresh Scots pine-soaked air as you enjoy views of Ben Vrackie in the distance.

Although certainly not as old as Dalhousie Castle, this late 19th-century mansion is nonetheless stunning, designed in Scots Baronial style and fully refurbished with every luxurious detail in mind.

Dining in the 3 AA Rosette Sandeman's Restaurant is an experience in itself; treat yourself to a seven-course tasting menu as you enjoy the tranquil views of the loch. To relax, visit the wonderful spa on-site with its 15-metre swimming pool, sauna, and aroma relaxation rooms.

Fonab Castle Hotel & Spa, Pitlochry

Dornoch Castle Hotel, Dornoch

Travelling further north to a small seaside town in Sutherland, you will find the ancient yet charming relic of Dornoch Castle, which dates back to the 15th century. Despite its age, Dornoch Castle has beautifully refurbished interiors making it an ideal Highland retreat to experience a taste of life in times gone by.

The hotel overlooks the 12th century Dornoch Cathedral and is decorated with period features. Its award-winning Garden Restaurant still retains some of the original 15th-century stonewalls and wooden floors. Moreover, the hotel hosts its own whisky bar with an impressive selection of malts, and even has its very own distillery! Dornoch Distillery is situated in the old 'Fire House' in the castle grounds and currently sells Thomson Brother's Organic Highland Gin, while we wait patiently for their local whisky to mature.

Dornoch Castle Hotel, Dornoch

Ackergill Tower Hotel, near Wick

Sitting on a 3,000 acre estate in one of the most spectacular locations on this list, lies the 15th-century Ackergill Tower Hotel. This luxury accommodation is located near Wick on the North Coast 500 driving route and offers spectacular views to the wild North Sea. The rooms are classically and sumptuously decorated, offering a warm and cosy refuge on a windy day.

For something a bit unique, there is also the lavish Treehouse Suite - a circular suite perched in the branches of a 150 year old Sycamore tree in the castle grounds. Whether you decide to stay in the castle itself or the grounds, everyone is welcome to warm up at the castle’s own pub, The Smugglers Inn.

Ackergill Tower Hotel, near Wick

Amhuinnsuidhe Castle Hotel, Isle of Harris

Escape to the Outer Hebrides and stay in the magical Amhuinnsuidhe Castle, set in an unspoilt location overlooking West Loch Tarbert and the Sound of Taransay. Designed in a Scots Baronial style in the mid-19th century as a hunting lodge, Amhuinnsuidhe was commissioned by the Earl of Dunmore, and rumour has it that the castle is now home to the ghost of Lady Sophie Scott who resided here in Edwardian times.

Don’t let myths, legends or its mouthful of a name deter you (pronounced "Avin-sooee") - the captivating and regally decorated interior is packed with antiques, as well as a fantastic collection of paintings by the Scottish artist William McTaggart. Dinner is offered in the elegant dining room at a banqueting-size table, where the freshest of local produce is served daily.

Amhuinnsuidhe Castle Hotel, Isle of Harris

Inverlochy Castle Hotel, near Fort William

If you're searching for true opulence then Inverlochy Castle will certainly attract. Set in the dramatic West Highlands, this 19th century baronial mansion is known as the crème de la crème of Scottish Country House accommodation, having been awarded a 5-star Gold Country House Hotel rating, as well as 3 AA rosettes. Legendary chefs Albert Roux and Michel Roux Jr will serve a meal to remember in a candle-lit setting packed with period furniture gifted by the King of Norway.

The lavishly decorated interiors throughout the hotel are packed with sumptuous silk and brocade, delicate crystal, and exotic frescoes. They're certainly fit for royalty, and Queen Victoria even spent a week here while vacationing in bonnie Scotland.

Nestling in the shadow of Ben Nevis, Scotland’s highest mountain, Inverlochy Castle is a short distance from the 'Outdoor Capital of Scotland', Fort William.

Inverlochy Castle Hotel, near Fort William

Barcaldine Castle, near Oban

For those who prefer a more casual and cosy setting in an old historic house, then Barcaldine Castle, just a little further south on Scotland's west coast, will hit the spot. This 4-star Gold Guest House is located within a 17th century tower of the original castle, built between 1572 and 1609 by Sir Duncan 'Black' Campbell — giving the castle its nickname 'the Black Castle'.

The comfortable accommodation is beautifully decorated in dark oak period furniture, tartan blankets, and some exposed original stonework. The rooms offer wonderful views over Loch Creran to the Appin Hills and atmospheric Glencoe in the distance. For those seeking an extra touch of luxury, the Breadalbane Room is the largest room and features a super-king size four-poster bed, originally commissioned by Andrew Carnegie for Skibo Castle in 1898.

Barcaldine Castle, near Oban

Glengorm Castle, Isle of Mull

Another exquisite and unique B&B style accommodation is Glengorm Castle, located in a lush headland surrounded by woodlands, lochs and hills. With panoramic views to the Outer Hebrides and the Small Isles, the castle was originally built in the mid-19th century in classic Scots baronial-style, and is packed with the traditional towers and turrets.

With only 5 rooms available in the main house, this intimate historic house is hosted by the Nelson family. A wood-panelled cosy library, with a selection of complimentary whiskies for guests, is the perfect space to relax after exploring the wildly stunning Isle of Mull.

Glengorm’s regal breakfasts are almost legendary, freshly served each morning in the elegant dining room with views over to the sea. A quirky cafe is also located on-site in what used to be the old stables and workshops.

Glengorm Castle, Isle of Mull

Stonefield Castle Hotel, near Tarbert

The idyllic setting of Stonefield Castle on the Kintyre Peninsula echoes Sir Paul McCartney’s famous melancholy song, Mull of Kintyre. Surrounded by 60 acres of woodland gardens and perched in a high spot overlooking the shores of Loch Fyne, Stonefield Castle is certainly a sight to take anyone's breath away.

This 19th century baronial mansion is located close to the picturesque fishing village of Tarbert and was once the traditional family home of Clan Campbell. The 32 rooms that today make up the 4-star hotel are individually and traditionally decorated, while the restaurant offers panoramic views across the loch from large feature windows.

Stonefield Castle

The Eisenhower Hotel at Culzean Castle, Ayrshire

This 18th century clifftop castle is located in tranquil Ayrshire on the west coast of Scotland. Considered to be Robert Adam’s greatest architectural masterpiece, Culzean Castle looks over to the beautiful Isle of Arran and is surrounded by 600 acres of lush gardens, rambling woodlands, and expansive beaches.

The Eisenhower Hotel itself is located on the top floors of the castle and was named after General Eisenhower, who visited the castle on several occasions. With only 6 individually decorated suites available, Culzean makes for an exclusive retreat. Fine dining is available at the recently opened Fo'c'sle Restaurant (originally the Servant’s Hall), which sits suspended on a rocky point with magical views towards the sea.

The Eisenhower Hotel at Culzean Castle, Ayrshire

Whether you are looking for a unique and quirky stay in a castle B&B or a grand and sophisticated night to remember in a luxury castle hotel, you will certainly experience the best of Scottish hospitality in one of these remarkable historic buildings.

Katia Fernandez Mayo
P.S. If you would like to stay in one of these incredible venues, check out Absolute Escapes' award-winning self-drive itineraries in Scotland. We offer a Castle To Castle tour for those wishing to take it all in while castle-hopping, and we’d be delighted to arrange a mix of accommodation for your ultimate Scottish escape.

 

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