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Zoe Kirkbride January 26 2022

The Scottish Highlands is a vast region full of spectacular landscapes, fascinating historic sites, and abundant wildlife. A popular tourist destination since Victorian times, you’ll find no shortage of luxurious and unique places to stay.

Placed on the banks of idyllic lochs or hidden amongst lush forests, many hotels are complemented by the natural beauty of the landscapes which surround them.

From the wave of distinctive Scots Baronial architecture that swept the country in the 19th century to more contemporary, minimalist designs, there is a place for everyone to escape to.

 

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Absolute Escapes have specialised in self-drive holidays in Scotland since 2004 and we know that an incredible place to stay makes all the difference to your holiday. All of the accommodation we select for our clients is hand-picked using our first-hand knowledge of the best places to stay.

Read on for our picks of 10 outstanding places to stay in the Scottish Highlands.

 

Inverlochy Castle, Fort William

Set in the foothills of Scotland’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, Inverlochy Castle is a prime example of 19th-century Baronial architecture. With turrets and towers, this is a place fit for royalty. In fact, Queen Victoria spent a week at Inverlochy Castle in 1873 during a trip to Scotland and is claimed to have said “I never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot”.  What a royal endorsement!

Experience modern British cuisine with French influence in one of three charming dining rooms in the hotel. The kitchen is run by renowned chef Michel Roux Jr, who uses quality local produce to create his signature dishes.

 

Gleneagles, Perthshire

Famous for its golfing history, Gleneagles also offers many other activities within its 850 acres of land, such as fishing, shooting, off-road driving, and woodland walks.

Having opened in 1924, Gleneagles is a little more modern than many of Scotland’s other luxury retreats but is certainly no less lavish. Muted colours and expensive furnishings create a sophisticated, calm atmosphere, without any over-the-top opulence.

 

Summer Isles Hotel, Achiltibuie

The Summer Isles Hotel is a quaint alternative to the grand castle hotels. Located close to the popular North Coast 500 and surrounded by the rugged landscapes of Ross-shire, the whitewashed hotel was originally built as a fishing inn in the 1800s and it certainly retains its original character.

There is a rich history of crofting and fishing in the area, which was also greatly impacted by the notorious Highland Clearances in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Today, the setting is much more peaceful, with beautiful views across Badentarbet Bay to the Summer Isles archipelago. Its remote location has attracted famous guests such as Sir Ian McKellen, Richard Wilson, and Charlie Chaplin!

 

Cameron House, Loch Lomond

Cameron House is a baronial mansion set right on the breathtaking shores of Loch Lomond and is easily accessible from Glasgow.

In addition to traditional bedrooms furnished with fine Scottish textiles, Cameron House also offers luxury lochside lodges and apartments. Enjoy a round of golf with a spectacular view across the loch – Cameron Golf Club is located right on its banks.

 

Forss House Hotel, Caithness

Situated in the far north of Scotland amongst 20 acres of woodland, Forss House Hotel is an ideal place to stay on the way to Orkney and Shetland. The family-owned hotel maintains many features of the traditional hunting lodge, effortlessly combined with more modern touches.

Spend the evening sampling local produce in the 2 AA Rosette restaurant, or relaxing in the malt whisky bar.

 

Monachyle Mhor, near Balquhidder

Offering an eclectic range of spaces, Monachyle Mhor is a truly unique place to stay. In the original farmhouse, there are more traditional rooms with cosy furnishings.

If you seek something more modern and quirky, there is the Ferry Cabin which was converted from the old waiting room for the Lismore ferry terminal in Port Appin! The adjoining Bothy is a minimalistic space complete with wood-burning stove and dining area.

Perhaps the most impressive feat of architecture here is ‘In the Trees’, which, complete with floor to ceiling windows and loch-views, could only be described as a luxurious nest hidden in the trees.

 

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The Torridon, Wester Ross

The Torridon is nothing short of idyllic. The 19th-century hunting lodge sits amongst 58 acres of parkland on the shores of Upper Loch Torridon and is surrounded by dramatic mountains.

It was converted into a hotel in the 1960s, but maintains many of its original Victorian features, and is a great location for kicking back after a day of exploring the truly wild surroundings.

 

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Isle of Eriska, near Oban

It doesn’t get much more exclusive than a private island! The Isle of Eriska Hotel & Spa is another fine example of the Scottish Baronial architecture style that boomed in the 19th century. There is plenty to do to keep you busy on the unspoilt island – from exploring lush woodland, strolling along the beach, or playing a round of golf.

The restaurant boasts a Michelin star, offering one of the finest dining experiences in Scotland.

 

Glencoe House, Glencoe

Glencoe House is a spectacular mansion house located close to the iconic Glencoe valley. The house was built by architect Sir Robert Rowan Anderson who is famous for working on Balmoral Castle. With a woodland garden, tranquil lily ponds, and easy access to Glencoe Lochan just minutes away, Glencoe House is a truly serene retreat.

Visit nearby Castle Stalker and Inveraray Castle to get an insight into the past, or for a more active experience, join a wildlife tour by boat or Land Rover.

 

Boath House, Nairn

Last but certainly not least, Boath House sits in a postcard-pretty Regency house on Scotland’s picturesque Moray coast. The house features an interesting mix of contemporary and traditional features, with a strong emphasis on ‘feeling at home’.

With a wildflower meadow, woodland, a walled garden and glasshouses, it really is an escape to the countryside.

 

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Escaping to one of Scotland’s incredible hotels is a truly special way to enjoy the breathtaking scenery and landscapes which surround them, and you may even feel like royalty!

Zoe Kirkbride

P.S. Why not get a taste of luxury for yourself? Here at Absolute Escapes, we offer a variety of self-drive holidays which can be tailored to your interests. Enquire now and we can begin planning your dream escape to Scotland!

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