The Torridon, Scotland, UK

The Torridon, Scotland, UK

Framed by the rolling slopes and untamed landscape of the Scottish Highlands, this Victorian hotel in Wester Ross is a fairy-tale love nest where hiking, hearty fare and hot, hot baths are the order of the day.

what felt like a mini-Ben Nevis, I turned to look at
the sprawling, snowcapped peaks, mighty rolling hills, desolate
lemon-tinged landscapes and the vast Scottish loch behind me – my
millennial mouth whispered a “wow” in gleeful awe.

I’m in Torridon, not far from the small village of Achnasheen in
Wester Ross, climbing a very wet Munro. Beyond the muddied rocks on
which my basic yet fashionable Dr Martens stand, sit the great
remnants of regal Scottish Victoriana: The
. Buried in among the wild splendour of the Scottish
Highlands, this so-called “luxury hotel and inn” will be my very
British retreat for the night.

Set on the shores of Loch Torridon, surrounded by towering
slopes and ancient woodland, this remote lodge was once the country
home of William King-Noel, the first Earl of Lovelace and his wife,
the renowned scientist (and Lord Byron’s only legitimate daughter)
Ada Lovelace.

With hunky spires, Rapunzel-worthy towers and charming gardens,
The Torridon could easily be ripped from the pages of a fairy tale.
Throughout, you’ll find nods to Queen Victoria: there’s a baronial
entrance emblazoned with Latin dedications and a zodiac ceiling –
the Queen had a passion for all things astrology. Original
features, such as the painstakingly polished wooden panels and
creaky floors, retain just the right amount of the hotel’s
old-world charisma; the rest has been tastefully brought into the
21st century.

The estate has its own chickens, pigs and Highland cattle and,
although owners Dan and Rohaise choose not to shout about it, it
functions on genuinely sustainable lines. Woodchip and timber
biomass is used to power the entire resort, while rhododendron wood
keeps the fires roaring throughout the year. Minibars are stocked
with reusable glass water bottles filled with water from a borehole
on the estate and all in-room toiletries come in dispensers as
opposed to throwaway plastic bottles.

With all the comfortable eco-concious rooms, cosy snugs,
well-stocked bars, a posh restaurant and an overwhelming amount of
snuggly sofas, The Torridon is a poetically romantic love nest,
whose majesty competes with nearby natural landmarks.


There are just 18, all with their own unique design and quirk.
Though each retains many of the lodge’s original features, some
have embraced modernity (think: bold, purple velvets) more than
others, so it’s worth taking the time to select a room that suits
your taste before you check in. Roomy king-size or generous
super-king beds are part of the deal, along with larger-than-life
Victorian-style bathrooms stocked with toiletries from Cowshed. The
super-bougie Master suites are undeniably the hotel’s headliners.
The best of these lies opposite the period oak staircase, simply
known as “Room 3”. Regally inspired, it was in here that the
original laird (lord) slept. Vast and roomy, it’s the definition of
“a room with a view” with large bay windows overlooking the
absurdly beautiful mountains and loch, as well as comfy sofas and
chairs (prime reading territory) and a super-king bed crowned by
the most over-the-top headboard I’ve ever seen – super-high,
super-wide and with super-detailed etching. Aside from the stellar
views, mish-mash antiques and Tunnock teacakes hiding in the
minibar (I scoffed both as soon as I saw them), the bathroom is
another standout. After days spent hiking and walking, a dip in the
freestanding Victorian-style tub instantly cured my throbbing,
delicate city feet. If you’ve got the cash, it’s worth upgrading
for this sweet 20 minutes of hot, hot bliss alone.

What’s for breakfast?

Lots. A small cold buffet of cakes and pastries sit next to
granola and quintessentially Scottish porridge bowls, stacked next
to freshly squeezed juices and all the other continental suspects.
Cooked delicacies include a posh Scottish brekkie featuring

back bacon, black pudding, haggis and eggs benedict
layered with smoked salmon. Devour in hotel restaurant 1887 or in
your own room. The coffee is also very good.

What about lunch and dinner?

Lunch and afternoon tea take place in the lounge or at the
neighbouring Torridon Inn, and includes everything from hearty
sarnies to traditional pub fare. Dinner, however, is a destination
experience served up inside hotel restaurant 1887, which is headed
up by chef Paul Green. As the hotel runs a sustainable ship, the
table d’hôte menu changes according to all the micro seasons in the
Kitchen Garden and farm, the hills and in the loch. The bonus?
You’ll rarely eat the same thing twice. During my stay, knockout
beef tartare, cod and venison were delivered to my fanciful table
by swishy waiters and waitresses, clad in all their fineries. Gold
star to the chocolate mousse and rhubarb-laced desserts – both made
my eyes roll with pleasure. The culinary experience ends in the
bar, home to 365 different kinds of whisky of varying strengths. A
gin collection numbering 120 bottles is also on hand for “tasting”
into the early hours.


The Torridon was designed with the outdoors in mind and, over
the years, has built a reputation for its award-winning activities
centre. Making the most of the hotel’s wild surroundings, there are
tons of extracurriculars in which to dabble, from archery to Munro
bagging, clay-pigeon shooting, whisky tasting, stargazing,
kayaking, guided walks and gorge scrambling. Guests get dibs on one
experience per stay, all run by activities master Ben Sharp.

Things you should know

The hotel is located roughly 65 miles west of Inverness along
winding picturesque roads through the
. If you’re there for a few days, it’s best to rent a
car to see as much as you can. Hotel shuttle transfers are also
available on request. The Torridon’s WiFi is slow, and in many
places in and around the hotel, cellular connection is scarce.
Advice: embrace the digital detox. Service, meanwhile, is
impeccable. Staff are attentive, and importantly chatty and chummy
compared to the stuffy service you might experience at other, more
antiquated Scottish lodges.

Within a short walk you’ll find

The beauteous thing that is Loch Torridon and, beyond that,
wilderness. Pack a picnic and extra comfy walking boots.

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