inverlochy castle scotland

Offering panoramic views akin to those you find on the lid of a shortbread tin, it’s hard to beat a long weekend in the Scottish Highlands. Spend days filling your lungs with the freshest air as you get lost down wild walkways in untamed landscapes, before retreating to a sumptuous hotel room (usually twice the size of claustrophobic urban offerings) for a well-deserved dram. Whoever you’re escaping the city with, these are the best hotels in which to huddle up in The Highlands.

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Pool House

Poolewe Achnasheen, Wester Ross

Make a road trip of it and drive along the blissfully scenic North Coast 500 to this welcoming family home, which hugs the shoreline of Loch Ewe and backs onto hiking trails aimed at the intrepid rambler. Come rain or shine, Pool House offers you the chance to leisurely sip the “water of life”– the Gaelic translation for whisky – either nestled beside a roaring log fire in the library or with owner and whisky-enthusiast Peter in the billiard room. Waking up to sweeping vistas over the water’s edge will make brushing off the imposing whisky hangover easy and inspire you to set sail to the neighbouring Summer Isle for a hearty picnic.

Ackergill Tower

Ackergill, Wick

No less than 48 castles once guarded the Caithness coastline, and regal traditions are still very much a thing at Ackergill. After a heavenly night’s sleep in your hereditary tartan four-poster bed, awake to the sound of bagpipes before spending the day angling on the private loch or sauntering down seven miles of unspoilt beach. Make childhood dreams come true with a stay in Europe’s largest treehouse, equipped with grown-up luxuries like circular bath tubs, seven-foot beds and a twilight ceiling to catch the Northern Lights – sleeping bag and stove are definitely not a requirement here.

Inverlochy Castle Hotel

Torlundy, Fort William

Giving Inverlochy the royal seal of approval, Queen Victoria wrote in her diaries “I never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot” after spending a week here sketching and painting. Royal fans aside, the castle hotel boasts magnificent neighbours such as the falls at Glen Nevis, the monument at Glenfinnan and the mountains of Glencoe, not to mention its prime location at the bottom of Ben Nevis. Arrive at the idyllic spot in style with a Rolls Royce transfer from the airport, then spend a wholesome weekend fishing, golfing and white-water rafting.

Glencoe House

Glencoe

Set in 10 acres of private gardens at the mouth of Glencoe Glen, this castle was featured in films such as Braveheart and Harry Potter – and it won’t be long before you fall under its spell. Bell tower suites come complete with private walled gardens, hot tubs and alfresco dining options, with home-cooked meals straight off the Aga. Make like the castle’s former resident, Lord Strathcona, and take breakfast in the comfort of your private dining room. With endless views and every newspaper under the sun delivered straight to your door, it’s unlikely you’ll emerge before midday.

Torridon

Achnasheen, Wester Ross

Perched at the end of an glassy loch, you’re half expecting to see Rapunzel dangling her tresses from one of this castle’s rising turrets. The former shooting lodge has retained its original grandeur with its fairytale facade, but offers contemporary luxury thanks to up-to-date interiors. Waste no time and jump straight into one of the hotel’s kayaks to explore the mystical waters where you might even spot a dolphin. Come evening, let your own hair down and get stuck into a treasure trove of 365 whiskies, which will have you hitting the highland high notes in no time.

Isle of Eriska

Benderloch, Oban

Fairytales are filled wicked witches living in isolated cottages protected by spells, treacherous territory and perilous bridges. But cross this bridge to the enchanted Isle of Eriska and you’ll find a 19th-century baronial house perched on a private island, complete with a Michelin-starred restaurant (and 40-page wine list).

Eagle Brae

Eagle Brae, Struy

The result of eight years of hard work, the family-run Eagle Brae’s luxurious log cabins invite guests to reconnect with nature without leaving behind home comforts. The craftsmanship of the sustainably sourced, hand-built cabins is exceptional, with wood-burning stoves and high ceilings adding to their intrepid explorer charm. Terraces open up to endless views of babbling brooks, with water lilies lazily drifting across lakes set against a backdrop of sweeping hillsides. Put the wood-burning stoves to good use with the estate-produced wild venison burgers, lamb from four-horned sheep and pork from rare Berkshire pigs. For the culinary foragers, the estate’s chanterelle slope will provide endless fun(ghi).

Ardanaiseig

Kilchrenan, Taynuilt

This gothic manor house yields as many myths and legends as it does quirky art and eclectic antiques. Freestanding roll-top baths, elegantly carved four-poster beds and elaborate armchairs fill suites which offer enchanting views of either the loch or garden. Borrow wellies, umbrellas and raincoats from the hotel entrance then try your hand at fishing in Loch Awe, known for its prize-winning trout.

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