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Issue 47 - Festive frolics

Scotland Magazine Issue 47
October 2009


This article is 9 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Festive frolics

Scotland's hotels have had a very busy year, welcoming more guests than in 2007. So if you are thinking of a special festive break have a good look now about the ideas and offers available as the best deals will be snapped up early! www

Glasgow Blythswood Square Telephone 0141 248 8888 Brand new is Glasgow’s magnificent deluxe townhouse hotel, Blythswood Square, taking its name from the elegant, eponymous city square. Quality, style and, above all, friendly, dedicated service is assured. The 1823 building was formerly the historic home of the Royal Scottish Automobile Club, hence The Rally Bar. It offers 100 bedrooms plus a penthouse and a vast, ‘happening’ Salon with pillars and fireplaces, overlooking the square. Their website has many festive ideas for you.

Troon Lochgreen House Hotel Telephone 01292 313343 Awarm, bustling, elegant and yet homely big Ayrshire house overlooking the famously superb Royal Troon golf links, Lochgreen is a wonderful winter break destination. The hotel has open fires, fresh flowers, kind staff and larger than normal bedrooms. Fine dining is a hallmark of the Costley & Costley hotels group and the airy restaurant here, with rich wood paneling and three huge chandeliers, serves acclaimed cuisine in a gorgeous setting. Troon is a nice seaside town with some good boutique shops and a big beach.

Isle of Skye Duisdale House Hotel Telephone 01471 833202 Given a hugely popular new boutique look not long ago, Duisdale House combines the best of the traditional with the colour and uplifting mood of the contemporary. Still, though, there is a sense of place. And what a place! The Isle of Skye needs little introduction and it offers excellent hotels nowadays. This is one of our undoubted favourites, and with its elevated setting, praise-worthy staff and owners and sassy style it appeals to all ages successfully. New Year celebrations will see fireworks after a 4-course Highland banquet.

Edinburgh TheHoward Tel. +44 (0)131 557 3500 Edinburgh is one of Europe’s favourite festive destinations and you’ll not for a moment be stuck for something seasonal, exciting or entertaining.

But where to stay. The Howard is just perfect if you seek something truly classy, traditional, service-led and full of quality. It is discreet, it’s 5- star and is low on razzmatazz. Expect rich fabrics, oil paintings, beautiful bedrooms, kind attention (they offer butler service) and fine food morning and evening in the The Atholl dining room. The afternoon teas are famous, too.

Inverness Culloden House Tel. +44 (0)1463 790461 On the countryside fringe of the Highland capital and near the famous battlefield, which now has a bold new visitor centre, Culloden House is one of Scotland’s favourites and if you’re visiting from abroad then this is a real Scottish experience. The Palladian mansion house is grandly imposing but the attitude and service is award-winningly kind and will set you at ease. Traditional bedrooms and grandly beautiful public rooms await. The 3- star Hogmanay package offers pipers, harps and storytellers; good food and cheer.

Nairn Boath House Tel. +44 (0)1667 454896 Although closed over Christmas, this superb small manor hotel is open throughout winter and offers a New Year houseparty we highly recommend. Every aspect of the restored Regency period house set in 20 acres of lovely gardens is top-notch. The owners collect art, so enjoy the collection while appreciating their good taste in colours and design. Chef Charlie Lockley’s food is award-winning and unquestionably some of the best in Scotland. The north east has castles and distilleries to visit, mountains and skiing.

The Trossachs Lake of Menteith Hotel Tel. +44 (0)1877 385258 Our reigning Small Country Hotel of the Year 2009, this is a joyful and surprising lakeside hotel with its New England-style décor and uplifting sense of country style but without the stuffy bit.

The romantic setting on Scotland’s only ‘lake’ is quite perfect and the surrounding countryside is grand, inspiring writers like Sir Walter Scott. The hotel offers well-planned festive package breaks at reasonable rates. We love the big fire in the handsome bar, the airy, contemporary Waterfront Restaurant and the restyled rooms.

Perth Parklands Hotel Tel. +44 (0)1738 622451 Perth promotes itself as ‘the perfect centre’ and this riverside town is pretty close to being the centre of Scotland. It’s nicely decorated over the holiday period and offers great shopping – plus much to do on its doorstep, including superb scenery. The smart, well-run Parklands Hotel is a townhouse overlooking sweeping South Inch Park and offers the nicest accommodation in town. Renowned for very good food, winner in fact of Best Bistro Award 2009, you’ll find offers and ideas on their website.

Closed Christmas day.

Berwickshire The Wheatsheaf at Swinton Tel. +44 (0)1890 860257 We finish this issue’s recommendations with an utterly charming and very rural inn-type hotel, very much good food-led, in the beautiful Borders county of Berwickshire – famous for its well-maintained farmland and rugged coastline.

The Wheatsheaf is cosy and atmospheric in winter, perfect for a festive break or meal.

Bedroom choice is wide and some rooms are surprisingly spacious. A real fire glows in the sweet little bar; award-winning food including mouthwatering local specialities like fish and game are served.