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Scottish Highlands Hotels

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Airds Hotel
Port Appin , Argyll
Scotland PA38 4DF
Tel: 44 1631 730 236
airds@airds-hotel.com
www.airds-hotel.com

Airds started life as a coaching inn for travelers en route to the island of Lismore in the Inner Hebrides, and the view across Loch Linnhe to Lismore still draws visitors. Eating breakfast in the dining room while watching the clouds roll across the Morvern mountains in the distance is something of a treat. The 11 cosy rooms (six with loch view) comfortably straddle traditional tastes and contemporary fashion, with muted designer fabrics and abstract art on the walls. Two of the three suites have splash-proof TVs mounted over the baths and walk-in showers, but the overall design is aimed at easygoing elegance rather than sleek modernity. With its ornate fireplace, grandfather clock, and antique writing bureau, the larger of the two lounges is rather handsome, the smaller is a cozy room that's a perfect hideaway—providing you don't mind the stag's head above the fire watching. Under head chef Robert Macpherson, the hotel's kitchen makes the most of its seaside location with tapenade-crusted halibut fillets rubbing shoulders with other locally sourced, land-based ingredients, such as such as venison from the Kingairloch Estate. Airds is developing its gardens with a view to offering lawn games from the summer house. Dinner and breakfast are included in the price.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Ardanaiseig Hotel
Kilchrenan
Taynuilt , Argyll
Scotland PA35 1HE
Tel: 44 1866 833 333
info@ardanaiseig.com
www.ardanaiseig.com

Tucked away several miles down a single-track road and perched at the head of the appropriately named Loch Awe on the west coast, this rambling 18-bedroom hotel has "romantic hideaway" carved into its Victorian foundations. It is owned by an antique dealer, which makes for some idiosyncratic fixtures and fittings. While the Kilchurn room has a gothic four-poster, the Tromlee room boasts an antique hookah, and the palatial drawing room has two golden thrones, gilt-edged mirrors, and a magnificent Bechstein grand piano. Spicing up the country-house vibe are quirky touches such as the oil painting in the dining room that depicts Ringo Starr, Rod Stewart, and Mick Jagger. The food is less eccentric, with zucchini soup, cèpe risotto with summer truffles, and sea bass with potato scales and samphire typical dishes. There are seven master bedrooms with views to the loch; 11 more (including four doubles) overlook the extensive gardens. The woodland gardens are worth a stroll, and guests can hire boats to fish the loch or explore its islands.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Boath House
Auldern
Nairn
Scotland IV12 5TE
Tel: 44 1667 454 896
info@boath-house.com
www.boath-house.com

A restored Georgian mansion 16 miles from Inverness, with manicured lawns, mature woodlands, and its own trout lake, Boath House is the sort of place where Merchant Ivory might have filmed a Jane Austen adaptation. Each of the eight bedrooms is individually decorated; they vary from the sumptuous drapes and seductively rich colors of Room One and the traditional four-poster bed of Room Four, to the darker, contemporary style of the two courtyard suites. The suites have wet rooms, while Room Three's bathroom has two side-by-side stand-alone baths that are raised so their occupants can watch the swans on the lake. The comfortable drawing room and snug lounge are hung with works by contemporary Scottish artists, including Madonna fave JOLOMO. The artistry extends to the kitchen, which specializes in leisurely five-course dinners. The chefs plunder the kitchen garden for ingredients, such as chive flowers, which are flash-cooked in a tempura-style batter and then paired with juicy Shetland lamb. The grounds make for a pleasant stroll; keep an eye out for the beehives that produce the breakfast honey.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Culloden House
Culloden
Inverness
Scotland
Tel: 44 1463 790 461
info@cullodenhouse.co.uk
www.cullodenhouse.co.uk

Staff make you feel "like an old friend" at this vine-covered Georgian country house. "Gorgeous and polished" public areas have faux-marble pillars and high ceilings, but it's "not a stuffy place." Rooms have "the most comfortable beds" and often fireplaces. Adams Dining room turns out mash-ups of Scottish and Continental fare such as timbale of haggis, neeps (turnips), and tatties (potatoes). The bar dispenses 200 malt whiskies.

(28 rooms)

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Glenmorangie House
Cadboll
Tain , Ross-shire
Scotland IV20 1XP
Tel: 44 1862 871 671
relax@glenmorangie.co.uk
www.theglenmorangiehouse.com

This 17th-century property, 33 miles north of Inverness, aims to be a house where guests gather rather than a hotel where customers check in. Visitors dine communally, the rooms have no keys (unless you specifically ask), and the staff use guests' first names. You may not know your fellow guests at the start of the evening, but after mixing for drinks in the Morning Room, sharing five courses in the Dining Room, and sipping a whisky in front of the fire in the Buffalo Room, you will by the end of the night. The six rooms in the main house are individually decorated with antique furniture and a restrained tartan motif. With four windows overlooking the sea, the Morayshire is the best room in the house. If you're looking for more privacy, there are three cottages on the grounds, with well-appointed bathrooms balanced by small lounge rooms. Glenmorangie House is luxurious, but the emphasis is on the easygoing, sociable atmosphere rather than a surfeit of mod cons (the cottages are the only rooms with TVs). Dinner and breakfast are included in the price.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Inverlochy Castle Hotel
Torlundy
Fort William
Scotland PH33 6SN
Tel: 44 1397 702 177
info@inverlochy.co.uk
www.inverlochycastlehotel.com

A stay here is the closest most of us will get to living like a lord. Built in 1863 by the first Lord Abinger, Inverlochy has played host to all sorts of aristos, from Queen Elizabeth II to showbiz royalty such as Charlton Heston and Robert De Niro. The 17 rooms are classically decorated with antique furniture, botanical prints, and clan insignia, but also feature discreet modern touches such as the plasma screens disguised as mirrors. The three rooms of the King's suite have views of the loch, Ben Nevis, and the elegant gardens. The Great Hall has Venetian chandeliers, cherubs painted on the ceiling, and—this is the clincher—a secret door to the library. In the main dining room, one of three, it's a coin flip whether the best view is outside to the hotel's private loch or inside where magnificent carved sideboards are laden with silverware glinting in the candlelight. Head chef Philip Carnegie runs one of the more imaginative kitchens in the Highlands, where where home-smoked salmon is served with Mallaig oysters, caviar and apple foam.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Isle of Eriska Hotel, Spa and Island
Benderloch
Oban , Argyll
Scotland PA37 1SD
Tel: 44 1631 720 371
office@eriksa-hotel.co.uk
www.eriska-hotel.co.uk

Accessible only by bridge and boat, the 300-acre Isle of Eriska, just off the west coast, (not to be confused with Eriskay in the Outer Hebrides) offers plenty of secluded privacy without sacrificing creature comforts. Built in the Scottish baronial style (think turrets and stepped gables), the main house has 16 plush bedrooms as well as two cottages and five more spa suites with their own outdoor Jacuzzis. Rooms in the Big House are ample and feature period styling, while the spacious cottages and spa suites have contemporary decor. The public rooms are charmingly lived-in (who needs to go exploring when you can take afternoon tea by the log fire?). The kitchen can do hearty and traditional as well as contemporary. Think roast rib of prime Aberdeen Angus versus locally caught crab gâteau layered with guacamole and mango salsa. Indoor amusements include a gym, 56-foot swimming pool, and a deluxe spa center. Outdoor types can play the six-hole golf course designed by Howard Swan, hit the croquet lawn, or just explore the island. If you're having an evening drink at the hotel bar, keep an eye out for the local badgers who snuffle up to the patio after dark for a snack of bread and nuts. Room price includes breakfast and afternoon tea.

$400 or more
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Kinloch Lodge
Sleat
Isle of Skye
Scotland IV43 8QY
Tel: 44 1471 833 333
reservations@kinoloch-lodge.co.uk
www.kinloch-lodge.co.uk

Sitting pretty on the shores of the sea loch Na Dal, Kinloch Lodge is the Highland base of Godfrey, Lord Macdonald, high chief of Clan Donald, and portraits of assorted Macdonalds down the ages line the walls in this well-padded country home. The 14 spacious bedrooms are split equally between the North house and the more recently built South house. All but two of the rooms have views of the loch, and the heathery browns and peaty blacks of the countryside are reflected in the room decor. Along with the gentle smell of wood smoke, romance is in the air at Kinloch; while guests are at dinner, staff light candles in the bedrooms to add to the atmosphere. Claire Macdonald, wife of Godfrey, is a well-known food writer, and runs residential cookery courses. Back in the dining room, dishes such as sweet langoustines, local venison, and briny fresh fish are matched with a decent wine list. Family mementos, antique furniture, and log fires make the drawing rooms pleasant spots for an after-dinner drink. The price includes breakfast.

$200-$299
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Port Charlotte Hotel
Main Street
Port Charlotte
Isle of Islay , Argyll
Scotland PA48 7TU
Tel: 44 1496 850 360
info@portcharlottehotel.co.uk
www.portcharlottehotel.co.uk

This ten-bedroom hotel started life as three cottages built in 1829 along with the rest of cute Port Charlotte village on the island of Islay. The bedrooms are a bit tight, but what they lack in size they make up for in character. All but one have fantastic views on to Loch Indaal and many face east to catch the rising sun (ask for rooms one or three, which have a particularly panoramic outlook). The dining room, which also overlooks the sea loch, serves hearty seafood chowders, local fish, and generous slabs of Islay beef and lamb. The black-beamed bar—where live bands regularly play traditional music—has an excellent whisky selection, and malts from the nearby Bruichladdich Distillery take pride of place alongside the numerous distilleries featured here. The price includes breakfast.

$300-$399
Editor's Pick
Hotel Photo
Rocpool Reserve
14 Culduthel Road
Inverness
Scotland IV2 4AG
Tel: 44 1463 240089
info@rocopol.com
www.rocpool.com

Since opening in 2006, Rocpool Reserve has added some much-needed pizzazz to the Inverness hotel scene. The 11 rooms increase in size and gadgets (sorry, amenities) along with the rack rate. Rooms 5 and 10, for instance, have terraces and hot tubs. The decor is very flamboyant, with a dramatic red and white color scheme, marble floors, eye-catching sculptures, and towering flower displays. The hotel's Chez Roux restaurant serves up dishes such as Albert Roux's signature twice-baked floating souffléé made with both Gruyère and Mull Cheddar cheese.—Jonathan Trew

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.