Luxury hotels in Scotland – The Perfect Getaway
The spooling landscape of Scotland’s rocky cliff tops and heather-strewn moors inspired the bard Robert Burns to declare:
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove, The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.
It seems, to those less sentimental, a highfalutin claim, but once you’ve visited and have been taken in by the wild beauty of the place, the scepticism quickly fades away. And it’s not just the Highlands. Scotland’s bountiful landscape is astonishingly diverse, and the more you visit, the more you realise there is yet to see: the old Odyssean quandary. From the sky-reflecting lochs of Inverness to the conifer-rich greenery of Perthshire, the bustling nightlife of Glasgow to the old world charm of Edinburgh, there’s a Scotland for every taste and purpose. And wherever you are, you’ll want a decent base. Lucky for us travellers, there are as many Luxury hotels in Scotland as there are eccentricities to discover in its many hidden corners. There’s more than shortbread, tartan and bagpipes to Scotland (though if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to seek these out anyway), so wherever you decide to stay, make sure you stay in style.
Luxury can mean different things to different people, but the first thing you can’t help but look at is a hotel’s star rating. So, what does it actually mean? Here’s a quick breakdown. Hotels are rated according to five criteria. These are:
These criteria are monitored by VisitScotland, the country’s national tourism association, and updates on star ratings for hotels in Scotland can be found on the website of the Scottish Hotel Guide.
A luxury hotel will be four or five star rated, and will have scored ‘excellent’ or ‘national best’ in most or all categories. The best luxury hotels will offer that little bit extra: exciting outdoor activities (look for the ones that make the most of their settings – Scotland is ideal for outdoor pursuits), fully equipped spas, concierge service, Michelin starred restaurants, and so on. Keep an eye out for options to upgrade accommodation to Suites or penthouse apartments if you want to go just that little bit further in the luxury stakes. Look also for testimonials and traveller reviews for insight into what has worked, and what hasn’t, to get the best deal for you. After all, the travellers are the ones who’ve been there. With a good luxury hotel, you should pay for what’s advertised, and get that little bit more. And the real luxury? Peace of mind, leaving you free to go explore the wilds of Scotland, see the sights, meet the people, become immersed in the culture. That’s the real luxury.
Some of my favourite luxury hotels in Scotland:
- Gleneagles (Perthshire) Highlights: Michelin starred restaurant, activities including falconry and Gundog School, 3 championship golf courses, concierge service and award-winning spa.
- The Balmoral (Edinburgh) Highlights: Old-fashioned luxury, most rooms have views over Edinburgh castle , design by Olga Polizzi, family friendly.
- Blythswood Square (Glasgow) Highlights: Former Royal Scottish Automobile Club building in central location, serviced apartment available, fully equipped spa with treatment rooms.
- Loch Ness Lodge (Inverness) Highlights: Stunning location overlooking Loch Ness, intimate feel (7 rooms), activities include kayaking and Dragon Fly boat trips, onsite Escape Spa.