The rugged coastline of Scotland’s far western highlands is easily accessible via Glasgow’s relatively nearby transport links. Yet with an archipelago of 23 inhabited islands each with its own unique culture, the region feels a world away from the city bustle. Argyll and Bute is a dream for walkers, wildlife spotters and seafood lovers alike. And there’s a wealth of fine accommodations to make your trip even more memorable. Sleep in a majestic country castle or beside the roaring Atlantic, stay in a ferry inn or indulge at a top spa when you book one of these top hotels.
The Isle of Eriska Hotel and Spa, Isle of Eriska, West Coast
There is something extremely romantic and magical about escaping to a private island for a holiday and the 300 acres of stunning land that is the Isle of Eriska certainly does not disappoint. This is the setting and the perfect backdrop for those guests choosing to stay at the Isle of Eriska Hotel and Spa. For over four decades the Buchanan-Smith Family worked hard on developing and nurturing this hotel which has flourished into a luxury destination offering guests peace, tranquillity, outdoor pursuits and much more – all with a touch of luxury. The hotel comprises of 34 bedrooms with 16 bedrooms in the main house, 5 spa suites located in the gardens with private hot tub, 2 garden cottages and 6 hilltop reserves along with a self-catering house option which is a short drive from the main hotel. Fine dining in the Hotel Restaurant or something more casual on The Deck can be enjoyed by residents and non-residents.
Found beside a canal, in a little fishing village where the sea meets Loch Fyne, it follows that this hotel would be the go-to place for seafood. Freshly caught shellfish is served at the relaxed Crinan Seafood Bar (don’t miss the huge local prawns and Colonsay oysters ). Guests can also eat in-house at its L’Assiette Michelin fine dining establishment, The Westward, Lock 16 Restaurant on the top floor and a cafe laden with home-baked goods. The hotel itself is family-run, with a total of 20 bedrooms – each themed on a Scottish artist, and all with ocean views. Any visiting artists have access to an onsite studio and there’s a magical secret garden at the rear.
Dating back to the mid-1800s, this castle overlooks the peaceful Sound of Mull. Its imposing exterior gives way to a cosier interior; glowing fires, wood panelling, country house decor, a complimentary array of whiskies and just five bedrooms. The incumbent owners (Tom and Marjorie Nelson) live in a private wing within the building. But they’re on hand to meet guests’ needs, including the supply of a hearty daily breakfast taken sociably, at a 16th-century trestle table. It’s a great choice for families seeking a more intimate stay, and pet pooches are most welcome to join too.
Your Argyll and Bute accommodation need not be traditional, as Portavadie ably demonstrates. It’s set in a chic marina on the edge of Loch Fyne. The contemporary family-owned hotel features a luxurious spa. Recently refurbed to the tune of £10 million, the wellbeing sanctuary is home to Scotland’s largest outdoor heated infinity pool, as well as a 16-metre indoor pool, gym and saunas/relaxation rooms with panoramic views. The entire building’s design is sleek and Scandi, with glass picture windows making the most of its scenic environs. 34 bedrooms display a subtle nod to the hotel’s nautical location.
Those couples seeking the classic romantic experience will adore the four-poster beds, lavish traditional furnishings, room service and award-winning three-course tasting menus at Ardanaiseig. Activities here focus on getting closer to nature with 240 acres of private grounds – bikes, wellies and fishing rods are all provided free for guests’ use and archery or clay pigeon shooting can be arranged. The house has a Grade II listing, retaining many original features and earned four stars from the AA Hotel guide.
Dating back to the 18th century, this former coaching inn has taken on a new lease of life as a fine dining waterfront hotel. Just 11 rooms ensure the boutique feel remains intimate and there’s plenty of homely touches, such as bikes, free newspapers, wellies and waterproofs for guests’ use. A croquet lawn at the front provides elegant recreational opportunities, while local excur. The hotel is dog friendly and has self-catering cottages within the grounds, for those preferring a more private retreat. Or if you’re planning a large get together why not hire out the whole place to yourselves?