Scotland beckons with medieval castles, world-famous whisky and golf. Equally alluring are the colorful traditions of bagpipes, tartans and tweeds. But the best-kept secret is in discovering Scotland’s tranquil beauty—from misty lochs and hidden glens to craggy coast and unspoiled beaches—thought to be crowded if anyone else is in sight. A bit of serenity, as well as all things Scottish, can be found at many idyllic retreats. We spotlight five unique hideaways where “muddy boots and wellies are welcome,” and golf is never far away.
Alladale Wilderness Reserve and Lodge In the heart of the Highlands, the exclusive-use lodge and cottages appeal to small groups or couples looking for an “off-the-grid” experience. A house chef features creative local cuisine, and activities include 4×4 outback excursions, clay pigeon shooting and stalking (hunting) overpopulated deer. The 23,000-acre reserve focuses on reforesting and restoring the land to a more ecological state.
Inver Lodge & Chez Roux On the wild northwest coast, Inver Lodge offers splendid sunset and moonrise views. An entrance marked “Anglers and Walkers” alludes to the area’s popularity for salmon and trout fishing and wilderness treks. Its award-winning restaurant, Chez Roux, features Scottish cuisine “with a French twist” by legendary chef Albert Roux.
Kinross House Estate You’ll live a bit of history in this stately Scottish mansion, built in 1685, on the banks of Loch Leven, not far from Edinburgh. Exquisitely restored as an exclusive-use property, the grand estate includes a spa, spectacular gardens and a private island with the ruins of the castle where Mary, Queen of Scots, was imprisoned in 1567.
Lews Castle The Gothic Revival–style castle on Isle of Lewis has been newly renovated into luxurious self-catering suites recently opened by Natural Retreats. Island attractions include a heritage museum at the castle, stunning beaches and the megalithic Callanish Stones. The adjacent Isle of Harris is the place to go for famous Harris Tweed, handwoven by islanders of the Outer Hebrides.
The Torridon Surrounded by dramatic mountains and a sea loch, this former hunting lodge offers activities from guided walks, biking and kayaking to watching the resident Highland cows. Field-to-fork cuisine from the kitchen garden is a highlight, as is Torridon whisky bar, boasting 365 malt whiskies and more than 100 gins. Don’t skip the breakfast porridge, served with fresh cream and a wee dram of sherry-cask Scotch.
The go-to source for visitor and lodging information, Luxury Scotland represents more than 30 of the finest accommodations, from golf and spa resorts to urban boutique hotels. Edinburgh’s new floating hotel, Fingal, a former lighthouse tender ship, joins the group in 2018. Distinguished partners include Little’s Chauffeur Drive and The Royal Yacht Britannia. luxuryscotland.co.uk