“Ultra romantic lochside hotel with a stunning restaurant and a touch of baroque and roll”
There are 16 double rooms (4 Master Bedrooms Loch View, 6 Master Bedrooms Garden View and 6 Double Bedrooms Garden View) in the main part of the hotel, with the additional Rose Cottage at the back and the Boatshed on the loch.
For the main hotel rooms, Bennie brought in a set and costume designer from the Scottish Opera to create a bit of drama, and he succeeded. They feature lavish gold or brocade curtains and bright walls in crimson, oxblood or lime green. The pick of the bunch are the 6 Master Loch Views, 2 of which have four poster beds. Ichrachan is our favourite, while Ben Lui stands out for its centrepiece bathtub; we also liked classically elegant Cruachan and fresh, blue Kilchurn.
Awe, one of the smaller Double Garden rooms, contains a Gothic princess-style bed once owned by Emma Bunton. Ben Neagh, a Master Garden View room, has an enormous pewter fireplace, while Orchy is a split level room with an entrance into the garden and is perfect for dog-owners. Bathrooms are a bit plain, with neutral colours and big tubs, plus Molton Brown shower products to add some zing.
The Boatshed is modern one-bedroomed suite, fresh and Scandinavian from the outside, vibrant 60s style on the inside. It comes with a funky sitting area, full-height windows to a lochside balcony, a raised double bedroom, and a dining corner. Best of all, it's right on the loch, away from the main hotel, with fantastic views and total seclusion: perfect for a romancing couple.
Rose Cottage is the best family option: self catering and self contained, it sleeps up to four people in one double and one twin room. You also get a cosy sitting room and a proper kitchen, with hob, microwave, dishwasher, fridge and washing machine. Some semi-underground rooms looking out on to the loch are also in the pipeline, so to speak.
Dinner is a lavish feast - 6 well-sized courses plus a pre-starter and a pre-dessert - and our first evening alone made the long trip worth it. Pumpkin soup, smoked trout with quail egg and caviar, wild mushroom ravioli, and duck with a delicious jus all tingled on our taste buds; ripe brie with walnut bread, coffee and petit fours rounded it off nicely. Such indulgence every night is not for everyone so, if you are staying several nights, you might want to steel yourself for a 45-minute drive into Oban for a lighter meal.
The day starts with glorious light over Loch Awe, and a choice of classic Scottish or continental breakfast in the dining room. Sandwiches, soup and other bar snacks are available in the bar from 12pm to 2pm, and afternoon tea is served after that. We particularly enjoyed the full tea: smoked salmon and ham and cheese sandwiches with the crusts cut off, followed by teacakes, fruit cake and shortbread, plus a pot of tea. This might be an alternative to dinner one day, if you are feeling the pinch...
It's not an ideal family retreat because the emphasis is on the food and on romance, but if you're keen to come up here with kids, then ask and you'll be accommodated. Children are allowed everywhere in the hotel and there is a play area outside, but they are not permitted in the dining room - a special high tea menu is supplied in the bar. For toddlers, baby sitting and baby monitors are available.
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available
Babysitting available by arrangement
Baby listening/monitors available on request
Baby cots available on request
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking