Loch Ness Lodge

nr Inverness, Scotland, United Kingdom Book from £175

Decadent retreat whose 7 loch-side bedrooms are set within caber-tossing distance of Inverness
With dramatic views out across the water to a string of craggy mountains beyond, this feels like a remote and historic Highland retreat; yet it’s a brand new building and, unbelievably, Inverness is only 15 minutes’ drive away. All credit to Scott Sutherland and his sister Iona, who inherited the lochside land from their parents and have created an imposing yet secluded hideaway. A turret at one end of the long, grey-roofed building adds a touch of Baronial grandeur; clever landscaping hides the A82 from view; and a private underpass below the road gives secret access to the loch's shoreline.

Inside, the guest lounges and 7 bedrooms are a lesson in immaculate sophistication, with a mix of upmarket, contemporary furnishings, fresh flowers and family heirlooms. The feel is country-house-comfort rather than look-at-me showiness, and makes for a cosseting retreat after a day spent hiking in bracingly dreich Highland weather, or Nessie-spotting out on the loch.

Highs

  • Genuinely friendly, experienced staff who wouldn’t know snobbishness if it pinched them
  • Spectacular views of the loch from all bedrooms and five of them directly overlook the water and hills behind
  • Owner Scott and his team pride themselves on their personalised concierge service - we put them to the test with some tricky requests and they came up trumps

Lows

  • Although you might think this turreted building is an old shooting lodge, it is in fact newly built so enthusiasts of period architecture won’t find that here
  • When we visited, there was little signage to the hotel, but the owners are working on this
  • As of May 2013 the hotel no longer offers any fine dining. Breakfast and afternoon teas are served, but no other meals are available

Best time to go

No-one comes to Scotland for the climate so there is no real must-visit season. The open fires and rib-sticking meals lend themselves to a cosy winter getaway, while access to wild Highland glens and long light days will appeal to outdoorsy types in summer (just watch out for midges in the peak of summer) and gold-flecked scenery in the autumn to leaf-peepers.

Our top tips

Pack for all eventualities, as the weather can turn from glorious sunshine to driving rain in a heartbeat. Bring your gladrags, too, as there's also an informal dress code for dinner; no jeans, shorts, t-shirts or trainers in the dining room.

Great for...

Honeymoon
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 7
  • Breakfast and afternoon tea
  • Over 12s welcome
  • Closed: 25 Nov 2015 - 27 Mar 2016
  • Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
Room:

Rooms

The hotel’s 7 bedrooms, named after lochs and glens, are all wonderfully opulent, with sumptuous fabrics, cosseting beds and mesmeric loch views. They are divided into 3 categories, with varying colour schemes. layouts and fragrances (yes, each room has its own plug-in aroma!).

The 2 Premium Plus rooms are set on the first floor. Affric is winningly romantic room, whose colour scheme blends cream and soft duck egg, and whose furniture includes some lovely period pieces that Scott and Iona have inherited. The main attractions of this room, however, are the the double ended jacuzzi bath and the turret - a sunny perch from which to survey the loch. The other room in the same price category, just down the landing, is golden hued Assynt, which swaps the turret – and therefore a little space - for a custom-built four-poster bed swathed in oyster silks and an elegant roll-top bath.

You don’t have to splash out on one of the Premium Plus rooms for a posh occasion, though. Next on the list are the Premium rooms, also on the first floor - scarlet-velveted Maree, golden Carron, and Coruisk, which is decorated in a slightly more masculine style than the other rooms, with bold purple fabrics and a subtle splash of patriotism in the shape of aubergine and gold tartan cushions.

Finally, there are the two Superior rooms - ground floor Orrin, with subtle olive green cushions and bedspread, and first floor Oykel, which is dusted with pale heathery shades. Both have (only slightly) less panoramic views of Loch Ness than the other rooms, but given that you enjoy unbroken views elsewhere in the hotel, the resulting dip in price makes these rooms a bargain.

Features include:

  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Toiletries
  • Tv
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

The lodge provides mammoth breakfasts each day, and they prioritise local suppliers when choosing their ingredients so you can rest assured that those eggs come from happy chickens. Hot choices include creamy porridge, a full Highland breakfast, scrambled egg with smoked salmon, smoked haddock with poached egg and homemade pancakes with caramelised banana and maple syrup. There’s also a cold buffet with freshly squeezed orange juice, fresh fruit platter, gourmet muesli and, best of all, a rich stewed fruit compote laced with jasmine syrup.

Later in the day, guests gravitate towards the lounge area for complimentary sweet treats at afternoon tea. We reckon a pot of English Breakfast with scones and fresh-baked cakes is the ideal way to unwind after a hike around the loch. If you’re after something more substantial, you’ll have to head out as no other meals are served on-site. Scott and his team are well versed in the local gastronomy scene and will happily make recommendations for eateries in and around Inverness.

Features include:

  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Join a boat trip on Loch Ness and stop off at historic Urquhart Castle to find out what makes Loch Ness unique – and why the region is currently making a bid for World Heritage status

  • If you prefer to get around on the water under your own steam, small groups can book a 2 hour kayaking trip on the loch

  • Keen fishermen or women can cast their lines for trout or salmon: this can be arranged through the Lodge and the closest fishing spot is about 30 mins away

  • Pack your walking boots to make the most of Glen Affric (30 mins), one of the most spectacular valleys in Scotland - and a National Nature Reserve. It's also a good spot for mountain biking: bring your own or hire one through the Lodge

  • Souvenir-hunters should head to the village of Beauly (20 mins), whose aptly named House of Beauly is packed with products from all the big Scottish names; or visit Moniack Castle (15 mins) instead, where the Fraser family produces an intriguing range of wines and preserves from local plants - the silver birch wine may only be for the brave but rowanberry jelly or dill sauce are tabletop classics

  • History buffs should make a beeline for Culloden (25 mins) - one of the most poignant sites in the UK and the scene of the last major battle on British soil – or the Castle of Mey in Caithness, the late Queen Mother’s Highlands home (2+ hours' drive)

  • Give Scott some warning and they will happily organise transport, tee times or even a PGA coach at one of several golf courses within an hour’s drive of the lodge - most famously Royal Dornoch and Nairn

  • Also on offer (subject to season and availability): deer stalking, archery, whisky tasting, quad biking, clay pigeon shooting, 4x4 off-road driving, husky sledding - just ask!

  • For something more relaxing, ask staff to book you a spa slot with one of the visiting therapists; treatments include aromatherapy, hot stone massage, Indian head massage, facials and manicures

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming
  • Wildlife

Kids

When hired as an exclusive use venue (Whole Lodge) children of all ages are welcome. There are no specific children’s facilities but special meals can be arranged on request. The sloping gardens, water features and proximity to road and water mean children should be carefully supervised.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

Extra Beds Available

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

10/
Rooms
10/
Food
10/
Service
10/
Value
10/
Overall

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