Mhor 84 Motel

Perthshire, Scotland, United Kingdom Book from £80

Laid-back boutique motel at the gateway to the Scottish highlands, offering great local food, terrific prices and heaps of atmosphere
Great news: Mhor is more. The clutch of foodie enterprises run under the Mhor name by the ever-energetic Tom and Dick Lewis and their wives Lisa and Mhairi, has a new sibling. Mhor 84 is a relaxed, small, no-frills roadside ‘motel’ (on the A84, hence the name) that serves as Balquhidder's boozer, walkers’ tea room, community hub and great food destination. 2 miles from the centre of the village, it's the antithesis of both anonymous roadside travel lodges and the hideaway luxury of Monachyle Mhor (the Lewis’s hotel at the end of the glen) - this is cheap-and-chic at its eclectic best.

The transformation of the tired tartan-carpeted Kings Head inn that’s stood here for 300 years has been so dramatic that locals are still reaching for their whiskies in disbelief. It was revamped in just 5 busy weeks on a shoestring budget but with the inimitable Lewis flair. White paint replaced coloured wallpapers producing a bright contemporary feel, while vintage china and deer antler chandeliers give a stylish touch and woodburners make it feel like home. Upstairs are 7 simple ensuite bedrooms, most with mountain views. Cyclists and walkers on the Rob Roy Way, business travellers and holidaymakers wanting a stop-off will all love it.

Highs

  • You're in the heart of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park - heaven for hiking, cycling, mountain climbing and fishing
  • Stylish in a relaxed shabby-chic way, and fantastic value
  • Tasty food: Tom and Mhairi both run other restaurants and really know about sourcing the best local ingredients
  • The atmosphere - everyone feels truly welcomed here and it would be hard to find friendlier staff
  • You can't get much more remote in the UK, yet it’s only an hour's drive from Glasgow and Edinburgh (and there's a large car park so no stress as you arrive)

Lows

  • The rooms are basic and some find their bare white walls and junkshop furniture too spartan, but they’re priced accordingly
  • Full pre-payment due on reservation
  • The white Venetian blinds in the bedrooms, while pretty, don’t keep out the light very well. In summer this could be a problem so pack an eyemask
  • Bathrooms are yet to be refurbed so are rather dated
  • Rooms are over the bar so you may hear chatter, plus live music at the weekends (and lorries hurtling along the A84), but hey, this is an inn, and the double glazing keeps out most of the road noise

Best time to go

Any time of year: in winter, huddle by the woodburners or around the bar (made of recycled bottle tops) and sample local whiskies or cask ales with the locals. Some stop off en route to the ski slopes of Glencoe. In summer enjoy the mountains and lochs, the views and the long days. In May, the Lewis family organize a Mhor Festival at Monachyle Mhor down the glen, which includes live music and a feast cooked by Scotland’s top chefs, and in June walkers and cyclists alike join in the Rob Roy Challenge on the Rob Roy Way. For autumn colours and quieter roads, September and October are the months.

Our top tips

Don't miss the shop next door, Sula, that specialises in soft furnishings and interiors made from Harris Tweed and other Scottish wools. Great for gifts.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Family
Foodie
Great Outdoors
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Motel
  • 7
  • Restaurant and bar open daily
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Pool Table
  • Board games
  • Bike hire
Room:

Rooms

Bare white walls and assorted furniture makes for a simple but stylish look in the 7 bedrooms. As much of the furniture is second-hand/antique, each room is different, but all are the same price. We particularly liked Room 3, pure white except for a yellow row of clothes hooks - the nearest you’ll get to a wardrobe here.

All rooms have chests of drawers to store your clothes, stylish cushions, a hairdryer, kettle and tea/coffee tray, free WiFi and flat-screen satellite TVs with DVD players. When it comes to frills, that’s about as good as it gets - but the tradeoff is the bargain price.

All bathrooms have both tub and shower, except for Rooms 3 and 4, which are shower only. When we visited they were yet to be refurbed, so look rather dated, but you do get a sliver of gorgeous lemony Sedburgh soap, plus shampoo and conditioner.

Room 2 is the Family Room - it has a large oak-backed double bed, plus 2 bunk beds. Room 1 is the quietest. Rooms 5 and 6 are dog friendly. Room 7 has a kingsize bed and great views.

Features include:

  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet

Eating

Food is a definite highlight here, as you’d expect with chefs Tom Lewis (who starred on BBC2’s Great British Menu) and Mhairi Taylor (from Glasgow’s Deli Zique and Café Zique) at the helm. The Mhor empire is scrupulous about sourcing locally and sustainably - much of the meat comes from the Monachyle estate, which has its own pigs, Aberdeen Angus cattle, sheep, hens and venison.

If you’re in for an active day, stock up with The Big Cooked Breakfast, including bacon from Mhor’s black pigs, which you see grazing on scrub across the road. We also loved the smoked salmon with scrambled egg served with toasted homemade sourdough.

Unlike the vast majority of hotels or pubs, food is available all day. Mid-morning, pep yourself up with cheese scones, flapjacks or luscious cakes from the Mhor Bakery in nearby Callander. For a light lunch, try the Big Piece Toasty, cut off an enormous ciabatta sandwich. Picnics are available, too. Mhor84 is also the new home for the Mhor Tearoom run by Lisa. Join walkers for an indulgent cream tea served on antique china, or one of her famous giant pink meringues.

Evening dishes are calibrated to appeal to all pockets and tastes. Starters include local delicacies like Kyle of Tongue oysters, Shetland mussels, langoustines or Highland Glen venison charcuterie. Main courses include burgers and steaks from Monachyle. Also popular are braises, like the slow-cooked lamb, which has already become legendary. We tried the cod with roasted carrots, braised shallots and spinach - extremely tasty as well as reasonably priced.

If you’re staying several nights or fancy something posher book into Monachyle Mhor, a 30-minute drive down Loch Voil. Or if you’re in fishy mood, head south to Callander for takeaway or sit-down fish and chips at Mhor Fish. If you’re Mhored out, head for The Cross Keys gastro-pub, half an hour’s drive away in Kippen.

Features include:

  • Afternoon tea and picnics
  • Bar
  • Children meals
  • Coffee tea making
  • Restaurant
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • You’re in the heart of the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park so if you’re a walker or climber this is heaven - there are 5 Munros (mountains over 3,000 feet) with departure points less than 15 minutes' drive away. Or you can walk part of the Rob Roy Way
  • Head to the church at Balquhidder (3km) and visit the grave of clan leader Rob Roy, immortalised in the 19th century by Sir Walter Scott’s historical novel
  • Hire a bike (the motel will advise) to follow the great track along Loch Voil, or to do a stretch of the Land’s End to John O’Groats route
  • Nip to the bustling town of Callander to visit the shops and the Rob Roy & Trossachs Visitors Centre, or to sample the other parts of the Mhor foodie empire (a bakery and a fishmonger/bar/restaurant)
  • Take in the Falls of Dochart in Killin at the western end of Loch Tay then use the village as a starting point for a walk or bike ride
  • Go fishing on one of the lochs. The motel will arrange boat, ghillie, permit and equipment if you ask in advance. If you’re lucky, trout, Arctic char and salmon may all be yours
  • Kids will love kayaking and other watersports at Lochearnhead centre
  • Forage for mushrooms with your own forager - ask staff to arrange (for a fee)
  • Visit the 13th-century Inchmahome monastery romantically situated on an island in the Lake of Menteith, south of Callander, and look out for ospreys

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • Mountain climbing
  • Mushroom foraging
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Pool table
  • Shopping / markets

Kids

This is a truly inclusive place so children are definitely welcome and will love the relaxed games room. Baby cots and camp beds can be provided and there is a Family Room.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Room 2 is the Family Room, with a kingsize bed and bunk beds. Rooms 1, 3, 5 and 6 have space for an extra bed or baby cot. Rooms 1, 2, 3, 6 and 7 can be twinned. Room 1 is a good choice all-round as it's at the back of the motel, so quieter, and has a bath

Baby equipment:

  • High chairs
  • Baby cots
  • Bottle warming

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

  • Kids' menu, and food served all day

Kids Activities on site:

  • Games room with a pool table, juke box, toys, table tennis, a Wii and board games
  • Family DVDs (all rooms have a DVD player)

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Biking
  • Fishing
  • Kayaking and watersports at the Lochearnhead centre
  • Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park

Families Should Know:

The motel is directly on a main road

Distances:

  • Shop: 3km (2 miles)
  • Hospital: 21km (13 miles)
  • Airport: 91km (59 miles, Edinburgh)
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

7/
Rooms
9/
Food
9/
Service
9/
Value
9/
Overall

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