“Relaxed, family-run gourmet bolthole, with lashings of style at the gateway to the Scottish Highlands”
The 14 rooms inside the old stone farmhouse and its outbuildings have been gradually decorated over the years, making for an eclectic mix of styles, from unfussy classic to spoil-yourself-rotten luxurious. House Rooms tend to be more traditional and smaller, but have the best views over the loch. Courtyard Rooms are conversions of the horseshoe of outbuildings, and tend to be larger and lighter, with a distinct designer feel; the stupendous bathrooms are as good as they get.
Melanie, whose modern artworks you’ll see throughout the hotel, and Comrie-based interior designer Fiona Denholm have come up with some contemporary design ideas that make for plenty of pleasant surprises. Don't be surprised to find deer antlers and cobbler’s lasts in your bathroom, and windows between bedrooms and bathrooms. Ample use is made of natural materials, like wood, slate and linens, and designer furnishings sit alongside locally-foraged antiques. Everywhere you notice the attention to detail, from homemade biscuits, fresh milk and filter coffee, to L’Occitane toiletries. You even get a choice between feather or synthetic pillows. If you’re after unashamed luxury, go for one of the Feature Rooms: 2 have their own personal steam rooms - ideal for unwinding after a yomp on the fells - as well as a TV/DVD for rainier days, which you can watch from the sofa in front of your own wood-burning stove.
The only drawbacks are that some double beds are single mattresses zipped together; and we have heard that bedrooms can be chilly on arrival (though ours was toasty).
Let’s face it, the food is one of the reasons for coming, and given the quality of Tom’s award-winning cuisine you’re unlikely to want to dine anywhere else during your stay. In fact, this is so often the case that dinner, bed and breakfast rates are also offered.
Tom produces meals that are stylishly presented and, above all, have heaps of flavour. His secret is the quality of his produce: as a farmer as well as a chef, Tom is unstinting in his search for the very best ingredients. Where possible, meat comes from the farm, and in the case of venison and pigeon, is locally shot. (What cannot be used in the restaurant goes into the pies sold at the Lewis’ Mhor Bread bakery in Callander). Fresh fish comes from Scrabster every day and Tom is adamant it must be sustainable. Vegetables, some grown on the hotel’s own veg plot, are whatever is in season.
For breakfast, enjoy a hearty cooked breakfast of Scottish smoked haddock, kippers or Cumberland sausages, with eggs from the farm. Lighter options are available for those who can’t manage the works at this time of day.
Lunch and dinner offer the best of what’s in the garden or the market. You’d be daft not to try the Orkney scallops (hand-dived of course) and oysters, and the farm’s lamb, pork and beef are superb. Unlike many other top-notch restaurants Tom takes vegetarians seriously and the veggie options easily rival the dishes on the main menu for flavour. There’s a serious wine list too, carefully researched by Melanie who travels worldwide in search of the best suppliers. Water is from the hotel’s own spring. Choose to sit in the stylish light conservatory (great in summer for enjoying views of the loch while you dine) or the cosy panelled inner sanctum, ideal on cold winter evenings. Both are hung with Melanie’s paintings and family photographs.
If you fancy eating out, there are plenty of good options in Callander, 17 miles southeast. Top choice would be Mhor Fish, the Lewis’ new fish restaurant-cum-chip shop, where you can select your fish from the fish counter and get it cooked in the manner of your choice. Alternatives include Meadows and Poppies in Callander, or The Barley Bree restaurant with rooms in Muthill. At lunchtime, grab fish and chips at Mhor Fish, or a homebaked pie at Mhor Bread, the Lewis’ bakery along the street.
Couples with babies, or with well behaved older children, are welcome, including in the restaurant; in-betweens would probably not feel so comfortable here.
Babies (0-1 years), Teens (over 12)
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available, Family Rooms
Babysitting available by arrangement
Baby cots available on request
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking