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Is your idea of a truly romantic weekend in Scotland snugly seductive or outrageously aidful? More ‘Sex in the City’ or ‘Monarch of the Glen’? Should there be candlelight, moonlight or city lights? View, saunas, or shopping? Happily there are places that offer all that and more – often in the same place. And then there’s the food, the cozy fires and all those cashmere opportunities… Here’s our pick of the most romantic hotels in Scotland, including the best places to stay for stunning views, remote locations, hot tubs, decor sumptuous, intimate restaurants and luxurious spas. , in locations including Edinburgh, the Isle of Skye and the Scottish Highlands. Don’t blame us if you come home and find that you left your heart in the Gaeltacht.
Imagine godmother chic – old money but addicted after the war Dior. If she were to design a hotel it would look like this: part country house; stylish swank part. With a dramatic restaurant, state-of-the-art gym, wellness treatments and an exclusive rooftop bar, it doesn’t get much more glamorous than this. The beautiful bedrooms are all soft pastels and deep velvets, with classic reproduction furniture, voluptuous curtains, polished wooden floors and oriental rugs. The crème de la crème overlooks St. Andrew’s Square, but you may want to avoid it if the trams bother you slowly at night and early in the morning. Happily, however, even the smallest ‘Nook’ rooms are in the same style, with king-size beds and sumptuous bathrooms.
• The best hotels in Scotland
The enjoyment of the details at the Highlands hotel is wonderfully romantic, sublimely comfortable and fascinating. It is right in the center of Braemar, a charming village famous for the Royal Highland Games and full of old fashioned appeal with pretty stone houses, tea rooms and even a purser’s shop. There is plenty of outdoor recreation available and there is a spa. For dinner and drinks, choose between the jolly bar serving good pub grub, traditional country house style in the Clunie Dining Room or Art Deco glam in the Elsa Bar. Even if your budget doesn’t stretch to one of the suite-style rooms, all the bedrooms have a theme and are just as characterful.
• The most romantic hotels in Edinburgh
• The best castle hotels in Scotland
Queen Victoria said she had never seen ‘a more beautiful or romantic place’ than Inverloch Castle in 1873, and it is as impressive as ever, situated at the foot of Ben Nevis, under the canopy of the Ardcatrach. Dinner starts with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a light five-course menu with a great Gaelic flavour. Try the matched wines – the sommelier is dedicated to his calling. Moving with the times, it means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and TVs, and the country house style is unabashed – all swag, gilding, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an overall sense of suspended time.
• The best cities and places to visit in Scotland
One of Scotland’s most romantic hotels, Prestonfield House is a quiet, country-house setting with an unashamedly charming and lavish interior (think endless brogues and silks, oil paintings and ormolu). There are a few parlors for drinks and bites, but consider the restaurant The Rhubarb, which looks like it should have roués and sirens in silk and feathers, for a feast for the senses. You’ll be so taken with the decor you’ll hardly notice the food on your plate – Scottish delights like grouse with brambles or North Berwick lobster and there’s an 800-bottle wine list.
• The best hotels in the Scottish Highlands
After winding your way through the small roads of the western Highlands, it is wonderful to reach Torbury. One of Scotland’s most romantic lodges, it looks like it’s been plucked straight out of the late 19th century, with a long line of cows and the sweet smell of pine all around. Originally built in 1887 as Ben Damph House by William King-Noel, the first Earl of Lovelace who married the famous scientist Ada Lovelace, it has various nods to the reigning monarch of the time, Queen Victoria. Many original features remain but are brought into this century with elegant but simple decor and an abundance of armchairs and cozy sofas.
• The most romantic hotels in the UK
For romantic getaways in Scotland with captivating locations, this 19th century mansion tops the charts with a private island setting amidst the glorious scenery of West Galway. An acclaimed restaurant, an award-winning spa and a multitude of activities are spread over 350 acres of land. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege are throughout the drawing rooms filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the prestigious granite and red sandstone Great House. The spacious rooms in the main building are soft neutral colors and exude the comfort and style of Country Life. There are three more contemporary spa rooms, with outdoor hot tubs in private gardens.
• The best lakeside hotels in Scotland
This charming little hotel, parts of which date back to the 17th century, offers stylish accommodation and excellent local seafood from its immaculate location on a tiny peninsula overlooking Loch Glendale. Located in Assaint, a beautiful remote region of the Scottish Highlands, it is perfect for those who love hiking, wild swimming and birdwatching. Panoramic windows in the bar and restaurant celebrate the sweeping loch views, while well-kept fixtures and fittings (think bare wooden beams, copper pendant lighting, a minimalist stove) are understated.
• The best country house hotels in Britain
This 19th century country house set in perfect seclusion overlooking Loch Ove is the perfect spot for a romantic getaway. At once it is lavish, ornate and utterly camp. The owner – Bennie Gray, an antiques dealer from London – has provided the place with unique pieces from his collection; as well as the usual, there is a capacious chaise longue, an inlaid wooden piano and two golden thrones worthy of the Beckhams. The eccentricity continues downstairs into the bedrooms, where vibrant walls provide a backdrop for unusual, hand-picked antique furniture.
Contributions from Gavin Bell, Cal Flynn, Robin Mckelvie & Penny Walker