10 of the best country house hotels in Scotland

By Bonnie Friend

Brimming with history, charm, style, country pursuits and of course food fit for lords and ladies, Scotland’s country house hotels are in a league of their own. Here, the Good Hotel Guide share ten of their top country house hotels in Scotland that are perfect for romantic breaks, special occasions and peaceful retreats…

Glenfinnan House Hotel, Fort William

Steeped in history, Glenfinnan House Hotel was originally built in 1755 for a veteran of the battle of Culloden in 1746. It was added to over the years to become a grand family seat, and became a hotel in 2002. Having retained as many original features as possible, today the stone mansion is a peaceful haven of luxury and tranquility. The grand property sits on the shores of Loch Shiel and looks out across views of Ben Nevis and the Glenfinnan Monument. It’s all brought together with superb food from award winning chef Duncan Gibson.

Forss House, Thurso

On the banks of the Forss River and surrounded by woodland, Forss House is a favourite destination amongst fishermen, and those enjoying country pursuits such as shooting, deer stalking and plenty of whiskey. The country house has a traditional style inside, which adds to the warmth of the welcome. Bedrooms have high ceilings and lovely views, and foot has a reputation for excellence.

Rufflets, St Andrews

Like a confectionary masterpiece, Rufflets is a white 1920s mansion surrounded by formal gardens, and still owned by the grandsons of the original proprietors. Everything here is beautifully done, from the home made shortbread in the rooms, to the four poster beds and readily supplied hot water bottles. Afternoon tea is a must when you’re here, especially if there’s good weather, and the day wouldn’t be complete without sampling one of more than 100 whiskies and 50 gins.

The Dunstane Houses, Edinburgh

Impeccably stylish and introducing quintessentially Scottish notes throughout but in a superbly contemporary way, The Dunstane Houses brings together two Victorian villas. Inside, rooms and suites enjoy luxurious details like copper baths and velvet chairs, while thoughtful touches include Noble Isle toiletries and heritage tweed soft furnishings from Orkney. The hotel is also just a short distance from the centre of Edinburgh, making it convenient but also offering a sense of escapism.

Kinloch House, Blairgowrie

A Victorian house in a peaceful valley, Kinloch House leaves no stone unturned when it comes to superb hospitality. Fresh flowers and a ready supply of chocolates in the room sit alongside the trademarks of a true country house hotel such as four poster beds, grand fireplaces and a good cup of tea on arrival. It is traditional through and through, right done to the wild salmon and home grown fruit and veg served at dinner. This is what it’s like to be a laird.

Glenapp Castle, Ballantrae

A grand 19th century that was once home to the Earl of Orkney, and today continues the sense of aristocratic grandeur. A long and carefully tended driveway leads you to Glenapp Castle, now a Relais & Chateau hotel, complete with turrets and towers. Croquet lawns, woodland and lakes, fireplaces, local seafood and home grown vegetables are the order of the day at this genteel and romantic hotel. It’s all topped off with views of the sea to Ailsa Craig, Arran and, on a clear day, Northern Ireland.

Cringletie House, Peebles

Warm and welcoming, dog friendly and with acres of woodland and gardens to roam in, Cringletie House is a luxurious castle close to Edinburgh, where guests delight in the beauty of it all. The baronial mansion is peppered with exceptional details such as a hand painted ceiling and feature staircase. Meanwhile, outside, the gardens are scattered with sculptures, making a stroll in the grounds an experience in its own right.

Boath House, Nairn

A grand exterior greets you when you arrive at Boath House, before entering a world of elegant new interiors that are sympathetically in tune with the Regency property. Award winning gardens surround the five star hotel, with 22 acres of carefully tended grounds including an ornamental lake, streams, parkland and walled gardens. Naturally, such an exceptional property would not be complete without a first class restaurant, and guests are not disappointed. With meadow views from large French windows, the restaurant serves ethically sourced produce as well as herbs, organic fruit and vegetables from their own kitchen gardens.

Ballathie House, Stanley

A fairytale four star retreat in the Scottish countryside, it’s little wonder that Ballathie House is a favourite for romantic mini breaks and weddings. Dog friendly, and surrounded by plenty of activities ranging from golf to clay pigeon shooting, the hotel sits in beautiful grounds on the River Tay. Dating back to 1880, it still has a sense of historic grandeur about it, so much so that it’s said the Queen Mother once partied here in the year before she married Albert, the Duke of York.

Killiecrankie Hotel, Pitlochry

An 1840s dower house, Killiecrankie Hotel is quintessentially Scottish with staff dressed in tartan, tartan swollen blankets in the rooms, a warm welcome and a comprehensive whiskey menu from the Scottish isles. In the winter you’re greeted by log fires, in the summer it’s fresh flowers throughout. The gardens offer a perpetual delight, whether it’s viewing the abundant rhododendrons from your window, or taking a stroll to enjoy the fresh air.

>> Visit the Good Hotel Guide to see more country house hotels in Scotland.