Ditch the stereotypes of deep-fried everything and tartan twee because Scotland has elevated its visitor offerings over recent years. A growing number of Michelin-starred restaurants leave foodies salivating, and Harris Tweed has become the go-to fabric for every upmarket establishment wanting to tastefully incorporate its Scottish heritage. Previously private castles and country estates have undergone a hospitality makeover, with a select few joining more recent offbeat accommodation additions in a prestigious portfolio of the most desirable places to stay. Scotland’s most luxurious hotels are as diverse as the scenery and every bit as majestic.
The best luxury hotels in Scotland are:
- Best for a bit of everything: Gleneagles, Booking.com
- Best for outdoor types: The Torridon, Expedia.com
- Best for aspiring princes and princesses: Glenapp Castle, Booking.com
- Best for romance: The Witchery by the Castle, Booking.com
- Best for a city escape: Cromlix, Booking.com
- Best for sightseeing: Fingal, Expedia.com
- Best for a boutique Highland escape: Fife Arms, Booking.com
- Best for a classic resort break: Old Course Hotel, Booking.com
- Best for a chic city break: Kimpton Blythswood Square, Booking.com
Despite being one of Scotland’s most exalted hotels – it boasts the country’s only two Michelin-starred restaurant, three championship golf courses, a bucket-list spa, and an envious menu of on-site pursuits – Gleneagles has no hint of pompousness. Guests come here for fun just as much as the fluffy bathrobes and it all feels quite homely, a bit like staying at your favourite aunt’s house (if your aunt happened to reside on a country estate). The bedrooms are elegantly comfortable while the public rooms are dripping in glamour from a bygone era. Nearby Perth is a bijou city alternative to Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Price: Doubles from £405
Neighbourhood: Wester Ross
Nestled at the edge of a west coast Highland sea loch, surrounded by brooding mountains, The Torridon takes centre stage in a scene straight off a shortbread tin. Once graced by the Victorian elite, the interior of the former hunting lodge retains an air of its aristocratic past while a stimulating palette of fabrics has been added in a 21st-century rebrand. Go for the setting, stay for their award-winning farm to fork restaurant experience followed by a wee dram of uisge beatha in the wood-clad whisky bar where there’s a malt for every day of the year.
Price: Doubles from £395
Glenapp Castle oozes fairy tale opulence, with hair-unfurling Rapunzel turrets and a sprawling penthouse apartment commanding a royal price. For a more budget-friendly ‘happily ever after’, book into one of the 17 guest suites kitted out with lavish period furnishings. Upgrade for sea views across to the volcanic dome of Ailsa Craig or book a boat trip for a close-up encounter. Spend your day swooshing around the rambling interior or foraging for ingredients in the garden on a perfume masterclass, one of several unique guest experiences available. Dine among fig trees in the Victorian glasshouse, where the menu celebrates homegrown produce.
Price: Doubles from £293
Neighbourhood: Edinburgh’s Old Town
Forget comparisons to Hogwarts, The Witchery is so overflowing with grown-up Gothic decadence it would make passing Harry Potter tour groups blush. Beyond a discreet opening, a short saunter from Edinburgh Castle, the hotel’s nine individually designed suites are theatrically amorous with an unashamed side of risqué. Rooms are cloaked in leather, velvet and silk with carefully curated antiques positioned around robust four-poster beds. It may all feel very medieval, but 21st-century travellers are well catered for with Amazon Echos, GHD straighteners and Nespresso machines. Feast by candlelight in the oak-panelled restaurant, a popular romantic rendezvous in its own right.
Price: Doubles from £595
When Sir Andy Murray bought a tired hotel near his hometown of Dunblane, he set his sights on transforming the Victorian mansion into accommodation worthy of gold. The fact it came with its own tennis court was a serendipitous bonus. After a glossy overhaul, Cromlix has achieved a 5-star rating and the court has been restyled in Wimbledon purple, much to the delight of tennis fans who can book a private lesson. Muted colours invoke a feeling of calmness in the 15 plush bedrooms and diners get front row seats in the open kitchen of the Chez Roux restaurant.
Price: Doubles from £250
Neighbourhood: Leith, Edinburgh
When you’re moored next to the former floating residence of the Queen, you can’t be seen to lower the neighbourhood. Taken over by the same trust that cares for neighbouring Royal Yacht Brittania, Fingal has undergone a glow-up worthy of a viral Tik Tok post. The former working lighthouse tender has moved up a class in retirement, acquiring 22 swanky cabins, a panoramic restaurant, and a ballroom that would make superyacht owners envious. Located in Edinburgh’s lively Leith district, the once seedy port is a blossoming hipster neighbourhood, while the city’s major attractions are just a short bus ride away.
Price: Doubles from £300
Best for a boutique Highland escape: Fife Arms
Neighbourhood: Royal Deeside
From the food to the 46 flamboyant bedrooms, local heritage is woven through the fabric of The Fife Arms and every wall flaunts a museum-worthy collection of art. Stay in a room reminiscent of a simple croft or sleep in a bed fit for a queen – Queen Victoria to be precise, a previous royal neighbour at Balmoral Castle. The surrounding elements of the Cairngorms National Park are transported indoors in a montage of natural materials, and for those keen to venture outdoors, the resident ghillie is on hand to guide you through the glorious Highland landscape.
Price: Doubles from £383
Bordering the world’s oldest golf course attracts some prestige, but The Old Course Hotel isn’t just for golf fanatics. The 175 luxury bedrooms are endowed with contemporary elegance and fine dining is the dish of the day at the 3 AA Rosettes restaurant. If swinging a club at a wee white ball isn’t your thing, bypass the fairway and head to the spa, the only Kohler Waters Spa outside the US, or swerve to the two miles of golden sand at West Beach. St Andrews, one of Scotland’s most historic and vibey towns, unfolds from the doorstep.
Price: Doubles from £306
Neighbourhood: Glasgow city centre
For Georgian glam in the heart of Glasgow, check in to Kimpton Blythswood Square for a city stay with serious style. Grand period windows illuminate the sophisticated, pared-down bedrooms, where original features take centre stage and marble bathrooms come as standard. Social butterflies can mingle with fellow guests during a hosted hour each evening, but if that all sounds too exhausting, the onsite spa is rated one of the best in the city. Culture vultures are spoiled for choice with the best of Glasgow’s attractions on the doorstep, although the hotel’s regular champagne cinema events might persuade you to stay in.
Price: Doubles from £156
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