Cold com­fort

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Front Page -

From Page 5 Crom­lix House Ho­tel, Scot­land: A first glimpse of this Vic­to­rian pile, set at the heart of an 800ha Scot­tish es­tate, 10 min­utes from Stir­ling (or 45 min­utes from down­town Glasgow), brings to mind (mi­nus a tur­ret or two) the wellloved tele­vi­sion se­ries

For­tu­nately, Crom­lix’s friendly staff are far less ec­cen­tric than those to be found at the fic­tional Glen­bogle, the rooms con­sid­er­ably warmer and the food de­li­cious.

With six bed­rooms and eight enor­mous suites, Crom­lix is more pri­vate home than ho­tel. Decor is tra­di­tional but cosy (with plenty of chintz and tar­tan) and the pub­lic rooms, warmed by log fires and dot­ted with comfy so­fas, are the per­fect place to while away a chilly win­ter’s af­ter­noon en­joy­ing a wee dram or the kilo­joule-laden charms of a tra­di­tional af­ter­noon tea.

As food is a fea­ture at this pop­u­lar coun­try-house ho­tel, some guests find it nec­es­sary to brave the great out­doors to build an ap­petite wor­thy of the de­li­cious many-course din­ners.

A spot of clay pi­geon shoot­ing or fish­ing with your own ghillie as guide fits the bill nicely. For your cor­re­spon­dent, how­ever, there’s ex­er­cise enough to be had read­ing by the fire while or­der­ing an­other round of scones. More: www.crom­lix­house.com. Chris­tine McCabe Le Mas de Carassins, St Remy-deProvence, France: Even when most of Europe shiv­ers in chilly Novem­ber, it’s warm enough to sleep with the door of my room thrown open to the ter­race. I wake to the smell of laven­der and thyme, the essence of Provence.

When I stretch back my arms, they brush against a rough stone wall, a hint of the rus­tic past of this south­ern French farm­house, which is where the Mas part of the name orig­i­nates.

Nes­tled into the foot of the Alpilles in one of the most gor­geous parts of Provence, Le Mas de Carassins has been trans­formed by its ge­nial own­ers, Michel Dimeux and Pierre Ti­cot, into a cosy en­clave with a gar­den that thaws the win­ter heart.

There are splash­ing foun­tains, flam­ing ole­an­ders and fur­nish­ings with twirly legs and yel­low um­brel­las set among cen­tury-old olive trees. There’s enough in the sur­rounds to keep you on your toes for a week.

St Remy-de-Provence, one of the glo­ries of south­ern France and home to Vin­cent van Gogh for a year of his mad­ge­nius phase, is a 15-minute walk away. Rem­nants of the Ro­man city of Glanum are scat­tered about nearby and the horse mead­ows and flamingo marshes of the Car­mar­gue, the laven­der fields of the Luberon and the cities of Nimes, Aix and Avi­gnon form a star around it. More: www.mas­descarassins.com. Michael Ge­bicki

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