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