The 11 coolest ho­tels

Ev­ery­one loves a touch of lux­ury and there are plenty of ho­tels around Scot­land that can of­fer you that ... and more. From ho­tels with great views to ones on a pri­vate is­land, from quirky to those with a slice of his­tory, here are 11 that will make your s

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Portree, Isle of Skye

BUILT in 1810 by Lord MacDon­ald of Sleat and once sur­rounded by orange trees – hence the ho­tel’s name – Mar­malade is a 10-minute walk from Portree har­bour and of­fers fine views over Portree Bay and to the Cuillins be­yond. But if the ex­te­rior is res­o­lutely Geor­gian, the in­te­rior is 21st cen­tury to the max – the 11 rooms have a chic, pared-back Scan­di­na­vian feel and a colour palette of mus­tard and grey. As the name sug­gests, the ho­tel’s Char­grill Restau­rant spe­cialises in grilled steak and seafood and there’s an em­pha­sis on lo­cally-grown and lo­cally-sourced pro­duce. That ethos ex­tends be­yond the din­ing room: many of the ho­tel tex­tiles, such as the throws that cover the beds, are made by lo­cal com­pany Skye Weavers on their bi­cy­cle-pow­ered looms. How cool is that?



BUILT in 1963 by the Scot­stoun-based Blythswood yard, the Leith-reg­is­tered MV Fin­gal spent most of its work­ing life as a North­ern Light­house Board ship work­ing out of Oban and Strom­ness. And now that it has been re­turned to Leith and berthed near to the Royal Yacht Britannia (whose par­ent com­pany owns it) it’s see­ing out its days as … a lux­ury ho­tel of course, what else? Each cabin is named af­ter a Steven­son light­house but there’s more than a touch of old-style ocean liner lux­ury to the rooms. As if that wasn’t the per­fect ex­cuse to un­leash your in­ner Bing Crosby or Ginger Rogers there’s also a mag­nif­i­cent ball­room with a sweep­ing stair­case. Just one snag, though: af­ter a de­lay in gain­ing the green light from the cap­i­tal’s plan­ning pan­jan­drums, the ho­tel won’t now open un­til Jan­uary.

3Isle of Eriska


WHO hasn’t wanted to live on their own pri­vate is­land? At the Isle of Eriska Ho­tel you can, if only for a few nights – cov­er­ing 300 acres it’s lo­cated at the mouth of Loch Cr­eran, 12 miles north of Oban, and of­fers fine views over Loch Linnhe and the Morvern moun­tains be­yond. There are 16 bed­rooms in the main house, built by ac­claimed Scot­tish ar­chi­tect Hip­polyte Blanc in 1884 for a branch of the Ste­warts of Ap­pin, as well as five spa suites in the gar­den, two cot­tages and six “hill­top re­serves” com­plete with hot tubs and bal­conies. The sump­tu­ous din­ing room spe­cialises in game and seafood and there’s a cor­nu­copia of spa treat­ments on of­fer as well as a 17-me­tre swim­ming pool, a sauna, a steam room, a whirlpool bath and a gym. And if you’re the time-poor, cash-rich sort that takes leisure se­ri­ously and isn’t pre­pared to waste time trav­el­ling, the ho­tel can ac­com­mo­date he­li­copters and sea planes. Tides per­mit­ting, of course.



DE­SIGNED by the late Ed­in­burgh-born ar­chi­tect

Bob Fitzger­ald, this chic city cen­tre ho­tel was in­spired by the sim­plic­ity and fa­mously clean lines of Ger­many’s Bauhaus art school. The homage even ex­tends to the names of the rooms – here you can stay in suites named af­ter Wal­ter Gropius (the Bauhaus founder) and Wass­ily Kandin­sky (who taught there), as well as other early 20th cen­tury de­sign lu­mi­nar­ies such as hus­ban­dand-wife team Charles and Ray Eames, of Eames chair fame. Art his­tory les­sons aside, there’s a bar serv­ing cock­tails and af­ter­noon tea, though the ho­tel kitchen serves only break­fast. For any­thing else you’ll have to hit the streets, but the ho­tel’s cen­tral lo­ca­tion means you’re spoiled for choice.

5Blythswood Square Glas­gow

IT’S not un­usual for the stars to stay in Glas­gow’s only five-star ho­tel when in the city, with Sir Tom Jones a re­cent guest. The seven-storey ho­tel now has a lux­ury two-bed­room pent­house apart­ment, com­plete with pri­vate lift, wet room, din­ing room and

roof gar­den. For a real taste of how the other half live, you can even avail your­self of the ser­vices of a pri­vate chef and but­ler. If your bud­get doesn’t quite stretch to the £2,500 tag, how­ever, the ho­tel – once town­houses owned by the city’s wealthy mer­chants – has more than 100 bed­rooms (with­out pri­vate staff). Af­ter sip­ping a cock­tail or two in the el­e­gant Sa­lon, guests can treat them­selves in the spa, or even get a hair­cut with a bar­ber shop and beauty sa­lon on site.


East Loth­ian

BUILT in 1901 in the Arts and Craft style by the cel­e­brated Ed­war­dian ar­chi­tect Sir Ed­win Lu­tyens and used as a coun­try house by sev­eral well-heeled own­ers, among them the Hon. Al­fred Lyt­tel­ton and Scot­tishAmer­i­can so­cialite Eve­lyn Forbes, Grey­walls also served as a mil­i­tary hos­pi­tal dur­ing the sec­ond world war. It wasn’t un­til 1948 that it be­came a ho­tel, by which point it had been added to by an­other fa­mous ar­chi­tect, Sir Robert Lorimer, and had had a gar­den laid out by the in­es­timable Gertrude Jekyll. She also de­signed the amaz­ing gar­den over­look­ing Lind­is­farne Cas­tle on Lind­is­farne, an­other Lu­tyens project. It’s no sur­prise, then, that to­day Grey­walls is a Cat­e­gory A-listed build­ing with prices to match. Handy for the ad­ja­cent Muir­field golf course and renowned for its restau­rant (Chez Roux, run by the fa­mous haute cui­sine dy­nasty) it’s eas­ily one of Scot­land’s coolest ho­tels. King Ed­ward VII, Bar­bra Streisand and Brigitte Bar­dot cer­tainly thought so: they’re just a few of the celebri­ties who have stayed there.

7Monachyle Mhor Loc­hearn­head

FANCY ditch­ing the tra­di­tional ho­tel room and stay­ing in­stead in a 1950s Pi­lot Pan­ther show­man’s wagon? Or how about the old wait­ing room from the Port Ap­pin to Isle of Lis­more ferry, ren­o­vated and re­pur­posed and turned into a cosy dou­ble lo­cated next to a chic bothy with a wood-burn­ing stove de­signed by two ar­chi­tec­ture students? Trip along to Monachyle Mhor and you can lay your head in these and other dwellings, each as cool and quirky as the rest. There are six “fea­ture” rooms, six court­yard rooms, and four white­washed and coolly spar­tan farm­house rooms. The hip fac­tor doesn’t stop there, ei­ther. The award-win­ning restau­rant uses lo­callysourced (and even hand-for­aged) pro­duce and the Lewis fam­ily who own Monachyle Mhor also have their own bak­ery turn­ing out that ar­ti­san sour­dough we’re all so fond of these days.

8Z Glas­gow


LO­CATED just off Ge­orge Square in a con­verted print works and boast­ing 104 rooms, Z Glas­gow is one of a group of sim­i­larly-named ho­tels with sev­eral branches in Lon­don (in­clud­ing one in uber-cool Shored­itch) as well as in Liver­pool and Bath. Z Glas­gow’s mis­sion state­ment makes clear it’s aimed unashamedly at what it calls “ur­ban­ites” rather than tourists, and truth to tell the rooms aren’t mas­sive. Then again, ur­ban­ites don’t visit Glas­gow to sit around watch­ing Cash In The At­tic – they go there to shop, visit top cul­tural des­ti­na­tions such as the nearby Gallery Of Mod­ern Art and to sam­ple the leg­endary nightlife. They tend to eat out as well, so Z Glas­gow dis­penses with room ser­vice and pro­vides Z Café in­stead, of­fer­ing break­fasts, light lunches and pre-the­atre drinks.

9Cross­bas­ket Cas­tle Blan­tyre

FORMERLY a Barnardo’s home, an ed­u­ca­tional col­lege, a cen­tre for a Pen­ta­costal min­istry and at one time the res­i­dence of Charles Mac­in­tosh of rain­coat fame, this grand old build­ing was re­stored in 2011 and now boasts a Roux Brothers restau­rant (all the bet­ter for be­ing lo­cated in a din­ing room dec­o­rated with gold leaf) and bills it­self as one of Scot­land’s most lux­u­ri­ous ho­tels. Few who visit would ar­gue. Prime among the pala­tial suites is one with its own tower, though you can also choose to stay in the less grand Gate Lodge. The grounds, mean­while, con­tain river­side na­ture walks and there’s even a wa­ter­fall though if you want to ven­ture fur­ther afield, you can ar­range to have a Range Rover de­liv­ered di­rect to the ho­tel. They’ll even lay on a he­li­copter if you need one.

10Corse­wall Light­house Dum­fries and Gal­loway LO­CATED in the north­ern Rhinns of Gal­loway and still a work­ing light­house, Corse­wall of­fers a var­ied se­lec­tion of suites and rooms both in the main build­ing it­self and in ad­ja­cent build­ings. Built in 1815 and now A-listed, it of­fers views of the Kin­tyre penin­sula, Ailsa Craig and, on a clear day, the coast of Ire­land. It’s ideal for golfers (there are two lo­cal cour­ses nearby and Turn­berry isn’t too far away) as well as bird­watch­ers and walk­ers drawn by the rugged coast­line. And, of course, it will ap­peal to light­house nerds: at night you can see the beams of sev­eral Scot­tish and Irish light­houses and both Mull of Gal­loway and Kil­lantringan light houses are a short drive away. The restau­rant is small but com­fort­able and typ­i­cal dishes in­clude Gal­loway pork fil­let, smoked chicken, Scotch beef and roast monk­fish.



SITED in a grand Geor­gian build­ing on Ge­orge Street in Ed­in­burgh’s New Town, this bou­tique ho­tel is one of the cap­i­tal’s liveli­est up­mar­ket spots – ex­pect to find foot­ballers par­ty­ing in the bar along­side the hip vis­i­tors and well-heeled lo­cals. It has a 100-strong cock­tail menu over­seen by an award-win­ning “mixol­o­gist” and next door in the restau­rant you can take af­ter­noon tea or sam­ple a menu that runs from the com­fort­ing (burger with smoked ched­dar and fries, any­one?) to the in­dul­gent (a 500g Scot­tish rump steak to share – or not, if you’re su­per hun­gry). Up­stairs, the rooms are coolly el­e­gant, though if it’s char­ac­ter you want head for The Black Room. Lo­cated at the top of the build­ing it has walls the colour of ebony and one of those 1960s-style wicker “egg chairs” sus­pended from the ceil­ing by a chain.

The stylish Isle of Eriska ho­tel, left, north of Oban, of­fers fine views over Loch Linnhe and the Morvern moun­tains; Blythswood Square, be­low left, is Glas­gow’s only five-star ho­tel; Core­wall light­house in the Rhinns of Gal­loway, bot­tom left, is still a work­ing fa­cil­ity and of­fers views all the way to Ire­land; Mar­malade, on Skye, be­low right, was built more than 200 years ago; while Tigerlily in Ed­in­burgh, bot­tom right, is one of the cap­i­tal’s liveli­est up­mar­ket venues and can of­fer more than 100 cock­tails

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