Where to holiday in 2020…
Where to holiday in 2020…
Chic Scotland has hand-picked a selection of stylish stays for 2020. With so many beautiful places to stay in Scotland, why not make it your new year’s resolution to book more amazing holidays here? This guide covers holidays with the kids, romantic getaways, spa breaks, luxe accommodation, adventure trips, and retreats.
Holiday with the kids…
There are so many reasons why Balbinny is perfect for a family holiday, I almost don’t know where to begin. First of all, Balbinny is an exclusive hamlet of stunning holiday homes. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. There are two different styles of properties at Balbinny – cute grass roofed Brochs and larger Steadings with glass fronted heated balconies. The Brochs have their own wood-fired outdoor hot tubs complete with mood lighting, music and panoramic views across the Angus glens and onto the Cairngorms that are simply gorgeous.
Taking location on a family farm, there’s plenty of space to roam around and there’s SO much to do - access to a swimming pool, jacuzzi, gym, play park, hot tubs, tennis court, spa treatment room, table tennis. There’s something to suit everyone at Balbinny - Mum can unwind with a massage, and Dad can take the kids to learn to swim, and then swap. Older kids can freely explore the surrounding area and the playpark while you submerge yourself in the outdoor hot tub and take in those panoramic views of the Cairngorms.
This is a farm but it’s a chic farm. With a motto like ‘stay, play, learn’ it’s the perfect place to bring the kids. Say hello to the friendly neighbouring animals – donkeys, lambs, chickens, the list goes on. The self-catering accommodation is so stunning, each with quirky and cosy features including wood burners and lots of sheepskin. On those cooler days, take a cosy seat next to the fire and enjoy a book or when the sun shines, relax on the deck and look out onto the gorgeous views all the while the kids explore the farm, build dens, chase butterflies. With their great attention to detail, the family behind this fabulous farm will do all they can to make your visit totally amazing.
Howford House is the proper way to do a family holiday. This beautiful Georgian farmhouse sleeps 18 in 9 bedrooms so invite the whole family. Having been carefully renovated and refurbished in 2016, Howford House now features four-poster beds, stunning fireplaces, original antiques and beautiful Georgian detailing. It just oozes character and history. The house is set above a large safe garden enclosed by trees, and with an open view across the Tweed valley and the River Tweed. Perfect for the kids to run wild. There are plenty of garden games including croquet, badminton and outdoor table tennis to keep them entertained. If you’re up for a bit of outdoor adventure, the Tweed Valley in the hills of the Scottish Borders offers an excellent range of activities nearby from mountain biking, walking, cycling, fishing, golf and horse riding. Once you’ve tired out the kids and tucked them into bed, chill out by the open fire in the sitting room with a large glass of wine and a book.
Looking for a stylish, family-friendly holiday in the highlands? Located in the heart of the Cairngorms, Strathspey Lodge is a tastefully designed family house with four large bedrooms and a nursery. There’s plenty here to keep the kids entertained - lots of space to roam around, board games, table tennis, badminton and so much more. As Strathspey Lodge is located near Aviemore, there’s plenty of outdoor activities that the whole family can enjoy. Once you’ve put the kids to bed, stick on the wood-burning stove, pour yourself a well-earned drink and curl up on the gorgeous orange sofa. Watch the sunset from the French windows that open onto a large terrace with wonderful views, also perfect for a summertime BBQ. This truly is a stunning family escape to the Scottish Highlands.
Croft 103 is the ultimate romantic escape for two. Perfect for a honeymoon or anniversary. Located on the shores of Loch Eriboll near Durness in North West Sutherland, these unique dwellings have been designed as eco-friendly couples retreats in a totally secluded and stunning setting. Nature will be your only neighbour here. These beautifully crafted cottages have a Scandi feel, and every detail is simply perfection - 7ft beds, under floor heating, a wood burning stove, an outside bath, and gorgeous views. I love that careful consideration has been given to their design to be completely low impact. Just picture being hidden away together in the Scottish countryside, soaking under the stars in the outdoor bath with a glass of champagne in hand. Bliss…
If you’re seeking a romantic city break, the Witchery by the castle on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile oozes luxury and extravagance. This gothic boutique hotel has nine sumptuous suites each dressed with fascinatingly eclectic clutter; all jewel-coloured velvets, silks and brocades, carved wood, gilding and candle-light. Each of the Witchery’s suites have their own charms and quirks, but all are lavish, gothic and luxuriously opulent. Think rich fabrics, dramatically draped or four-postered beds (or both), and chin-deep bateau baths fit for two. Experience all your candle-lit fantasies under the magic of the Witchery…
Share a bubble bath in the chin-deep bateau bath whilst sipping on the complimentary champagne. Behind hidden doors - a dining hall, sitting room, dressing room or study… so you probably won’t want to leave the comfort of your suite. If you do choose to venture out, you’re in the perfect location for sightseeing - you’re right next to Edinburgh Castle.
Equally as luxurious and dramatically decadent is the restaurant at the Witchery, known for its exceptional food and award-winning wine list. It’s a romantic, candle-lit dining experience and a must visit if you’re staying here.
The Witchery is a hotspot with celebrities, locals and tourists alike, all fascinated by the magic and glamour of this glorious gothic boutique. It’s an indulgent treat kind of weekend, perfect for a romantic weekend away.
Situated on the picturesque shores of Loch Ness, a dreamy boutique bed and breakfast experience awaits at Foyer’s Lodge. This cosy Highland lodge provides a place where together, you can escape and unwind. The 5 guest bedrooms here have been individually designed to blend stylish, traditional interiors with a modern twist. The grounds are immaculately kept and offer gorgeous views of Loch Ness and the surrounding mountain range - perfect for a romantic stroll. At the end of the day, relax in the cosy sitting room and pour yourself a dram from the impressive range of whiskies at the honesty bar.
This is rugged luxury in the hills. Alpnhaus is a stunning alpine style lodge nestled within the beautiful landscape of the Cheviot Hills in the Scottish Borders. With its off-grid location, this cosy chalet boasts the most incredible scenery - so wild and natural. In fact, at Alpnhaus you are situated next to Europe's largest Dark Sky Park, with no light pollution at all! Perfect for some late-night star gazing and an idyllic spot to recharge and reconnect as a couple.
Luxurious details have been carefully selected with your relaxation in mind. For example, the lodge is gently scented with the owner’s own blend of calming essential oils. With a king-sized bed, German down duvets and top quality natural Belgian soft linen you’re in for the most amazing night’s sleep at Alpnhaus. The owner’s effort and care are what make this a truly incredible and romantic escape. Everything from arranging a fresh breakfast for you in the morning on your table to tending the wood-fired hot tub so it’s the perfect temperature for you at 7pm. Picture night time star gazing in the wood-fired hot tub, even more dreamy when it snows in the winter months. Believe me, you won’t want to leave!
Set across two beautiful Georgian buildings in Edinburgh's west end, this five-star boutique hotel is nothing but luxurious. It’s quite possibly the prettiest place to stay in Edinburgh. Each room has been uniquely decorated in a traditional modern vibe. With Instagrammable freestanding baths, luxurious navy fabrics and dark walls with pops of coloured velvet – this is the perfect boutique hotel for a romantic treat in the capital, or for someone seeking an indulgent escape. The stylish restaurant at the Dunstane serves up fresh, seasonal Scottish produce and The Ba’ Bar is also home to one of the widest and best selections of rare and vintage whiskies in Edinburgh.
If you’re looking for a totally indulgent castle experience in Scotland, Glenapp Castle in Ayrshire is an award-winning, five-star hotel set in 36 acres of exquisite gardens. As far as castle hotels go, it’s one of the best in Scotland! Drive up the neat tree lined driveway and you are met with the stunning Glenapp Castle. This Victorian Baronial beauty has the most impressive period furnishings and lavish interiors. The rooms boast magnificent views of the immaculately kept grounds and surrounding forest, with some of the rooms offering a sea view. Staying at Glenapp Castle is like a real-life fairytail and the staff are sure to treat you like royalty. They can organise a whole array of different activities for you, including fishing, golf, distillery and castle tours, as well as more unusual activities such as perfume making, photography courses, cooking experiences or even a genealogy course! The restaurant here is elegant and the food is superb. Glenapp is definitely a treat but trust me it’s worth every penny.
This is Scottish tennis superstar Andy Murray’s Hotel! Set just 3 miles from his hometown in Dunblane, Cromlix is set in 34 acres of stunning, secluded woodlands and garden grounds, with its own chapel and house loch. Following careful refurbishment, the elegant Victorian Perthshire mansion has been transformed into a luxury, five-star destination. With just 15 bedrooms and one-bedroom gate lodge, it’s an exclusive boutique option. Every room is sumptuously decorated, boasting gorgeous views over the manicured grounds or tennis courts and surrounding countryside. The hotel is home to a Chez Roux restaurant - the food here is impeccable and the staff and experience is ultra-luxe.
A luxury hideaway for 2 that’s perfect in every respect - perfect location, perfect styling, all the perfect fine details that will make your stay truly special. First of all, the location is incredible. This modern luxury croft overlooks one of the most iconic and globally recognised Scottish views – Eilean Donan Castle. The styling is simply gorgeous with each piece of furniture and fabric of uber-luxe quality. The large windows offer picturesque views that can be enjoyed whilst curled up on the sofa in front of the fire. Then there’s all the perfect little extras - from the complimentary welcome hamper with locally sourced artisan products, to the honesty bar with sommelier-selected wines and the embossed fluffy robes.
Although this is a remote destination, it’s actually within close proximity to some of Scotland’s best loved foodie spots. The in-house editorial guide with local insights and recommendations will give you all the insider knowledge you might need.
Sleeping just two adults, 57 Nord is a couple’s romantic escape in the tranquillity of the Scottish Highlands.
Fletcher’s Cottage is one of the BEST spas in the whole of Scotland. In fact, it has been previously featured in Vogue as one of the Best Spa Breaks in the UK, describing it as “an astonishingly recharging weekend”. Let me tell you why. Fletcher’s Cottage Spa is a rustic, scandi-inspired luxury spa styled with calming cream and caramel tones, wood burning stoves and fur rugs. There are 12 treatment rooms (including 2 stand-alone bath huts with woodburning stoves), a marine steam, an aroma sauna, a private rasul, Himalayan salt brick room and two relax areas – there’s plenty to keep you occupied whether you’re booked in for a treatment or not. You will experience world renowned, luxurious brands such as Sisley, Aromatherapy Associates and Beatitude.
The private calming bath huts are located within the picturesque herb garden and are surrounded by a log burner. Absolutely book one of these as part of your relaxation experience! (You can stay at the Pavillions nearby at Archerfield House. Please see Archerfield House for details about the accommodation on offer).
Step into an oasis of tranquillity at Golf View. Set amidst the stunning scenery of Nairn, the spa offers beautiful views out over the Moray Firth which can be enjoyed from both the heated indoor pool and jacuzzi, as well as the outdoor hot tub. The spa has both a single and dual treatment room – perfect for solo travellers, romantic breaks or a treat with a friend. Invigorating ishga products are used, developed in the Outer Hebrides using the highest quality Scottish seaweed. A mineral-rich extract from the seaweed is then combined with essential oils and water from a natural spring on the beautiful Isle of Lewis. The result is a rejuvenating touch of organic opulence that leaves your skin detoxified, hydrated, glowing and super soft.
The spa at Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian is the first and only Guerlain Spa in the U.K., using the very finest Guerlain products with patented techniques and practices dating back to the inauguration of the spa's esteemed Parisian counterpart, L'Institut Guerlain, in 1939. The spa certainly possesses all the luxury and glamour of its Champs-Élysées counterpart. With total dedication to your well-being and relaxation, a range of facilities are offered including five tranquil Guerlain Cabins, one VIP Dual Suite, a relaxation lounge, beauty rooms, as well as a fitness room, swimming pool, steam room and sauna. A visit to The Caledonian is a perfect way to relax after a day of sightseeing in Edinburgh.
Cameron House is currently undergoing a refurb (due to open in late 2020) however the Spa is fortunately still open. Located just a short two-mile journey from Cameron House Hotel, The Spa at Cameron House has everything you could wish for to completely relax and unwind - 17 treatment rooms including a VIP couple’s room with a mineral bath, steam room and private balcony, as well as a Rasul mud chamber with steam room, and a Relaxation Suite. The spa uses luxurious ESPA and Carita treatments that will leave you feeling totally rejuvenated. The outdoor rooftop infinity pool gives stunning views over the golf course and beyond to the stunning Scottish scenery of the west coast. Imagine being submerged under the heated water whilst gazing out into the distance, bliss…
This is a strikingly beautiful reserve set deep in the wilderness of the Scottish Highlands. As soon as you arrive, you’ll be in awe of Alladale’s rugged terrain, colourful hills, gorgeous glens, glistening rivers, and rich wildlife. The wild location offers fantastic opportunities to hike, mountain bike, fish and so much more. After an invigorating yet tiring day of outdoor activities, laze in the beautiful accommodation at Alladale. There’s the option of staying in the cottages on the glen or the wonderful, private and fully serviced Alladale lodge complete with a sauna, gym, billiard room and private chef should you need one.
Alladale Wilderness Reserve host a number of wonderful retreats led by experts on a mission to connect you with nature to improve your overall health. Check out the Chic Events section to see their upcoming events.
Part of the Mhor collection (owned and ran by Tom Lewis and family), Mhor 84 is a fun roadside ‘motel’. Each room has been individually styled with a funky splash of retro colour. It’s rural location in the Perthshire countryside offers a stylish stopover for adventure seekers. Stay at Mhor 84 and explore the surrounding area of Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park - walk, swim, horse ride, fish, cycle, drive, and then retreat back to your cosy and comfortable room. There’s also a restaurant and bar here to fuel your adventures or chill out after an adventure packed day.
The Torridon is a luxury resort set against a backdrop of dreamy scenery. Taking location in the North West Highlands of Scotland, it’s close to the North Coast 500, one of the world’s most iconic and scenic coastal touring routes. The resort offers something for everyone. The Torridon Hotel is a luxury hotel perfect for a relaxing, romantic break. The Torridon Inn offers a traditional highland hospitality experience and Torridon Activities offer outdoor adventures. Stay at the Inn, and go grab yourself some outdoor adventure - whilst retreating to comfort and home cooking upon your arrival back from the moors. Guests are encouraged to get outdoors and take their relaxation and invigoration from nature. Lots of outdoor activities are offered such as rock climbing, mountain biking, sea kayaking, as they are right on the doorstep of this stunning resort.
Situated in Skye, Hame is a cosy little hotel featuring 10 stylishly decorated bedrooms, each with a stunning blend of minimalist Scandi-chic and Scottish fusion. The location is gorgeous as it overlooks Loch Vatten to the Black Cuillins, both offering lovely walking spots. There’s plenty to do in the surrounding area - explore the crystal-clear fairy pools or take a daytime boat trip out to the islands. After a long day of exploring, lounge back at the hotel on the soft furnishings in front of open fires in the sitting area, and comfy beds in the rooms for a well-earned good night’s sleep.
The Dell of Abernethy is a magical collection of self-catered cottages located in the woods near Nethy Bridge, in the heart of the breath-taking Cairngorms. The surroundings are so peaceful and serene here. It’s is the kind of place where you can leave all your cares behind and simply relax. The owners are extremely hospitable and want to ensure that your stay is true perfection. The cottages have been equipped with everything you need and more. They even leave you freshly baked chocolate brownies on arrival!
The Dell’s surroundings are heavenly. Take a stroll in the surrounding woods where you’ll discover a zip wire, fire pit, and hammock. There’s loads of lovely walks and trails from the cottage. Perfect for nature lovers as there’s an incredible range of wildlife. A walk along the river takes you to Nethy Bridge, where there is a fantastic farm shop and deli. Venture further and you’ll discover glorious viewpoints over the lochs with the cairngorm mountains as a dreamy background – believe me, it’s worth the short walk from the cottage. Afterwards, retreat back to your cosy home-from-home where you can curl up in front of the fire and enjoy a book.
The Dell take advantage of their peaceful setting and run some amazing retreats great for the mind, body and soul. Check out the Chic Events section for any upcoming events…
Beyond Fitness host excellent active retreats in Scotland. This fantastic company originated from a love of being outdoors and doing exciting sports that connect us with nature. With this retreat, you’ll have the privilege of staying in the stunning Royal Cottage - a Scottish lodge house of dreams, right on the banks of the Loch Katrine. As part of a group of only 8 people, you’ll take part in fitness sessions, waking, biking and hikes around the surrounding countryside with a qualified mountain leader. You’ll reap so many benefits from being close to nature out in the hills, on the bike or on the trails. You don’t have to be an expert at anything, your leaders will ensure that they work to your level of fitness and ability wherever you are.
There’s also healthy home cooked food, to be shared round a big table together with good company and conversation. Included is breakfast, packed lunches, evening meals and homemade delicious snacks in between if you need that little extra to fuel your activities. Coffee, tea, home-made smoothies and juices are available and there’s even a little beer or wine with dinner.
Additionally, during the escape each guest is invited to have a complementary sports massage with a trained therapist. This really is a fabulous retreat that will leave you feeling stronger, fitter, and connected with nature. They have one retreat running every month from May through to September in 2020.
Have you ever felt like you’ve lost who you truly are to all the dominant forces in your life — work, family, societal expectations? Then this retreat is for you. Leave all your stresses behind and enter a world that’s still and simple. Through study, meditation and work, you will embark on a journey of self-discovery...
You will stay on a remote and beautiful 187-acre Georgian estate in the Scottish Borders. The main house overlooks glorious landscaped grounds that’s enclosed by woodland, creating a peaceful setting for self-discovery. There’s no mobile signal and the internet connection is slow, allowing you to disconnect from life’s distractions and reconnect with yourself. It really is the simpler way of life here.
You’ll take part in a balance of reflective activities and practical work in a gentle environment. Work may include cooking, assisting with the upkeep of the house and estate, or picking veg from the organic gardens. Whatever you make in the kitchen or is picked from the garden will be enjoyed later on as part of a delicious meal in the beautiful main dining room. I love that a sustainable environment has been created here where they grow their own food and nurture the land as well as the people that come through their doors.
The work at Chisholme provides an opportunity to put the themes explored in study into practice, learn new skills, and connect with the surrounding nature. Who knows, you may uncover a new hobby. Meditation is offered twice daily as part of your journey to self-discovery.
Chisholme hosts a whole range of retreats all year round, with the aim of providing education in the art of self-knowledge — a process of uncovering, realising, and awakening to what is innate in all of us. This is an affordable retreat and so is accessible to students, the unemployed, or more importantly — anyone who desperately needs it. Chisholme is a lovely place doing lovely things for humanity, you won’t realise how much you needed this retreat until you’ve experienced it!
Invent your own retreat!
By nature, the Scottish countryside is its very own retreat. Scotland is renowned for its remote and beautiful landscapes so explore its islands, glens, mountains and lochs but retreat to the comfort and cosiness of luxury accommodation. Chic Scotland lists SO many beautiful places to get away from it all, such as little lodges nestled away off the beaten track, cosy chalets, beautiful bothies, the list goes on. Stay in a cosy, off-grid lodge either solo or accompanied. Take a morning stroll and breathe in the crisp, fresh countryside air. Light a log fire and bask in front of the heat. A peaceful escape awaits you in the Scottish countryside…