I stayed at Ardanaseig with my family in early September 2011. It was our first time visiting Scotland and we stayed in Edinburg for the majority of the trip spending three of the final days in the highlands. The hotel had been kept secret from the rest of my group - I just told them we were going to a "Secret Place". Part of this was because I like to keep surprises and part was because it seemed so lovely and amazing on the website that if anyone were to be disappointed by the reality I wanted it to only be me. I'm happy to say I was not disappointed and it was even better than anticipated. The place is beautiful, serene, welcoming and, for lack of a better word, special.
We got off the train at the Taynuilt rail station - in the rain. It's an unmanned station without any real protection from the elements and my mom had already started to fret about what we were doing there. I had contacted the hotel the week before about help arranging a taxi from the station. They asked what train I would be arriving on, we discussed if four people with luggage would fit in one taxi or two (one, we travel light) and they arranged everything. Sure enough, the taxi was there waiting and before long we were on our way. The drive was about 30 minutes and we were very happy not to be trying to navigate the narrow, at times single-track, roads in the rain.
The young lady at reception welcomed us warmly and took my parents up to their room first (it was closest, just up the main staircase) and then my brother and I followed her to our rooms on the other side of the house. There wasn't staff available to help with luggage but we all managed just fine.
We had three rooms between us and they were at different areas of the hotel - after traveling together for over a week in close quarters this was very welcome. The bedrooms were wonderfully individual. My brother and I each had modest Garden View doubles (Nevis and Awe). Awe was on the ground level and had three windows that faced out to the gravel circle drive and the lush green trees beyond. The furniture was comfortable and stylish (and slightly quirky) and after my brother mastered the hand-held shower he declared the room a success. I was up a level in Nevis (there were many staircases and hallways between the two rooms so it felt like we were worlds apart - very nice). Nevis boasted just one window but had a skylight in the bathroom as well. The room might have seemed dark if it were not for the two cheery lights on the sides of the bed that the staff kept on even during the day. It was a very welcoming room to come back to after a hike around the grounds. The enamel in the bathtub had seen better days, but it had been resurfaced and did not hinder my using the bath (I mention it to let people know it is an awesome establishment, but not perfect). There were signs explaining that the hot water sometimes took a time to get going and to be patient; it did take quite a while to fill the tub. However, in such a leisurely environment waiting for a bath was really not a bother, and the bath soaps were lovely. My parents were in the main part of the house in a Master Loch View room, Tervine. It was one of the most spectacular rooms I have ever seen, they loved it. The king sized bed did not dominate the room - when was the last time that happened? It had high ceilings, vibrant colors, beautiful furniture (chinese black lacquer), the bathroom had it's own window and a wonderful tub, and the views were nothing less than lovely. The beds and bedding - possibly combined with the fresh air - made for very good sleeping. My dad commented that I managed to find the only hotel in Scotland with House Elves. We would leave our rooms in the morning - come back to find them tidied up, bottled water refilled, tea and biscuits refreshed. We'd leave again in the late afternoon, come back to find the beds turned down, everything tidied up, bottled water refilled, tea and biscuits refreshed. I know this is not an unusual thing in a luxury hotel but it was done so unobtrusively with such attention to detail that you just felt very looked after. The staff was wonderful, I only wonder how they managed to do so much with so few people. I swear I saw the same people working at 6am and 9pm still friendly, cheerful and efficient - hats off to them, I really don't know how they did it.
Our days were spent walking the grounds (big thanks for providing the wellies and brollys), reading and relaxing. The long lounge had great views from tall windows, a variety of sofas , chairs and ottomans to relax on and a beautiful piano that one of the other guests treated us to some lovely music on. The weather was both rainy and sunny and even provided an accommodating rainbow over the loch - ridiculously beautiful. There were wood fires in the Library and in the main entry, and wi-fi was available there if you needed to connect with the outside world.
Dinner was an experience all its own. From the start in the Library (reviewing the evenings menu, enjoying a cocktail and appetizers), to the dining room (for 5 courses of amazing food) to the Lounge or a return to the Library (for coffee and confections) we probably spent two hours each night. The amount of food was just right - it would have been difficult leaving any on the plate so it was nice to come away satisfied but not stuffed. Breakfast in the morning was another positive experience with a selection of cereals, juices, yogurts and a menu of hot items as well - lovely poached eggs.
If you appreciate beauty - both natural and architecural - go here. If you enjoy a fine meal served by charming staff - go here. If you like walks in the woods surrounded by nature at it's greenest - go here. If you want to feel like the rest of the world has been effectively put on hold - go here. You won't regret it, and as a family we will not forget it. What a wonderful place.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In a quiet place of undisturbed tranquility and almost surreal natural beauty, where the slopes of Ben Cruachan fall into the clear waters of loch Awe, lies a deeply romantic and luxurious old country house called Ardanaiseig. In a 19th-century manor house on 120 acres beside Loch Awe, this luxury hotel is 21 miles from the ruined Kilchurn Castle and 22 miles from Ben Cruachan. Elegant rooms offer loch or garden views and feature antique furnishings. All rooms have free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs with DVD players, tea and coffee making facilities, and designer Scottish toiletries. There is also a separate glass-fronted loch side Boatshed suite and a 2-bedroom cottage. An acclaimed restaurant serves upmarket, seasonal dishes. Full Scottish breakfast and afternoon tea are available, and other amenities include boat rentals, croquet and bikes. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ardanaiseig Hotel Kilchrenan, Scotland