Scotland

Hotels in the Highlands: unique stays in the great Scottish outdoors

Scottish local and lifestyle blogger Laura shares her insider tips on the most unique hotels to stay in during your next Highland adventure…

When it comes to spending time in the spectacularly rugged landscape of the Scottish Highlands, there’s always so much to see and do, no matter the season.

Spring sees the arrival of blooming daffodils and bluebells lining woodland trails. In summer, the Highland hillsides burst into colour. Whereas autumn really showcases the Highlands at their peak, with the leaves changing to golden and the lochs glittering in the crisp sunlight. But, let’s be honest, the hardy Scots were made in the winter, with a warming “dram” and a plate of traditional haggis, neeps and tatties proving a welcome treat after a hike around the snowy glens.

And with many a bolthole to cosy up in after your Highland adventures, it can be tough to decide which one to go in the next weekend break. So, from plush luxury hotels to boutique-style lodges, here are my personal favourites.

Stay in a luxury boutique castle hotel in the Highlands

If a romantic break tucked away in a luxury boutique hotel in the Highlands with your other half sounds like heaven to you, you might just fall head over heels in love with Fonab Castle. Situated next to the popular town of Pitlochry, it’s within an area of the Highlands known as the gateway to the Cairngorms.

As a 5-star hotel, Fonab Castle has a range of plush rooms and suites which are perfect for couples. You can choose between a loch or a woodland view room, both with superior options available. But, for a real luxury experience, Fonab Castle’s fourth-floor penthouse suite has unrivalled views across the countryside – as well as a beautiful dressing room, feature fireplace and high vaulted ceilings.

If, by some miracle, you’ve had enough of padding around in your dressing gown upstairs, it might be time to book in for a pampering spa treatment. Fonab’s dedicated spa has everything from anti-ageing facials to detoxifying body wraps. Or, if you’re just up for a leisurely swim, their pool is a great way to kick off your morning.

Fonab Castle Hotel & Spa

Top rated
Pitlochry
9.4 Excellent (606 reviews)

Experience a bucket-list lodge stay in Scotland

The RiverBed Lodges are situated in the breathtaking and haunting Glencoe; one of the most photogenic areas of the Scottish Highlands. They sum themselves up as “luxury wee lodges” and it couldn’t be more accurate. Each lodge features its own private deck overlooking a stream, and some even feature their very own private outdoor hot tub.

As the lodges are quite compact, each and every aspect has been cleverly thought out, ensuring your stay is a premium experience. From a well-stocked Costa Coffee pod machine to colour-changing LED lights, you’ll have all the little luxuries that make hotel stays perfect. And to top it all off, they even deliver croissants and fresh milk in the morning!

RiverBeds Lodges

Glencoe
8.9 Excellent (133 reviews)

Have fun in a cosy pub hotel in the heart of the Cairngorms

When you ask a Scot which part of the Scottish Highlands they love the most, Aviemore is one of the most common responses. As a bustling tourist destination, it really is at the very heart of the Cairngorms National Park. Surrounded by stunning lochs, mountains, ski runs and lush forests, it’s got something for all outdoorsy folk.

The Boat Hotel in Boat of Garten, just a 10-minute drive from the hustle and bustle of Aviemore, is the perfect place to come home to after a busy day exploring. Priding themselves on their hearty comforting pub grub, the restaurant has a seasonally revolving menu as well as a fully-stocked bar with a range of whiskies from across Scotland.

The rooms, too, are focused on putting comfort first and ensuring a cosy night’s sleep within their premium sheets. Even more uniquely, The Boat Hotel has its very own library to peruse on a rainy afternoon; perfect for curling up in one of their armchairs and whiling the day away.

The Boat Hotel

Boat of Garten
7.8 Good (800 reviews)

Find a perfect hotel for foodies in the Highlands

The newly-opened 5-star Dunalastair Hotel Suites in the village of Kinnloch Rannoch is one of the most secluded options in our Highlands hotel guide, but the owners have really made sure that it has everything you need onsite. So really, there’s no need to hop in the car if you don’t fancy it!

The boutique hotel is filled with original period features intertwined with luxury touches such as e-concierge directories and Egyptian cotton sheets. Foodies, rejoice! The hotel features a fine dining restaurant called Edina’s Kitchen which serves up fresh Scottish dishes using locally sourced ingredients.

Dunalastair Hotel Suites

Top rated
Kinloch Rannoch
8.9 Excellent (277 reviews)

Enjoy fresh air in a hotel for groups near Iverness

If you’re planning to visit Inverness, this grand hotel is sure to tick all the boxes. Achnagairn Estate is a stand-out choice: located seven miles from the centre of Inverness, it houses 38 bedrooms across lodges 200 metres from the historic Achnagairn castle.

The design of each bedroom is unique, inspired by colourful topics such as Scottish thistles and the post-impressionist artist Georges Seurat. The lodges can accommodate between 10 and 12 people, so it’s a great option for a group getaway with friends.

If you’re looking for a group getaway with plenty of gorgeous walks and luxurious surroundings, a stay at Achnagairn Estate lodges really will be a stay that you won’t forget!

Achnagairn Estate

Top rated
Inverness
8.5 Excellent (119 reviews)