Scotland

North Coast 500 hotels: where to stay along the way

The North Coast 500 is Scotland's newest driving route. To help you find your ideal hotel, we’ve handpicked our favourite hotels along the NC500.

The Highlands offers plenty of accommodation types for visitors, with lots of friendly B&Bs or romantic countryside hotels to choose from. But after hours of driving along the NC500 route’s meandering roads, you’ll probably want to lay your head somewhere special.

To help you on your way, we’ve handpicked our favourite hotels along the North Coast 500. From city-centre locations to sea-front castles, we’ve got your places to stay covered.

1. Start your NC500 road trip at Royal Highlands

Conveniently situated next to Inverness train station, the centrally-located Royal Highland is the ideal place to start your road trip and explore Inverness’ historic city-centre.

Guests arriving at the Royal Highland will be greeted by the hotel’s impressive lobby. Exuding an air of old-world charm, the striking imperial staircase is one of the first things to catch your eye. Tastefully designed, the lobby is decorated with tartan carpets and antique soft-furnishings – make sure to check out the impressive stag’s head which is hung on the lobby wall.

The hotel’s comfortable Classic Rooms come with tea and coffee making facilities, flat screen TV and a trouser press. The rooms can be booked as either a classic Double Room or spacious Twin Room.

Royal Highland

Inverness
8.0 Very good (2597 reviews)

2. Dornoch Castle Hotel, one of Highland's most luxurious hotels

Since the 1200s, a fortress has always been found on the site of what is now Dornoch Castle Hotel. Throughout the centuries, the hotel has taken on many forms, first as home to the prominent Earls of Sutherland, then a courthouse, jail and even a school.

Presently, Dornoch Castle is one of the Highland’s most luxurious hotels and is an ideal stop-over during your NC500 road trip. Found in the picturesque village of Dornoch, the hotel is a one hour drive from Inverness and boasts 24 en-suite rooms, which all have their own individual style and character.

The hotel’s Tower Room Deluxe is situated in the original castle building and features a stunning hand-carved four-poster bed, aged wood-panelling, wood-burning stove and luxurious bathroom, which is fitted with a Jacuzzi – ideal for resting weary bones after long walks through the Highlands.

Hotel Dornoch Castle

Dornoch
8.1 Very good (250 reviews)

3. Mackays Hotel, a pet-friendly along the way

Perched in the picturesque town of Wick, on the coast of the north edge of Scotland, Mackays Hotel is located on Ebenezer Place, otherwise known as “the shortest street in the world” according to the Guinness Book of World Records.
Set in a 19th century building, this country estate makes for an elegant and chic stay. Upgrade your room for Jacuzzi tubs, iPod docks, or a lush Wick River view. For a little extra privacy, book one of the fully serviced or self-catering holiday apartments.
Everywhere from specialty rooms to the public spaces to the restaurant at Mackays is pet-friendly – one of the only hotels in the area that welcomes furry friends.

Make your way to the No. 1 Bistro for local and seasonal Scottish fare, as well as an excellent whiskey selection. When you feel like getting out and about, wet your whistle with a tour of the nearby Old Pulteney Distillery, discover the surrounding nature and history of Caithness or take a brisk seaside walk.

Mackays Hotel

Wick
8.4 Very good (223 reviews)

4. Kincraig Castle Hotel, an award-winning luxury countryside estate

Kincraig Castle Hotel is a step back in time with all the modern amenities.
The 15 en-suite rooms make for a more private hotel experience – perfect for getting some real peace and quiet. Four-poster beds and period furnishings complete the elegant décor. Wake up in linen sheets to views across the lawns.
Get cosy by the lounge fireplace in the winter and cool off on the outdoor terrace in the warmer months. A stroll around the private gardens is sure to be splendid no matter the time of year.
Head to The Alexander, an AA Rosette restaurant, for traditional Scottish dishes made using seasonal ingredients in a formal setting. Stop by in the afternoon for a traditional highland tea. For a more relaxed vibe and an extensive drinks menu, make a beeline for the Turret Bar.

As for activities, Kincraig is close to the Invergordon Naval Museum & Heritage Centre and picturesque Invergordon is a quick 2.8 miles away. Or take a day trip to Inverness – the hotel offers free on-site parking.

Kincraig Castle Hotel

Top rated
Invergordon
9.0 Excellent (166 reviews)

5. Coul House, a North Coast 500 hotel to complete your adventure

The family-run Coul House is situated just 30 minutes from Inverness and is the perfect hotel from which to complete your NC500 adventure. Located in the heart of the Scottish countryside, Coul House allows guests to unwind and recharge their batteries after their long journey.

Visitors who love the great outdoors will have lots to keep them entertained, with acres of perfectly-manicured gardens to explore, as well as a fun nine-hole pitch-and-putt course. If adventure-sports are more your thing, Coul House will be happy to organise any special requests. Why not try mountain-biking through the nearby Achilty Forest or horse-riding at Broom Hill Riding Centre?

In the evenings, you can relax in one of Coul House’s charming guestrooms. All rooms are en-suite and come with flat-screen TVs, tea and coffee making facilities and breath-taking views over the Strathconon countryside.

Coul House Hotel

Strathpeffer
9.4 Excellent (192 reviews)