Do Not Disturb
Pitlochry, in the heart of Highland Perthshire, is one of the prettiest towns in Scotland and this four-star bed and breakfast fits right in. It’s on a quiet street close to the town centre, edged by mature trees and looking on to a wildlife habitat centred on a pond. It’s the perfect base for enjoying the outdoors, but so comfortable you may just pray for rain.
Wining and dining
Being a guest house, there’s no restaurant, but the breakfast fare created by the wonderfully warm proprietors, Jane and Calum MacLellan, wins gongs year after year. Choose from the full Scottish, the continental, scrambled egg & salmon or sautéed flat mushroom with Stornoway black pudding topped with a poached egg, served in a newly refurbished dining room with views as mouthwatering as the food. And if you don’t fancy an evening bite at one of Pitlochry’s handy eateries – we enjoyed a gorgeous dinner and first-rate service at the family-run Victoria’s Italian restaurant – order one of Craigmhor’s unique supper hampers, featuring excellent local ingredients. We went for the Cheese Lovers’ option, which brought a range of classy varieties, accompanied by grapes, coleslaw, relishes, oatcakes and more, all washed down with Highland water – a snip at just £24.95 for two. If you’re heading off on an adventure, the guest house can also provide a hearty packed lunch, whatever your dietary requirements.
Choose a suite in the original Victorian lodge which dates to 1896 and boasts well-proportioned rooms, high ceilings and intricate cornicing and skirting; or you can opt for the purpose-built, luxury, two-storey Courtyard development, constructed in wood and mellow stone to sit perfectly by the Lodge. Forest-facing Courtyard suites feature a balcony terrace so you can enjoy the fresh air and birdsong. For easy access there are also several suites on the ground floor. Whatever your choice, you’re guaranteed stylish décor, big, comfy beds and plush bathroom facilities – some accommodation has a shower and a bath. Expect wall-mounted plasma TV, DVD player, mini-fridge, tea and espresso-making facilities, iron and board. The Bluetooth system, which connects your own music device to the suite’s speakers, is brilliant.
Worth getting out of bed for
Pitlochry Dam and Fish Ladder Walk is fascinating and photogenic, the Explorers Garden is a peaceful paradise, but we were visiting to check out Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s summer season, which offers six disparate shows in rep until October. The weekend we visited, Alan Bennett’s People, Cole Porter’s High Society and JM Barrie’s Mary Rose were being performed. We booked tickets for the latter and weren’t disappointed by this heartbreaking ghost story which provides food for thought along with the shivers – it captivated the young Alfred Hitchcock when it opened in 1920. The play was brilliantly produced and acted, and worth the trip alone.
Budget or boutique?
Craigmhor Lodge & Courtyard is boutique quality at competitive prices; the summer tariff varies from £125-175 per room, per night, based on two adults sharing, depending on choice of accommodation.
The wifi is fast, the bottled water refreshing, the bathrobes pristine and the bathrooms come with scented candles. There are big umbrellas to borrow if you’re worried about the weather, and if the day is a total washout, grab a DVD from the Craigmhor’s collection and order the Movie Night popcorn package.
From the minute you arrive to the moment you leave, the Craigmhor crew are dedicated to your comfort. Jane and her team are friendly and attentive, but discreet. It’s easy to see why this guest house has won the hearts of TripAdvisor users – not an easy task!
Craigmhor Lodge & Courtyard, 27 West Moulin Road, Pitlochry PH16 5EF (01796 472123, www.craigmhorlodge.co.uk)
Victoria’s, 45 Atholl Road, Pitlochry (01796 472 670, victorias-pitlochry.co.uk)
Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Port Na Craig, Pitlochry. Show prices start at £16.50; see website for ‘See six shows in six days’ deal (01796 484626, pitlochryfestivaltheatre.com)