GAVIN Munro checks into a sprawling five-star country club in rural Renfrewshire
RURAL Renfrewshire is uncharted territory for the Munro family, so we were looking forward to our western adventure. We turned off the M8 just after Paisley and instantly found ourselves surrounded by quaint countryside in a world apart from the big city, 20 minutes’ drive away.
Our toddler, Reuben, spotted our destination first and let us know with an outburst of “clip clop clip clop neigh”. Ingliston Country Club is an equestrian paradise with stables housing over 200 horses, two indoor and two outdoor riding arenas plus lots of paddocks with contented ponies all around. But we were there for a simple family weekend break.
BUDGET OR BOUTIQUE?
Ingliston Country Club estate has a five-star Scottish Tourist Board rating for its overall facilities. Owned by the Fraser family, the purpose-built hotel has only been open for two years, so everything is gleaming, modern and pristine.
Over in the adjacent Country Club building, you’ll find the bar and restaurant, indoor riding arenas, training rooms and two function suites for events of up to 150 people. Last year Ingliston hosted over 160 weddings. Its popularity is not surprising when you see the extensive choice of first-class facilities and impeccably designed venues. The Salerno Suite, for example, includes many pieces of exquisite original furniture from the Savoy Hotel, such as the “scroll bench”, where newly-weds can sit and take a minute’s rest knowing that Marilyn Monroe and Humphrey Bogart sat on the same seat for a photo shoot.
With floor to ceiling windows overlooking the riding arenas and the countryside beyond, our room is bright, airy and appealing and has enough floor space to comfortably accommodate our travel cot and a pile of toys. The bathroom is bijou but uber-modern, with a fabulous walk-in rainfall shower. There are basic tea and coffee making facilities as well as a flat-screen TV. The hotel has 30 boutique bedrooms plus a hair and beauty salon specialising in preparing brides and wedding guests for the big day. There are also ten beautiful two- and three-bedroom log cabin-style lodges within the stables area of the estate.
WINING AND DINING
Palomino’s Restaurant is a large, down-to-earth eatery. With views into the two indoor riding arenas, canny families tie in riding lessons with a family meal. On arrival, we were promptly shown to our table and the waiter brought over a children’s computer tablet for our son. Between the games and watching riding lessons, Reuben was happily occupied as we waited for our food. For my main course I had Palomino’s beef burger with added buffalo mozzarella and pesto, served with chunky chips and coleslaw. It sounds quite ordinary but seldom have I seen such a huge burger, and it tasted freshly-made and delicious. My wife treated herself to the Buccleuch fillet steak topped with tiger prawn skewers – it was a delight. For our son we ordered the fish and chips from the extensive kids’ menu. The fish was fresh, the batter crispy and the portion was big enough to satisfy the appetite of even the greediest child.
The next morning the fare was equally impressive, served in the sunny and spacious breakfast room. It was a great start to the day and for lazy people like us, breakfast is served until the civilised time of 10.30am. Perfect.
ORTH GETTING OUT OF BED FOR
The on-site play park is the poshest I’ve ever encountered with wonderful wooden equipment for children of all ages. It has the cutest toddler-sized picnic tables and little wooden dens to hide in. Nearby is a stunning drinks terrace and gazebo to sit enjoying the scenery while keeping an eye on the kids. And once you’ve had enough horse riding or pony petting, Loch Lomond and all its amenities are only 20 minutes away by car.
If you fancy a sweet treat, pop along to the patisserie for a choice of lovely cakes to take back to your room.
Seldom has the family felt so at home in a hotel.
• Rooms from £75 to £130 per night. Super Sundays, three course dinner, overnight stay and breakfast for a couple, £99. Ingliston Country Club, Ingliston Estate, Bishopton, Renfrewshire, PA7 5PA. Tel: 0845 301 1010, firstname.lastname@example.org, ingliston.com