NESTLED away from the noise of traffic, crowds and general trappings of city life, a stay in this hotel should be handed out on prescription to anyone suffering the effects of 21st-century living.
Originally built in 1885, it has recently been taken over and transformed into a luxury escape, complete with fine dining and spa facilities. From the quaint bar to the large, modern swimming pool, this retreat has everything to offer for a couple looking for a romantic hideaway or for a girlie weekend. And with no children allowed, there really is nothing left to worry about.
HOW DO I GET THERE? By car, Knock Castle is an hour's drive from Edinburgh and Scotland's other major cities. The closest train station to Crieff is Gleneagles, less than ten miles away.
BED TEST Despite having just over 20 rooms, Knock Castle has everything from suites and deluxe rooms to the more standard but perfectly proportioned single and doubles. Our room boasted a four-poster bed, and a gadget-laden bath and shower, with Jacuzzi and steam room. The only downside was the view from the window – or the lack of one – and noise coming from an outside generator sporadically duriong the night.
WHAT'S THE FOOD LIKE? Exquisite. Tucked away in the turreted private section of the grand dining room, looking out at the spectacular hills of the Strathearn Valley, we feasted on culinary delights that looked as good as they tasted. And don't miss breakfast.
OUT AND ABOUT The grounds are spectacular and a real treat to walk around, so there's no excuse for not taking a stroll during your stay. For the more adventurous, there is an abundance of outdoor activities such as hill walking and fishing on the doorstep, as well as golf courses. Guests can also take a dip in the pool or use the gym facilities. But if it all gets too much you can always relax with a drink in the lovely summer house, which comes complete with electricity supply and music – a beautiful setting from which to watch the sunset.
LITTLE EXTRAS The staff make a stay here special as they fall over themselves to cater for your every need. The small film theatre is a great touch, kitted out to give an authentic cinema experience but with the privacy of your front room.
THE BOTTOM LINE Prices start from 159 a night for dinner, bed and breakfast in a standard double room, until March.
Knock Castle Hotel and Spa
Drummond Terrace, Crieff, Perthshire
(01764 650088, www.knockcastle.com)
• This article first appeared in the 29 November edition of Scotland on Sunday