I’ve been living in Edinburgh for some six months now so the time for a little adventure into the countryside was long overdue. Even before arriving at Dunalastair it was clear I was on to a winner, with the last ten or so miles granting me stunning views of Highland Perthshire. The hotel is nestled in the heart of Kinloch Rannoch, and what the village lacks in size it more than makes up for in charm. Originally constructed as Highland Sporting Lodge, Dunalastair has recently undergone a two-year, multi-million pound revamp and now has 32 luxury suites just a stone’s throw from the picturesque surrounds of Loch Rannoch. The five suite categories include superior suites, deluxe suites, grand deluxe suites, luxury one bedroom suites and family two bedroom suites.
Budget or boutique?
The hotel reopened its doors on 1 May, with its management promising to set the benchmark for five-star luxury in Scotland. That’s a pretty tall order but it’s fair to say the hotel has done a good job of balancing a sense of home-from-home comfort with modern luxury. A team of award-winning architects have breathed new life into the building, with the attention to detail evident in its many items of bespoke furniture and its airy layout. There’s also a central courtyard for relaxing with a drink on sun-soaked evenings – sadly not the case during my visit, but there’s always next time.
A good-sized room had a bed almost as wide as it was long. Split into two main sections, it had a comfortable lounge space as well as a mini kitchen, with a fridge, sink and microwave oven. The bathroom had a powerful walk-in shower and plenty of top-end toiletries to choose from. Essential items such as a hairdryer, iron and ironing board were stashed in the spacious wardrobe, and there was also a nice selection of teas and coffees to suit all moods. And as for the bowl of mini shortbread biscuits – well, let’s just say that didn’t last very long.
Wining and dining
At the heart of the hotel lies Edina’s Kitchen, a bustling hub for guests throughout the day as well as in the evening. Everything served up is locally sourced produce selected by head chef Dan Merriman, with the restaurant offering breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as an all-day grazing menu. Having tucked into some tasty sandwiches on my arrival, the evening meal I devoured later on was certainly a highlight of my stay. I particularly enjoyed my crab and mango starter, but that’s not to say my monkfish main and blood orange parfait dessert weren’t equally delicious. Had I been staying a few more days I would have happily eaten my way through the entire menu. The hotel also has a wide-ranging breakfast menu.
Worth getting out of bed for
The rooms at Dunalastair are comfortable enough that you could easily while away the hours indoors, but there’s still plenty to do and see in the surrounding area. You can explore the village on foot – Dunalastair is just a few minutes’ walk from the loch – and go for a hike up nearby Craig Varr, but realistically you need a car to make the most of what’s on offer. Nearby excursions include a visit to the Edradour distillery – Scotland’s smallest – and a visit to House of Bruar, in whose food hall I had to exercise serious restraint. About 18 miles from the hotel is The Queen’s View stop-off, offering breathtaking views down the length of Loch Tummel. The hotel also has a couple of bicycles available for guests who fancy exploring on two wheels, and there are plenty of fishing and hiking possibilities available in the wider region.
A great combination of contemporary luxury in peaceful surroundings. Perfect for a spot of relaxation while remaining on the doorstep of the great outdoors.
There was free wi-fi throughout my stay and it was easy to use and reliable. Staff were welcoming and full of advice for where to visit.
Prices start at £155 for a superior suite. Dunalastair Hotel Suites, 1 The Square, Kinloch Rannoch, Perth and Kinross PH16 5PW. Tel: 01882 580444, www.dunalastairhotel.com