Meticulous attention to detail is everywhere at The Old Manse of Blair – with an emphasis on utilising local produce for maximum comfort. Such minutiae make the converted minister’s home instantly comforting and eternally memorable.
Budget or boutique?
The 18-room hotel is a five-star boutique affair boasting contemporary touches around each corner, while maintaining links to its past.
Wining and dining
The Orangery restaurant is under the slick craftmanship of executive head chef, Jonny Greer, formerly of The Gleneagles Hotel.
Starters include quail in truffle butter and celeriac remoulade, beautifully presented scallop or rich ballotines of chicken and goose liver.
To follow there’s tender crusted loin and braised shoulder of Perthshire lamb; mouth-watering roast breast of Gressingham duck while vegetarians can opt for a pave of sweet potato, red pepper and goats cheese.
To finish there’s a warming toffee pudding, vanilla panna cotta showcasing Perthshire berries and the Old Manse rhubarb and custard, with cheeky rhubarb consomme served in miniature teapot.
As you emerge for breakfast the smell of fresh baking croissants greets you and you are spoiled for choice with platters of meats, bowls of fruits, jars of juices and jams, and a selection of cereals. This is all before you decide what you want cooked up from the kitchen.
Wooden doors lead you into light rooms full of bespoke furniture and soft furnishings, while an extensive art collection adorns the walls. The artisan approach extends to decor with wall mirrors framed with pheasant feathers collected and arranged by Anne. A sybaritic shag carpet adds another layer of comfort while capacious king-sized beds offer snug refuge.
Bathrooms adjoining each room are lavishly large, with deep tub baths and expansive showers, while Stirling-made soaps are a finishing touch.
In the Georgian wing, sash windows look out over undulating lawns and trimmed rhododendron while ponies graze in the paddock. Further still and the Perthshire hills remind you this is the perfect jumping off point for a Highlands adventure.
Wifi and satellite TV are available throughout.
Worth getting out of bed for
The nearby village of Blair Atholl sits on the swirling confluence of the Rivers Tilt and Garry in the midst of the Grampian Mountains and guests have a plethora of outdoor pursuits within easy reach.
Glistening river waters offer salmon fishing, while clay pigeon shooting and quad biking are also available.
A 45-minute drive away is Schiehallion, the rocky pinnacle of which tests even the most ardent walker.
Close by is Blair Castle, the ancestral home of the Clan Murray and historically the seat of their chief, the Duke of Atholl. The castle stands in Glen Garry and commands a strategic position on the main route through the central Scottish Highlands.
Whisky aficionados can stop off for a tipple at the Blair Athol Distillery, producers of the Blair Athol single malt.
...are everywhere, from Katy Rodgers’ award-winning yoghurts to artisan soaps from Stirling – always with an emphasis on supporting independent producers.
A nod to chef Jonny’s enthusiastic accommodation of dietary requirements too, with bespoke breakfasts offered.
The appeal of The Old Manse of Blair to international visitors is testament to its allure in offering an authentic and relaxing introduction to Highland Perthshire and guests from New York and Berlin told us the boutique experience was perfect in setting them up for fishing and swimming pursuits.
Rooms from £275 per night. Reader offer: Three nights for the price of two Sunday to Thursday – valid until Thursday. The Old Manse of Blair, Blair Atholl, Highland Perthshire PH18 5TN
[email protected] (44 (0)1796 483344, theoldmanseofblair.com)