Scotland on Sunday Travel: Do Not Disturb - The Atholl Arms, Dunkeld

Enjoy a touch of luxury amidst the rustic Scottish countryside at the Atholl Arms Hotel, writes Rachael Davies.

The Atholl Arms greets visitors entering the town of Dunkeld. Photo: Rachael Davies.
The Atholl Arms greets visitors entering the town of Dunkeld. Photo: Rachael Davies.

With all the creature comforts of a four-star hotel and the stunning scenery of a forest park on your doorstep, Dunkeld’s Atholl Arms Hotel is perfect for a countryside escape in Highland Perthshire Just a 90-minute drive from Edinburgh makes it the ideal location for a weekend stay if you’re coming from the capital, or an easy find if you’re travelling from further afield via train or plane.

The picturesque hotel greets us as we enter the town of Dunkeld, perched just off the bridge over the rushing River Tay.

Inside the whitewashed building is a cosy but luxurious welcome space, outfitted with comfy armchairs and a welcoming front desk. Above lie a series of modern rooms, offering contemporary style with a lodge-style feel.The sweeping staircase lets you feel as though you’re staying in a large country home, but with all the luxuries and conveniences of a modern hotel, perfect for a comfortable base to explore the surrounding countryside.

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Room service

The 17 rooms themselves are impeccably put together, with every thought clearly geared towards comfort and cosiness. The communal area of the hotel represent the best of traditional lodge decor, blending well with the modern atmosphere of the rooms.

The bathrooms are kitted out with toiletries from family-run Scottish company, the Highland Soap Company. For whatever kind of holiday you’re embarking on, there is a wide range of rooms to choose from at Atholl Arms Hotel, all with en-suite bathrooms, TV, wi-fi and a hospitality tray of tea, coffee, and biscuits.

Spread across the first and second floors, six of the rooms look directly out onto the River Tay through large, original windows, making the most of the hotel’s picturesque location.

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The inviting entrance hall of the Atholl Arms. Photo: Rachael Davies.

Budget or boutique?

With this attention to detail in mind, Atholl Arms is certainly boutique, with no expense spared to give you a splendid stay.

Wining and dining

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Choose from relaxed bistro dining at Z’s Bar & Bistro or go upmarket at the Riverview Restaurant, both found on the ground floor and serving a wide range of food options. An extensive wine list means you’ll also be served the perfect pairing for whatever dish you choose.

Comfy armchairs and squishy sofas lend a homey atmosphere to the hotel. Photo: Rachael Davies.

For starters in the bistro, we tucked into the day’s special of oven-baked Camembert bites with cranberry sauce. For the main course we elected for Thai red curry and confit duck leg, both cooked and seasoned to perfection. The relaxed dining experience of the bistro was perfectly complemented by the attentive staff, on hand to offer advice and recommending whiskies for us both to finish off the meal.

Next day we started with a visit to the Riverview Restaurant for breakfast where we accompanied options from the continental breakfast buffet with avocado on toast and a freshly-made omelette from the hot food menu.

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Worth getting out of bed for

On one side of the hotel, enjoy sweeping views of the River Tay and the arched bridge crossing it. To the other, stroll down the picture-perfect town high street, lined with independent shops and eateries.

The Master Suite starts from £375 a night. Photo: Rachael Davies.

The nearby Forest Tay Park offers walking paths to explore the surrounding countryside, with particular highlights including Ossian’s Cave and Pinecone View Point.

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You’re also just a half-hour drive from the Cairngorns National Park, ideal for wildlife-spotting, hiking, and cycling trails, and exploring the heather moors of the Park.

Little extras

Easily the most enjoyable element of the hotel is the friendliness of the staff, always on hand to chat and offer advice on food, drink, and the surrounding area. The hotel also welcomes dogs in some of the rooms.

Guestbook comments

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A wonderful spot to call a home from home while exploring the Scottish countryside, bringing luxury comfort to a quaint fairytale location.

There is a wide range of food options at both restaurants. Photo: Rachael Davies.

Double and twin rooms start from £101 B&B, based on two sharing, rising to £151 for riverside rooms and £375 for the Master Suite.

Atholl Arms Hotel at Bridgehead, Tay Terrace, Dunkeld, Perthshire PH8 OAQ. (01350 727219, [email protected])

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