Set in stunning scenery on the North Rhins of Galloway close to Stranraer and the pretty port of Portpatrick, Corsewall Lighthouse Hotel is set in the old keepers’ accommodation around the Corsewall lighthouse tower, designed by Robert Stevenson, grandfather of the novelist and part of the Stevenson Lighthouse dynasty.
This place is big on scenery, which is why it was one of the locations for the Gerard Butler/Peter Mullan psychological thriller drama The Vanishing, but the atmosphere and welcome awaiting are a lot more relaxed than in the film.
New owners Helen Mason and John Harris were smitten when they first set foot in the for sale hotel last year and aim to “keep what’s special while updating”, honouring outstanding bookings and looking forward to welcoming guests after the current lockdown.
“Our original plan was to run everything for a year as it was, but lockdown has given us the opportunity to start painting and get to grips with things behind the scenes,” says Helen, although so far the challenge has been “to concentrate on the job and stop looking at the scenery”.
As well as being a unique and historic place to stay, with the possibility of future tours of the lighthouse being explored by the couple, the hotel is situated in an area teeming with wildlife, deer, seals, birds and an occasionally sighted family of sea otters. It’s the perfect destination for photographers such as John whose work will hang throughout the hotel, while it’s also ideal for exploring South West Scotland.
The hotel is currently closed but once open, extra cleaning of all rooms is in place between stays and extra soft furnishings removed. There is social distancing and a one way system in public areas, plus extra cleaning and sanitising stations.
Budget or boutique?
Boutique but unique - how many hotels have their own lighthouse tower?
There are six rooms in the hotel, one with private balcony. A neutral palette sets off John’s photography and rooms are comfortably furnished but as part of the original lighthouse keepers’ accommodation, space is sometimes at a premium in the smaller rooms. All but one have ensuite showers and the other has a nearby private bathroom. The external buildings are mostly converted from the original outbuildings and have more space and generally better sea views - in the house there is a lighthouse tower in the way! There is free wifi in the main hotel building.
Wining and Dining
With chef Andrew Downie presiding over the kitchen the five-course dinner includes starters such as goats cheese and red onion tartlet, locally smoked salmon and duck and prime Galloway beef fillet with whisky, mushroom, peppercorn, red wine and tomato reduction, followed by Ecclefechan Tart or Scottish cheeses.
The dinner, bed and breakfast package includes a five course dinner and there is in-room dining available.
A full Scottish breakfast is included in the price and smoked salmon is always available.
The hotel also welcomes drop-in guests for snacks in the lounge area or outside.
Worth Getting Out of Bed For
Stunning scenery to explore starts right outside the hotel with the iron age fort of Dunskirkloch in the hotel grounds, and walks along the rugged coastline with views of Ailsa Craig. Further afield there’s golf at Stranraer Golf Club or Dunskey Golf Club at Portpatrick, and Logan Botanic Garden is an oasis of exotic specimens that make for a relaxing afternoon’s stroll. Sea fishing is recommended from the rocky shoreline or by boat from Portpatrick.
Round off the day’s exertions with a relaxed evening sampling the best of local food over a leisurely five course dinner before heading off to bed in a location where the sounds of the city are replaced by the wind and waves.
John and Helen live on site and are always on hand to give advice on how to get the best from the area. John is a professional photographer and you can book a photographic walk with him to learn how to get the best out of your camera and the local scenery. (Anything from a mobile phone to DSLR is welcome, as are complete beginners).
There are dog friendly dining areas available.
A great place for weddings or small groups to celebrate in an atmospheric place with amazing views along the coast.
Prices Rooms from £160 for dinner, bed and breakfast for two.
Address, Corsewall Lighthouse Hotel, Corsewall Point, Kirkcolm, Stranraer DG9 0QG (01776 853220, https://www.lighthousehotel.co.uk
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