You could enjoy this unique five-star hotel on BBC2’s Amazing Hotels; Life Beyond The Lobby, presented by Monica Galetti and Giles Coren, or better still visit yourself as it has now re-opened. An hour and 15 minutes’ drive (65 miles) through stunning scenery from Inverness airport, or an overnight journey from London to Inverness on the Caledonian Sleeper, The Torridon is ideally situated for bagging Munros, kayaking, cycling mountain trails or driving along the scenic NC500. Or you could just hunker down and enjoy the luxuries of the family-owned hotel that’s collected a slew of awards – five red stars from the AA, Cateys, five gold stars from Visit Scotland, and Scottish Hotel of the Year twice.
Covid measures include closing on Mondays and Tuesdays for deep cleaning, a single-point check-in for all guests, and a new staff rota to aid social distancing.
Also a priority are its green credentials. The Torridon has won a Green Gold Tourism Award, is a supporter of the Wester Ross Unesco Biosphere, and uses biomass energy created onsite from woodchip and timber, rhododendron wood on the open fires, and pure water from a bore hole on the estate saving the use of 10,000 plastic bottles a year. Cowshed dispensers in the rooms wipe out 40,000 toiletry bottles annually. Chargers for electric cars, including Tesla vehicles, are also available.
Budget or boutique?
Set in a 58-acre estate at the head of a sea loch in the Scottish Highlands, the former shooting lodge of the first Earl of Lovelace, Torridon took 20 years to build and was completed in 1887.
There are three types of accommodation to choose from, with 18 individually designed hotel rooms, many with amazing views, including the dog-friendly Chestnut Cottage, a deluxe suite with extra sofa bed, and two impressive suites, The Torridon and the 1887, both with extensive sitting rooms. At The Stables there are 12 contemporary, cosy rooms (doubles, twins and family) and The Boat House is a private two-bedroom cottage.
Worth getting out of bed for?
Try the Torridon Outdoor Experience with private instructor to guide you through water activities, including sea kayaking, gorge scrambling and coasteering, or land-based mountain biking, Munro hiking and nature trails. From £315pp (two sharing) including two nights’ hotel accommodation, daily breakfast, and one full day of activities with an instructor.
Explore the 516-mile NC500’s epic scenery by car, motorbike or bicycle, or take the hotel’s resident Morgan 4/4 for a spin – one day’s hire costs £250. Astronomer Stephen Mackintosh dazzles with the Stargazing Experience, £250pp (two sharing), with three-course dinner, stargazing lecture, stargazing excursion, Q&A, and complimentary photographs.
Fancy something more leisurely? Take a walk around the Gin Garden and explore the herbs found in the hotel’s own Arcturus gin, or head for the award-winning Whisky Bar, where there’s a whisky for every day of the year.
Wining and dining
Fruit, veg and herbs are all grown in the two-acre kitchen garden, and Highland cattle and mixed breed pigs are reared at the hotel’s own farm. Arcturus gin is distilled at Dunnet Bay Distillery with local rowanberries, lovage, kelp, blueberries and loch water.
Dine in refined splendour at 1887, where head chef Paul Green wows with local produce – roasted cod, garden peas and courgettes and raw scallop, gooseberries, tomato and fennel – or opt for private dining in the oak-panelled library. Crowd-pleasing dishes are in abundance at the hotel’s Bo & Muc restaurant and there are Scottish ales and live folk music at the dog-friendly Beinn Bar.
A leaving gift of native British wildflower seeds – Field Scabious, Birdsfoot Trefoil and Selfheal – is part of efforts to revitalise the bee population. Or take home a bottle of the hotel’s new Scots Pine edition Arcturus gin.
The Torridon is a place like no other. Its welcoming team and majestic setting are a refreshing antidote to months of restrictions, with clean air and miles of rugged wilderness to explore.
Rooms start from £295 including breakfast. The Torridon, By Achnasheen, Wester Ross IV22 2EY, (01445 791 242 www.thetorridon.com)
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