Scotland on Sunday travel wishlist: The Tontine Hotel, Peebles
Relax on the river bank
The Tontine Hotel, Peebles
Is there any country in the world which looks so different depending on the weather as Scotland does? As soon as the sun starts shining down on the sprawling hills and wooded areas it beats with a stunning vibrancy. We could not have asked for a more picturesque panoramic view as we made the 45-minute drive from the north of Edinburgh down to Peebles, even if my wife’s attempts to take in the scenery while simultaneously doing 60mph behind the wheel of our Fiat 500 did give me heart palpitations.
The double bedroom was a mix of flaxen yellow and teal with a number of helpful amenities such as two bedside tables with power sockets – we millennials need to charge our phones while remaining within reaching distance at all times – a pair of lamps, a trouser press, two tables (one of which would be perfect for working remotely) and a TV that, impressively, had both Netflix and Amazon Prime. (Who watches actual channels these days?) The real winner, though, was the view. Just beyond the car park lay the River Tweed with a healthy amount of greenery at either side and hills in the distance.
Wining and dining
Initially given the option to eat outside as The Tontine’s front area gets plenty of sun until 6:30pm, we retreated into The Adam Room as things began to get chilly. Salmon three ways and scallops with black pudding were the two starters, the latter of which was beautifully presented and enjoyably light, since the black pudding didn’t overpower the dish’s seafood star.
For mains we opted for specials. I went for the monkfish curry, sourced from a fishmongers literally a stone’s throw down the street, while my wife tried the lamb shank, which had been brought in because a large group of golfers requested the dish the week before, pointing at the hotel’s willingness to go the extra mile to accommodate.
For dessert we couldn’t go wrong with sticky toffee pudding, while the cheese board went perfectly with a superb bottle of Argentine Malbec. Though the hotel bar was off-limits due to Covid-19 safety measures, the hotel staff were happy to fetch the drinks. There were around 20 different whiskies available, all of which were priced at £3.90, while there was also the option of ordering cocktails.
Unfortunately, owing to struggles with distributors due to ongoing lockdown measures, it wasn’t possible to order a pint of lager, but bottled beers were still available. Things were also a little different at breakfast as a buffet could not be laid, but everything we ordered from the waiting staff came quickly.
Worth getting out of bed for
The Tontine is right on Peebles high street and handy for multiple activities. Keen golfers often visit to spoil a good walk, while it’s perfect for those who like to hike, enjoy the countryside or fish. Thanks to the hotel, we were able to take a couple of electric bikes down to Innerleithen seven miles away – a nice balance of exercise without feeling like your thigh muscles would explode going up steep hills.
Budget or boutique?
A mix of the two. Prices were reasonable but it didn’t feel basic guesthouse either. The decor was Victorian Scottish: high-ceilings, deep colours, arched windows and a sprinkle of tartan. There was plenty of space to enjoy a relaxing drink at a social distance from others.
The plates and glasses were from Genware, which typically supplies high-end restaurants like Six by Nico. The Tontine is dog friendly. And did I mention they had Netflix in the room?!
A thoroughly agreeable stay in a place filled with attentive and knowledgeable staff who clearly take pride in the hotel. With an ideal location, if we ever fancied another trip to Peebles this would be our first port of call.
Rooms start at £110 per night for a standard double for a minimum of two nights, which includes breakfast. Larger doubles are available at £135 per night. Adding dinner to B&B costs an extra £50 per day. The Tontine Hotel, High St, Peebles EH45 8AJ (01721 720892; https://www.tontinehotel.com/)
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