There are bargains to be had at the country's best hotels - Scotsman Comment

As we endure a dreich start to the Scottish spring, it is tempting to dream of a Mediterranean beach, poolside drinks, or even dinner - cooked by someone else! - al fresco. What luxury, after a long winter cooped up at home.

Hotel bookings across Scotland are down. Picture: Lisa Ferguson/JPIMedia

Our perhaps natural desire to hold out on holiday plans, just in case restrictions ease sufficiently to allow us to fly somewhere warmer and dryer, may help explain why Scotland's hospitality industry - so vital to this nation's economy - is struggling to win bookings.

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At a time when occupancy should be nudging towards 85 per cent or beyond, some famous hotels are struggling to reach 50 per cent. Uncertainty about rules, attractions and festivals translates into tourists' unwillingness to commit. A deeper fear of being in crowds may also linger with us for longer than the worst of the virus.

For those willing to venture out, however, there are sights to be seen and bargains to be had. Rooms, even suites, in hotels which once would have been out of reach are now a manageable treat.

And while our weather is always liable to surprise us, we can be confident the welcome for staycationers will be toasty warm this summer.

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