With stunning views and Gothic-styling, Stephen McIlkenny falls for a secluded hideaway
While Balmoral would eventually become the retreat of choice for Queen Victoria in Scotland, legend has it that when honeymooning in Perthshire, it was the secluded and intimate lodgings of the White Tower that she opted for in favour of Taymouth Castle.
And having spent an evening in the recently renovated White Tower, it’s easy to understand its timeless appeal, with stunning views and Gothic-styled turrets.
Having opted to take the scenic route from Glasgow, my partner and I caught our first look at the tower as we cleared a stand of trees above Loch Tay.
A white-faced turret with modern extensions greeted us, and even from the foot of the tower, the view was stunning.
We couldn’t wait to see what was inside and we were not disappointed by the quality of the interiors.
We loved the luxury modern kitchen, fully stocked with everything you could possibly need to whip up a feast for a family or a large group. I couldn’t wait to try the coffee machine, but first we had to explore the rest of the accommodation.
Spiralling up from the kitchen we discovered and were immediately charmed by – in order of preference – the cosy sitting room with a log fire, the luxury sauna and spacious shower. I must admit however that my favourite room in the property was arguably the most understated. A small, tastefully decorated reading room stocked with books, bespoke furniture and curtains and cushions in muted tartan served as a hideaway from the rest of the property. Sitting by the turret window in a reading chair, I couldn’t help but long for a cold, rainy night that would give me permission to hole up here and work my way through the entire library.
However, with just one night at White Tower, I decided to save that indulgence for another time, especially as we hadn’t quite seen everything that our accommodation had to offer. Luxury bedrooms and ensuite bathrooms with upscale features like freestanding baths dominated the next two levels. It was quickly becoming clear why the guest book was filled with such happy comments from honeymooners and couples praising the relaxing stay they had enjoyed. However, the most fabulous feature of the tower was yet to reveal itself.
At the apogee of the tower we found the master bedroom, with simply stunning views from the narrow windows on either side of the bed with a TV mounted in between. We almost didn’t notice the discreet spiral staircase in the corner of the room, leading to the top of the turret. This is the life, we thought, as we uncorked a bottle of fizz and set about loosening up our muscles after our hike up the Birks of Aberfeldy in the rooftop hot tub.
You’ll have to take my word on this, but sitting for an hour in a hot tub heated to an agreeable 37.5 degrees, enjoying picture-perfect views of the surrounding countryside actually works up an appetite. After the sun had all but sunk below the horizon, we decided to head downstairs to test the high tech kitchen before settling in for a night of board games. If that’s not your bag, there’s Sky TV, a DVD player, wifi and, of course, that vast selection of books to browse.
There are many fine restaurants in the area, including Three Lemons, The Tay and The Upstairs Restaurant at The Townhouse, but we were so entranced with our location that we decided to leave the delights of Aberfeldy for another time.
We sipped our wine on the outdoor dining/patio furnished with both a table and chairs as well as a firepit. We kept our eyes peeled for the local wildlife, including April, the young fawn that one visitor had named in the guestbook, but had no joy. We decided to eat dinner inside, lighting the candles on the candelabra and listening to some music thanks to the handy speakers positioned on the side table.
We felt we had to enjoy the patio again so we had an early breakfast in the glorious sunshine on the terrace (making full use of the fancy coffee machine) before checking out of our home for the night.
Like so many of those who left messages in the guest book, we had an amazing time and would love return one day.
Fact box: The White Tower, Aberfeldy PH15 2HA. Tel: 01887 830216, www.thewhitetower.co.uk/contact-white-tower/; £330 per night (minimum stay three nights) £1,800 per week; firstname.lastname@example.org