YOU WOULDN’T expect a global superstar used to staying in the world’s greatest hotels to miss a trick when visiting one of Scotland’s top establishments.
But Aussie pop princess Kylie Minogue did just that when she stayed at Hotel Colessio in Stirling last year. She was putting on a show at the Hydro in Glasgow and according to staff in her chosen abode she never managed during her brief visit to sample the delights offered by the hotel’s own star performer, executive chef Linsey Scott.
That aside, if Kylie was looking for peace and quiet she would have certainly found it at this five-star Aurora Collection establishment that carried off a Gold Laurel in last week’s 2015 Scottish Hotel Awards. Perched close to the top of the ancient city’s steep and winding Spittal Street, the hotel is set in the old Royal Infirmary building, yards from Stirling’s main shopping centre and some fine pubs and restaurants, while the historic Mar’s Wark and castle are within short walking distance and offer stunning views across the Forth Valley.
Budget or boutique?
Unashamedly boutique and popular with “ladies who lunch” and, for that matter, “families who breakfast” before a day’s shopping in town. Hotel Colessio’s Victorian exterior has been restored to its former glory after its stint as a hospital and then Forth Valley NHS’s headquarters, and the rooms and suites are fitted out to the highest standard.
Our room was light, spacious and furnished with plush beds and luxury down pillows and duvets. The room boasted a flat-screen TV and iPod dock, while the Philippe Starck bathrooms had luxury amenities from the White Company. We were welcomed with a bottle of champagne on ice and a selection of fruits, snacks and sweets over and above the usual tea and coffee-making facilities expected.
Wining and dining
The Grill Room was the highlight of the stay. Boasting a Josper Grill in the kitchen and a menu based around traditional classics with a modern twist, Scott’s creations were varied and interesting and tasted fantastic. My partner was particularly impressed with her take on Cullen skink and the Mushrooms Auld Reekie was the kind of starter you’d also love to have as a main course. The spring onion and Gruyère cheese twice-baked soufflé was the highlight for me as was the pan-seared sea bass fillet for my partner. All were priced reasonably for the type of hotel, as was the selection of wines on offer. Alongside the restaurant is Hotel Colessio’s cocktail and piano bar, with a dazzling range of drinks on offer to complement their collection of malts, and each night we were there the bar was busy.
Worth getting out of bed for
Hotel Colessio is perfectly situated for exploring this beautiful part of Scotland and, for those with a historical bent, there’s the National Wallace Monument, which dominates the landscape. Alternatively, visit Stirling Castle once home of Mary, Queen of Scots, or the Battle of Bannockburn Heritage Centre. Other places of interest include the Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum, Argyll’s Lodging, a superb mansion built around 1630, and the 15th-century Church of the Holy Rude. Sample ales at the Bridge of Allan Brewery Visitor Centre, follow the Mill Trail or visit one of the many potteries in the area, including the Barbara Davidson Pottery and Gift Shop at Muirhill Farm, Larbert. For a relaxing time, ask at reception about using the facilities at Airth Castle Hotel and Spa, the Colessio’s sister hotel a 20-minute drive away, which is free to residents.
The hotel’s black, white and gold décor is something to behold and all seating, from the chairs in the Grill Room to bar stools is extremely comfy. The toiletries that await each guest in the en suites were also luxurious, as were the white robes and slippers left for each guest.
The hotel has breathtaking views, luxurious, well-equipped rooms, and it’s peaceful without being boring while imbuing a feeling of tranquillity... so that’s one thing Kylie got right.
• B&B from £149 per room, per night, DB&B from £199 per room, per night. Hotel Colessio, 33 Spittal Street, Stirling FK8 1DU (01786 448880, www.hotelcolessio.com)
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