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Is your idea of the perfect romantic weekend in Scotland cosily seductive or insanely opulent? More ‘Sex in the City’ or ‘Monarch of the Glen’? Should there be candlelight, moonlight or sidelight? Landscape, saunas or shopping? Fortunately, there are places that offer all that and more – often in the same place. And then there’s the food, the cozy fireplaces and all those cashmere possibilities… Here’s our pick of the most romantic hotels in Scotland, including the best places to stay for breathtaking views, secluded locations, hot tubs, lavish furnishings, intimate restaurants and soothing spas, in locations such as Edinburgh, the Isle of Skye and the Scottish Highlands. Don’t blame us if you come home and find you’ve left your heart in the Highlands.
Imagine a chic godmother – old money but addicted to post-war Dior. If she were to design a hotel, it would look like this: part country house; partly stylish chic. With a dramatic restaurant, state-of-the-art gym, wellness treatments and an exclusive rooftop bar, it doesn’t get much more glamorous than this. Delightfully beautiful bedrooms are all soft pastels and deep velvets, with classic reproduction furniture, voluptuous curtains, polished wood floors and oriental rugs. The crème de la crème faces St Andrew Square, but you may want to avoid this if you are bothered by the late night and early morning trams rushing by. Fortunately, even the smallest ‘Nook’ rooms are in the same style, with king-size beds and luxurious bathrooms.
• The best hotels in Scotland
The delight is in the details at this wildly romantic, sublimely comfortable, uniquely captivating Highlands hotel. It is right in the center of Braemar, a charming village famous for the Royal Highland Games and full of old world appeal with pretty stone houses, tearooms and even a sporran shop. Numerous outdoor activities are offered and there is a spa. For dinner and drinks you can choose between the cheerful bar with good pub grub, traditional country house style in the Clunie Dining Room or Art Deco glamor in Elsa’s Bar. Even if your budget doesn’t stretch to one of the stage-style suites, all bedrooms are themed and just as characterful.
• The most romantic hotels in Edinburgh
• The best Scottish castle hotels
Queen Victoria said she ‘never saw a more beautiful or romantic place’ than Inverlochy Castle in 1873, and it remains as impressive as ever, perched at the foot of Ben Nevis surrounded by a ring of highland peaks. Dinner starts with a drink by the fire in the Great Hall, followed by a deliciously light five-course meal with a distinctly Highland accent. Try the matching wines – the sommelier is dedicated to his vocation. Moving with the times means waterfall showers, Bang & Olufsen stereos and televisions, while the unashamed country house style – all swags, gilding, silk and brocade, sparkling crystal, polished wood and an all-pervasive sense of time suspended – remains.
• The best cities and places to visit in Scotland
A tranquil, rural setting with unashamedly seductive and wildly lavish interiors (think endless brocade and silk, oil paintings and fire-gilt) make Prestonfield House one of Scotland’s most romantic hotels. There are a few parlors to pause for drinks and nibbles, but consider The Rhubarb restaurant, which looks like it should be frequented by roués and sirens in silks and feathers, for a feast for the senses. You’ll be so engrossed in the decor that you’ll hardly notice the food on your plate – fine Scottish stuff like grouse with blackberries or North Berwick lobster and there’s an 800-bottle wine list.
• The best hotels in the Scottish Highlands
After driving through the small roads of the Western Highlands, arriving at The Torridon is quite impressive. One of the most romantic lodges in Scotland, it looks like it’s been plucked straight out of the late 19th century, with long-haired cows on the doorstep and the sweet scent of pine everywhere. It was originally built in 1887 as Ben Damph House by William King-Noel, the first Earl of Lovelace who married famed scientist Ada Lovelace, and has several nods to the then-reigning monarch Queen Victoria. Many original features have been retained but brought into this century with elegant yet simple furnishings and an abundance of cozy armchairs and sofas.
• The most romantic hotels in the UK
For romantic getaways in Scotland with attractive locations, this 19th century manor house tops the charts with a private island in the glorious countryside of the West Highlands. It has a highly regarded restaurant, an award-winning spa and numerous activities spread over 350 acres of land. The trappings of Victorian wealth and privilege permeate parlors filled with deep sofas, fireplaces and books in the imposing granite and red sandstone Big House. The spacious rooms in the main building are decorated in soft, neutral tones and exude comfort and Country Life style. Three Spa Suites are more modern, with outdoor hot tubs in private gardens.
• The best lochside hotels in Scotland
This delightful little hotel, parts of which date back to the 17th century, offers stylish accommodation and delicious local seafood from its impeccable location on a small peninsula overlooking Loch Glendhu. It is located in Assynt, a beautiful, remote region of the Scottish Highlands, making it perfect for mountain walking, wild swimming and bird watching enthusiasts. Panoramic windows in the bar and restaurant celebrate the wraparound view of the marine lake, while well-curated fixtures and furnishings (think bare wood beams, copper pendant lighting, a minimalist stove) are coolly understated.
• The best country house hotels in Britain
This 19th century country house in perfect seclusion overlooking Loch Awe is an excellent destination for a romantic getaway. It is opulent, graceful and utterly camp at once. The owner – Bennie Gray, an antique dealer from London – has decorated the shop with unique pieces from his collection; in addition to the usual there is a spacious chaise longue, an intricate wood-inlaid piano and two golden thrones worthy of the Beckhams. The downstairs eccentricity continues into the bedrooms, where vibrant walls form a backdrop to unusual hand-picked antique furnishings.
Contributions from Gavin Bell, Cal Flyn, Robin Mckelvie & Penny Walker