Coul House is a family-owned and run country mansion secluded in the hills above Contin, Ross-shire and surrounded by acres of sprawling lawns, well-tended gardens and a "fairy trail" through the adjacent woodlands. Centrally located in Scotland's Northern Highlands, it is the optimal base for exploring the region's rich nature tapestry. The small village of Contin nearby sits on the banks of the River Blackwater, surrounded by the Achilty Forest with miles of walking trails, peaceful lochs, waterfalls active with leaping salmon in summer, and abundant wildlife.
Simultaneously grand and intimate, Coul House was built in 1821 for Sir George Steuart Mackenzie, whose family had resided in Coul since 1560. The word "Coul" in Gaelic means "settlement in the narrows of the glen." In 1827, David Douglas, the famous Scottish botanist for whom the Douglas fir was named, planted a fir tree on the property that is still standing today. In the 1960s, the manor house was converted to a hotel. It has been continually improved and refurbished in the decades since, particularly after its current owners, Stuart and Susannah Macpherson, purchased it in 2003 with an eye to restoring its historic features and genteel period character. A diverse collection of 21 en suite bedrooms, no two alike, offer beautiful views of either Strathconon and the mountains beyond or the lawn and mature woodlands. Luxurious rooms offer every amenity, including fine bedding, desk and sitting area, phone, Wi-Fi, flat screen smart TV, an electric kettle for making tea and coffee, slippers, bathrobe and hairdryer.
The dining room is a special highlight at Coul House, featuring contemporary Scottish cuisine and traditional favorites, with ingredients sourced from local producers. Menu highlights may include steaks, venison, hare, fresh-caught halibut, crab cakes, scallops and home-cured salmon.