Coul House is a family-owned and run country manor house secluded in the hills above the small village of Contin, Ross-shire, set among acres of sprawling lawns, 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 River Black Water runs nearby, 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, and en suite bathrooms with slippers, bathrobe and hair dryer.
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.
Inver Lodge Hotel
Overlooking the quiet Highland fishing village of Lochinver on northern Scotland's rugged coast, Inver Lodge provides cozy, luxurious accommodations with proximity to one of Europe’s last great unspoiled wilderness areas. Twenty-one guest rooms filled with natural light enjoy magnificent views toward the water and distant western isles. Decorated in warm earth tones with tartan accents, rooms have plush beds, comfortable sofas for relaxing, a writing desk, and a soaking tub in the spacious bathroom. Each room also has Wi-Fi, flat screen TV and hot beverage-making facilities.
The roaring log fire is the focal point in the foyer, where the guests may come to enjoy afternoon tea, a quiet game of cards, or after-dinner conversation before retiring for the night. The bar offers a broad sampling of the region’s distinctive malt whiskies, as well as a full-size snooker table. Dining at Chez Roux is a highlight, with the kitchen in the hands of legendary French chef Albert Roux of Le Gavroche, the first UK restaurant to be awarded one, two and three Michelin stars. Roux describes the menu at Inver Lodge as “hearty country cooking using all the wonderful products from the sea, which is literally at the doorstep.”
Isle of Harris, Scotland
An ideal base from which to explore the Hebridean islands, this small 4-star property provides all the amenities expected of a intimate boutique hotel. Twenty-one guest rooms in a variety of configurations are designed with contemporary flair and offer supreme comfort, including king-size beds, top-quality bedding and well-appointed bathrooms. All rooms have flat-screen televisions with DVDs available to view, free wireless Internet, and complimentary tea- and coffee-making facilities. A mini bar is also included. The Pierhouse restaurant and Mote Bar serve a variety of fine meals, bistro fare, tea and light refreshments, and assorted cocktails and drinks. Throughout the hotel guests will enjoy the works of local artist Willie Fulton, who has lived and worked on Harris since 1976. The hotel’s recent refurbishment, incorporating a stylish modern theme, was designed to complement the pieces of this highly acclaimed Scottish artist.
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