Ten Historic Hotels in the Highlands

by Adrian Mourby (March 2013)

The history of the Scottish Highlands has a very different narrative from the rest of Great Britain, even from the rest of Scotland. The clans ruled this rugged landscape for centuries, based around powerful families like the Mackenzies, Urquharts, Campbells and Frasers, whose names you will encounter everywhere. The other names you’ll notice - Fort Augustus and Fort William - are associated with the Hanoverian troops who built garrisons and military roads across the Highlands after the rebellions of 1715, 1719 and 1745. The third great influence on the landscape is whisky, where whole communities have grown up around a distillery of which there are nearly a hundred in Scotland today.

Showing below are all 5 records in "Ten Historic Hotels in the Highlands"

Coul House Hotel

Coul House Hotel, In The Hills Above Contin, Strathpeffer, Highland

In The Hills Above Contin, Strathpeffer

Sir George Steuart (SIC) Mackenzie, seventh baronet of Coul, built this remarkable house in 1821. The design is based on a central octagon, an idea fashionable in Scotland, and North America in the early nineteenth century. Mackenzie’s octagon is now the hotel’s august dining room with two diamond-shaped bedrooms on the floor above. Sir George was a noted mineralogist while his son, Robert went on to be governor general of Queensland.

Airds Hotel & Restaurant

Airds Hotel & Restaurant, Port Appin, Appin, Argyll & Bute

Port Appin, Appin

The earliest reference to this harbour hotel goes back to 1720 when there were 24 rooms and the customers were drovers en route to market in Glasgow. The years have been kind to Airds and today it revels in its Relais & Chateau status and sumptuous decor. The Airds House nearby in Appin was built in 1738 for Donald Campbell of Airds who commanded a pro-Hanoverian militia at the Battle of Culloden. Campbell of Airds is remembered for his leniency to the defeated Jacobites.

Loch Ness Lodge

Loch Ness Lodge, Brachla, Inverness, Highland

Brachla, Loch Ness-side, Inverness

This modern hotel in the style of a Scots hunting lodge is built in the grounds of a crofter’s cottage known as Brachla. At the end of the nineteenth century the owner of Brachla played an on-going game of cat and mouse with the excise men, getting neighbours to light decoy fires whenever he was operating his illicit still. When he grew too old for the danger the canny crofter handed in his still, claiming he’d found it, and retired on the substantial reward.

The Lovat

The Lovat, Loch Ness, Fort Augustus, Highland

Loch Ness, Fort Augustus

Although the Lovat was constructed as a railway hotel in the mid-nineteenth century, the building itself incorporates part of the original Kilwhimen Barracks. These were built here in 1718 as part of the subjugation of the Highlands by Hanoverian troops. General Wade, who planned the fortifications, intended the town to be known as Wadesburgh but the name didn’t stick. Bonnie Prince Charlie’s troops took Fort Augustus in April 1745 during the Second Jacobite Rebellion but lost it after the Battle of Culloden.

Taychreggan Hotel

Taychreggan Hotel, Loch Awe, Kilchrenan, Argyll & Bute

Loch Awe, Kilchrenan

This eighteenth-century drover’s inn on the shores of Loch Awe was built for the ferry traffic which ceased only in the 1960s. Originally Taycreggan would have been a busy stopping point for Highland drovers taking their cattle to market in Glasgow. Now, sympathetically extended, it is a hotel for those who want complete peace and quiet. Dr Johnson and James Boswell probably stayed here in October 1773 on their Scottish tour and two of the best rooms are named after them.

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