240 acres of park and woodland are host to Meldrum House, a completely refurbished 13th-century manor house in rural Aberdeenshire. No bedroom in the house is the same, each uniquely furnished with luxurious furniture, and allows you to choose from rooms in the Manor House, the Estate or even the Stables. Beyond that, Meldrum House is home to one of Scotland’s Top 100 golf courses and features glass domes in its exquisite gardens to allow you to enjoy dinner under the stars. You’ll also enjoy award-winning food at one of their two restaurants – Pineapple Grill and Seafood, and The Cave Bar, which is over 800 years old.
Given four stars by the AA Guide, The Lodge on the Loch is a haven of tranquillity and calm that welcomes visitors into the heart of Royal Deeside. It gets its name from its enviable spot on the banks of Loch Aboyne, offering excellent spa and golf facilities on-site. With the woodland of Cairngorm National Park providing your background, you can test out your skills on their two golf courses, or head to the spa to enjoy a sauna, a Japanese deep soak tub and holistic therapies and treatments. If you’re visiting in the summer, the Lodge also offers al fresco dining with an unparalleled view over the Cairngorm National Park and the mountains – perfect for enjoying one of their signature local dishes.
One of the most historic hotels in the county, Maryculter House offers forty unique rooms on the banks of the River Dee. The hotel has been welcoming visitors from all walks of life since the 13th century and offers an unparalleled retreat into the countryside. The bedrooms are each uniquely decorated with contemporary and comfortable furniture, with uniquely Scottish touches in each. Your stay wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Maryculter House’s restaurant, including the Poachers Brasserie and their famous Sunday roast dinners, both of which use local produce from both the sea and the mountains.
If you like your hotel getaways to be both boutique and unique, look no further than The Fife Arms. A Category B Listed property, its proximity to the Queen’s Residence of Balmoral makes it a hugely popular location in the area of Braemar. Forty-six suites and guestrooms have been decorated to be both luxurious and unique, inspired by many different aspects of the house – from the nobility who often passed through the house to the hotel’s 19th-century status as a coaching inn. You can even stay in an artist’s studio. Also worth visiting? Their two seasonal restaurants and complimentary bars – one of which features 365 different varieties of whisky.
Found with the grounds of the MacRobert Estate, a charming country house awaits you in Royal Deeside. The house offers thirteen bedrooms decorated with contemporary flourishes, complete with antiques and artwork carefully curated by their expert team. Originally purchased in the late 19th century, Douneside House features both traditional guest rooms as well as four renovated holiday cottages and apartments set a little way from the main house. Designed to be a place of tranquillity and joy, as it once was for the MacRobert family, the hotel offers inspired dining options made by an award-winning team of chefs – including a romantic and intimate restaurant in the former house library. Or you can visit the nearby Health Club and take full advantage of top-notch gyms, spa facilities and a swimming pool.
A place so relaxing you may never want to leave, the beautiful Banchory Lodge is a contemporary slice of Scottish paradise in the very heart of Royal Deeside. Perfect for reconnecting with nature, this idyllic spot overlooks the River Dee and offers twenty-eight bedrooms to its guests who want comfort and style in both their bedrooms – and the landscape around them. Whether you’re a golfer, avid walker or even a sport shooter, the area has plenty to offer you. And if you’re looking for more – Aberdeen is just a twenty-five-minute drive from the lodge. Even at dinner, you’ll be able to support local Scottish fishers and farmers, with menus curated to showcase the best produce Aberdeenshire has to offer.
Family-run for over sixty years, Darroch Learg has an enviable position in the gorgeous Cairngorm National Park. Woodland stretches for acres beyond the hotel, looking out around Glen Muick and the River Dee. Their ten comfortable bedrooms look out over a golf course and are available in either double or twin sizes. From your bedroom, you’ll be able to look out over the expansive Dee Valley, taking in the beautiful rolling hillside and rivers. It’s a perfect spot for walking, biking and even skiing if you visit in the colder months. You’ll also want to spend some time in the adjoining restaurant, where local produce is transformed into delicious, seasonal menus.
In the beautiful village of Banchory, you’ll find Tor-Na-Coille Hotel, a Victorian country house that has been transformed into a luxurious retreat. With panoramic views over the nearby landscape and rolling hillside, it was awarded four stars by VisitScotland and has twenty-five bedrooms, each uniquely designed to impart its own charm. The hotel is ideally located for avid fishers; the River Dee is famous for its salmon fly fishing and can be arranged by the hotel’s knowledgeable staff for those wishing to catch the famous Atlantic salmon.
A former retreat for nature seeking Victorians, the Craigendarroch Suites are surrounded by the walks of the Cairngorm National Park and just seven miles from the grounds of Balmoral Castle. The hotel offers guest rooms and suites that are both comfortable and contemporary, as well as multiple dining options for its guests. The Keiller Lounge and Brasserie offer relaxed and more formal dining using the local produce of the area. In the summer, active visitors will love local horse riding, hiking and quad biking trails. For those visiting in the winter months, the Lecht ski area is nearby to try out your skills on the slopes.
120 newly renovated and contemporary bedrooms are available at Ardoe House Hotel and Spa, a uniquely Highland getaway. Luxurious and modern, the grand castle-like appearance only adds to the majesty of the hotel as you approach it. It’s home to Blair’s, considered one of the finest restaurants in Aberdeenshire, as well as light bites in The Drawing Room, a whisky bar and a brasserie. If you’re truly looking to unwind, the hotel’s spa is a must-visit, with a variety of package options for visitors wishing to spend the day relaxing. Be sure to also make use of the Ardoe Health Club, which includes a sauna, heated swimming pool and full gym.
Transformed from a grand family manor home into a charming, luxury hotel, Thainstone House dates back to the 18th century and blends period detailing with modern touches and creature comforts. Dog-friendly and perfectly situated for golf lovers and avid walkers, each room at the hotel has been designed to have its own personality and charm about it – meaning those who stay more than once will always have something new to experience. One of the stand-out features of the hotel is the Inverurie Restaurant, which was awarded an AA Rosette for Culinary Excellence. It uses local produce to create seasonal menus and present a more formal dining option to guests. There’s also a bar, club rooms and lounges for those looking for an informal place to eat and relax.
An authentic Scottish inn brings you sixteen gorgeous rooms in Royal Deeside, alongside a welcoming for pets, people – and muddy boots. Having stood on its remarkable location on the River Dee for almost three centuries, it was once the prime location for merchants to stop for a drink and dinner as they escorted their animals to market. Simply furnished but remarkably elegant, the ensuite bedrooms are comfortable and charming – perfect for spending a weekend relaxing in the countryside. Of course, the pub down below is well worth visiting – and their menu of authentic pub food will warm up even the coldest nights.