[AD: we stayed at Loch Lomond Waterfront free of charge, in exchange for a review.]
By the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond…
Sometimes travelling with a toddler can leave you in need of another holiday to recover from it, so, just a few weeks after our trip to the Highlands, last week we were off again – this time to the beautiful Loch Lomond Waterfront Lodges, in the Trossachs. And this time we took my parents with us to look after Max : well, my mum’s birthday was coming up,and what better way to celebrate than by getting up significantly earlier than usual to change someone’s nappy? Exactly. Happy birthday, mum!
If you’re going to be changing nappies, though, I have to say, this is a pretty scenic place to do it. As the name suggests, Loch Lomond Waterfront is located right on the (bonnie, bonnie) banks of Great Britain’s largest lake, (Or “loch,” as we Scots would have it.) and it’s a collection of five star luxury self-catering lodges, each of which has its own hot tub, and views out over the water:
There are a few different styles of accommodation to choose from here: we were in the ‘Cawdor’, which you can see at the top right of the first image. It’s one of the ‘Diamond’ lodges, which have larger hot tubs, kingsized beds, and uninterrupted views – amongst other things. Ours was a two-bed, three-bath lodge, and it had absolutely everything we could possibly have needed for our stay, including a travel cot and high-chair for Max, a fully-fitted kitchen, and plenty of room for four adults and one toddler:
How did it measure up against the hotel criteria I laid out in my ‘7 Things All Hotel Rooms Should Have’ post, though? Pretty well, actually: let’s see…
Power sockets next to the bed?
Check: I could charge my phone at night, and not have to get up and wander around the room in the pitch dark, trying to work out what time it was when I woke up. There were also plenty of sockets scattered around the lodge, so we were never left with a flat phone battery. For once.
A full-length mirror?
Check: there was one cunningly hidden behind a cupboard door: this didn’t stop me going out wearing an outfit I absolutely HATED on at least one of our three days, mind you, but it did at least make it easier to see just how much I hated it…
A power socket next to the vanity or desk?
Yup: our room had a small dressing table/desk, complete with nearby power point, so there was no need to crouch on the floor next to the nearest outlet to do my hair. Speaking of which…
A decent hairdryer?
There was an ACTUAL hairdryer in each room, guys: none of those weird contraptions you find in some hotels which make your hair really hot, without actually drying it. I didn’t actually use the hairdryer provided, because I’m a filthy slob who didn’t wash her hair while we were away, but it LOOKED decent, so I’m checking this one off the list, too.
Lots of clothes hangers?
There were plenty of hangers in our wardrobe, but none for skirts: fortunately, I hadn’t actually packed any, so the hangers provided were perfect for the four coats/jackets and numerous sweaters I DID bring.
Not only an iron and ironing board, but also a washing machine, dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, and, well, probably everything you have at home, basically. Max is currently obsessed with hoovers and sweeping brushes (Seriously, at home he has a nursery full of toys, and even more toys scattered throughout the house, but all he ever wants to do is open the door of the hall cupboard and stare in wonder at the hoover within…), so this cupboard was basically like Aladdin’s Cave to him:
BEHOLD! WHAT WONDERS LIE WITHIN!
(As you can see, he’s already selected a little dustpan and brush here. He’s definitely my child.)
(Er, I should probably add here that, although there were cleaning products provided, we only used them to sweep up the food Max scattered on the floor at every mealtime: the entire lodge was spotlessly clean – in fact, the first thing I said when we opened the door was, “Wow, it smells so CLEAN!” And it did.)
There’s free Wi-Fi in each lodge: they do warn you that it can be slow if there are lots of people connecting at the same time, but we didn’t have any issues at all during our stay, and Terry even managed to do some work on his laptop while we were there. It’s worth noting, though, that cellphone reception in this part of the world can be a bit patchy, so I normally just waited until we were back at the lodge to upload to Instagram Stories, etc. Because that’s important, obviously.
While the interior of the lodge was everything we could have hoped for, though, it’s the outside that really makes it extra special:
The French doors at the back of our lodge led out onto a private patio area, complete with hot tub and seating area, all looking out over Loch Lomond. I’ll be honest: as we were visiting at the start of April, I wasn’t really expecting to get a lot of use out of this area, because, well, Scotland, but, as it turned out, we got really lucky with the weather, and I don’t think there was a single cloud in the sky the entire time we were there. It got quite chilly in the evenings, and we woke up every morning to the most beautiful frost on the ground leading down to the loch, but we still managed to make the most of the beautiful setting: in fact, one of my favourite memories from the trip is of sitting outside, having a glass of wine after dinner, and watching Max play with a giant sweeping brush he’d found in the lodge, while my parents valiantly tried to stop him running headlong into the loch:
Just a few minutes walk from the lodge, meanwhile, was the main attraction: Loch Lomond itself. Now, Loch Lomond is HUGE – so huge, in fact, that what you think is the opposite bank actually turns out to be just one of the many islands dotted across the lake. It’s 22 miles long, and almost 5 miles wide in parts, and our resort was on the east bank, at the pretty little village of Balmaha, which has its own boatyard and pub. (The Oak Tree Inn, where we had dinner on our first night, and which I can highly recommend…)
The area is particularly scenic as the sun goes down, and we loved being able to walk down to the little private beach next to our lodge in the evening, just before Max’s bed-time:
Alot of people come to Loch Lomond for the fishing and water-sports, of which there are many available. Honestly, though, I’d be more than happy to go back just to sit by the water, because I think it was probably the most peaceful place I’ve ever been. Sitting on the river bank, watching the water roll towards me, I could practically feel the stress leaving my body, and it was just so magical that I’d probably be sitting there still, if Max’s bedtime hadn’t rolled around and pulled me away. (And, I mean, if I’d sat there much longer I’d have been sitting in the pitch dark, obviously, so it’s probably just as well, really…)
As for Max, meanwhile, he was in his element: the combination of the kind weather and perfect setting meant he was able to spend lots of time outdoors on this trip, which he really enjoyed – and the fact that all of that fresh air and exercise meant we were rewarded with some epic naps from him made it a pretty sweet deal for Terry and I, too, not gonna lie.
Want to see more of our lodge, and what we got up to while we were there? Terry’s put together a short video, which you can see below: and if you fancy a waterside break of your own, you can check out the Loch Lomond Waterfront website here.
Our Loch Lomond mini-break…