Visiting the Highlands: Isles of Glencoe Hotel review
Disclosure: We stayed at Isles of Glencoe hotel free of charge. All opinions are my own.
Last week, Max’s school went on holiday for the October half-term break, and we decided to make the most of our time by heading up to the Highlands for a few days.
Here we are, still in our driveway, trying to persuade Max to take his toy koala out of his mouth for a photo:
And here I am some 2.5 hours later, at the very start of Glencoe:
Here also is a cup of takeaway coffee which I rested on the roof of the car for a second while I took a photo of the scenery, and which the wind promptly sent flying:
And that’s why I’m not allowed to drink coffee in the car any more, AND why we drove the rest of the way to our hotel with brown liquid streaming down the back window. Yes.
But I digress.
I’ve written about Glencoe before (You can read my last post about it here), and I’ll be writing more about it very soon. Probably much more, knowing me. This, however, is a post about our hotel – the wonderful Isles of Glencoe – so, for now, suffice it to say that Glencoe is a valley in the Highlands which is famous, not just for its tragic history, but also for its utterly breathtaking scenery.
I mean, look at it:
It’s truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, and, as we’d previously only driven through the glen on our way elsewhere, I was really glad of the opportunity to spend some more time there, at the Isles of Glencoe hotel.
Isles of Glencoe is part of the Crieff Hydro family of hotels, and is located close to the village of Ballachulish, on the banks of Loch Leven. It has a 3 star rating, but, in all honesty, it feels more like a 4 star to me, with everything you could possibly need for your stay, right down to the little bottles of gin (complete with lemon slices) which were waiting for us.
Here’s a quick look at our room:
(My parents, who were traveling with us, had the room next door, which had two double beds, one of which Max slept in. I actually think that room was intended for Terry and I, but Max insisted he’d rather be with Gran and Grandad, so that was an unexpected bonus for us…)
As I said, the room had everything we needed, including luxury toiletries, an iron and ironing board (Don’t judge: I iron a LOT, so this is important to me…), plus the usual tea and coffee making facilities. It’s the view, however, which is the real star of the show here, because when we opened the French doors in our ground-floor room, this is what we stepped out to:
I mean, how gorgeous is that?
You get the same view from the hotel’s dining room:
I can’t even tell you how many photos of this view I now have on my phone. It’s just ridiculous. Imagine sitting here, sipping a glass of wine and watching the sun go down, though? Or, instead of just imagining it, look at this handy picture I took of it for you instead:
Right next to the bar/restaurant, meanwhile, was this little area which was stocked with games, which Max would happily have spent all week in:
Beautiful though the Highland scenery is, of course, we were very aware that it holds limited interest to a four year old, so we always appreciate a hotel that makes an effort to include younger guests with something like this. Isles of Glencoe also has its own (indoor, heated) swimming pool, which we unfortunately didn’t get a chance to use on the trip. We did, however, see a few people out swimming in the loch while we were having dinner, and that made me appreciate that glass of wine even more, quite frankly. If you enjoy cold-water swimming, though, this would be the perfect place to do it.
Speaking of dinner, you can see the full menu here. Here’s some of what we had:
Isles of Glencoe grilled beefburger
Heritage tomato and torn mozzarella salad
Braised beef shin
Milk and dark chocolate pot
Rhubarb and ginger crumble
As you’d expect from the Highlands, the menu contains plenty of Scottish specialities, with ingredients sourced locally. We left our table so full we all felt like we’d never have to eat again; the next morning, however, we were back for breakfast, which is served buffet-style.
(Side note: is there anything better than a hotel breakfast buffet? Because I’m going with “no, not really”. At home, I rarely eat breakfast, but when faced with a buffet, I suddenly find myself banging on about how it’s “the most important meal of the day”, and how we “might as well fill up!” It’s just the BEST.)
(I should point out that the plate above was for me and Max, and was just part of our breakfast. I didn’t just have two fried eggs and some mushrooms…)
We had to leave immediately after breakfast for the next top on our trip, but this is a hotel we will definitely come back to at some point (In fact, I’ve just been having a sneaky look at their New Year’s Eve packages...); it’s the perfect place to stop for the night en route to Skye, as we were, and there’s absolutely no way I could ever get tired of that view.