It’s our Instagram Travel Thursday again – and this time it’s all about Scotland! If you are looking for a way to make a rather ordinary holiday more memorable, and are heading to Scotland, then here’s my tip no 1: skip the big city hotels and take advantage of luxurious countryside castles which offer both mystery and beautiful views! That is exactly what we did with our first ever British road trip from England to Scotland – and back, of course.
Driving is not normally my favourite way of spending holidays (somehow a road trip makes me think of our trip on CA 101 from Silicon Valley to San Jose – not much to see there in 7-8 hours really…) but England is very much different – there is just so much history and things to see everywhere, so with well-planned pit stops to visit places during the drive it just becomes rather pleasant and fun. I was happily stretching my neck left and right spotting country homes, castles and scenery when I wasn’t driving…
Our first hotel choice on this trip was a little, quaint country castle turned into 5-star luxury hotel called Kinnettles. When I say small, I really mean small: we are talking about less than 20 rooms here. Therefore it is rather hard to get rooms here, and virtually impossible at least on weekend during the summertime as parties often book the whole castle. You can book this hotel from the Conde Nast Johansens -luxury site.
My tip no 2 is book early enough – don’t leave it to night before like we did (although we seemed to have been quite lucky with availability). The location is quite close to Edinborough and of course there is also a helipad should you want to arrive via air rather than the narrow, windy country lanes!
Tip no 3 follows here: to get the most out of your lovely hotel stay arrive early enough! Do remember that English country road are rather slow, and the larger roads are quite so congested, so driving times are very slow too! We made it here so late that the dinnertime was over (and three kids sleeping in the car). I only managed to catch the last rays of sunset and had to wait until the morning to explore the grounds…
I found the castle via a recommendation from a friend who lives nearby, but I had already seen the hotel before on Conde Nast Johansens list and was just looking for some additional support locally for the idea of staying in a castle. As a family of five, we rarely can squeeze into the same room unless it’s a special family room. Sadly this hotel didn’t have connecting room (although I wasn’t really surprised as it’s quite old) so we ended up with the traditional girls and boys split with the two rooms.
My room, or rather a suite was just amazing (if you come here ask for room no 5 as it’s spacious and has amazing views), oh so high ceilings, large living room, a very victorian bathroom with checkered floors (with amazing views also, what a weird experience that is…) and of course the room itself: two quirky small tower areas for seating and the bay window for the desk. The decor though it not that old-fashioned, but there is certainly some drama there. The leading colours throughout appear to be black and white with splashes of rich purple or red. That gives the place a sort of quirky, and sumptuous look.
I can see why this castle is so popular with private events and parties – there is lots of common space: multiple games rooms (private game of roulette anyone?), lovely dining and living rooms and a bar. My rooms were really pretty, the lotions of nice quality, but the other room my husband and son occupied was very small and the en suite bathroom a bit dodgy as the access was outside the room in the hallway…
The location is beautiful, but this really is not made with kids in mind (and of course my kids were missing the pool and even the pool substitute, the bath tub. The breakfast was also a bit of a disappointment but very similar in all Scottish hotels – I think my children still remember the offerings of Shangri-La hotels and well, no 20-room place is going to serve you 100 different dishes really!
All-in-all we were still very happy with our stay, but I was left missing those little luxury touches I have grown to expect at Shangri-La or Kempinski… So it’s time for the key question: would I recommend this place for my friends? Yes, definitely, but remember that this is rustic countryside luxury, not the ultimate Asia-type of luxury on the platter!
So, I was warming you up this week for the story with Instagram shots of the castle – although I must admit that I do not master my iPhone too well in the dark yet: the reality was so much prettier and mysterious than what my little snaps showed… Anyway, these are some of my spontaneous “warm-up” shots of the castle. Enjoy!
And let’s not forget my this week’s favourite Instagrammer and their special moment: the special place, Barcelona. I love those Gaudi buildings and of course that beautiful sunset too!
Next week we are doing something special – a Twitter #IG travel party. I hope you can join us!!
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