I love visiting the autumnal Big Tree Country of Perthshire to witness the vibrant tapestry of foliage as it goes out in a final blaze of yellow, orange and red glory. It really is one of the prettiest places to visit in Scotland at this time of year and on my latest venture to the region I discovered Killiecrankie Hotel is the perfect place to hibernate with a whisky by the fire when the darkness encroaches into the afternoon and wet woodland explorations have to be cut short.
I picked a pretty poor day to travel north as Britain's first named storm is on its way. Storm Abigail is predicted to bring battering wind and torrential rain as it traverses Scotland. As I head past Perth the sky turns an ominous black and the heavens open, roads are quickly flooded and driving conditions become more and more challenging. Relieved to reach my destination, I make a dash from the car to the entrance in an attempt to avoid presenting myself at reception like a drowned rat which I just about manage to achieve.
On arrival I am eagerly welcomed by Beanie, the resident spaniel who expectantly presents me with a squeaky toy before following me to the reception where I'm welcomed again, this time by Henrietta, the hotel's owner and manager.
My bags are transported to my room by an assistant in unique patchwork tartan trews, coffee and cake is arranged and I'm already getting the impression that despite the decor, this is not a conventional country house hotel. Henrietta confirms this when she explains that she doesn't want the place to feel stuffy, instead she treats people as if they are guests in her house and technically they are although her background working in some of the country's most luxurious hotels is reflected in the high standards throughout. The result is a quality hotel with an informal feel and some quirky touches!
My large deluxe bedroom had a Scottish country house feel with just enough tartan to be tasteful without being tacky. The fresh decor made the room feel very homely and any thoughts of the storm outside were long gone as I settled in for the evening.
With all the usual inclusions and extras you would expect from a luxury room, I couldn't think of anything else I would have needed. Real coffee, a cafetiere and current copies of several Scottish magazines were a welcome touch and if I was being picky, then a desk rather than a set of drawers would have been preferred. A stool was provided but it really wasn't a comfortable way to sit and use the dressing mirror or my laptop.
The bathroom was spacious and spotlessly clean, with a separate bath and powerful shower and the quirky duck sponge was a nice bit of fun. Although the toiletries smelled lovely it would have been nice to carry through the Scottish theme with some local products.
After a really comfortable sleep, I woke up to discover that the room also had a pretty view to the garden and the hills beyond, a pleasant surprise.
Although I could easily have hibernated in front of the sitting room fire all night, my stomach was in need of some comfort food and I took a seat in the snug bar to study the dinner menu and was once again excitedly greeted by Beanie who was now in the process of searching the carpet for crumbs.
Dinner is a four course Table d'Hote menu, overseen by head chef Mark Easton who was previously awarded Real and Local Food Chef of the Year in the Scottish Hotel Awards, so I had high expectations.
I'm normally quite decisive when it comes to choosing my food courses, however with such interesting sounding seasonal choices I took a bit longer than usual to make a selection and having never tried hare or grouse before, I finally opted for the duo of local game.
With dimmed lighting, luscious red walls and to my delight, another open fire, the dining room felt stately and romantic. Every course was superb and I found opting for the recommended wine match for each dish on the menu much easier than navigating the extensive wine list. The only complaint was that I was too full to manage the cheese course (I really should have saved some space!) although I could definitely have squeezed in a few more of the delicious homemade chocolates with my coffee.
Breakfast was the usual selection of cooked options, fruit, cereal and local preserves. I opted for scrambled eggs on toast which were perfectly fluffy and creamy. Looking out to the garden and watching the birds enjoy their early meal on the hanging feeders outside the window was a nice way to start the day.
The hotel also has a cosy guest sitting room with an open fire and a well stocked bar with plenty of whisky! On nicer days guests can make use of the garden and there is also free WiFi throughout. It is also dog friendly and if like me, you have left your pooch at home, you can borrow Beanie for some cuddles.
Killiecrankie Hotel is in a fantastic location for exploring some of the best parts of Perthshire. The area is steeped in Jacobite history and the famous Pass of Killiecrankie and soldier's leap are only a few minutes away. Blair Atholl with the stunning Blair Castle and the Highland town of Pitlochry are also on the doorstep. There are a multitude of attractions for all interests close by and you will be spoiled for options, the hotel website has a comprehensive list which I recommend having a look at.
I started off my day with some shopping at The House of Bruar, then a trip to the soldier's leap, a drive along Loch Tummel with a stop off and lunch at Queen's View before continuing on towards Loch Rannoch.
This is a really picturesque route to follow with woodland, loch and mountain landscapes. As you near Loch Rannoch the scenery becomes wild and rugged and in typical Scottish fashion I enjoyed three seasons in one day.
Starting at Killiecrankie I had torrential rain, by the time I reached Queen's View the sun was coming out and as I reached the end of Loch Tummel I was welcomed by snow!!
What makes Killiecrankie Hotel special?
The decor, food and location were all first class and enough for me to recommend this place, however it is the little personal touches that I liked best including the surprise hot water bottles that had sneaked into the bed during dinner and the adorable Beanie that wouldn't let me leave without a parting belly rub!
Think laid back Scottish Country House Hotel with a sense of humour!
To find out more or to book a stay at the Killiecrankie Hotel, visit their website at
They are also currently offering the following Christmas and New Year packages
Christmas break - £630 per person in a single or sharing a double room. To include Christmas Eve afternoon tea and 4 course evening meal, Christmas Day lunch, various celebratory tipples, Boxing Day lunch, entertainment and archery plus more besides. Deluxe rooms may be available at a small supplement.
3 nights from 24th December 2015
New Year break - A 3 day programme between 30/12/15 – 03/01/16
Prices from £630 per person for three days, to include a welcome afternoon tea, Hogmanay Dinner, local Ceilidh, New Year’s Day brunch and more. Extra nights are available at £115
per person per night. Deluxe rooms are available at a small supplement
I was invited to review this hotel, however as always all opinions and experiences are my own and I only ever recommend places that I genuinely enjoyed.
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