I have fond memories of my previous stay at the Lodge on Loch Lomond Hotel although up until last week it had admittedly been years since my last visit. When I worked out just how many years it kind of scared me as I was convinced it wasn't that long ago that myself and Mr Adventures Around Scotland had slept in the same bed as Bill Clinton in the Carter Suite (not at the same time I hasten to add!). It sometimes panics me how quickly time seems to be speeding up as my life passes by in a blur of birthdays.
When I was recently invited to review the hotel after a refurbishment, I couldn't wait to see if it was as good as I remembered. Despite the passing years, stepping through the front door of Lodge on Loch Lomond was reassuringly familiar and I immediately felt at home.
The hotel has a relaxing and intimate feel which helps you to switch off from the moment you arrive. Our welcome was efficient and professional, meaning myself and Mr Adventures Around Scotland could quickly get to our room, unpack and unwind.
The hotel is situated about a 30 minute drive from Glasgow on the west shore of Loch Lomond next to the pretty conservation village of Luss. It has beautiful views across the loch from most areas of the hotel and it even has its own beachfront if you prefer to immerse yourself in the Highland scenery, which I highly recommend!
The hotel is ideally located for exploring the Loch Lomond and Trossachs area with numerous walks, mountains, boat rides and cute villages on the doorstep. A short stroll along the beach will take you in to Luss which has to be one of Scotland's prettiest villages, with quaint cottages and colourful gardens. There are also options to take a boat ride from the pier if you would prefer to explore Loch Lomond from the water or even take a little ferry to the historic island of Inchcailloch.
Further south is the village of Balloch with a lovely country park, outdoor activities and shopping at Loch Lomond Shores. Further north and you enter a picturesque Highland landscape, with the breathtaking Glen Coe just over an hours drive away.
During this trip I headed to the east side of the loch and climbed Duncryne Hill, which is said to have one of the best views in Scotland of all the wee hills. I then headed to Balmaha, another pretty village, to enjoy a relaxed lunch by the loch before making my way to the opposite shore for my overnight stay at the hotel.
We stayed in one of the Deluxe Corbett rooms and although a little bit more expensive than the standard rooms, I would honestly say it is worth upgrading if you can. There are two reason for this - firstly, these rooms have private 2 person saunas which is sheer indulgence after a day exploring. I felt all my winter aches melt away and although there is a hotel spa, I loved that I didn't have to leave my room to de-stress. After the sauna, I also made good use of the big fluffy bathrobes and slippers to laze about in while I sipped on a glass of Prosecco - sheer bliss!
Secondly, and this is what really makes the Corbett rooms worth the extra cost in my opinion, is the private balcony with a stunning view of Loch Lomond. Despite the chill in the air, I spent a good bit of time sitting outside watching the ever changing sky. As Mr Adventures Around Scotland and I finished off our Prosecco, we were rewarded with a rainbow over the loch while ducks splashed around in the water below before the landscape lit up as the sun peeked around the clouds. We were also joined on the balcony by a couple of robins and a few sparrows which were obviously used to being fed by guests. For me, sitting out on the balcony in the fresh Loch Lomond air, taking in the views as the water lapped rhythmically below was all the therapy I needed, although a personal sauna was the icing on an already pretty amazing cake.
As darkness fell, it didn't really matter that the scenery had vanished as the stars were now twinkling overhead and this really rounded off an already amazing day.
The room itself was nicely decorated with a contemporary Scottish decor and all the extras you would expect, a sofa by the balcony doors provided a cosy spot indoors to enjoy the views. The bed was huge and super comfortable which made it extra hard to get up in the morning. I definitely need a bed like that in my life!
Thanks to the super powerful shower I was soon refreshed and raring to head out for another day exploring.
The hotel's Colquhoun's Restaurant has achieved 2 AA Rosettes for culinary excellence and VisitScotland's 'Taste Our Best' accreditation, which recognises businesses that provide and promote quality Scottish food & drink. As you can imagine the standard of food is pretty high and I thoroughly enjoyed all 3 courses as did Mr Adventures Around Scotland.
There are 2 menus to choose from - the Market Menu and the Classics Menu, and we could mix courses from either menu. There is also a list of daily specials.
For starters we had -
Onion bhajis with a labnah dip & coriander salad
Chicken liver pate with oatcakes and chutney
followed by mains of
Braised beef cheek, smoked spelt, purple potatoes, beetroot puree, wilted spinach and red wine jus
Bbq chicken with freekah chopped salad with buttermilk dressing, preserved lemon & green sauce
for desserts we finished off with
Chocolate brownie with ice-cream in a meringue
Sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice-cream
Although the food was delicious, the customer service during our meal was exemplary and I really need to give our server Lucy a special mention.
I have been on a gluten free diet for a while now and my experience of eating out has been a bit hit or miss, however our server Lucy was super helpful when I let her know at the start of the meal. She immediately brought me the allergen guide for the menu which was easy to follow along with tasters on gluten free bread without me having to ask.
By the time I had reached dessert, Lucy informed me she had spoken to the chef who offered to make me a gluten free dessert that wasn't on the menu to give me an extra choice. All of this was done unprompted and without me asking, I genuinely felt so appreciative of the effort. Little thoughtful touches like this elevate customer service to a level of greatness and makes guests feel genuinely valued.
I should add that every member of staff without fail was professional but friendly during our stay - even housekeeping staff asked us if we had a nice stay and chatted away about our plans which is unusual in my experience. Whoever does the staff training is doing an excellent job!
If there is one area of the hotel that didn't seem to match the high standards everywhere else, it was breakfast. It is served buffet style with a mixture of continental and cooked choices. I realise that a cooked buffet is more practical but for a hotel of this standard it didn't seem to be in keeping with the rest of the experience.
Maybe it's just me but I hate having to use spoons covered in cold, lumpy baked beans and watery scrambled eggs, I much prefer ordering my cooked breakfast.
I was also a little disappointed that the cooked choices I would normally go for like eggs benedict or smoked fish had a supplement of £2.95, which penalises those that would prefer those choices rather than something from the buffet.
As I mentioned, if relaxation is the focus of your stay then the facilities at the Amber Spa will help you unwind with a 16m heated swimming pool, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi and laconium. I didn't try it out myself but I have heard good things about it.
If you prefer outdoors leisure then on-site water-sports are available from May until August. Currently you can choose to travel around the loch by speedboat, kayak or paddleboard, with more options coming soon. Personally, I love the sound of the lodge canoe safari.
Take a break between adventures or enjoy a night cap in the contemporary lounge/bar or head outside and take in the views from the terrace on a sunny day.
Check out the Lodge on the Loch website for availability and special offers.
Disclaimer - My accommodation and food was provided for the purposes of a review and my opinions are based on my own experience. However, I always carry out additional independent research to ensure my own experience matches up with that of other guests. This way I feel I can confidently recommend featured accommodation to my readers.
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