As you might have guessed from the amount of time I spend there, I have quite a soft spot for Dumfries and Galloway in the south west of Scotland. Despite having covered much of the region there are still a few pockets that have eluded me and the stretch of the A76 from Sanquhar to Dumfries is one of those spots that I've yet to fully explore. Recently I was invited to experience a stay at Trigony House Hotel which is handily located just off the main road, in the heart of this very area. With a reputation as being genuinely dog friendly, National Pet Day seemed the perfect excuse to take our lurcher Willow away for a night at this multi-award winning country hotel.
Trigony House Hotel was the former shooting lodge for nearby Closeburn Castle which is one of the oldest continuously inhabited tower houses in Scotland. Today it is run as a country house hotel set in over 4 acres of woodland and gardens.
As we drove up the front drive, I couldn't help but think how romantic it looked with it's ivy exterior and characterful lanterns. The interior is a mix of period features and rustic country homeliness. I definitely felt more like I had arrived at a friend's home than a hotel as there is a really relaxed vibe, with guests chatting away to each other like long lost acquaintances and dogs lounging around the public rooms.
Dogs are great conversation ice-breakers and I'm sure their presence helps the conversation flow between fellow owners. During our stay there were 5 other furry companions being treated to a night away, with the resident Retriever Roxy also making a regular appearance to welcome canine guests. Having a dog is not compulsory to stay at Trigony House but I would think you would have to at least like them to stay here as they are permitted in all public rooms other than the dining room.
There are only 10 bedrooms at Trigony House and it's small size adds to the intimate atmosphere. On arrival we were warmly welcomed and shown to our bedroom which was in keeping with the homely country feel. It was light and spacious with a big comfy bed, sofa and plenty of storage space. Willow was pretty excited to find a welcome bowl on the bed with doggy biscuits, the canines definitely get looked after at this hotel. There was also a little map of the grounds showing the enclosed dog exercise areas which were perfect for letting Willow have a good run around.
Our room had a lovely view over the gardens to the hills beyond and we could hear plenty of bird song from the surrounding trees which I found very therapeutic. After a long day travelling, our room was a nice calming space to sit with a cup of tea and muse over the different leaflets and local walking suggestions.
Check out my Dumfries and Galloway blogs for more local inspiration
The bathroom was spotless and I couldn't wait to try out the luxurious ishga toiletries, an organic seaweed skincare range developed on the Isle of Lewis. FYI, I loved them!
Trigony House is famed for it's rustic homemade cuisine, gaining multiple food related awards over the years. Many of the ingredients are sourced locally from Dumfriesshire and their own walled garden which is about as local as you can get.
The dining room is another calm, bright space and the only dog free zone in the hotel. Having Willow with us meant that our dinner was enjoyed in the bar area which felt cosy and romantic with only four tables set up. Little touches like flowers and candles made it feel much more classy than the usual hotel bar.
Willow was delighted she could join us to mooch from under the table and fellow guests with their own excited furry companions soon filled the remaining tables and lots of doggy chat and occasional canine capers soon ensued!
As I'm still on a gluten free diet, I was extremely impressed when I was informed that just about any dish on the menu could be easily adapted for me. Our server (wish I'd gotten his name!) was very knowledgeable and didn't even need to liaise with the chef to know what options could be created and explained everything in detail so a big thumbs up for him. With only one or two dishes that couldn't be adapted, this was the first time I've not felt limited in my menu choices. Whatever your eating preferences are, Trigony House seems genuinely well set up to cater for everyone.
In the end Mr Adventures Around Scotland and I both chose the hake fritters to start. For mains we opted for Shetland salmon in a white wine and parsley sauce and 28 day aged Scottish rib eye steak with braised field mushroom, peppercorn sauce and handcut chips, which were served with seasonal vegetables. We ended our meal with homemade ice-cream and raspberry & vanilla creme brulee.
In keeping with the rest of the hotel, the food is homely and unpretentious but still cooked perfectly and we both thoroughly enjoyed our meal. We also loved the fact that the atmosphere at dinner was so friendly with all the guests exchanging conversation.
After dinner we took our tea through to the informal lounge and joined some other guests with their dogs. After such an exciting day they were stretched out on the rug (the dogs not the guests!), obviously feeling just as relaxed as their owners.
We sank in to one of the comfy sofas and made our plans for the next day as Willow chilled out with her new doggy friends.
In the morning we were able to eat breakfast in the bar which meant we could take Willow with us, this was much to her delight as she was treated to a hot, cooked sausage sliced up on a plate. Dogs really are made to feel as welcome as their owners and included in every experience from food to therapies. The staff are also well used to fussing over them too and are very understanding of their sometimes excitable antics.
Us humans were also well catered for at breakfast with a choice of home-made granola and fresh fruit salad or numerous cooked dishes including local kippers, Galloway smoked salmon, eggs various ways and a full Scottish cooked breakfast. I opted for poached egg with toast but unsurprisingly Mr Adventures Around Scotland went the full hog and was happily set up for the day ahead.
GARDEN & SPA
Dogs aren't just catered for inside the hotel, there are also dedicated exercise areas in the grounds that they can run around in, with a plentiful supply of poo bags and a doggy waste bin on site.
If you are in need of some extra pampering then you might want to book a treatment at the organic micro garden spa, soak in the outdoor hot tub or work up a sweat in the Finnish sauna cabin. There are even relaxing dog Reiki sessions available so your furry companion doesn't miss out on some TLC. I told you dogs were included in everything!
A truly dog and people friendly hotel that feels more like staying at a friend's house, Trigony House Hotel is a welcoming and relaxing base for exploring an often overlooked part of Scotland.
MY RECOMMENDED THINGS TO DO NEARBY
There are numerous visitor attractions on the doorstep and the hotel has printed a very handy brochure of scenic walks which I'll definitely check out next time. The main town of Dumfries is only a short drive away and you could easily spend a day there but I chose to explore a little closer to the hotel and these are some of my recommended things to do nearby -
For bookings and the latest rates, visit the Trigony House Hotel website.
You might also be interested in these Dumfries and Galloway travel posts -
Take a coastal road- trip around the Rhins of Galloway
My pick of the best book shops in Wigtown, Scotland's National Book Town
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Disclaimer - My accommodation and meals were 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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