Planning a Bargain Break …on the home front

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In these times of austerity it’s great to see so many of Scotland’s hotels attempting (and succeeding) to woo back  tourists with some amazing online short stay package deals including two and three – day bargain breaks in some amazing locations.

Planning a five-night break that included the west Highlands and east central Scotland and booked through internet sites, Travelzoo and Groupon was easy

In these times of austerity it’s great to see so many of Scotland’s hotels attempting (and succeeding) to woo back  tourists with some amazing online short stay package deals including two and three – day bargain breaks in some amazing locations.

Planning a five-night break that included the west Highlands and east central Scotland and booked through internet sites, Travelzoo and Groupon was easy.  Both were offering combined dinner bed and breakfast and B&B packages in some out-of-the-way retreats…our starting point was at Loch Awe!  Here, the slopes of Ben Cruachan drop into the waters of one of Scotland’s most famous lochs.  The hotel, which was on the other side of the loch, has its own boathouse and jetty.

Less than 120 miles from Glasgow, up the A82 and A83 to Inverary and then the A819 to Loch Awe, the stunning Ardanaiseig Hotel is on the western shore of the loch.  A truly beautiful country house is located ten miles down a single track road that meanders through some grand scenery.  As the hotel boasts, it lies in an area of “undisturbed tranquillity and almost surreal natural beauty”.

Sitting on the edge of the loch this baronial mansion – built and once owned by Colonel Archibald Campbell of Clan Campbell in 1834 and designed by William Burn and is listed for its architectural importance – can best be described as a deeply romantic and luxurious old country house…with fine dining thrown in.

Its luxurious accommodation offers palatial, comfortable and individually designed bedrooms, full of antique furniture.  Whether you are looking for a four-poster bed and views over the loch, or an intimate hideaway with garden access, the choice is entirely yours.

For food lovers the Ardanaiseig is an experience not to be missed and as part of our two night DB&B package (£199) was a seven course evening meal of gastronomic excellence on our first night. 

Award winning chef Gary Goldie, with his Medaille D’Or winning gourmet meals, excels.  The restaurant, which overlooks the loch and boathouse, was voted Scotland’s Romantic Restaurant of the Year in 2010.  Locally grown and sourced ingredients are all there in Gary’s AA rosette creations.

A must visit while in the Loch Awe area is the underground Cruachan hydro power station built in the 1960s and regarded as one of the pioneering engineering marvels of its time.

Our second night (£169 DB&B) was at the wonderful – and recently refurbished Rufflets Hotel on the outskirts of St Andrews in the majestic Kingdom of Fife.  This, our third visit over the past two years was not to disappoint.  Newly refurbished, this country retreat exudes elegance and quality…with extensive gardens surrounding the former privately owned house.

Rufflets was built in 1924 as a private home for Mrs Anne Brydon Gilroy, the widow of a prominent Dundee jute baron.  It is one of the oldest established and highest quality country house hotels in Scotland.

Set in 10 acres of award-winning gardens, this turreted mansion house is within the town boundary of St. Andrews and minutes from the Old (golf) Course and some of the most beautiful beaches on the east coast of Scotland.

Rufflets has a wide range of accommodation, with 24 individually designed bedrooms and three self contained 4 star self catering lodges in the grounds.

Food and service are of the highest quality at Rufflets with the sumptuous Terrace Restaurant a popular venue for discerning diners.  The hotel’s own garden supplies the kitchen with much of the fresh produce used in the seasonally changing menus.

Rufflets is well regarded as one of finest hotels in St Andrews boasting 4 Red Stars by the AA and 4 Gold Stars by Visit Scotland.

Fact File
Ardanaiseig Hotel
Kilchrenan by Taynuilt
Argyll
PA35 1HE
Email: info@ardanaiseig.com
Tel: 01866 833333

Rufflets Country House Hotel
Strathkinness Low Road
St Andrews
Fife,
KY16 9TX
Tel: 01334 472594
Email reservations@rufflets.co.uk