Highland Adventure: The Torridon

29 Apr

“I don’t want to leave,” I whined to the boy as I looked at the purple hued mountains that had finally cleared of mist.

“C’mon,” he said, grabbing my hand and nearly dragging me along the pavement due to my feet having firmly frozen themselves to the tarmac.

The Torridon Hotel at Loch Torridon

The day before we’d arrived at The Torridon hotel, which sits at the base of Loch Torridon in the far west of Scotland. A former stately home, the space has been converted into one of the most blissful places I have ever rested my head.

With crackling fires that beckon you in from the cold, to cosy drawing rooms filled with chess sets and walls lined with whisky, the Torridon exudes a certain level of relaxed opulence I have yet to find elsewhere in my travels.

The warming entrance with smoky, crackling fireplace.

In our room, which looked out onto the vast mountain landscape, was a bed so plush and high, I had to do a little leap up to get onto it. In the bathroom, a roll-top bath and REN products awaited to warm my bones, chilled from the feisty Highland air.

The view from our room at The Torridon

After settling in, we – like every guest – were treated to some lovely hot coffee and shortcake in the comfort of the drawing room. Tastefully decorated and holding on to a certain “classic” charm, the room is a welcome space to sit back in the large leather chairs and look out onto the manicured and misty gardens out front.

Coffee & delicious delights awaited us in the drawing room.

The Torridon has 58 acres at its disposal, which include long walking paths, gardens and a lochside boating launch. The boy and I put on our walking shoes and headed around the squelchy paths, taking in the fresh air so uncommonly found in Londontown. A kitchen garden, filled to the brim with various herbs, spices and veggies, was reassuring: everything that can be grown for the food served at the hotel’s AA three Rosette restaurant will be. That includes the friendly, shaggy highland cattle which munch happily nearby, not knowing their fate but at least allowed to roam and be as natural as any creature should be if it’s going to be eaten. There is a separate inn onsite which includes a pub. As it was Sunday, the boy and I stopped in for a swift pre-dinner pint – a perfect remedy after all that muddy trekking.

A Highland Cattle soft toy in our room - just as cute as the real version!

But the final and, potentially, most rewarding part of the evening came with dinner: five courses of delectable delights starting with the sweetest mini eggs benedict amuse-bouche and a starter of creamy, sweet almond soup. A starter of handmade, juicy lobster and crab ravioli, and mains of tender guinea fowl and the best sea bass fillet I’ve ever had, followed.

The delicate yet fully flavoured food of the Torridon.

After dinner, over a raucous game of chess and a cheese platter, I sat back and thought about the day – how far we’d traveled in the rain and how warm I felt now. I can truly say, the stress had completely left me by this point and I think it was the most relaxed I’d felt in months.

Chess and cheese: my kind of night!

Next time, I become shaky with nerves over the bends along the Applecross Way, feel weepy at the sight of the Isle of Skye Bridge, try some amazing Talisker whisky and land at another delightful hotel…

Thank you to the Torridon for hosting the boy and I. For more information on the hotel, its activities and rates, visit: http://www.thetorridon.com

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5 Responses to “Highland Adventure: The Torridon”

  1. G-LO April 30, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    Of course the biggest problem with staying at places like this is that (a) you never want to leave, and (b) other hotels will always make you feel like you’re slumming it.

    Sounds like you and The Boy had a fabulous time (again!). I’m jealous as can be. Thanks for sharing!

    Cheers!
    G-LO

    • gwiltypleasures May 2, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

      I know! But, equally, I’ve stayed in some lovely hostels, camps and apartments that have stuck with me for their beauty and remoteness too! Musn’t let yourself get spoiled πŸ™‚ Glad you enjoyed!

      • G-LO May 2, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

        A very good point! It’s all about the compromise, i.e. location vs. amenities vs. surroundings, etc.. And yes, spoiled is a very bad way to be. Need to appreciate what we have. πŸ™‚

  2. CMG May 7, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    We stayed at The Torridon around the same time as you and were rather disappointed, especially with the food – all our hot dishes were served barely luke warm and the menu formula was the exact same on all 3 nights i.e. always a veloute based amuse-bouche, followed always by a fish starter, a choice of two mains, always a foam and sorbet based pre-dessert served int he exact same cup before a choice of cheese or dessert. On check-out the owner took our money without even asking how our stay was. As regulars to small luxury hotels on the West Coast of Scotland and can recommend Airds Hotel or Kilcamb Lodge Hotel if you want relaxed fine dining with genuine highland hospitality.

    • gwiltypleasures May 17, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

      Sorry to hear that! It’s funny how sometimes you have great experiences and terrible ones at the same place (I’ve had that a lot with restaurants, going once and it being perfect and the next time being the absolute opposite). I’ll look up the other hotels too – thanks for the recommendations!

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