A hotel to call a home

18 May

“You must be freezing! Come in and get warm. We’re so impressed with you ladies!”

So cooed the lovely Katie Young as myself and two other ladies who I’d been canoeing with down the Scottish River Spey in the snow (yes, snow – find out more about that exciting journey on Miss Whisky, here) entered the lovely, warm safekeeping of her hotel’s lobby.

Katie and her husband David own The Cross Hotel in Kingussie, a small town in the Speyside region of Scotland. It is one of those places in which you instantly feel at home – whether waterlogged and freezing or not.

My room – a light-tartan and cream covered oasis – was situated with a view of the rustling River Gynack outside. Each of the eight rooms comes with the regular amenities (bath, shower, hairdryer, kettle) with the added sweet touches of a pile of books to curl up with and a CD player featuring local, Scottish bands.

Nicola (a blogger from the Whisky Boys) and I relax after our long canoeing journey.

But, the Cross – whilst being a lovely hotel – is most renowned for its food and wine list. In fact, it’s actually considered a “restaurant with rooms”. The hotel won the Imbibe award for the best Scottish wine list in 2010 and it’s no wonder why, with nearly 300 offerings on the menu that have a price cap of £75 (not something you see everyday), plus an incredible selection of half bottles and “interesting” aperitifs such as Floc de Gascogne, an Armagnac and grape juice which comes from la famille Deche in France. The restaurant – which sits in an effortlessly relaxing space with a huge open fireplace, big beams and stone walls – is also highly rated, and as we moved from one delectable course to another, it all made sense.

I started with a tart and salty sardine, asparagas and tomato dish, before moving on to the melt-in-your-mouth tender beef with red cabbage, tatties and carrots. We finished on a pillow-soft pavlova with rhubarb compote on the side.

And maybe it was the long day’s canoe journey, or the beautiful wines we tried, but all in all The Cross proved to be an understated place that more people should know about. The owners obviously care about the space and put a lot of time and effort into choosing the wine lists and making sure the food being served is locally sourced and good for the environment. I can only hope I am lucky enough to return to one day and stay a bit longer. It is a hotel to call a home.

For more information on The Cross Hotel, its rates, restaurant and location, head here.

4 Responses to “A hotel to call a home”

  1. G-LO May 18, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    Canoeing down a snowy river? Drinking some delicious wines? Chowing down on beautifully prepared gourmet food? Sounds like a wonderfully balanced escape! A bit of outdoor ruggedness and heap of Scottish charm and deliciousness. Once again, I am green with envy!

    Thanks for sharing your adventures!


    • gwiltypleasures May 21, 2012 at 10:34 am #

      Thanks, as always, for your kind comments. It was a pretty cool adventure, I must say!

      • G-LO May 21, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

        Snowy river. Cool adventure. Now that’s punny! Heh

      • gwiltypleasures May 22, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

        Ha! I didn’t even notice that. I’m great at bad puns!

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