Scenic Scotland: The Ultimate Luxury Weekend Getaway Author: Daisy Lily

Scotland is a mystical, ancient place full of distinctly Scottish characters. It’s a land of glistening lochs, centuries-old castles, haggis, whisky (not whiskey), mournful bagpipes, lively tartans, and livelier people. Taking a weekend trip to Scotland means immersing yourself in a culture that prides itself on being unique and distinct. If you’re looking to take a journey that will ease your worries and lift your soul a little, these luxurious Scottish locations and excursions are ones you should definitely plan to experience.

1. The Fife Arms, Braemar

If you’re looking for a typically Scottish location and a typically Scottish welcome, then the Fife Arms is the place. Located in the highland village of Braemar, this boutique hotel is everything you’d expect from a Scottish getaway (tartans, wood floors, and stag heads — oh my), with a few decor surprises (like an original Picasso) thrown in for good measure.

Experience the highlands in all their lonely, beautiful glory by stepping out the front door and into the Cairngorms National Park. This park is one of the only places in Britain where excellent skiing is available in the winter, and there are several scenic hiking trails to keep outdoor enthusiasts entertained in the warmer months, too. Throughout the year, the Fife Arms hosts a number of adventure excursion workshops as well as mini Highland Games for the little ones. Spoil yourself with a private jet charter into Aberdeen and then prepare for the most scenic hour and 15-minute drive you’ve ever seen from Aberdeen to Braemar.

2. The Belmond Royal Scotsman – A Train Excursion

Can you imagine anything more refined and luxurious than snaking your way through the spellbinding Scottish countryside on a train? The Belmond Royal Scotsman offers you a chance to return to a bygone era when luxury trains were the preferred mode of transport for the elite. Treat yourself to first-class accommodation that moves you through some of the most visually stunning parts of Scotland. Enjoy an aperitif in the bar car before you sup, then enjoy your meals in a mahogany-panelled dining car comparable to those you see in Hollywood films. Board the Belmond Royal Scotsman at Edinburgh Waverley Station and experience stop-over tours that explore the highlands, malt whisky distilleries, castles, and the scenic wonders of the West. Try out white water rafting, golf, or whisky tasting. There is room service, seasonal menus, and a whole lot of relaxing to be done.

3. Inverlochy Castle Hotel

Many castles in Scotland have been restored and maintained in line with their original glory, but the castle at Inverlochy sets itself apart from the crowd. Nestled in the foothills of the highest mountain in the UK, this castle once played host to Queen Victoria as she sketched and painted the countryside. What the Queen said then holds today: “Never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot.”

Explore the echoing halls of this 19th-century giant festooned with tartans, classic, striped wallpaper, and flowing draperies. Indulge yourself with a hearty, satisfying afternoon tea and then dine on locally caught seafood and pasture-raised beef transformed by the kitchen alchemy of chef Michel Roux Junior. Play a few games of tennis, improve your aim by shooting clay pigeons, or stroll through the verdant grounds and breathe in the mountain-fresh Scottish air. You’ll never want to leave.

4. Hebridean Island Cruises

Exploring the Hebrides from the deck of a cruise liner means that you get to see them from a perspective that is not available to many people. The archipelago — made up of hundreds of islands — is home to jagged, rugged coastlines, salt-stained fishing villages, and some of the last communities in the world that still speak mostly Gaelic. Visit the islands by day and indulge in the luxury that the Hebridean Princess offers you for the rest of the trip. This all-inclusive cruise carries a maximum of 50 passengers, so the experience is still small enough to be intimate. The guided shore tours will enthral and educate, with experienced tour guides to lead the way. Dine each day in the onboard Columbia Restaurant and experience the best of Scottish and international cuisine.

5. The Isle Of Eriska Hotel, Spa, And Island

Reposing on 365 acres of private, exquisite land, the Isle of Eriska Hotel takes opulence to a new level. This private island is a place for rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation of the mind, body, and soul. On the isle, you can escape the rest of the world (literally) and dine on award-winning meals every night. The grounds themselves are reason enough to visit the hotel. Once you’ve crossed the bridge onto the island, you’ll find yourself in an oasis of tranquillity where deer flit in and out of the woods and plump grey seals sun themselves on the rocks. The hotel’s main building has been standing since 1884 and boasts exquisite suites and views. The spa, hidden in the garden, offers a large leisure pool, a sauna, and five treatment rooms for some of the best treatments you’ve ever experienced. Each room connects you to a different natural element, reminding you that you’re part of the world around you.

Scottish Splendour

Any of these luxury Scottish experiences will be more than enough of a break from reality to replenish your resources. A weekend away in the highlands, at the coast, or lazing in a spa can do wonders for the mind and body — are you ready to try it?