ARDANAISEIG

Ruggedly romantic loch-side escape in wildest Argyll

MYTH HAS IT that Ardanaiseig was built on ancient settlements by those drawn here by the magic well of youth whose crystal waters formed Loch Awe on Scotland’s west coast. You can still feel the spell; it’s a wildly romantic setting at the end of a winding road, and one where this imposing baronial mansion commands enviable views of the loch, crannogs and little islands (one of which is their own) amid 100 acres of woodlands littered with exotic plants.

You’ll want to cut a swathe through the interior; we loved the bold midnight blue walls and stippled gold paintwork setting off chunky Gothic furniture and owner Bennie Gray’s remarkable paintings. Reception areas are decorated with choice chintz, while a log fire sizzles in the grate. Bedrooms feel effortlessly arty, and all have loch or garden views.The dining room looks out over water, and the only distraction (apart from your partner) will be chef Gary Goldie’s well composed cuisine.

Lovers of Scotch can wallow over one of the fine cellared whiskies before dinner – there are over 50 malts to choose from.



Hit the Spot
On the rugged shores of Loch Awe.

Bedtime
Drop anchor in the ultra-private Boatshed at the water's edge.

Be Savvy
You're a drive away from the nearest main road, let alone a town.

Be Smitten
Made for those who love things on the wild side.

Shores of awesome Loch Awe


Ardanaiseig is ruggedly romantic outside and moodily romantic within. You can soak in Cuaig’s decadent gold bath, sprawl across the vast canopied bed of Ben Lui or drop anchor in the ultra-private new Boatshed, with its huge floor-to-ceiling windows, wide-open views and glass balustrade right on the water’s edge. Five turf-roofed rooms, built deep into the hillside, will be added soon overlooking the loch.

Fascinating artworks line the walls – be sure to look out for the re-take on the Last Supper with its '60s celebrity twist. Oil paintings, rich colours and well spaced tables encourage intimacy in the dining room, where seafood – caught that day – is a speciality. Menus tempt with Inverawe smoked trout, pan-fried sea bass, seared scallops and vanilla pannacotta. Just-picked herbs from the garden add extra zest to dishes. If you'd sooner eat out – literally – just head off with a picnic to the hotel's own little private island in the loch.


Ardanaiseig was reviewed for Room for Romance by Mike North
Click on any picture to enlarge it and move through the gallery.











Dining in
Dishes have a French flavour – try velouté of celeriac with duck confit, followed by best end of lamb with haricots blanc, aubergine puree, garlic crisps and tomatoes. Round off with a warm black fig tart with cinnamon ice cream and berry compote.

Dining out
If you don’t mind the drive, try the fish restaurant Ee-Usk on the pier in Oban.



Where?
Ardanaiseig's restaurant

What’s cooking?
Nibble on smoked haddock ravioli with Maux mustard sauce and crispy leeks.

Dress the part
Pretty skirts and chinos are perfect

Top table?
Window tables have terrific loch views

See & Do
Literally hundreds of miles of scenic walking trails start from the doorstep, boats and fishing tackle are for hire and clay pigeon shooting, gliding and horse riding can all be arranged. For something more sedate, have afternoon tea on the lawn and a game of croquet. And don’t leave without seeing Kilchurn and Inverary castles, or even (for the scientifically minded) a tour around Cruachan power station.

Shop
Head for the stores of Oban, around 40 minutes away

Play
Since the village pub is three miles away you’ll be left to your own devices. It’s light at night here in midsummer, so after-dinner walks by the loch are a must.

Dates

Summer months
Ardanaiseig’s own amphitheatre stages ballet, classical music and storytelling at a 120-seat amphitheatre tucked into the hillside.

July
Check out the Highland games in Taynuilt and Oban
GETTING THERE

Location
Kilchrenan, by Taynuilt, Argyll PA35 1HE

Parking
There is free guest parking

Trains
Taynuilt station – 10 miles

Boat and seaplane
For special occasions, you can charter a boat from Loch Awe rail station or even charter a seaplane. Details available on request.

Taxis
Around GBP 30 from Taynuilt

Airport
Glasgow – 87 miles. Transfers can be arranged.



Rooms and suites
17 rooms and one suite

Special features
There are three four-poster rooms, two rooms with roll-top baths, open fires in all public rooms, a helipad and tennis courts.

Also…
There is wi-fi in all rooms and some have DVD players.

ESSENTIAL INFO

Rates guide
From GBP 120

Open/closed
Closed 2 Jan – 8 Feb

Check-in
1pm

Check-out
11am

Minimum night stay?
No

Breakfast
Full breakfast is served until 10am

Room service
Available morning and evening.

Children
No children under five are allowed in the restaurant.

Pets
Dogs are welcome

Air conditioning
No

Languages
English, Swedish, Italian

Wedding license?

Yes – for up to 48 guests and based on exclusive hire of the property.

Coming soon
Five new turf-roofed bedrooms buried in the hillside and with spectacular views over the loch are planned soon.

Your contacts
Peter Webster – general manager


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