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Dunalastair - Review
This is a solid Highland hostelry very much in tune with its surroundings. Chances are you’ll be greeted by a crackling log fire or two as you walk inside – and you’ll be even warmer later after working your way through some of the 80 malts stocked in the hotel’s Malt Whisky bar.
Furnishings ooze rustic charm and traditional Highland appeal. There’s plenty of wood panelling, tartans and antlers on the walls, not to mention imposing stained glass windows, a grand staircase and plenty of memorabilia. Contemporary comforts have been added without stripping away any of the building’s long-held character.
Don’t expect chic boutique here – old fashioned virtues prevail in Dunalastair's 28 bedrooms. You’ll find classic furniture and plenty of tweeds and tartans, while corner baths, jacuzzis and roll-tops preside in bathrooms stocked with Arran Aromatics. Many rooms have four-posters.
A wee dram before bed
Box-office star Liam Neeson has bedded down here (you’ll see the costumes he and actress Jessica Lange wore in Rob Roy) and the Rob Roy room is something of a showpiece. Other come-hither bedrooms include Macbeth and Robert the Bruce, together with the Malt king-bedded spa rooms.
Dunalastair’s straightforward style infuses the cooking, too. There’s nothing flash or faddish about the dishes served up in the baronial wood-panelled dining room, with its striking antler chandeliers. This is a place that has resisted jumping on the eponymous pesto-and-goat’s-cheese bandwagon in favour of good, honest cooking using the harvest on its Highland doorstep.
Have a wee dram before dinner (and maybe a nightcap later) but be sure to leave room for the cheeses made by top Scottish cheesemonger Iain Mellis, which go down a treat with oatcakes. There’s a convivial little pub across the courtyard in a converted stone barn, where you could well get chatting with the locals or hear some live music later.
You’re right in the lap of scenic Scotland here: tumbling burns, steep sided glens and the shores of Loch Rannoch are on your doorstep. Hospitable staff will go the extra mile, and it’s a great place to leave the hurly-burly behind and simply chill – or get toasty warm – with your significant other.
Outdoorsy types love it here, so expect to see plenty of boots, cycles and rucksacks. And if it’s an extra-special getaway, Dunalastair’s Eden package has everything for today’s Adam and Eve – a tempting bottle of pink champagne, sinful choccies filled with guava, passion fruit and figs, and a wicked jacuzzi spa bath to be as naughty as you like.
Dunalastair was reviewed for Room for Romance by Mark MacGee