Culloden House Hotel
An Elegant Scottish Highland Getaway
14th October 2020
There are many, many benefits to being a private tour guide in Scotland. The fact that you can walk with tourists around a beautiful and historic city, such as Edinburgh, or drive them around this beautiful and historic country are just two, and possibly the most obvious aspects of that ‘perfect job’. Of course, there are many other pleasurable moments in the tour guide’s day. The fact that you are out and about in the fresh air is another plus point to put on the list. It’s a healthy job – you are always on the go; you’re in a positive frame of mind and are meeting people when they are ‘at their best’ – everyone is happy when on a trip! Each person on a tour has their own take on our country which means every journey has its own unique footprint. No two tours are the same. You are always learning, refining your own knowledge through more in-depth research. This certainly is the case when we do family history, genealogy, or Scottish Clan tours.
The best food and drink are another highlight of being out with our guests. We are not going to take you to average places to eat right? We know and love the best, and we want to make sure you get the best. We take great pride in supporting great restaurants, cafes and pubs and we want them to stay with us forever.
Another rewarding aspect of being with visitors is introducing them to the best hotels, guest houses and bed & breakfasts when we are out on our multi day tours. The warm welcome we receive from the many accommodation owners, receptionists, concierge, front of house and hospitality professionals is just one of the many things, which make the front-line tourism industry, such a wonderful place to be.
The hotel lobby, reception or public room of a guest house is a sociable place, “Good afternoon James, and how did you all get on today”? “Oh, great thanks. We drove your guests through the Scottish Highlands, visited a castle, had lunch in a village pub and toured a whisky distillery. It’s been a great day”. The wee chat we have with guests and hotel staff is always a nice way to end a day of touring.
One such place we love is the beautiful, historic, and elegant Culloden House Hotel. This Georgian mansion sits in open parkland and has one of the finest drives, around a long open lawn, to the steps of the front door. The hotel does have a wow factor and on arrival we are happy to say the staff who greet you when you arrive are some of the friendliest you will find anywhere in Scotland.
By Georgian times, Culloden House was already 200 years old. Originally the house was a 16th century Jacobean Castle and parts of the house date back to this time. Early owners of Culloden House include Robert the II, the first Stuart King and the Chieftain of the Macintosh Clan. In 1625 Duncan Forbes purchased the house from the Macintosh Chieftain and so began the Forbes family 300-year history with Culloden House. The Forbes’s embraced Georgian times in highland Scotland and were known for their lavish lifestyle and generous hospitality.
The house is famously associated with the 1745 Jacobite Uprising and Bonnie Prince Charlie requisitioned Culloden House as his lodging and battlefield headquarters. He stayed for three nights in the lead up to the battle and after his defeat at the Battle of Culloden on 16th April 1746, he fled across the highlands, staying in much less salubrious accommodations!
From the moment you walk into Culloden House Hotel, you feel incredibly welcome by the friendly staff. You feel at ease in this Grade A listed luxurious and elegant hotel, they have a knack of making this feel like you’re in a highland home. As a tour guide, it is always a pleasure to be in the lobby chatting with guests and staff on our arrival. The Adam Lounge, which just sits off the lobby has a beautiful drawing room with magnificent Robert Adam plasterwork, chandeliers, and a large open fire. This is a room you can while away the time, reading, drinking whisky, having a coffee or quite simply relaxing. Such is the open airy splendour of the place. The hotel puts on an amazing afternoon tea here too!
The rooms at Culloden House Hotel range from simple but elegant doubles and twins, to classic, and superior and suites. The rooms are of an excellent standard and offer quiet relaxation from a bygone era, lovely!
I have, on many occasions, had the pleasure of evening dining in the hotel restaurant. To go back to the perks of being a tour guide, another one is being invited to join guests for an evening meal! At Culloden House, you congregate in the elegance of the Adam room for pre-dinner drinks and horderves. And, while enjoying a convivial atmosphere, much like the past Forbes and their guests, we browse the excellent menu. When invited to take our table, we enter the hotel’s candle-lit dining room which looks so elegant with beautiful décor, perfect lighting, and all set in this amazingly high-ceilinged room. I have enjoyed starters such as King Scallop, Grilled Mackerel and Smoked Ham; main courses including Scotch Beef Fillet, Scotch Lamb and Salmon and mouth-watering desserts. They also have an excellent cheese board, with a great selection of Scottish cheeses. As you would expect of Culloden House, the waiting staff in the dining room have the perfect balance of attentive service without too much fuss. Post meal drinks can be taken back in the Adam Room, or in the very cosy hotel bar, and they have an excellent whisky selection!
Ever since my first visit to Culloden House hotel in 2008 my guests have enjoyed a different kind of 5-star experience. A simple, easy going elegance, a discreet “you are a valued guest but you are here to be yourself and relax”. And they are still offering this unique type of service in such elegant surroundings.
After a day of touring in Scotland, and dropping my guests off at Culloden House Hotel, I love to stand at the top of the stairs outside the front door and look over that long front lawn. It makes me smile that after a day of beauty in the Scottish Highlands, my guests will be well looked after their home for the night. Here’s to Culloden House, by the city of Inverness and here’s to the people who are breathing a new and exciting life in to this beautiful, historic building!
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