Flavour & Savour | 30th October 2023
Winter warmers: whisky lover’s guide to hotels in Scotland
Where to stay for the best wee drams
If you’re seeking inspiration for whisky tasting holidays in Scotland, look no further than the nation’s finest, independent five-star hotels.
While opportunities to follow the crowds on tours of the distilleries of the big name brands abound, what could be more relaxing and indulgent than sampling the local liquor in the elegant surroundings of your hotel bar?
In fact, you can enjoy some of the very best whisky tasting in Scotland while taking a luxury hotel stay and many of our favourite PoB hotels north of the border offer superb experiences for whisky lovers, as well as seriously well-stocked bars.
Whether you’re partial to a wee dram and would like to know exactly what makes a single malt special or you’re already something of a whisky aficionado, you’ll find a watering hole that hits the spot. The winter months are a wonderful time to savour the warming amber liquid with a book by a crackling log fire and enjoy the best of Scottish hospitality.
When in Inverness, this five-star hotel is the ultimate abode for sophisticated travellers and when it comes to premium booze, it has pulled out all the stops for guests who want to sample and take a deep dive into the national spirit! In honour of its location in the Highlands, Ness Walk offers a stunning range of whisky tasting tours and experiences.
Take a seat in a deep leather armchair in the bar and prepare for the Whisky Flights experience: the expert bar team will serve you a selection of whisky flights to taste, carefully curated with options to delight each palette from their local dram to smoky malts from the Isle of Islay.
The hotel’s Tour of Scotland experience is your opportunity to sample a whisky from each of the five key whisky regions: Speyside, Highland, Campbeltown, Islay and the Lowlands. And if you’re in the mood for a spectacular road trip, the hotel will show you the way, via its Spirit of the North Coast 500 experience. Scotland’s answer to Route 66, The North Coast 500 is a 500 km coastal road and you can discover four drams on the route starting in Inverness and finishing on the most northerly point of Scotland’s mainland.
Ness Walk, room rates start from £145 per night.
Ayrshire’s legendary castle hotel has risen to international fame not only for its first-class hospitality in a fairytale setting, but also thanks to its range of truly memorable tours and experiences. In addition to field sports, fishing, archery, falconry to hiking and mountain biking, the hotel invites guests to embark on whisky tasting extravaganza.
The hotel’s whisky connoisseurs offer some of the best whisky tasting in Scotland with interactive whisky sampling sessions, such as a showcase of three marvellous single malts and bigger treats, including the ‘Whisky Experience’ in which you can learn all about the heritage of Scotch whisky and how the unique tastes of the different distilleries are created, with lively demonstrations, including tastings and food pairing.
For the most passionate of whisky lovers, ‘The Connoisseurs Experience’ comprises the ultimate Bladnoch distillery tour experience, hosted by Bladnoch’s Master Distiller Dr Nick Savage for a rare master class and exquisite paired Whisky lunch. This is one of four bespoke tours available exclusively for Glenapp Castle guests.
Glenapp Castle, room rates start from £296 per night.
This charming five-star hotel in Perthshire owned by Wimbledon superstar, Andy Murray, is the ultimate paradise designed for tennis buffs while still rolling out the best of Scottish hospitality, which means whisky, what else?
You can sip whisky in the hotel bar or take the opportunity to enjoy a full-day, bespoke tour of three local Perthshire distilleries of your choice. It’s a great excuse to explore the beautiful Perthshire countryside by road, stopping off to learn about the distilling process, the history of whisky-making and, of course, sample this world-famous spirit.
The hotel can also book you onto the ‘Heart of Scotland Tour’ which combines spectacular views with whisky explorations. This full-day excursion takes you to the city of Perth, with visits to Scone Palace, Dunkeld, and the Victorian town of Pitlochry, and then moves on to see the exquisite panorama of Queen’s View, which takes in views of Loch Tummel, Schiehallion and Glencoe, followed by the villages of Tummel Bridge and Aberfeldy, and a drive through the sublime Sma’ Glen. Tullibardine Distillery, where you’ll enjoy a tour and a well-earned dram, is the final stop.
Cromlix, room rates start from £310 per night.
Few hotels are as characterful as The Torridon, situated in 58 acres of parkland at the end of a magnificent sea loch in the resort of Wester Ross — and few hotel bars can match it for its choice of whisky. Here, you’ll be dazzled by a selection of no less than 365 single malts — one for every day of the year — served in a dedicated and suitably sumptuous Whisky Bar.
You could be forgiven for not knowing which to choose and the hotel will offer you a nosing and sample tasting with an expert, featuring whiskies from different regions in Scotland and a cosy chat about the origins and history of your drams. Whisky tasting holidays in Scotland don’t get much easier or more indulgent than this.
The Torridon, room rates start from £396 per night.
Leave the rum to the pirates — when onboard Scottish vessels only the finest whisky will do. In the heart of the fair city of Edinburgh, you can enjoy all the fun of a ship experience on a boat that doesn’t rock because it never leaves its dock!
Fingal is a luxury boat that’s been transformed into a unique floating hotel moored in the city’s waterfront and offers fine dining and whisky tasting with wonderful views. Here, you can work your way through the whisky menu under your own steam, or request a guided tasting experience.
Fingal, room rates start from £300 per night.
And if you fancy a sea-faring jaunt around the Scottish Islands, taking a cruise on the famous Scottish ship, Hebridean Princess is a magical way to explore the history and flavours of whisky, as well as some of the most breathtakingly beautiful whisky-making locations.
This luxury liner that mainly sails from her home port in Oban offers a selection of cruises around the Highlands and Islands of Scotland with visits to distilleries, talks and masterclasses with experts and on board whisky tasting opportunities galore.
Hebridean Princess cruises start from £4,995 for 7 nights.