Review: Dunalastair Hotel Suites

This five-star hotel in the Scottish Highlands is a welcome surprise in rural Perthshire

In the small village of Kinloch Rannoch, right on the village square, is this light grey stone Victorian building, which for many years housed a more humble Highlands inn, before a sophisticated makeover a few years ago turned it into a luxury hotel.

Credit: Stephen Bennett Photography

This part of Perthshire is popular with outdoorsy types – entry point to the desolate sweep of boggy moorland known as Rannoch Moor is just 18 miles away at Rannoch Station (where there is a very good tearoom) and the munro of Schiehallion with its unmistakable conical appearance can be seen from some rooms.

With this in mind, you could argue that a Highland inn would be more suited to these parts. Indeed, the grandness of the hotel is slightly at odds with the modest village setting, which sits at the tip of Loch Rannoch: there’s a little café and a gallery just off the square, and cross a stone bridge and you’ll find a small post office-cum-grocery store and not much else.

However, while you might expect a muddy-boot type of affair, not everyone comes here to bag munros and get all grubby (though there is a boot room if you do). If you like a few more comforts amid spectacular scenery, then this could be the place for you.

It’s certainly a place to feel pampered. From the moment you step through the door, there’s a luxury feel: the immaculate reception is warm and welcoming with stripped down wood in muted colours having a calming, almost spa-like effect, and local artworks line the walls as you make your way to your room.

In the rooms the important stuff is done right. Handcrafted beds are fitted with Egyptian cotton bed sheets, topped off with the plumpest of pillows. There are bathrobes and slippers to make you feel as home and the over-sized walk-in Grohe showers are a dream (particularly for anyone who has managed a hike).

Downstairs the hotel has more of a Soho House vibe than Perthshire hotel. The lounge is on the site where the village pub once was and while some locals have been put out by its smartened up appearance, if you didn’t know it had once been here, you wouldn’t miss it. This is a relaxing area with comfy velvet sofas and giant lampshades, perfect for a pre- or post-dinner drink.

Talking of which, just off this room is the restaurant, Edina’s, which looks out over a pretty courtyard. Ah yes the courtyard, visit in the right season and red stags have been known to wander in, so you can watch them as you get stuck into a dinner of pan-seared salmon or Perthshire beef, with the occasional amuse bouche thrown in.

If you don’t luck out with the wandering deer, a short walk out of the village (or an even shorter drive) will bring you to a deer park where you can see them from a gate. Alternatively, head northeast into the Cairngorms where you can join a trip to see Britain’s only herd of free-roaming reindeer. A truly unforgettable experience.