Cameron Lodges, Loch Lomond Luxury, Scotland

We are so fortunate to live where we do in Scotland and sometimes forget just how lucky we are to have so many amazing places right on our doorstep. 

We always try and schedule a short break on the lead up to Christmas and New Year, taking time out to relax before the festivities and late nights take their toll.  Step up Loch Lomond and Cameron Lodges, less than an hour from our front door.

Cameron Lodges sit on the famous banks of Loch Lomond in Scotland and offer the perfect retreat along with some incredible scenery. 

The lodges provide luxury accommodation within the world-renowned five-star Cameron House resort and the Cameron Club & Spa resort.  Cameron Lodges offers a variety of lodges, cottages and apartments. From cosy couple retreats, to ones capable of taking whole families, you are sure to find one that suits your need.

Our journey up on the Friday was great with some nice sunny, although cold, weather to enjoy the scenery during the short trip. 

We arrived around lunchtime and dropped into The Boathouse for lunch just as they were gearing up for their first festive event.  The New England nautical themed restaurant, situated at the loch’s edge, is relaxed and comfortable.

We were tempted to enjoy the impressive views across Loch Lomond and Cameron House marina from the large decked area outside the restaurant, but it was a tad too ‘fresh’ for that. 

Inside was so much cosier!

There are comfy and sociable couches where you can enjoy a coffee next to the welcoming fire.

We enjoyed some tasty starters and fresh Loch Fyne seafood mains in very relaxed and informal surroundings.

The prices were also very reasonable, perhaps not what you would have expected, from a resort like this.

Our check in was what you would expect from a resort of this standard.  It was swift, seamless and the team were very knowledgeable and helpful. 

We were even welcomed to our lodge by a couple of friendly geese who were extremely keen to help us in with our grocery bags!

We were staying for three nights in a recently refurbished one-bedroom semi-detached lodge (#59).  Split over two levels with the bedroom and en-suite on the ground floor and kitchen and lounge up a short flight of stairs, it was just what we were looking for. 

Fully equipped with a variety of mod cons, including large TVs, Wi-Fi and Tassimo Coffee Machine, you could easily have enjoyed a longer break.

Our lodge was practically on the famous banks of Loch Lomond and within easy walking distance of The Boathouse; perfect for nipping out for a quick bite to eat or a sneaky wee warm scone and a coffee or two. 

To be fair, all the lodges are within walking distance of the nearby facilities and for those slightly further away there is a concierge service you can use to shuttle you around.

Having ‘fuelled up’ at The Boathouse we quickly unpacked, pulled on our walking gear and set off to explore the nearby area.

We headed southwards along the banks of Loch Lomond, towards Loch Lomond Shores and over to the nearby Balloch Castle and Country Park

Scotland is unique in that you can easily enjoy all four seasons in one day and, do you know what, that’s fine with us, because when it is on your side, the rewards and scenery are spectacular. 

On our first evening we settled down with a box set, a few gin and tonics and of course a wee Drambuie.

Cameron Lodges is perfect to take advantage of whatever the weather has to offer, and our trip was testament to that. When the weather was kind we were ideally located to pull on our walking gear and explore direct from our doorstep some amazing scenery.

We had a lazy Saturday morning in bed, before venturing out for a short walk exploring the grounds of the resort. 

Even in the wet though, Scotland’s scenery is impressive!

We also caught a glimpse of the sensitive restoration work ongoing at the main Cameron House, which we understand should be open again towards the end of 2020.

To be honest the weather could have been better, so after a short walk around the grounds and nearby area, we dropped in again at The Boathouse. 

What better way to warm up, dry out and relax than settling down to some freshly brewed coffee and tucking into a warm scone with clotted cream and jam.  Perfect!

Back at our lodge we had a lazier than normal afternoon before we headed out to The Clubhouse Restaurant. We headed over to the restaurant late afternoon courtesy of Kyle one of the resort’s concierges.  A very friendly and engaging young man and a credit to the team.

This is a great service the resort offers meaning we could both enjoy a wee refreshment during our meal.

The newly refurbished local restaurant and bar located in the beautiful surroundings of The Cameron Club and Spa (formerly known as The Carrick Resort) has spectacular views towards Loch Lomond and Ben Lomond. 

The Clubhouse, like The Boathouse, offered a friendly and informal traditional dining experience and would be perfect for most occasions.  A very attentive and helpful team, headed up by Mark, helped us enjoy our evening, recommending some great dishes and refreshments to accompany them. 

The garlic mushrooms on toast and crab meat and avocado starters were delicious, moreish and very tasty and just enough not to spoil our main course.

Our mains were simple, fillet steaks prepared to our liking and accompanied by roast vine cherry tomatoes and potato wedges. Very tasty indeed.

The restaurant is open seven days a week serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Locals, visitors and golfers are invited to walk in, pull up a chair and enjoy a drink and order from their delicious menu while soaking up the atmosphere. Again, prices were very reasonable.

Strangely, despite how much we eat,  one of us can always find space to fit in a dessert – especially when Homemade Apple Pie is on the menu.  Absolutely fab and a perfect end to an evening.

Sunday’s weather was not great so we simply hunkered down for most of the morning. We chilled out, read a few books, caught up on our social media and drank coffee!  Is that not what Sundays are for?

Even in poor weather Cameron Lodges has something to offer so we took a spin up to the Spa to try the Hydro and Thermal experience, located only two miles north of the main hotel. 

Before donning our swimwear, we decided to grab a ‘light bite’ from the Café Spa. 

Given it was a little quieter than normal, we were able to choose from the adjacent Clubhouse menu which offered a more ‘wholesome’ bite to eat along with some fab freshly brewed coffee.

Serving a delicious seasonal menu of soups, sandwiches and main meals, on a good weather day, the Café Spa provides guests with a stunning view of one of Scotland’s premier golf courses and fountains to enjoy during your meal.

Despite the weather we braved the elements and spent some time in the stunning rooftop infinity pool, in which you can take a dip and enjoy views across The Carrick golf course, lodge resort and beyond into the Scottish mountains. 

A truly exhilarating experience and a must do on any visit.

We spent a good few hours in the thermal experience, drifting away, letting the waters heat our bodies and the aromas relax our minds, body and soul.  Overall a great afternoon and highly recommended during a stay.

Monday arrived far too quickly, but it was an incredible day, so we grabbed a coffee on the balcony and quickly got organised so we could max out our morning before our trip on Celtic Warrior, the legendary Cameron House luxury 46ft cruiser. 

You could never tire of views like these.

After leaving the lodge we fitted in a short walk before stopping off for yet another warm scone and coffee at The Boathouse. We had just finished the last crumb when Colette, the Celtic Warrior skipper, let us know we were ready to leave the marina.

It was a bright crisp day and we were so glad we were wrapped up as we chose to sit up on the top deck; this really was the highlight of our weekend. 

The scenery was incredible, and the views were spectacular especially as you could see the famous snow topped Ben Lomond gazing down on us.

We also enjoyed a rather ‘chilled’ glass of champagne on the top deck of the cruiser, the perfect way to enjoy Loch Lomond.

Our cruise lasted sixty minutes and Colette took us past the various islands of Loch Lomond including Inchmurrin, as well as a few hidden coves situated around the banks of the loch and over the unique fault line between the Highlands and the Lowlands.

Colette and Steven had fabulous local knowledge to share, pointing out some of the loch’s most scenic beauty spots.   

It would be unfair to share the funny and interesting stories and history of the islands, but just to intrigue you they involve wallabies and nudists….! Overall the trip aboard the Celtic Warrior is highly recomended and a trip not to be missed when you visit this area.

Cameron Lodges was the perfect location for us to chill and relax before the festivities commenced, but what struck us was that it would also be ideal for trips with family, friends and to celebrate special occasions no matter what time of year. 

There is so much to do, great places to eat and of course the scenery on offer is second to none; we’ll be looking to visit again soon.

Other Information:

This was a sponsored visit, however, the review is an entirely independent and true reflection of our experience. The majority of images are our own, however thank you to Cameron Lodges for use of the the image of the inside of The Clubhouse and the external shot of Celtic Warrior.

Relaxing Romantic Retreat, Rink Hill, Scottish Borders

It’s always exciting planning a short break, especially when you find somewhere new that is so unique and architecturally striking.

Step up Rink Hill, a truly stunning bolthole for couples with incredible views over the Tweed Valley in the Scottish Borders.  

The Scottish Borders wasn’t an area we were familiar with to be honest, but we knew there was plenty to do in the area with walks and small market towns to explore.    Before we arrived, we stopped off for lunch in Melrose and then stretched our legs along the banks of the River Tweed. 

Rink Hill, although rural is still close to nearby attractions and facilities. This romantic hideaway is nestled perfectly into the landscape.  As we ascended the off-road track taking in the Tweed Valley on our left, the property appeared out of nowhere on the right-hand side.

The 180-degree curved panoramic floor to ceiling windows were immediately striking, framed perfectly by the curved dry-stone walls on either side. 

The property looked so natural in its setting and more importantly this was our home, well, for a long weekend at least!

No neighbours (except some curious cows and passing fox), no interruptions, just peace and solitude – utter bliss!

The property is nothing short of stunning and exceeded our expectations.  Light flooded into the large modern open plan living area.  The view across the Tweed Valley was simply breath taking.  

The clever design, with the half glass wall to the bedroom means that you can enjoy the same amazing panoramic view from both the living area and the bedroom.  Makes you feel part of the outdoors, even when you are lying in bed!

The kitchen was very well equipped and to be honest was what we expected from a place of this quality.

It had everything you would expect, but the bean to cup coffee maker was a very nice extra and provided a great start to our day.

We awoke each morning to this incredible view – what more can we say it was stunning!

We were lucky with the weather; October in Scotland can be sometimes unpredictable, wet and cold however we had three dry, crisp sunny days. 

We ventured out each morning and enjoyed walks to the Three Brethren in Selkirk and Rhymers Glen and Cauldshiels Loch in Abbotsford. 

At this time of year, the daylight hours were short with the sun going down around 430pm so we returned to the Rink Hill each afternoon in time to enjoy the sunset and the changing browns and yellows of the breath-taking Scottish Autumn landscape.

The changing weather was also interesting to watch as the clouds rolled in.

We never needed to fire up the log burner as, even on a pretty cold Scottish weekend in October, it enjoyed the best of the sun throughout the entire day meaning Rink Hill was a very toasty place indeed.  

The stunning, large bathroom, with a double sized shower was fab and the free-standing bath also with its own view was the perfect place to relax after our days exploring.   

It was just a tad too fresh in October to enjoy a morning coffee on the patio, but in warmer weather you would be stretched to find a more peaceful location to start your day or even end it with a glass of wine or two.  

Fiona and Mike have created the perfect romantic rural retreat for you to return each day to relax, recharge and reflect on your adventures.  Although, if that’s not for you, then simply visit to chill out and relax with nothing else but the Scottish Borders countryside to marvel over. Clearly the area has plenty to do and we’ll certainly be back for a visit.

For those looking for a luxury self-catering hideaway, the new to market, Rink Hill is easily up there with the best and we really can’t stress how relaxed we felt during our visit, and would highly recommend a visit.

Take a look for yourself here www.rinkhill.com

Other Information:

Although this was a discounted visit, the review is an independent and true reflection of our experience.

The Fingal, Luxury comes to Leith

Want to experience an unprecedented level of luxury then look no further than Fingal, a luxury five-star floating hotel berthed at Leith docks in Edinburgh.

We’ve visited Edinburgh many times, but Leith hasn’t really featured, with the only exception a visit to the Royal Yacht Britannia last year. We were therefore delighted to have the opportunity to stay aboard Fingal, Britannia’s sister ship and recent addition to the Leith landscape.

Fingal was commissioned by the Northern Lighthouse Board in 1963 and was the last ship to be built by the Blythswood Shipbuilding Company in Glasgow.   Registered in Leith, Fingal was stationed for 30 years in Oban and then for 6 years in Stromness, ferrying lighthouse keepers, essential supplies and maintenance staff to lighthouses, as well as undertaking repairs to navigational aids throughout the West Coast and the North of Scotland.

Launched in January 2019 with 23 luxurious cabins this 237ft long floating luxury hotel and exclusive use venue has been beautifully restored and transformed and is in stark contrast to her hard working past.  If you do visit, make sure you have a peek at the pristine engine room to remind you of her past and the elegant ballroom to show off her present.

All Fingal’s cabins have been named after one of the Stevenson lighthouses she maintained throughout her operational service. 

We were staying in Girdle Ness one of the luxury cabins with a private door onto an open deck walkway, meaning you could enjoy some fresh air during your stay.

All the cabins have a nautical and historical theme with ‘lighthouse’ Davy lamps, heavy brass fittings, maps, compass designs and bespoke commissioned fabric and throws by local designer Araminta Campbell adding a real Scottish and personal touch. 

Look out for the Fingal emblem throughout the room and the rest of the ship.  If you look closely enough at Neptune’s trident you might just see something else you recognise!

The cabins also have a modern twist with smart TV, Wi-Fi and underfloor heating, although watch out for the slight floor level difference.  Thankfully it has been ‘corrected’ for the king size bed being installed, meaning you don’t inadvertently roll out of bed!

We spent a very leisurely and relaxing afternoon in The Lighthouse Bar sampling a few gins including a very nice Royal Yacht Britannia gin (a new one for us) along with some tasty snacks.

We never dined on board as the ship is perfectly located to explore Leith’s bars and restaurants.  We chose to visit the original Fishers Restaurant nestled on the historic Shore in Leith.  Set in a 17th Century watchtower we feasted on a several very tasty and fresh Scottish seafood dishes – including a rather indulgent fresh lobster which was simply outstanding.

We returned to the Fingal for a wee night cap and an expresso Belvedere Vodka cocktail ! Maybe next time we’ll enjoy a light evening supper or afternoon lunch on the ship as we couldn’t help but notice some impressive and tasty looking dishes in front of the other guests as our evening came to an end.

After a very comfortable and peaceful sleep, the following morning we enjoyed one of the most tasty and artistic ‘Scottish’ breakfasts we have ever had. 

We were only aboard Fingal for twenty four hours but during this time we did feel a sense of romance and relaxation.  The ship really does offer a level of opulence and romance you only find in a handful of venues across Scotland.  A real exclusive and luxury feel destination with some clever attention to detail complemented by very attentive and bespoke customer service.

If you want to spend some romantic and intimate time with a loved one and ‘push the boat out’ then Fingal would certainly be an excellent choice.

We were equally impressed with Leith and were overawed by its vibrancy, variety of bars and restaurants and diverse cultures even after only a few hours exploring.  Its definitely on our radar for a future visit!

Other Information: This was a sponsored / discounted visit; however, the review / article is an independent, honest and true reflection of our experience.