Kinloch House Hotel Review
What has impressed our Reviewers and Readers most about this hotel?
> Beautiful public rooms offer grace and space
> Elevated setting offers an open outlook
> The scent of woodsmoke and lilies!
> Superbly redecorated bedrooms
> Wood-lined health centre
BEAUTIFUL SMALL COUNTRY HOUSE HOTEL
Snowy, flowy, blowy,
Showery, flowery, bowery,
Hoppy, croppy, droppy,
Breezy, sneezy, freezy.
from ‘The Twelve Months’ by George Ellis
Sometimes the seasons seem heightened, and in some places, you not only feel them, sense them distinctly but can go on to enjoy them fully.
Making the Guide’s first trip to Relais & Châteaux-member Kinloch House since the hotel changed hands we drove through October’s bronzed Perthshire countryside, and after an enjoyable run finally pulled up the drive to the elevated position of the elegant and restrained stone-built, bow-fronted house.
It stands on 25 acres of grounds and has an outstanding walled garden to the rear, built-in 1840 at a time when it was fashionable for the newly rich industrialists from the jute trade to establish seats for themselves in the country, and Perthshire, with its rich opportunities for country sports of all kinds, provided the perfect environment.
For much of the year, Highland cattle graze outside the hotel; in spring there are carpets of bluebells.
In summer the south-facing walled garden, with its Celtic cross layout and high walls, provides a joyous place to sit. But it was in autumn that we at Scotland’s most-read hotel guide called, stepping into the richly paneled Hall and being uplifted by the evocative scents of log fires and flowers casting the mind forward a season, the thought of warm, cozy, glowing Winter evenings in this much-enhanced house appealed enormously.
Kinloch is a fine example of a real Scottish country house, with its mellow oak paneling and very classy first-floor portrait gallery. It had been in the same hands for many years until the Allen family took over in late 2002; they had operated the much-acclaimed Airds Hotel in Argyll, winner of many awards. As a team, the family was always going to imbue their new hotel with their quality approach, and thus it is. The place is looking gorgeous. “A strong start for the new owners at this tranquil country house hotel”, compliments the excellent Which? Guide to Good Hotels 2004 edition.
And if your wellies get wet then there is an efficient welly dryer in the well-equipped Sportsman’s Utility Room. Guarding the Hall is an imposing stuffed black bear, David, under whose glazed gaze you can sit by the crackling log fire – as we did – and appreciate the sensory pleasures of this lovely space.
Full of interesting and elegant things, there is here a strong feeling of the Edwardian arts and crafts period, especially the wainscoting – seen throughout the house. Two little gilded centurions on the mantlepiece hold up flickering flames; the pine-cone gatherers’ work sits out in bowls; there’s the tick of a pretty-faced grandfather clock; attractive pieces of solid furniture; trophies “shot by the king”; fine lamps and objet d’art galore.
The Hall is the hub of the building. From it the handsome open staircase goes up to the gallery, there is a small reception area, and there are doors leading to the Sitting Room, Drawing Room and the Bar, Conservatory, and Dining Room areas.
The Drawing Room is often used for private dining and was laid out for such when the Guide visited. A light and poised room, fresh in pale yellows and mild blues, the pale gold striped walls are hung with engravings of dogs and hunting scenes.
The gleaming table can accommodate up to 20 and is popular with shooting and fishing parties, and smaller weddings. Cherubs and orchids add to the décor. Continuing the sophisticated and indulgent theme is the superbly inviting Sitting Room.
As in other rooms in the house, we spotted that the subtle qualities of Farrow & Ball paint, as used by the National Trust, with its unsurpassed depth of colour, had been used to great effect here. Quite how to describe the colour itself is another matter: ‘dark Georgian pink’ might be a reasonable attempt, but of course it will be called something far more interesting.
Sumptuous seating beckons both by the imposing fireside and throughout the room. The bay window looks out over the Perthshire countryside, right across the strath, and we noticed how the relocated car park and trimmed rhododendrons had opened up the vista.
The walls here, too, are hung with family paintings, oils and watercolors, prints, and engravings hung correctly and adding classic artistry to a superb room. Enjoy this space during the day for reading, afternoon tea, or simply relaxing; at night there couldn’t be a nicer place to enjoy a post-dinner liqueur. Move through another door to the Bar area to see changes that will impress anyone who has been to Kinloch before.
There’s deeply upholstered tartan seating by the fireplace, plenty of tables and chairs, and a former archway round the back of the bar itself is now a library space (of which there are several) filled with books.
Warm paneling, a mantlepiece topped by sweet ‘wally’ cats, nice pictures, the smell of woodsmoke, a wide range of malt whiskies, vases of white lilies. A good place in which to enjoy an aperitif – for the Conservatory and Dining Rooms are just a few paces away. The conservatory features a piano and traditional seating. Drinks, lunch, or coffees can be enjoyed here.
Bedrooms Step up the creaking old oak staircase from the ambiance of the Hall and arrive at the gallery, from which the hotel’s best bedrooms lead off. The pale apricot walls display imposing oils and other paintings, lit from above by a striking glass ceiling.
Bronze figures, antique seating, and portraits of Victoria and Albert all add to the sense of stateliness. Room 1, with a brass knocker of Lord Nelson awaiting a rap, is all light and charm. Sand-colored carpeting and fine fabrics, lemon walls, creams, red tweed seating, dark-wood pieces of furniture, flowers, and big windows with south-facing views over to Marlee Loch, taking in the strolling horses and contented Highland cattle in front of the house.
The bathroom is striking and of the highest quality: great slabs of pink Italian marble (some weighing up to 600lbs) now line much of the walls. Bathrobes await you following a luxurious soak. Room 2 is, perhaps, our favorite.
Its knocker is of Shakespeare and you won’t be lost for words when it comes to telling the folks back home of the comforts in this plush suite of bedroom, sitting room, and bathroom. A spectacular window shares a view of fields, forest, hill, and loch similar to room 1 – except, there’s more of it. Paneling, whites, yellows, rich fabrics, swags, gold tassels, prints of old roses, Italian chairs: this is luxury and space.
The bathroom, fresh with a green trellis-style wallcovering, is finished in the aforementioned marble and features twin ‘his and hers’ hand-basins. Room 5’s knocker says Durham Cathedral – an impressive, astonishing place if you know it.
This rather English-style country house bedroom is pretty in blues and has Chinese accents. Plush chairs and fabrics, flowers and fine furnishings, and a first-class bathroom. Room 6 is a sunny, glowing golden and jade room – which features a terrific, romantic bathroom: a silver-footed slipper bath stands in the middle of this luxurious room which also boasts a separate walk-in shower.
In the East Wing, newer than the rest of the house, are 6 doubles and 2 suites, fine big rooms that can be enjoyed for around £40 less than those in the old house. Tip: choose the rooms on the upper floor of the East Wing.
Many feature striking wood and mirror-lined bathrooms and many regular guests choose these rooms for this feature. Traditional décor, flowers, books, and other objects all feature. Room 20,
for example, has a 5ft wide four-poster bed and is a pretty room with good views. At the end of the wing’s corridor are the two suites, one above the other: Marlee and Cluny.
These junior suites are big and light and have an appealing rounded shape at the far end where winged sofas in the jade and pale raspberry colors of the room make for an elegant place to repose with a magazine. There are desks (with excellent views) and nice pieces of furniture.
The tasteful Dining Room finished in yellows and creams, is hung with big, colored ornithological engravings in black and gold frames. Well-appointed tables sit awaiting fortunate diners. A striking cabinet displays a collection of blue glass.
Our Dinner Review will soon follow when we will publish plenty of details of the cuisine, menu examples, a breakfast briefing.
Unusually for this type of hotel, there is a discreetly located and comfortable, private leisure club. This warmly pine-paneled development offers an invitingly blue-tiled 35ft-long swimming pool, whirlpool spa bath, a small gymnasium, and a sauna.
Absolutely excellent to have on-call: after a hard day’s exploration or sport in the Perthshire landscape, or even as a pleasurable indulgence if you’re in a ‘time out’ mood.
The hotel’s own website refers readers to Perthshire.co.uk and, as we know this site and the helpful Perthshire Tourist Board well, we can happily point you in that direction, too. (Their website opens in a separate window.)
The county offers a plethora of choices – and the hotel will help in as many ways as possible when it comes to golf, sightseeing routes, shooting, fishing, or riding. Picnics can be made up and days pleasurably planned.
Kinloch House has emerged this year as a glowing, gorgeous exemplar of a Scottish country house hotel. The owners are experienced and skilled: their ‘new’ hotel will doubtless be in their family for many years to come – so we can confidently recommend the hotel to you.
It isn’t the cheapest place to go, but it is, now, one of the best. It is quite small so is intimate and warm. As a romantic escape, it is ideal: it has the ‘special’ factor in abundance.
This quintessentially Scottish country house is classy, beautifully furnished and decorated, and a point in the landscape from which the four seasons may each equally be savored.
Awards / Look & Book Box™ status This hotel has been reviewed by the Guide and any AuthenticReviews™ awards are detailed above. Any star grading has been awarded by the Scottish Tourist Board. The hotel is an Accredited Member of AuthenticReviews™ | Scotland so the Look & Book Box™ features are ONLINE.
Disability Information: There is wheelchair access via a small ramp. Please enquire for full suitability details.