Kate Schneider, who is with Hello Scotland for a 6 month placement, shares her first experience of the Scottish Highlands over a 3 part blog series where she delves into the details of the hotels, venues and activities this beautiful area has to offer! Up First is Day One... over to you Kate!
Visit Scotland invited representatives of various Scottish DMC´s and event organizers for a 3-days familirization trip to the Highlands. The aim was to supportand strengthen the tourism in Inverness and surrounding areas by encouraging tourism organizations to offer this destination to their clients. The representatives visited a variety of restaurants, venues and hotels and tried a couple of activities to be able sell the “true Highlands experience“ properly – and Hello Scotland could not miss this, of course!
The expedition started at the Queen Street train station in Glasgow at twelve o´clock. Following a green concept, we travelled 95 miles through the famous West Highland Wayto Fort William by train, passing the shores of Loch Lomond and enjoying 3 hours 30 minutes of scenic views ofScottish hills and wild nature.
After arriving in Fort William in the late afternoon, I finally got to know my “fam trip colleagues“. We were taken straight to the luxurious Inverlochy Castle Hotel. The taxi driver was very chatty and told us amusing stories about Mel Gibson´s stay in Scotland – he was a DJ at Gibson´s party once!
We were welcomed very friendly at the hotel and were taken straight to our rooms to relax after a long travel. It gave me time to admire the beautiful surroundings and stunning design of the building and 17 individiually designed hotel rooms.
I was accommodated in Ben Nevis room which received its name due to the scenic window view of the Britain´s highest mountain. The room was very spacious, designed in beige tones. There was a bowl of fresh green grapes and a vase with fresh flowers on an antique table waiting for me. Even the flatscreen Tv was specially designed to fit into the luxurious traditional castle room – it looked like a mirror with polished dark wooden frame when turned off.
Then I came down the fairy-tale stairs to join in a short supplier chat in the reception hall while sipping a hot drink in front of a huge fire place. We tasted delicious canapes and as if that was not enough we were given a menu to order dinner from.
Excited about the upcoming fine dining experience, we were finally seated in the Michelin Star and AA 3 red Rosettes awarded restaurant - a small dining room overlooking a truly magic loch and dark green forest. The food itself was an extraordinary treat for all senses. The whole evening was accompanied by classical music and an absolutly perfect service. Each table had a personal waiter who made sure that our glases of water and wine were always full.
A lovely surprise was waiting for each of us in our rooms when we came back after dinner. The room was heated just right, dim lights came from three antique lamps, the king-sized bed was ready for us to sink in and there was a belgian chocolate on the pillows and slippers in front of the bed. Classical music was playing quietly in the background to round the whole calm but magic atmosphere. I would really recommend this five-star castle hotel to anyone who appreciates excellent service and locally produced fabulous food, or simply to anyone who wants to feel and be treated like a king or queen in their own castle for a night.
Coming next week, Kate share's her experience from day 2 in the Highlands, including a sightseeing tour, laserstrike and a dine around feast!