My partner, Martina Krupičková, was chosen to appear in Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year Season 4 Episode 6 first screened 8pm 20th November 2018. The location was Inveraray Castle and my review of the Sky Arts event is here.
We booked a standard room for two nights at the Loch Fyne Hotel (Monday 2nd and Tuesday 3rd July). Once past Glasgow, the road becomes a winding scenic single carriageway – so plan extra time for the slower roads and inevitable stops for photographs.
Inveraray is a small picturesque town ruined by a gaudy fairground attraction sitting on the green by the Loch. The hotel is just a few minutes drive away – far enough that the fairground isn’t visible.
The entrance hall had a classic Scottish manor house feel.
We checked in and climbed the stairs to our room.
We were delighted to find that we’d been upgraded to the Lagavulin Suite – all the suites are named after famous whiskies. Strangely, the receptionist hadn’t mentioned our upgrade, but we soon realised that we had probably the best room in the hotel.
The bed was a good size. Behind the bed were some steps up to small seat where you could sit and look out upon the Loch.
There was a sofa and table with complimentary fruit and water. I think a nice touch, especially for those who actually booked a suite, would be to leave a small Lagavulin, or whatever whisky the room was named after.
The bathroom was nicely appointed (separate bath and shower), although there were minimal toiletries and no box of tissues. I also found that the cold tap produced hot water until it was run for several minutes – pipes too close together. This also meant the shower was scolding hot unless the cold tap had been left to run cold.
There was a safe in the room, sadly too small for a laptop. The set up method was more complicated than the usual ‘reset, enter new code, lock’ and meant that I accidentally locked the safe without a code set – the receptionist came and unlocked the safe with a key.
There was a trouser press in the room. I’d love to meet the salesman from Corby who managed to convince so many hotels to purchase such a useless item.
We were on a bed and breakfast rate and had made dinner reservations on check in.
The restaurant was quite spacious. The taster menu was included and had most of the food we would have chosen anyway – well except scallops for which we paid £5 per person extra.
We chose a bottle of 2015 ‘Killerman’s Run’ Australian Shiraz for £43 (shop price £17). I must admit to not paying attention when a bottle of South African Meerlust Rubicon 2014 arrived – it was a lovely wine and it was only when I came to write this review that I discovered that it was one above our choice on the wine list and was listed at £75 a bottle (shop price £27 so quite a hefty mark-up). We were only charged £43 and so it looks like the staff, who apart from the maître d’ were all pretty amateur, had mistakenly upgraded us.
Dishes were presented without any announcement – they were just plonked in front of us by one of the waiting staff, who immediately walked away. This wouldn’t have been such an issue, except that our bread and butter pudding was delivered as the second course, just after the scallops. We had to wave someone down and the pudding disappeared back to the kitchen. It looked good and was when we finally got another chance to eat it later that evening.
I don’t seem to have any pictures of the other courses, but everything was delicious. They obviously have a good chef, just need to work on their waiting staff.
Breakfast was excellent; cold pastries, meats and fruits and cooked to order breakfast. I chose my favourite – Eggs Royale with a side of black pudding. It looked so good that I cut into it before remembering to take a picture.
Dinner the following evening was slightly less impressive. We’d eaten our amuse-bouche and starter before the wine arrived – correct bottle this time. The food was still good, although our crème brûlée wasn’t set and the top hadn’t been caramelised. The waitress did offer to replace it, but we were tired, full and didn’t bother.
We discovered that check out was 11am. I really don’t approve of hotels setting a check out time earlier than noon. As it was we were granted a ‘late’ check out and left at noon.
We enjoyed our stay and I’d certainly recommend this hotel despite the few shortcomings that they need to work on; bathroom amenities, cold water plumbing, restaurant staff training, noon checkout as standard.
I’ve posted pictures of the surrounding area at the end of this review.
Loch Fyne Hotel & Spa