Castle hotels in the Highlands: historic luxury in Scotland

By John Pilkington,

The Highlands’ castle hotels are unique pieces of history that now offer some of the country’s most luxurious accommodation. Embodying the beauty, romanticism and melancholy of Scotland’s northernmost region, these hotels offer guests a glimpse into the life of a Highland Chieftain.

So why not wake up in a four-poster bed, explore the rooms of a former Laird and spend the day hiking rugged glens, before retiring to your castle to warm yourself before a fire, ready to do it all over again the next day.

To find your own slice of Highland life, check out our top Highland castle hotels.

Ackergill Tower

Wick

If you are looking for five-star luxury in the Scottish Highlands, then you can’t go wrong with Ackergill Tower. A beautiful stone tower dating from the 15th Century, Ackergill boasts an unforgettable location, perched right on the Northern tip of Scotland, making it a popular venue for weddings.

castle_hotels_scotland_Ackergill Exterior

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The range of rooms available include those in the tower itself, as well as other deluxe rooms and properties on the estate and even a large self-catering treehouse cottage. But despite its historic nature, Ackergill Tower offers its guests the finest in 21st Century luxury; each room is individually decorated in a range of both traditional and more contemporary styles, all boasting high-quality linens, comfortable furnishings and beautiful views.

castle_hotels_scotland Ackergill Room
Occupying 3,000 acres of grounds, Ackergill Tower also offers a variety of activities, including fishing on a private loch, Highland games, shooting and falconry. Guests who arrive at the right time of year may also be lucky enough to witness the Northern Lights.

Achnagairn Estate

Kirkhill, Inverness

Set in 30 acres of lush grounds, Achnagairn Estate is made up of an impressive historic castle, which serves as a hotel for six months of the year and as a stunning wedding venue for the remainder, as well as several lodges which are open year-round. Both are run with the mantra of ‘escape the ordinary’ and thanks to the unique rooms, quirky interiors and elegant luxury, its guests can do just that.

castle_hotels_scotland_Achnaigairn suite

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Each room is designed with a different theme in mind, ranging from the romantic to the extravagant, while other décor shows that the traditional castle still has plenty of character. In fact, the bathrooms are one of the most talked about features of this Highland castle retreat, with one featuring ‘his and hers’ twin bathtubs overlooking the grounds.

Castle_hotels_Scotland_Achnagairn Ballroom - Where breakfast is served 1
For something really exceptional, be sure to check out the ballroom, which was built in 1912 when the owner’s daughter didn’t have a suitable venue to celebrate her 21st birthday. The beautiful vaulted ballroom was built from scratch and remains completely unique to the Highlands to this day.

Inverlochy Castle Hotel

Fort William

Named after the castle ruins found just two miles away, the imposing Inverlochy Castle Hotel was originally built as a 19th century manor house and is now a five-star luxury hotel. Set amongst the glens, lochs and mountains of the West Highlands, the hotel boasts one of the most enviable locations in Scotland. In fact, when Queen Victoria visited in 1873, she remarked, “I never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot.”

castle-hotels_scotland_Inverlochy Castle_exterior

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Offering excellent views of the impressive surrounds, each of the hotel’s 17 rooms are decorated in a classic style that highlights their individual character.

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The five-star hotel is also home to one of the finest dining experiences in the Highlands; Albert and Michel Roux Jr at Inverlochy Castle is a gourmet experience offering the finest modern British cuisine with a French twist, thanks to the legendary father and son duo.

Dalmunzie Castle

Glenshee

Standing proudly amidst the beautiful mountain scenery of the Perthshire Highlands, Dalmunzie Castle is a perfect slice of traditional Scottish hospitality and boasts history dating back to 1510. Despite this idyllic location, the hotel is just a two-hour drive from Edinburgh Airport.

castle hotels_Scotland_Dalmunzie Castle Exterior

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A classic country house, Dalmunzie prides itself on making guests feel at home, where relaxing lounges, rustic fireplaces and a peaceful atmosphere are the staples. Likewise, guestrooms are elegantly decorated with luxurious and comfortable furnishings. In fact, several boast a beautiful four-poster bed and others precious antique furniture – the perfect place to feel like a Scottish Laird.

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Of course, if you want to make the most of your stay and explore the great Scottish outdoors, Dalmunzie is adjacent to a nine-hole golf course and is located only 10 minutes from the renowned Glenshee ski slopes. An itinerary of different walks in Perthshire is also available from the hotel.

Dornoch Castle

Dornoch

Dornoch Castle is a luxury hotel and popular wedding venue in Dornoch, just an hour north of Inverness. Combining the best elements of traditional and modern accommodation, Dornoch Castle is a great choice for a quintessential Scottish experience.

castle_hotels_scotland_Dornoch Castle Pics

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Offering rooms situated in both the historic castle and the modern extension, Dornoch Castle has a variety of room types to choose from. All are well-decorated in subtle creams and muted tones for a regal feel, but arguably the most impressive is the Old Courtroom Deluxe room. Featuring a statement hand-carved Elizabethan-style four-poster bed, rustic brick walls and a stately fireplace, the award-winning room is perfect for a romantic stay.

castle_hotels_scotland-Dornoch room
When it comes to staying in the Highlands, one thing goes hand-in-hand: whisky. And if you fancy yourself a bit of a connoisseur, then Dornoch Castle is the place for you. Owners and brothers Phil and Sam have recently started up their own distillery venture, meaning any enthusiasts will be expert hands. Check out more hotels for whisky lovers here.

Kildrummy Castle

Kildrummy, Alford

Located in the Grampian Highlands in Aberdeenshire and close to the Cairngorms National Park, Kildrummy Castle hotel is a charming four-star castle hotel offering guests traditional Scottish hospitality.Castle_hotels_scotland_Kildrummy Exterior

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The hotel takes its name from the adjacent ruins of Kildrummy Castle, which dates from the 13th century and is one of the most extensive castle ruins in Eastern Scotland. Today, the hotel’s interiors evoke the grand spirit of the sprawling ruins, with period wooden furniture, deep oak wood panelling and grand fireplaces. The hotel’s 16 rooms are stylishly but simply decorated, while the stately sitting room gives guests a true taste of Highland grandeur.

castle_hotels_scotland_Kildrummy Dining Room
The hotel is situated amongst beautiful mountain scenery and is a great location for those interested in The Whisky Trail.
Additionally, there are more than 300 castles, stately ruins and homes in surrounding Aberdeenshire, many of which are a short drive from Kildrummy.

Fonab Castle & Spa

Pitlochry

The five-star Fonab Castle & Spa is a thoroughly modern hotel with a historic heart. Guests can find contemporary style throughout the hotel; forget stately oak panelling and think vibrant splashes and bright statement wallpaper. Period touches can still be seen, however, combined effortlessly with the hotel’s modern features.

astle_hotels_scotland_Fonab Castle Exterior

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For true relaxation, guests should try the on-site Spa, which features a swimming pool, sauna, steam room and thermal suite. The Spa’s many treatments, including the signature MatiSPA facials, will ensure guests leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

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Fonab Castle is located in the Tummel Valley, surrounded by the scenic Ben Vrackie and offers plenty of opportunities to explore the great outdoors, including going on a Highland safari, getting behind the wheel of a Land Rover Experience or going to the Nae Limits activity centre for rafting, canyoning, quad biking or even paintball. Both the picturesque village of Pitlochry and the Cairngorms National Park are closeby.

Kincraig Castle Hotel

Located less than an hour’s drive from Inverness, Kincraig Castle Hotel is steeped in Highland history. Formerly the ancestral seat of the Clan MacKenzie, the castle dates back to 1610 and its exterior remains largely unchanged since 1880. And while it’s interior has been renovated and modernised, traces of this history can be found in almost every room.

astle_hotels_scotland_Kincraig Castle exterior

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Kincraig Castle has a variety of en-suite guestrooms, ranging from Classic to Deluxe Castle rooms. The latter offers sweeping views across the grounds of Kincraig, which can be enjoyed from your hand-carved four-poster or Colonial Mahogany Queen bed.

castle hotels scotland Kincraig bedroom
All rooms come equipped with a 42” free-view flat screen TV, complimentary Arran Aromatic toiletries and Glenlivet mineral water sourced from the Cairngorms.

Looking for more Scottish inspiration? Be whisked away on the trail of  Scotland’s whisky heritage.