Tom’s Travels – Day 2

I didn't want to leave the Fife Arms today. I felt like I wasn't going to see anything better this week so why bother?

I was right when I said that I wasn't going to see anything better, but wrong to think that I wouldn't see anything as good.

My first target was Pitlochry. It is a great mountain town with an excellent summer theatre. Many Americans come to Pitlochry every year and stay for 5, 7 to as much as 13 days. So what do they do for such long stays? Well obviously, the summer Theater is a favorite but like in many destinations in Scotland, hiking, biking, distillery tours and shopping in some interesting stores bring people back to Pitlochry year after year.

pitlochry scotland

So where should you stay? This is my third trip to Pitlochry in 8 years and the town has changed dramatically as has my answer to the question about where to stay:

During my first visit to Pitlochry I looked forward to seeing the Atholl Palace. It had a big reputation. Driving up to the hotel the reputation was fulfilled ... it had amazing views. When I got into the hotel however, it was clear that the place needed a refurb. Fortunately, since that time it has gotten a huge rolling rehab and looks like a very comfortable place to spend a few days.

Other places in Pitlochry that I would like to stay:

  • Knockendarach Hotel only has 14 rooms and is a short walk to town where there are many excellent restaurants. Most people that stay at Knockendarrach eat dinner at the hotel. Some of them come every year and stay 3, 5, 7 or as much as 2 weeks and eat in the restaurant every night. Sounds like the kitchen is serving up some great food!
  • Fonab Castle is a mainstay in town. The place is almost always fully booked. Fonab has a great reputation and continues to expand, having added a new building just for exercise and the spa, and expanding the dining room to include breathtaking views of the river and nearby hills and mountains.
  • A very different option is right smack in the middle of town. The Old Inn is an upscale pub with several rooms that are built to a high standard. The pub is lively and clean and during most nights in the summer, there is live music outside in a nearby square.

I ended my day in Inverness, first visiting my favorite Scottish Country House, Culloden. The Manager, Steven Davies helped me out when I was getting our business up and going. He has been helping our clients enjoy a great stay for the last 6-7 years. Culloden House is the epitome of a British Country House. The "House" was the first House to be licensed to sell whisky in the 1600's. If you want an "authentic" Scottish experience, you find a better choice than Culloden House!

A visit to long time partner, Kingsmills Hotel, my last stop and my home for the night. This new 5-star hotel is located on the River Ness. Ness Walk Hotel is owned by the same company that owns Kingsmills. They opened the hotel shortly before the onset of the pandemic. Rather than fretting about the business that they didn't have, the staff invested in itself. Selling a small portion of their rooms for months at a time allowed the staff to really learn the business, the hotel and changes that they needed to make so that they could offer genuine 5-star service. Friendly and thorough, the service at Ness Walk was impeccable. It's a great hotel that I look forward to visiting again in the future.

A great day, which means that I have only a few more days before my family arrives!