Monday, May 21, 2012

Back To Glenfinnan

By Alexa Bourne:

Last month I introduced you to my "happy place" Glenfinnan, Scotland. This month we're going back there for a deeper look into the Glenfinnan House Hotel.

I first saw this hotel in 1997 on a short stop during a Highland tour. I was so inspired by the scenery I decided to email the hotel with some questions about the village for a writing project. I figured, why not? I had nothing to lose. If no one responded I would be no worse off. To my delight, Manja Gibson responded to my email (and several more over the years!) It was that kindness that had me purposely making reservations there when I went back to Scotland in 2007.

Glenfinnan House Hotel is located on the shore of Loch Shiel. The building was built between 1752 and 1755 by Alexander MacDonald VII, who was wounded at Culloden fighting for Bonnie Prince Charlie. The current owners, the MacFarlane family, bought the house in 1971. Unfortunately at that time it was in a great state of disrepair. The family decided to renovate it and convert it into a hotel. They did take care to retain as much of the old flavor of the house as they could. The hotel is currently managed by Manja and her award-winning chef husband Duncan. They took over in 2002 and since then, the hotel has won several awards including Bar Food Medal 2010, Child-Friendly Award 2010, Small Country Hotel of the Year 2009, and the Rising Star Hotel of the Year 2009.

The hotel is 2 floors and there is no elevator. I know because I had to haul my suitcase up the stairs! There are several types of rooms ranging from suites to singles. Something that struck me odd was they had no locks on the doors. At first, this made me a bit nervous about leaving anything of value in the room, but then it felt right. The place is peaceful and beautiful and stepping into the hotel almost makes you feel like you’ve returned to another time in history when you could trust people. It didn’t take me long to adapt! The guest rooms are on the second floor. When you walk in the front door you enter the lobby. Situated in the center of the room is a fireplace with some chairs. When I went, a fire crackled there even though it was summer. Also on the first floor are the dining room, a common room with comfortable chairs, books and games, and the bar. All three have big windows with a gorgeous view of the front lawn and the loch. For more stunning pictures of the hotel, the rooms and the scenery, visit their website here.

 The hotel rate isn’t cheap, but it’s absolutely worth every penny you spend. The staff is genuinely interested in your comfort, and they are happy to answer questions and tell you stories. Glenfinnan is about 3 hours from Edinburgh (roughly 154 miles). I’ve only ever taken the train and let me tell you I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to quite a few beautiful places in the world, but this train ride is my absolute favorite trip. In rain or shine, the scenery inspires and haunts me. If you ever have a chance to stay here or even just pop into the bar for a snack, please do so. You won’t be disappointed. And if you happen to talk to Manja, tell her Alexa says hi!

15 comments:

Natalie Murphy said...

Sounds wonderful!!! Thank you for sharing, Alexa =)

Renee Vincent / Gracie Lee Rose said...

Oh how lovely. Sounds like a great place to visit! *swooning*

Vonda Sinclair said...

What a wonderful place! Thanks for sharing, Alexa! I have to visit here one day.

Alexa said...

YOu are so welcome! Yes, it's definitely worth the trip. I got off the train and sighed. I was soooo relaxed my entire time there.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

OH MAN, Alexa. You don't play fair at all. This place is so calling me and I am having a hard time not listening. I plan on saving the website if I can, but you can count on me asking for the info again if I can't. Which room did you stay in? That is the part of Scotland I loved - the B&Bs and the wonderful people who run them.

Thank you!!! More, please.

Alexa said...

LOL, Paisley! I stayed in one of the singles. I'll happily share the info again when you or anyone else is ready!

Alexa said...

Oh, and meant to mention there's another B & B I stayed in not too far from this hotel. I'll be talking about that one next month!

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I look forward to it. You and Nicole are going to have me crazy for a trip to Scotland. I have to sell lots of books so I can go back to a place I love to think of as a second home.

Pat McDermott said...

What a spectacular place, Lexi! Writing retreat, anyone?

Sarah Hoss said...

It sounds delightful and the photos are beautiful!

Alexa said...

As is often the case, Sarah, photos don't do it justice!

Dawn Marie Hamilton said...

Thanks for shring, Alexa. Sounds lovely. I'll have to add it t my list of places I want to visit.

Alexa said...

It's definitely worth the trip, even if for only an afternoon!

MK said...

Great post Alexa! I enjoyed visiting that area of Scotland, but missed the hotel as it was only an afternoon. I was on mostly a scenic only and castle/history adventure! The hotel looks like a lovely place to visit.

Alexa said...

MK, isn't all of Scotland a scenic tour???? Well, it is to me. :) You'll have to make a point of looking for this place when you go back. :)