The Loch Melfort Hotel offers stunning views over Asknish Bay and you can even bring your animals.
We took an easy drive to the Argyll coast and spent a leisurely afternoon in Oban before driving the 20 miles to The Loch Melfort Hotel.
We were met by Rachel Ross who, with husband Calum, own and manage the hotel. The couple were named Scottish Hoteliers of the year in 2013.
A whistle-stop tour of the hotel’s facilities was offered before we were shown to our room on the upper floor of the main house.
The room was a comfortable size, tastefully decorated and offered a fantastic view over Asknish Bay towards the Isle of Jura.
Along with the usual tea and coffee making facilities, there was a sample of homemade shortbread a tiny taste of things to come.
Bags deposited, we took a walk past the field containing the hotel’s three Highland cattle, down to the waterfront in the afternoon sun.
We then had a drink in the Chartroom Bistro which, as well as being part of the hotel, is a popular stop-off for visitors to the adjacent Arduaine Gardens.
One of the hotel’s selling points is that they are pet-friendly and welcome dogs in a side wing of the hotel.
There’s even an enclosed area to exercise your dog. If dogs aren’t your thing, don’t worry, they are not allowed in the main building or any of the public areas.
The hotel boasts a gourmet dining experience and is understandably proud of its food sourcing policy. Shellfish is landed at Arduaine Point, caught by local fishermen, while lamb and venison are from named farms at Ardfern within a few miles of the hotel.
We were asked to attend at one of the hotel’s two lounges half an hour before the chosen time for our evening meal.
Drinks and canaps were served by the friendly hotel staff and it was explained that our package included the table d’hote menu, but that we were welcome to choose from the a la carte or any combination from both menus.
On the first evening we both stuck to the table d’hote menu and enjoyed tempura battered oysters with crispy pancetta and avocado pure followed by pea and thyme soup, steamed lemon sole with saffron and mussel chowder and nutmeg spinach.
My husband isn’t a great lover of seafood but was of the opinion that, if he was going to try it, there was no better place than at Loch Melfort.
It’s safe to say that over the course of our stay there was nothing he didn’t enjoy. For dessert I had crme brulee and my husband had Mojito mess, both of which were heavenly.
The restaurant itself boasts views over Asknish Bay with the most sought-after tables situated in the bay windows.
After the meal, coffee and tea are served back in the more relaxed atmosphere of the cocktail lounge. Having spent a very comfortable night in our room, breakfast didn’t disappoint either.
We served ourselves with the Continental breakfast including a selection of home-made jams while chef made our choice of cooked breakfast from a selection of kippers, poached smoked haddock, porridge or a full Scottish breakfast.
Our second morning was spent visiting the nearby Atlantic Bridge and Kilmartin Museum.
In the afternoon we took a boat trip to Corryvreckan, the strait between the islands of Jura and Scarba where tidal forces throw up amazing whirlpools.The knowledgeable skipper also happily pointed out wildlife and points of interest.
Having checked availability of similar trips while in Oban we had been disappointed to discover there wasn’t one available during the course of our break, but we needn’t have worried the hotel staff were able to suggest other local operators, check availability and made the booking on our behalf.
Back at the hotel for our second evening, we both chose dishes from the table d’hote and the a la carte menus. I couldn’t visit the area without trying the local langoustines, which I followed up with a calf’s liver dish cooked to perfection.
My husband had lamb cooked three ways which he found faultless. We had decided we didn’t have room for dessert but in the end neither of us could resist and had a selection of ice creams including a marvellous gin and tonic sorbet before retiring for the night.
Refreshed and with another enjoyable breakfast eaten, we paid a visit to the Arduaine Gardens which are operated by the National Trust and sit a few hundred yards around the bay from the hotel.
Although the morning was damp we enjoyed a couple of hours at the spectacular gardens which are well worth a visit.
And so we left, each a few pounds heavier and surprised we hadn’t been aware of such a quality hotel, but promising ourselves we wouldn’t forget it and would make every effort to return.
A two-night stay with dinner, bed and breakfast at The Loch Melfort Hotel starts at £180 per person. Visit lochmelfort.co.uk or phone 0843 886 0233 for details of current offers.
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