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Travel: Best places to visit in magical Glencoe

© Shutterstock / John A CameronCuil Bay near Glencoe.
Cuil Bay near Glencoe.

There was a moment, mid-pandemic, when it seemed like everyone and their dog was suddenly spending the weekends climbing hills.

Each scroll through Instagram or Twitter would reveal a new post by some ultra-fit, Lycra-clad friend, posing at the summit of some mountain or other, grinning from ear to ear at their accomplishment.

Now, I know social media isn’t real – most of those hilltop posers were probably wincing at their blisters as soon as the camera was pocketed – but the brief hysteria for hills did make me wonder whether I was missing out.

Could fresh air and exercise really elicit as much excitement as a new series being released on Netflix?

I decided to dip a toe in the water, so to speak, and book a few days away in Glencoe, which I was reliably informed, is considered something of a Mecca for sporty types.

However, as a novice to this outdoors lark, I wanted to combine my love of luxury with my (hopefully) new-found fondness for nature. After a little research, The Glencoe Inn looked like the perfect fit for my weekend break.

Nestled in the heart of the world-famous glen, the boutique lodgings have just received a £500,000 makeover, transforming the 15 cosy rooms into a tartan-clad palace – while still being muddy-boot-friendly.

© Shutterstock
Glencoe and Buchaille Etive Mor (L) and Buchaille Etive Beag (R) from halfway up Beinn A’ Chrulaiste

Not only that, the Inn is the only officially five-star AA-rated business in the area, so I knew it would be as far from a night on a bothy floor as humanly possible. Perfect.

After a slow start (those twisty, turny roads on the A82 really aren’t designed for a one-litre-engine Skoda), I landed on the Inn’s doorstep, my boyfriend in tow, and was greeted by something of an unusual reception team – two friendly and curious dogs. The hotel is furry friendly, yet another plus in my books.

One look around our room and it was abundantly clear the pictures online just did not do the hotel justice.

The Loch View Feature Room boasted soft, perfectly pressed bedding, mini bottles of expensive shampoo, a fully stocked tray of teatime treats and even a free-standing roll-top bath at the foot of the bed, which overlooked the hills.

As if that wasn’t enough, our guide, Stella, then showed us just one more “special surprise” – a hidden garden spa, exclusively for hotel guests, complete with hot tub and sauna.

© Gerardo Jaconelli 2018
The Glencoe Inn.

After a quick change, we ventured out onto the Inn’s terrace to watch the sunset and bask in the surroundings.

Having lived in cities all my life, I’ll never get used to the tranquil silence of the countryside – the Inn is on the main road through Glencoe Village, yet still feels peaceful.

We had pre-booked a table at the hotel’s new Steak & Lobster Bistro offering, so once we were suitably refreshed, we ventured inside.

The menu boasts the likes of traditional fish and chips, Scottish seafood, Loch Leven mussels, chargrilled lobster and ribeye steaks, which was fantastic for my boyfriend…Not so great for me, a dedicated vegan.

However, the staff could not have been more accommodating and, after a quick conflab with the kitchen, they brought me a delicious pasta dish.

I would like to say, after an evening fortifying ourselves with good food and wine, we were up at the crack of dawn, lacing our hiking boots for a day in the hills.

In reality, we sampled a few too many tasty cocktails at the hotel bar, the bed was far too comfy, and the prospect of a leisurely breakfast proved far too tempting.

© Gerardo Jaconelli 2018
The Glencoe Inn.

So, we opted to stay at sea level – quite literally. It was 27 degrees and sunny during our visit, so the picturesque pebble-lined Cuil Bay – just a 15-minute drive from the hotel – seemed like a much more attractive option.

On our return from such a strenuous afternoon, we lounged in the hot tub and consumed our weight in prosecco.

Although it’s not to say our trip didn’t enamour me to the wonders of Scotland’s beautiful landscape. With such fantastic amenities, wonderful staff and a great location, I would return to the hotel in a heartbeat.

What’s more, on our way back home to Glasgow, we stopped at Glencoe Mountain Resort and climbed 2,200ft to look down on Rannoch Moor and the Buachaille Etive Mor – via the chairlift.


If you fancy a special tipple, why not visit Pixel Spirits’ gin and rum school? We visited the micro-distillery for a three-hour experience, and came home with our very own bespoke rum.


Rooms at The Glencoe Inn start from £117 per night. Visit