I’M floating somewhere between the cosmos and earth.
Over my head stars, shining bright like diamonds in an inky black sky, seem close enough to touch.
Below, my husband sprawls on a luxurious bed and, without dipping a toe into the luxuriously rich carpet, closes the blinds against the winter wind, ignites a fire in the hearth and bids the TV to rise and swivel 360 degrees to face him.
This is no surreal fantasy. We are living the dream.
We’re at the stylish Station Hotel in Rothes, set amid marvellous Morayshire’s rolling hills.
And while my zappy-happy hubby is busy remotely controlling our high-tech environment, I luxuriate in a super-sized bath on the mezzanine above.
Stargazing comes as standard in our chic Caperdonich Suite, thanks to a glazed, pagoda-topped turret.
And just in case the heavens fail to deliver, it is equipped with mood enhancing lighting.
Also as standard is the complimentary nip of its namesake malt. This is whisky country and the elegant Station Hotel is a living distillation of all that is fine about the age-old industry.
There are no less than 60 distilleries within 50-miles of our location. The nearest, Glen Grant, with its beautiful gardens, is just a short stroll away.
The four-star hotel – which first opened its doors in 1901 – was once the haunt of the rich who would stop off on their way to fish the mighty River Spey. But, over time, its grandeur faded and it eventually closed.
It looked like the end of the line until the Forsyth family got on board. Since 1933, they have run a coppersmith in the town supplying stills to distilleries.
Now husband and wife Richard and Heather Forsyth, are behind the Station Hotel’s multi-million pound refurbishment, which created 15 unique rooms, a restaurant, bistro and whisky bar.
At its Pagodas restaurant, we dine like kings on miso-glazed Shetland scallops, and Scottish 21-day aged prime sirloin steak, chosen from an impressive menu of locally-sourced produce.
And, having retired for the best night’s sleep we’ve had in years, we wake early to sample a fine full Scottish breakfast (with delicious black pudding and haggis,) along with a steaming bowl of porridge topped with cream, honey and a dram – of course!
Now we’re set for our first stop on the amber nectar trail – the new, £142million Macallan distillery near Craigellachie, just a 10-minute drive from Rothes.
This striking piece of turf-topped contemporary architecture is cut into the slope of the land and appears to melt into the surrounding hills with Ben Rinnes, at 840m, the highest peak around.
From inside, under a giant jigsaw of a roof constructed from 380,000 Scandinavian pine panels, the views over the landscape are jaw-dropping. And the interior is every bit as awe inspiring.
Guide, Jane Lees, led us on the super-slick interactive Six Pillar Tour.
Forget tedious and technical. Each stage of the Macallan’s production is revealed with such seductive simplicity it’s as tantalising as the tipple that comes from its stills.
We “ooh!” and “aah!” our way around each stage. And we learn of finest cuts, we feel the heat and fire of Spanish cooperages, and lose our senses in the aroma domes where we gorge on scents of vanilla, chocolate, citrus and spices.
By the time we get to the tasting we’re hooked.
The Station Hotel is on the North East 250 tourist route which takes in many of the region’s distilleries.
It also covers the spectacular Cairngorms National Park with its fabulous walks and winter sports, the Spey – one of the most famous salmon and sea trout rivers in the world – and a string of fine golf courses
Visitors to the hotel can, appropriately enough, see a copper still which introduces them to Forsyths’ founder Alexander and his son Ernest, nicknamed “Toots” after whom the hotel’s bistro is now titled.
Owner Richard admits the hotel’s revamp came “more from the heart than the head.
He said: “We were very dismayed to see yet another beautiful sandstone building in our small whisky town go to rack and ruin.
“Funds were made available to restore it to its former glory, bringing a whisky theme fitting of the area and the Forsyth family’s background.”
The project is not only popular with the locals,but of whisky lovers globally.
And the VIPs are back including TV comedian Jack Whitehall, who dropped into Toots during a fishing trip.