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Travel: 10 hotels for Christmas in Scotland 2021, as chosen by The Good Hotel Guide

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It might only just be autumn, but Christmas is on the horizon.

While last year was spent in varying degrees of lockdown, this year holds the promise of hotel getaways, sumptuous lunches out and a true celebration of the festive season.

Scotland knows how to do the holidays in style, and we can’t wait to return to favourite hotels old and new and see them in full sparkle.

Here, the Good Hotel Guide recommends 10 hotels for Christmas in Scotland in 2021.

Kinloch Lodge, Sleat

This dreamy hotel on the edge of Loch Na Dal is a former hunting lodge owned by Lord and Lady Macdonald. In remote bliss, you wake to views of the water and vast natural beauty that stretches as far as the eye can see.

You can imagine how dramatic this landscape is in the winter months, and even better with a sense of celebration going on indoors. They’re well known for their Christmas Escape offerings, from sumptuous traditional festive lunches to rustic winter picnics, as well as a bounty of mince pies, mulled wine, and whisky.

Seasonal cocktails typically feature on Christmas Eve, and there’s always a log fire to relax by in the evening.

The Airds Hotel, Port Appin

This understated hotel offers seaside charm, spectacular hillsides, and a glimpse of island life. A laid back, homely environment with views of the loch and the Morvern mountains, it’s a tranquil escape that’s perfect for days of exploring and evenings of wining and dining.

When it’s all dressed up with Christmas decorations and fires roaring away in the grate, it’s even more special than usual. Set against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains, they certainly know how to create a sense of tradition and magic.

Christmas is complete with candlelit dinners, Scottish breakfasts, afternoon teas, Christmas punch, and even a Christmas gift in each room!

Kilcamb Lodge, Strontian

You need to take a ferry crossing before traversing a mountain pass and a deep glen to arrive at this country house hotel, complete with a private beach on a loch shore with mountain views – but it’s worth it.

A chance to truly escape into the highlands, it’s as peaceful as any Christmas could possibly be.

Dine by candlelight, enjoy a Bucks Fizz breakfast on Christmas morning, tuck into lots of mince pies, gorge on canapés and take home a gift each. It’s all part of a very merry Christmas getaway.

Knockinaam Lodge, Portpatrick

After a good walk along the cliffs taking in views of the Irish Sea, returning to this Victorian hunting lodge for festive cheer and plenty of decadent food and drink is a real treat.

Perhaps you will even brace yourself for an icy swim to work up an appetite – then warm up with one of 120-plus malt whiskies.

Over Christmas they go all out with food, drink, and decorations. It’s the stuff that fairytales are made of.

Prestonfield, Edinburgh

© David Cheskin
Prestonfield House (Pic: David Cheskin)

Combining the best of country and city hotels, Prestonfield is a unique experience and a treat for the festive season.

A grand property surrounded by parkland, it’s just 10 minutes from the centre of Edinburgh – the rooftops of which make for an inspirational view.

The hotel is known for its penchant for luxury and hedonism, so you can imagine what a treat the holidays are here.

Their Winter Wonderland Christmas party night in their grand glittering ballroom is a chance to dress up and show off in the festive period.

Dine, drink and dance with friends and colleagues and celebrate the return of holiday cheer together.

Forss House, Thurso

The River Forss snakes around this Georgian property, a Highland woodland retreat that feels a million miles from anywhere.

The water creates a sense of calm, and the landscape is a favourite for avid walkers, especially those who bring four-legged friends.

The hotel creates a wonderfully warming Christmas atmosphere during the holiday season with lots of afternoon teas and beautiful decorations to get you into the spirit of things.

They are closed on Christmas itself but it’s a wonderful place to visit for a pre-Christmas getaway.

Dunalastair Hotel Suites, Kinloch Rannoch

In a remote village on the edge of Loch Rannoch, Dunalastair Hotel Suites is historic on the outside and contemporary on the inside.

Designer-led interiors make for a luxurious feel, but it also oozes Scottish heritage through and through.

The abundant countryside is perfect for walking, cycling or general wilderness exploring, meanwhile Christmas itself is a feast of mince pies, champagne, hot chocolate, Bucks Fizz and boardgames and jigsaw puzzles with a wee dram in the evenings.

Greywalls, Gullane

This Arts and Crafts Edwardian property by Muirfield golf course is a perennial favourite holiday destination. The sense of grandeur makes it ideal for special occasions, while six acres of beautiful gardens are a joy to explore.

Over Christmas they offer a traditional world of Scottish fare. There’s afternoon tea in the drawing room on Christmas Eve before hot toddies, mince pies and midnight mass. Christmas Day sees bubbles served while a pianist plays and after presents and games there’s a buffet dinner.

Meanwhile, Boxing Day completes the experience with more champagne and dinner served in the Chez Roux Restaurant.

Ballathie House, Stanley

As if the former presence of a Victorian ghost, a Russian duke and a former Prince of Wales weren’t enough to tempt you into visiting this charming hotel, Christmas might just be the ticket.

Over three nights, Ballathie House serves up fine wines and superb food, inviting you in to celebrate the season and never have to lift a finger.

On Christmas Eve you can attend a watch-night service at nearby Kinclaven Church if you choose.

On Christmas Day it’s all about the traditional food, drink, champagne and lots of hats and crackers. Then on Boxing Day it’s a chance to explore on their woodland walk trail or visiting nearby attractions.

The Fife Arms, Braemar

A magnificent and dramatic, many-gabled coaching inn has been dramatically reinvented by Swiss art dealers and is now a magical escape at any time of the year.

That said, Christmas in the majestic Cairngorms National Park really is a treat and the hotel goes over and beyond to turn it into a traditional Victorian affair.

There’s bauble making and gingerbread decorating on Christmas Eve, which is a favourite amongst little ones. Guests then head into the woods for stories by the fire with roasted chestnuts before warming mulled wine listening to carollers.

Christmas Day is all about the food – not least a four-course Christmas while listening to live music. In the afternoon children can go on a treasure hunt to see what Santa has left throughout the hotel.

Boxing Day sees guests relax for a screening of ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ or venture out for a hike up the Creag Choinnich. The evening is complete with dinner and a traditional fiddler performance.