On our latest trip to Scotland, we stayed in two hotels that could not have been more different: The Machrie, a stylish 47-room golf resort on the Isle of Islay, and Prestonfield House, a lavish boutique property housed within a late-17th-century mansion just outside Edinburgh.
A historic inn, first opened on the Isle of Islay in the late 19th century, was converted into this stylish 47-room hotel, with whitewashed walls and slate-shingled roofs, by hotelier Gordon Campbell Gray. Reopened in August 2018, this golf resort, located at the end of a narrow lane that cuts between pastures, resembles a large farmhouse. The interior décor features black-and-white photographs of iconic golfers, abstract paintings and framed Gucci and Hermès scarves with golfing themes. The seafood-oriented restaurant and bar — called 18 because it overlooks the 18th green — is an airy, high-ceilinged space with sliding glass doors that open to a second-floor deck. Originally designed in 1891 by fabled Scottish golfer Willie Campbell and redesigned, starting in 2014, by former PGA European Tour player DJ Russell, the 18-hole golf course is routed along Laggan Bay and among the sand dunes.
From the editor: “American golfers can now add a new name to their Scottish bucket list. Playing The Machrie links is an experience made all the more enjoyable by having a comfortable hotel with excellent food in which to stay.”
Read more about The Machrie.
Set in the shadow of the extinct 800-foot volcano Arthur’s Seat, this extraordinarily lavish boutique property housed within a late-17th-century mansion is situated 3 miles southeast of Edinburgh’s city center. Converted to a 23-room hotel in the 1960s, this hotel, nestled amid 20 acres of gardens, is now owned by well-known local restaurateur James Thomson. The interior décor is operatic and rococo, especially in the Tapestry Room, which is bedecked with grand English Mortlake tapestries, and the Leather Room, where panels of 17th-century leather from Córdoba adorn the walls. The grand Benjamin Franklin Suite is imaginatively decorated with a silver-leaf sleigh bed, walls covered with black and pewter brocades, and silver- and gold-gilded mirrors. The separate sitting area is dramatically appointed with dramatic trompe l’oeil drapery, classical furniture and leopard-print carpet.
From the editor: “Overall, though the interior design may be idiosyncratic, the staff are extremely hospitable and the food consistently excellent.”
Read more about Prestonfield House.