A good dog-friendly hotel is hard to come by, and one that welcomes your four-legged friend while serving good food and drink is even harder to find.
Macdonald Loch Rannoch Hotel in the Highland Perthshire village of Kinloch Rannoch offers a perfect escape for dog lovers with an appetite for good Scottish produce and tipple.
As a self-confessed crazy dog lady, finding the perfect location for a break with my other half and our beloved yellow labrador Sandy was never going to be easy.
We were delighted to get the chance to stay at Macdonald Loch Rannoch for two nights on a dinner, bed and breakfast deal, and even more delighted to get the chance to take Sandy on his first ever holiday.
Located on the north shore of Loch Rannoch with views to Schiehallion, the hotel is just under three hours away from Aberdeen and less than a two-hour drive from Inverness.
On arrival at the hotel, we were pleased to find a cosy welcome away from a cold, dreich day.
Our room was spacious with a seating area and large en suite bathroom – offering plenty of space for Sandy to run around – and spectacular views across the loch and snow-covered surrounding countryside.
The hotel offers two dining options: a more fine-dining experience in the Ptarmigan Restaurant and the option for bar meals at either the Schiehallion Bar or The Malt Bar.
On our first night we opted for a meal at the Ptarmigan Restaurant, which did not disappoint.
My boyfriend and I enjoyed a three-course meal with a bottle of wine from the hotel’s extensive wine list.
For a starter, I enjoyed vegetable spring rolls with red pepper jam, while my other half opted for smoked venison, tarragon cream and Parmesan cheese.
Our main courses were slow-roast lamb shank and fillet of salmon, while dessert comprised vanilla and orange creme brulee for me and chocolate mousse for my boyfriend.
Once we finished our meal, we went to The Malt Bar with Sandy to enjoy some cocktails and board games by an open fire. The staff were extremely friendly and even gave Sandy some biscuits and water.
The next day, after a tasty breakfast from the hotel’s substantial breakfast menu, we decided to explore the area and give Sandy the chance to stretch his legs.
We enjoyed a walk up the beginning of a longer track to the top of Schiehallion before a drive along Glen Lyon, which is often described as the longest, loneliest and loveliest glen in Scotland.
Once we reached back to Kinloch Rannoch we enjoyed a visit to the Riverbank Cafe for a great coffee and cake pit stop. The cafe is dog-friendly and the staff welcomed Sandy with open arms.
Another great dog-friendly cafe we stumbled on while travelling to the hotel on the first day was the cafe at the Queen’s View Centre.
Not only does it offer a great place to enjoy lunch with your four-legged friend, it’s also an excuse to stop and take in the breathtaking views over Loch Tummel, near Pitlochry.
Around the banks of Loch Rannoch there are plenty of places to enjoy a stroll and I’m sure in the summer months there is the option to enjoy water sports.
Sadly, the weather wasn’t accommodating for that, we but did enjoy a walk around one of Forestry Commission Scotland’s many woodland walks in the area.
On all trips into the surrounding area, the views were spectacular, as was the wildlife on offer. We were lucky enough to see red squirrels, various birds of prey and several stags.
On our second night at the hotel, after a great day exploring, we enjoyed a bar meal at The Malt Bar after visiting the hotel’s on-site leisure centre complete with swimming pool, sauna and steam room. It was the perfect way to unwind after a day of dog walking in the freezing cold.
At dinner, I opted for a scrumptious prawn cocktail, followed by spaghetti bolognese.
My other half rolled up his sleeves and tackled the hotel’s mammoth fish platter. It was a feast fit for a king, with several different types of shellfish and fish on offer with a nice helping of french fries.
The waiter later told us that this dish is often shared by two people, however my other half managed most of it himself!
On our last morning, we enjoyed another great breakfast at the hotel. The selection of food on offer both mornings was fantastic and the cooked food available to order via the menu was extremely tasty.
In all, this hotel offered the perfect escape away from it all and a great opportunity to take Sandy on his first holiday.
We witnessed families, couples and people both young and old enjoying a visit to the hotel in its spectacular setting.
It has something to offer everyone, and for those more adventurous than my boyfriend and I, it is the perfect base to go hillwalking and exploring all that Perthshire has to offer.
Current promotional package includes two nights’ accommodation with full Scottish breakfast, cream tea on arrival, glass of prosecco on arrival, early check-in from 2pm and late checkout at 12pm, from £74.50 per room, per night, in a classic room based on two-night minimum stay. Complimentary access to the hotel’s leisure facilities is also included during your stay. Rate valid for stays Sunday to Thursday only. Stays on Friday and Saturday nights are subject to a supplement of £20 per room per night. Upgrade to a loch view executive or family room for only £20 per night. Valid for stays until May 31 2018. Subject to availability.