Susan Welsh takes a look at some of the pampering, adventuring and fine dining available for staycations
Castle enquires doubled
Since announcing it would re-open on July 15, Glenapp Castle has seen enquiries double with 15% more bookings compared to the same period last year.
The 17-bedroom, luxurious Relais & Chateaux hotel is tucked away on the Ayrshire coast and sits in more than 100 acres of grounds, from where there’s fine views of Ailsa Craig and Northern Ireland.
The hotel has a reputation for offering a huge number of indoor and outdoor activities ranging from perfume making and foraging to tank driving and interactive falconry displays.
Another popular attraction is a bespoke Hebridean sea safari, a four-night adventure which sees guests use a private boat to explore the isles, get closer to wildlife, try luxury wild glamping and eat food prepared by a chef.
New to the hotel this year is The Endeavour, a penthouse suite with four bedrooms and bathrooms, the option of private dining and butler service, set to launch in September.
The majority of those making enquiries about the castle are from the UK staycation market, and these are expected to rise because the hotel has a host of special offers available via its website.
Prices start from £196 per room per night on a bed and breakfast basis, and the castle has four nights for the price of three on its Garden View suites.
Take it easy at ICMI Hotels
Inverlochy Castle Management International (ICMI) – which looks after 14 independent Scottish luxury properties, including Andy Murray’s Cromlix, Greywalls Hotel and Chez Roux, Crossbasket Castle and Inverlochy Castle in Fort William – is preparing to reopen its properties on July 15.
Along with a complete redesign of operations to meet health and safety guidelines, other jobs being tackled include polishing thousands of glasses, carefully tending gardens and unlocking enchanting fairytale turrets.
Norbert Lieder, MD at ICMI, said: “As we come out of lockdown, one of the most common lessons learned is to adopt a slower, less frenetic pace of life, making the most of what is nearby – whether that be enjoying local gardens, visiting a local restaurant or discovering a local hidden gem.
“This is something that we’re well aware of and something we want guests to enjoy at our properties.
“With this in mind, our fantastic hotel staff are getting preparations underway to help people remember these small luxuries as soon as they arrive.”
In line with public health guidelines, hotels are equipped with more than 1,000 masks for use in public and shared areas and for staff.
Bedrooms will be also be “fogged” before and after guest use via an electrostatic fogging machine which disinfects all surfaces.
New caravan homes at Blair Castle
The award-winning caravan park in the grounds of Blair Castle and Atholl Estate is open once more, and it has some rather swish new caravans for rent.
The new Victory range of static caravan holiday homes has been integrated among the existing 18-strong two and three-bedroom range.
Each one is stylishly decorated to guarantee comfort at an affordable price and has a full range of modern conveniences: a fully equipped kitchen, crockery, cutlery, TV and DVD player, bed linen and outdoor decking with patio furniture.
Dog-friendly caravan holiday homes are also available so the whole family can come along.
There are also eight camping pods and 11 Scandinavian-style woodland lodges on offer.
From July 15, the estate’s self-catering Highland lodges will be available for rental, and suitable for groups of four to 24.
The park is at the entry point to 50 miles of marked trails on the estate, perfect for long summer days of walking or cycling with the aim of getting lost in nature.
There’s plenty of open grass for outdoor dining and picnic tables will be regularly and disinfected.
Every weekend from July 18 estate ranger Julia Duncan will run a series of free children’s nature walks.
Self-catering accommodation starts at £50 a night for the camping pods; £450 for three-night short breaks in the Woodland Lodges and from £490 for three-night short breaks in the Highland Lodges.
Chloe Thornton, from Blair Castle, said: “While the castle is not included in the second phase we are working hard to be able to allow visitors in for tours and to showcase our Jacobite exhibition which has been specially created for this season.”
Marquee drinking and dining
The Chester Hotel on Queen’s Road, Aberdeen, has installed an open-sided marquee, chilled the drinks and has a new alfresco summer menu on offer.
The bar and restaurant will initially open from Wednesday to Sunday, noon to 10pm, with food served until 9pm.
Tables will be allocated to guests for one hour and 45 minutes and there’s a minimum spend of £15 per person, card payment only.
It’s operating online, advance bookings only via chester-hotel.com