I have driven past Thainstone House many a time, but I’m ashamed to say that I had never ventured inside.
All that was about to change after we travelled to this gorgeous country house, which can be found on the outskirts of Inverurie in Aberdeenshire.
With our four-year-old in tow, a relaxing break looked unlikely.
But how can you not feel excited as this beautiful venue comes into view, accessed via a tree-lined drive and surrounded by sweeping green lawns?
It’s not so grand as to appear imposing, nor so plain as to appear ordinary.
Clad in Virginia Creeper, I recommend a visit in autumn purely to see the once-green leaves turn the most glorious shades of red and orange.
We parked easily thanks to numerous options on site, and then entered via a beautiful sweeping archway.
It was easy to imagine horses trotting right up to the entrance, with exquisitely dressed guests alighting from carriages to attend many a grand ball.
My daydreams were not quite so fanciful, given that this modern-day hotel was once an 18th Century Palladian country mansion.
Fast forward to 2022, and it remains surrounded by 44 acres of parkland.
With our eager son rushing ahead, we were immediately taken by dozens of mounted antlers which adorned the walls in the entrance hall.
Perhaps not to everyone’s taste, there’s no denying that the decor gives Thainstone House a distinctly Scottish feel.
We were warmly greeted at reception where we were given a key to the room, and instructions on how to access the spa area.
While the four-year-old was fizzing with excitement at the prospect of a swim, I first wanted to see the grand staircase which can be found within the lounge and gallery.
Instantly recognisable from a friend’s wedding pictures, I could see why so many brides choose this backdrop for that perfect shot.
While the hotel was busy, it offers a wonderfully peaceful vibe, and we headed through for a spot of lunch in the drawing room.
Think cosy armchairs, grand sash windows overlooking the parkland and, of course, the ultimate fireplace.
We sank into green velvet sofas and felt well looked after by staff, who were polite without being intrusive.
You aren’t governed by set meal times at Thainstone House, thanks to numerous dining options.
There’s the classic bar menu in the club room, light lunches in the lounge and gallery, the most impressive of menus in The Green Lady Restaurant, and a more informal affair at Stockman’s Bar.
We settled on a light lunch, and I can highly recommend the Loch Fyne smoked salmon, cream cheese and pickled cucumber sandwich.
Priced at £10, it’s not the cheapest sandwich I’ve ever had, but I felt like I wasn’t just paying for a delicious bite, it was the experience as a whole.
It’s the attention to detail, like the Maple Bacon in my husband’s BLT.
Hunger satisfied, we headed up to our room.
We were lucky enough to stay in the Junior Suite, and oh wow!
From the beautiful four-poster bed to the paneled bathroom, complete with a copper roll-top bath – we really couldn’t believe it.
My husband was very taken with what appeared to be a mirror, but was in fact a TV!
There was also a TV in the bathroom, and yes my son did demand to watch Netflix while enjoying a bubble bath later that night.
An ample sofa bed had been set up, but as to whether the four-year-old actually slept in it.
Well, we all know the answer to that.
In all fairness, the huge bed was more than big enough for all three of us.
We headed down to the spa, which seemed fairly busy with parties of women enjoying a pamper package.
The 13-metre swimming pool is surrounded by mosaic tiled walls, and a wonderful domed roof.
It felt like the luxurious swimming baths of old, complete with a Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room.
There’s also an outdoor hot tub and oak barrel sauna, plus a well-equipped gym.
We headed down in our robes and slippers, which were provided in the junior suite, before taking the plunge into the pool.
The four-year-old had to be forcibly removed two hours later, an indication of how much he enjoyed the experience.
Following a leisurely evening spent getting ready, we then headed for dinner in The Green Lady Restaurant.
I felt like I had entered the set of a period drama, thanks to the high ceilings, flickering candles and Wedgwood Green Walls.
The award-winning menu offers steaks from The Josper Grill, alongside local produce and quirky dishes such as smoked haddock and black pudding risotto.
The staff were impeccably suited and booted as they glided around the room, and the glow of candlelight gave the ultimate air of romance.
As all parents will know, children can be unpredictable and our son suddenly felt unwell in the restaurant.
The staff were outstanding, boxing up our food and offering to phone NHS 24.
It’s service such as this which really makes Thainstone House stand out, and our son was thankfully fine after a full night’s sleep.
He was far more lively at breakfast the following morning, where The Green Lady Restaurant offers a completely different vibe.
Flooded with sunlight, the breakfast menu is on another level.
From French Toast to eggs done any number of ways, there was also the full Scottish, charcuterie, pastries and Scottish cheese.
We practically rolled our way to check out, and then attempted to walk off the feast around the grounds.
Although our stay didn’t quite go to plan, we adored our time at Thainstone House Hotel.
The staff sum up all that is remarkable about Scottish hospitality, and we wouldn’t hesitate to return.
Except this time, we may opt for a romantic break minus the four-year-old.
Thainstone House Hotel
Inverurie, Aberdeenshire AB51 5NT
Call: 01467 621643
Enjoy dinner, bed and breakfast starting from £80 per night, complimentary use of the leisure facilities and a discount on spa treatments and afternoon tea.
You can also receive a further 20% off any further dining.