Located in the distant wilderness of the picturesque Glen Shiel, which lies alongside the route to the Isle of Skye, The Cluanie Inn oozes rustic Scottish appeal and character, but with a relatively distinctive Indian-encouraged twist that shines as a result of with some of the cuisine. The inn kinds aspect of Black Sheep Accommodations, a small team of boutique resorts, lodges and dining places in Lochaber and Inverness-shire, owned by Mumbai-centered hospitality firm, Mars Hospitality Group.
Following a prolonged generate, we ended up offered a heat welcome by Sara on reception, before remaining demonstrated to our room personally. Everywhere was quite homely and welcoming, with seating regions where you can just sit and study a guide or get pleasure from a wee dram – just like a common Scottish inn must be. We were being travelling with our doggy for this trip, so have been also proven designated regions wherever four-legged close friends could be exercised.
We stayed in area 4 – a doggy-friendly Highland Suite with a picket four poster bed. The décor is very fitting with an aged environment attraction about it, tartan-esque wallpaper, all usually furnished with antique pottery and ornaments, and with Scottish artworks adorning the partitions.
Tea and coffee amenities and complimentary Highland Spring water are presented, as is a range of publications – National Geographic Traveller, Region Life, Condé Nast Traveller and a guidebook to the greatest spots to stop by in Skye and Lochalsh.
In the wardrobe there is a safe, and an ironing board and iron, and the in-place telephone inbound links to reception, housekeeping and the responsibility manager, to the spa at sister resort The Whispering Pine Lodge, as effectively as to the several dining selections at each and every of the Black Sheep Resorts.
The home windows from the area glimpse out in excess of the hills and on a single night we were being lucky enough to spot wild deer right outside the house our window.
Our en suite rest room consisted of a big whirlpool tub, full with jets and colored lights, with a shower above it, as effectively as a basin and WC. Don’t be alarmed by the h2o which can be brown in appearance – like much of Scotland, the drinking water is derived from catchments dominated by wholesome peatlands which are in simple fact obviously of significant good quality but do have dissolved organic carbon.
Equipped toiletries are from the Highland Soap Co. – aloe vera shampoo, overall body clean, conditioner and soap with a refined, woody fragrance of wild nettle and heather. Robes and slippers, and a hairdyrer, are also provided.
Motivated by the rugged lifestyle of Highlanders, The Cluanie Bar & Kitchen area serves mountain-influenced delicacies a menu of American and Scottish classics these as burgers, ribs and steaks, as perfectly as worldwide favourites, particularly Indian and pan-Asian selections. You can dine in the bar or eating areas – the two give a lively and casual ambience for travellers and locals alike.
The Chargrilled Broccoli Florets – broccoli marinated with yoghurt and garlic, topped with toasted pine nuts – are a balanced and appetising selection from the starters, even though the Crunchy Lentil Bites served with a coconut mustard seed dip will be sure to satisfy the hungriest of walkers.
My favourite was the Trio of Prawns, Mussels and Calamari – seafood cooked in a chilli coriander broth served with a slice of grilled sourdough.
But seem out also for the Cajun Chicken Quesadillas – toasted tortillas with Cajun-spiced rooster, sweet peppers, crimson onion and Monterey Jack cheese – for an equally enjoyable alternative.
Mains contain The Highlander Cheeseburger – chargrilled beef patty topped with cheese and served with fries, a collection of pizzas these as the Out in the Wild pizza (chorizo, Italian sausage, ham, mozzarella and mustard greens) and a variety of worldwide specials.
The Dal Makhani is a vintage North Indian slow-cooked lentil curry that I can extremely propose. Alternatively try out the Spaghetti Aglio e Olio – spaghetti tossed in garlic, olive oil, chilli flakes and Parmesan, with the option to incorporate hen, prawns or salmon.
The intimate bar is a wonderful region to take it easy, serving wines, beers and ciders, not to mention an substantial range of whisky.
Cost-free WiFi is obtainable at The Cluanie Inn and we discovered that it labored effectively throughout the constructing, irrespective of the remote site.
The inn also doubles as a self-provider petrol station which I’m certain has been a welcome sight for numerous a traveller frantically stressing about the upcoming possibility to re-gas. And throughout the highway, Black Sheep Hotels’ most recent addition is the Landour Bakehouse – a fantastic stop-off for freshly-baked goods, some from recipes relationship again to the 1900s. The bakehouse receives its title from the British-era cantonment of Landour, at an elevation of 7,000 ft in the Himalayas, the place Scottish citizens are said to have when exchanged recipes and superior-altitude baking suggestions, 1st as a result of conversation but then subsequently in various editions of The Landour Cookbook.
The bakehouse is a calm and pleasurable quit-off inside of a indication reads “We do not have WiFi. Chat to every single other. Pretend it’s 1895.” whilst one more with an arrow pointing up the highway reads “Complaints Office – 100 miles”.
The Cluanie Inn is located alongside the A87 in the Scottish Highlands, on the Moor of A’Chralaig on Glen Shiel, at the western end of Cluanie Loch. Walks are obtainable from the doorstep of the inn – in just The Cluanie Estate – as properly as on nearby hills and Munros including, among the other people, the 7 Munros of the South Glen Shiel Ridge.
A single of the nearest points of interest of note is Eilean Donan Castle, which is a 30-minute generate away and sits at the confluence of Loch Duich, Loch Very long and Loch Alsh. This iconic 13th Century Scottish castle has showcased in many an Instagram feed as properly as films this kind of as Highlander (1986) and James Bond – The Earth is Not Adequate (1999).
While in that space, we also took the possibility to visit the really village of Plockton and the Kyle of Lochalsh. Plockton enjoys a mild local climate by Scottish specifications, many thanks to experiencing east, away from the prevailing winds, and you will even see palm trees growing there.
Our push from The Cluanie Inn in the opposite course to our up coming prevent, Whispering Pine Lodge, was also really picturesque with stunning loch sights, the bonus of recognizing a lone piper greet a modest tour enterprise, and the chance for a charming woodland walk in Glen Garry pinewoods managed by the Foresty Fee.
Other great touches
A welcome platter on arrival with fruit, cookies and the text ‘Welcome To The Inn….” composed in chocolate greeted us in our place on arrival.
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Glen Twin or Glen Double rooms get started from £130 per evening.
The Highland Suite begins from £168 for each evening.
The best little bit
Although The Cluanie Inn is full of rustic attraction, arguably the very best factor about it is its remote placing. Several places in the United kingdom provide this amount of solitude – a one of a kind Scottish wilderness that is all-around 30 minutes’ generate from everywhere of notice, however is surrounded by 21 quickly-obtainable Munros. The Glen Shiel valley is a place in which you can certainly get absent from it all.
Even although we reside reasonably shut to the border with Scotland, our 6-7 hour travel to The Cluanie Inn tends to make you value the vastness of Scotland, specifically when you consider that it would choose another 4 hours nonetheless to travel to John O’Groats.
The final verdict
The Cluanie Inn is a welcome stopover for readers en route to Loch Ness and the Isle of Skye, whilst also acting as a destination in its possess suitable – not just for walkers fascinated in Munro-bagging but for visitors looking for a remote reprieve from the hustle and bustle of their standard everyday life.
Disclosure: Our remain was courtesy of The Cluanie Inn from Black Sheep Lodges.