Inverlochy Castle Hotel is a picture-perfect luxury Scottish castle hotel nestled between a loch and misty mountains.
Located close to Fort William and Britain’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis, the location is good and a great place to stay during a Scotland road trip. But can the hotel justify the top prices? Read on to find out.
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- The location close to Fort William is convenient with lots to see and do in the area
- Great hotel breakfast. Make sure to try the brulee porridge with whisky
- Expensive, especially the food and drinks
- The staff tried hard, but nothing could hide that fact the rooms were long overdue refurbishment
- Having the fire lit in the drawing room would make it a more inviting and cosier place to sit. With large, single glazed windows it was pretty chilly. I had to specifically ask for the fire to be lit in the great hall
Inverlochy Castle Hotel Facilities
The great hall and a drawing room are open to guests or members of the public if they are having a meal or drinks. The great hall is probably the most impressive room I have seen of its type, but the drawing room felt a bit cold and less intimate than other castle hotels where I have stayed, such as Glenapp.
There is also a games room with a full-size snooker table, decorated with all sorts of stuffed animal heads along the wall.
Common areas are well maintained but the bedrooms could really benefit from some investment.
Buildings like this need constant upkeep and unfortunately the bedrooms showed that this money is not being spent fast enough. The staff tried very hard, but nothing could hide the fact that the rooms were tired and needed updating and maintaining better.
In our room the grouting around the windows was in such bad condition that there was a thumb sized whole to the outside with wind whistling through. The armchairs were thread bare and the bathroom had seen better days with a large crack running through the sink.
The hotel has 17 rooms in 5 different room categories:
- Small double
- Large double
- Superior double
- Junior suite double
It is also possible to stay in the Gate Lodge in the grounds.
Since the bedrooms are a little tired, like us, you might be a bit disappointed if you pay for one of the more expensive rooms so go for one of the cheaper options. Spend your time in the great hall, drawing room, games room or within the gardens (if you are lucky enough to have nice weather).
Inverlochy Castle Restaurant
Was one of the better hotel breakfasts I have had. There was a good selection to choose from and the brulee porridge with whisky was fantastic – make sure to try this if you go!
Drawing room menu
Scones, afternoon tea, lighter meals or drinks can be taken in the great hall or drawing room. The fire in the great all can be lit from 12, although they seem to only light them when guests asks. You will only feel the heat from it if you are sitting directly in front of it given the sky-high ceiling.
The scones and tea was reasonably priced and if you don’t want to stay for a night, I highly recommend coming in the early afternoon for a bite to eat or a drink. At this time most hotel guests are out and you might have the great hall or drawing room to yourself.
A 5 course tasting menu costs £95. The food was good. However, for that price and given the restaurant dishes were “developed” with Albert and Michel Roux Jr I was expecting a lot more.
When I stayed the website stated dinner was £75 per person. When you spend this amount of money on a stay another £20 per person may not be considered significant but misinformation like this is one of my pet hates. Of course, they didn’t honour the online price.
It is possible to have 3 out of the 5 courses at a reduced price, but the size of the dishes you get are the same as for on the 5 course meal so you better not be very hungry if you go for this option and I don’t think it offers value.
The wine list, and especially the whisky list, was overpriced with virtually no reasonably priced options.
Activities Offered by Inverlochy Castle Hotel
- Rowing boat: it is free to take out the rowing boat on the small lake behind the hotel. This is where you can get the “famous” views of the hotel (see the beginning of this post).
- Golf: at the Fort William 18-hole golf course
- Hunting and shooting
- Clay pigeon shooting
- White water rafting
- Mountain biking
- Off road driving
- Sea safari
- Tours of Scotland
- Winter activities: such as skiing and snowboarding
Things to Do in the Area
Fort William has a lot to offer and is one of the best areas in Scotland to visit in my opinion. Some of the things not to miss are:
- Climb Ben Nevis: Do not underestimate this climb. Inverlochy Castle Hotel is located close to the North Face carpark at Torlundy. If you are fit and an experienced hiker, consider taking the route over Carn Mor Dearg. At the summit you will be surprised at how many people are there since the route over Carn Mor Dearg is a much quieter one than the busy tourist route from Glen Nevis visitor centre
- Take the steam train to Mallaig: The steam train is more expensive than taking the ‘normal’ train which also travels this route. In my view it is worth the extra cost for the steam train experience. If you are lucky enough to find first class tickets available when booking, go for it – the seats and carriages are much nicer and worth the extra
- Glenfinnan viaduct: Time your trip to watch the steam train go past. This is popular so be there early to get a parking space. It is a very different experience to seeing it from the train and both are worth doing. Afterwards follow the path up the hill and over to Glenfinnan train station. On the way back to the visitor centre stop at the Glenfinnan House Hotel for lunch or a whisky by the fire
- Hike in Glencoe: Great views can be experienced from the car parks dotted along the road but put your hiking shoes on for the lost valley trek if you can find a parking spot
Best Time to Visit
Scottish weather is famous for being unpredictable, but you have a slightly higher chance of it not raining in the summer. The best time to visit is from April to October but always be prepared for rain.
If hiking is on the itinerary, May to October is the best time to visit although there can be snow early or late in the season if you are unlucky.
How to Get to Inverlochy Castle Hotel and Around the Area
Overnight sleeper trains run every day except Saturday between London and Fort William. From Glasgow or Inverness airport car rental is most practical for the 2-hour journey. I highly recommend a rental car since it is difficult to explore the area otherwise.
Inverlochy Castle Hotel is a 10-minute drive north of Fort William.
How to Book
Inverlochy Castle Hotel is the most opulent castle building I have stayed in, but it felt less intimate than other castle hotels such as Glenapp.
Although I have fond memories of our stay it felt overpriced, particularly the food and drinks. Having said that, am I glad I stayed? Yes and I would highly recommend it for one night. If you have always dreamt of staying in a castle it is worth splashing out. Will I be staying again? No, it is too expensive for what it is.
Next time I visit the area I will be staying at The Grange, a B&B which offers much better value luxury accommodation, and I will visit Inverlochy Castle Hotel for scones and tea in the early afternoon.