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Macdonald Forest Hills Kinlochard

If you're hankering after good food and tranquillity, this four-star hotel in the Trossachs has them in spades.

Imagine tucking into afternoon tea on the terrace with Loch Ard and Ben Lomond to gaze upon soundtracked by nothing but birdsong.

The hotel offers traditional cream teas, or a full-blown cake stand with sandwiches, savouries, fresh scones and a plethora of sweet treats - including meringues and treacle tarts on the weekend we visited.

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You can add a glass of champagne, or give it a manly twist with the "gentleman's afternoon tea", which comes with a dram, roast beef and onion chutney ciabattas, sausage rolls, haggis balls and pork pies.

After some gentle exercise at the gym or indoor pool, which also has a steam room and sauna, guests are well-advised to unwind in the resort's eastern-style spa. The facility uses Elemis products and the dark decor and yielding leather loungers of the waiting room induce an instant sense of wellbeing. I had a 30-minute deep tissue back massage followed by a half-hour facial which left my skin soft and glowing.

A day of pampering is best rounded off with dinner at the Garden Restaurant, where a three-course meal - including canapes, bread, tea or coffee and petit fours - comes in at £39 per head.

The menu keeps decision-making simple with around five dishes per course to choose from. We enjoyed starters of goat's cheese tartlet and a tomato and mozzarella salad, though I was sorely tempted by the smoked salmon panna cotta. The main course was the highlight, however, with a sirloin steak served with onion rings, chips, mushrooms and grilled tomato with pepper or bearnaise sauce. We rounded off with a lemon posset and a cheeseboard, coffee and chocolates, before heaving ourselves upstairs for a well-earned lie down.

The only shortcoming we could find was the lack of a kettle in our room - a small thing, perhaps, but one which would probably be missed by many a guest. Otherwise, it was bliss.

Helen McArdle was a guest of Forest Hills, Kinlochard. Spa breaks start at £42.50 B&B per person, which includes a £15 spa voucher. Visit macdonaldhotels.co.uk or call 0844 879 9057.

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