With staycations the number one choice for holidaymakers in 2021, we’re discovering the wealth of hotspots on our own doorstep... now Paul Trainer and Ailsa Sheldon can reveal the Scottish locations that are out of this world

Read More: Amazing places to stay part 1 and part 2.

Glenfinnan House Hotel, Fort William


Warm Highland hospitality is the order of the day at Glenfinnan House Hotel. With an enviable location overlooking Loch Shiel, Glenfinnan Monument and Ben Nevis, this handsome traditional hotel has been at the heart of the village since it was built as a home in the 1750s. The welcoming bar is well-stocked with local beers, gins and whiskies, and if you’re lucky you’ll catch a live music session – the village is home to many of Scotland’s finest traditional musicians. Both the restaurant and the bar serve delicious food, with local Glenfinnan venison a speciality.


The Four Sisters Boatel, Edinburgh


Stay in the heart of Edinburgh in a four-star luxury canal boat moored in Lochrin Basin in Tollcross. Both The Four Sisters Boatel and The Camillia Boatel are offered on a self-catering basis and are well equipped for all the family – whatever relaxation means to you – from fishing rods, books and board games to smart speakers, widescreen TV and a massage chair. With a lot more space than you might expect, The Four Sisters sleeps up to six adults plus two children, making this a great place for a family holiday . . . and you can bring the dog too. 


Rudh Dubh Cottage, Ardnamurchan 


Steading Holidays have a range of self-catering properties around Kilchoan and the Ardnamurchan peninsula, suitable for different groups and needs. Our favourite is Rudh Dubh cottage, accessible only by a rocky path from Portuairk, this converted one-room bothy is the perfect escape for artists, writers or an outdoorsy couple. With a wood-burning stove, small kitchen and bathroom, this is a back to basics stay right by the sea. There’s no TV or WiFi and the minimum stay is a week. Beautiful Sanna Bay is further along the same path, and Kilchoan is five miles away for a shop or a pint. 


Isle of Raasay Distillery, Isle of Raasay


Raasay sits within the Inner Hebrides, separated from the Isle of Skye by a 25-minute ferry journey. The distillery creates a lightly peated single malt and an island gin featuring Raasay juniper and rhubarb root. Borodale House, a Victorian villa, was transformed into a working distillery with six en suite bedrooms in the same building, which can be booked individually or by groups of up to 12 for views of the Cuillin mountains and access to the latest batch of whisky. 


Mar Hall, Bishopton


A 20-minute drive west along the Clyde from Glasgow city centre, via the M8, and you find yourself in tranquil seclusion on a 240-acre woodland estate. Escape to this elegant spa and golf resort with accommodation in a grand mansion, the former Erskine House, complete with ornamental fountain and gardens. Guests who have stayed in the hotel include Bob Dylan, Kylie Minogue, Liam Gallagher, and Katy Perry, although not all on the same night. 


Dakota, Glasgow


This old Works and Pensions building close to Sauchiehall Street was given a radical overhaul by Glasgow hotelier Ken McCulloch and his designer wife Amanda, creating a modern, award-winning boutique hotel. Ultra-stylish yet retaining a sense of local informality, Dakota’s hotel bar is the place to lounge with summer cocktails during your stay and enjoy the cosmopolitan atmosphere. They’ve a private room for small parties, a more sedate library room and an outside terrace. Bedrooms are spacious with monsoon showers and high-thread cotton linen for a restful stay.


Foyers Lodge, Inverness


A cosy retreat in the Highlands, the lodge has enviable views over Loch Ness. Expect stylish traditional interiors, carefully maintained grounds and dramatic natural surroundings. Owners Anna Low and Philip Crowe have transformed this stunning property with eight individually styled bedrooms. There’s also a serviced apartment located on the ground floor, accessed via a private entrance. Breakfast and dinner are served in the dining room while the drawing room is designed to evoke the style of the property’s Victorian heritage. 


The Coll Hotel, Isle of Coll 


Run by the same family since the 1960s, The Coll Hotel is both a destination hotel and the vibrant hub of the local island community. Coll draws visitors for the beautiful sandy beaches, wildlife and dark skies -– and The Coll Hotel makes the ideal base to enjoy all this special island has to offer. Enjoy a meal in the award-winning restaurant – shellfish is caught off Coll, and across the menu there’s a real dedication to supporting and celebrating products from Coll and neighbouring Mull. Rooms are simple and relaxing, with many enjoying views across the bay to Mull, Staffa and the Treshnish isles. 


The Cottage Stein, Isle of Skye 


This charming cottage bed and breakfast accommodation sits in the conservation of Stein, on the Warternish peninsula on the northwest coast of Skye. Local ingredients are given a showcase for breakfast in the welcoming dining room. Later in the day, The Stein Inn nearby offers traditional pub food and more than 125 malt whiskies. The cottage has been reconfigured and extended to create two bedrooms with comfy armchairs and king sized or twin beds.


Craighead Howfs, Dunblane


Who knew that the perfect spot for Tolkein fans was in fact (Perth) Shire? Stay at one of the delightfully quirky Craighead ‘howfs’ – stone built dwellings built into the hillside, with handmade wooden furniture and stargazing windows. Surrounded by pretty gardens and woodland, this is back-to-nature glamping with a perfect mix of luxury and fun. Stay in ‘The Burrow’ or ‘Bagend’ for the full hobbit experience, or for a childhood dream come true try ‘Tree Howf’, a luxury treehouse with 360-degree views over the Ochil hills and beyond. It’s adults only, so enjoy peace and quiet and time to read. 


Further Space, Port of Menteith 


For glamping holidays in Scotland, Further Space have positioned their state-of-the-art pods at Hillhead Farm in Dumfries, with a new location on Cardross Estate, Port of Menteith, set to open from August. At Hillhead Farm you have a vantage point looking out to the Nithsdale Valley. The site features three pods for an unusual rural getaway. You can upgrade to a prosecco welcome, add in a barbeque, or arrange for a firepit. Each pod sleeps up to four (two adults and two kids, with an additional cot if requested).


Fingal, Edinburgh 


Step aboard luxury floating hotel Fingal, permanently moored in Leith Docks, for a sophisticated nautical escape from the ordinary. A £5 million, two-year conversion turned this once humble vessel into the extraordinary hotel it is today. Enjoy the exquisite attention to detail in the elegant cabins - from rain-showers and underfloor heating to port-hole windows. Fingal had a long and varied sea career, including many years serving remote lighthouses; homage is paid to this noble maritime history with all cabins named after Scottish lighthouses. Enjoy cocktails, indulgent afternoon tea or a delicious three course meal in the elegant art deco Lighthouse Restaurant and Bar.


The Pierhouse Hotel, Port Appin


On the shores of Loch Linnhe sits The Pierhouse Hotel, with just 12 lovely rooms and an outstanding seafood restaurant. Rooms are cosy and comfortable, many have loch views and a warm welcome is guaranteed. Sit outside with Loch Creran oysters (try them with shallot and orkney sugar kelp vinegar) orLoch Leven mussels, and watch the Lismore ferry shuttle back and forth and gaze at views of Mull, the Morvern mountains and the Ardnamurchan peninsula. Port Appin makes a great base to explore this part of Scotland by road or by sea – try a wildlife boat trip with local expert guides, Coastal Connection, from the pier by the hotel.


Trigony House, Dumfries


Enjoy relaxed luxury at this impressive hotel in Dumfries and Galloway. Set in four acres of woodlands, Trigony offers a country house stay in a pet-friendly environment. Set to open in time for August, the friendly staff will help you explore the local countryside with typical activities including horse riding, falconry and cycling. They offer classic and superior rooms on the first floor or the garden suite with its own conservatory. 


Greywalls Hotel, Gullane


This country house was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1901, complete with a six-acre walled garden and a tennis court. The main house features seven bedrooms with a further five in an annex, each overlooking Muirfield golf course. The hotel restaurant, Chez Roux, is overseen by the celebrated Michelin starred chef family with Michael Roux Jr set to host a masterclass there on August 26, featuring a two-course meal and cooking demonstration.


Laig Beach Bothy, Isle of Eigg


Laig Beach on the Isle of Eigg is one of the most stunning, and probably most photographed, beaches in Scotland, where sand made from quartz black basalt and white shell produces ever-changing fern-like patterns on the beach. The water sparkles and there are magnificent views of the Isle of Rum. The lovely Laig Beach Bothy is the only dwelling on the beach so you can swim, play or just gaze at the view right from your door. Sleeping four in a double plus a mezzanine twin, this light and modern space is cosy, and thoughtfully designed for ultimate comfort and relaxation. No visitor cars are allowed on Eigg so use the borrowed bikes and settle into Eigg time on this magical island. 


Glenapp Castle, Girvan


The luxury castle hotel in a tranquil Ayrshire location boasts impressive sea and garden view bedrooms. A new addition for summer 2021 is The Endeavour, a penthouse apartment in the traditional Scottish baronial style with four bedrooms, a library and games room, alongside a lounge and dining room, which can seat up to 16 guests. The apartment also features a sauna, beauty treatment room and private access elevator. Your own personal chef and butler are at your service throughout your stay.


Rusacks, St Andrews


A landmark building overlooking the Old Course Links at St Andrews, the hotel features three new hospitality concepts, debuting this summer and led by chef Derek Johnstone. The rooftop Scottish restaurant 18 will cook local produce with a Robata grill, specialising in game and seafood dishes. On the ground floor The Bridge is set to be a more casual all-day dining option. One Under Bar is a basement bar serving beer, whisky and cocktails.


Roulotte Retreat, Melrose


In a wildflower meadow by a wee lochan in the Scottish Borders you’ll find eight beautiful roulottes – hand crafted Romany inspired wooden caravans – with each built from sustainable wood by expert artisans in France and the Netherlands. Each little romantic bolthole is individually designed with opulent fabrics, handmade furniture and thoughtful details for a relaxing stay. Two roulottes (Zendaya and Gitana, because of course they all have names) have wooden eco hot tubs, while Maharani has a wood fired sauna. Yoga and massages are available on site, too, for the ultimate wind-down. 


The Artist's House, Edinburgh


Every visit to sculpture park Jupiter Artland is a treat; now imagine getting to stay there. The Artist’s House is a gorgeous self-catering cottage (sleeps six) in the heart of the park. The cottage showcases a lovingly curated abundance of artworks by world renowned artists plus the big names of the future. Take your time to explore the 100 acres of grounds and find 30 site-specific sculptures, then return to your luxurious hideaway to fire up the barbecue, soak in the Swedish wood-fired outdoor tub and enjoy expansive views of the Firth of Forth from the terrace.