Growing up only a stones throw away from Mar Hall, my only experience of the five-star establishment was a few visits to the pool in the years running up to its administration. That and trying not to get hit by golf balls when walking my dog at the nearby beach.

The resort has always been synonymous with luxury in my eyes, and when the Dubai-based Dutco Group took over, it was certainly a good sign of it returning to its former glory.

Well, the manager Joe Gallacher, and his staff at Mar Hall pulled out all the stops to impress on my overnight stay here. First, with a fantastic lunch of Steak Frittes, which was only a glimpse of what was to come later. A nice touch on the menu showed where each dish originated from in Scotland.

(Image: Josh Carmichael)

The resort has housed a wealth of celebrities in the past from David Beckham to Beyonce and of course the most important stars of our time, the Scotland National Football squad.

To walk the same halls and sleep in the same rooms would give anyone a sense of luxury.

New Ownership, New facilities

Having been on a few visits to the resort leisure facilities over the last few years, I was expecting a massive improvement from the out-of-order steam rooms and Saunas, and leaking roofs I’d used when I once accessed it on a £5 pay-as-you-go fee.

On my visit, I was among the first visitors to experience the newly refurbished leisure facilities, and they did not disappoint. A 20-metre pool, two saunas, two steam rooms, and comfortable sun loungers with skylights above made it a space of peaceful bliss to sit and indulge in a bit of reading – or sleeping if you are that way inclined.

(Image: Mar Hall)

Adventurous Partnerships  

Mar Hall has partnered with 4x4 Adventures and Bladnoch Distillery which created a perfect taste of Scotland.

4x4 Adventures kilted guides escorted us to Loch Lomond in Land Rover Defenders, all the while educating us on the local history of the area and the estates.

An ingenious and simple business venture, the tour shows off the spectacular 45,000-acre Luss estate between Loch Lomond and Loch Long and gives visitors the chance to drive the iconic vehicles itself – As bumpy as it was it’s a damn site more comfortable than trekking up the hill. The convoy of Duke of Edinburgh walkers we passed could testify to that as they begged for a lift to escape the rain.

(Image: Josh Carmichael)

The journey concluded with a delightful whisky tasting at the top of a hill, accompanied by a piper, and Bladnoch Distillery’s Mark Rannoch who walked us through three tremendous Lowland Whisky samples. One of which was the Waterfall 05 2024 edition, and there are only a thousand bottles in the world, making each sip that little bit more exclusive.

(Image: Josh Carmichael)

A Taste of Luxury

From one taste of Scotland to the other, there is no better way to wrap up a day luxury and adventure than experiencing the tasting menu created by Mar Hall’s new executive Chef, Tony Tapia.

Seven courses paired with seven wines went down a treat to say the least. Highlights included Crab, Cucumber in buttermilk, Isle of Gigha Halibut in a chicken sauce served with asparagus and parsley, and the Angus beef steak served with Aubergine puree which coated the mouth in Middle Eastern flavours. A meal I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

(Image: Josh Carmichael)

The following morning had a 55-minute spa treatment in-store, which topped off the trip and left me leaving feeling very relaxed. The new spa treatments use Ishga products – a Scottish Organic Skincare. The name derives from the Gaelic word for water, and true to its name it brought about scents of the Scottish sea, leaving the skin feeling as fresh as you could imagine Scottish water being.

Planning Big

The new owners have pledged a multi-million-pound investment to bring Mar Hall back in line with its old reputation, and the future plans are sure to do that. Rooms in the resort will be renovated five at a time, allowing for minimal disruption, plans have already been submitted for 30 stunning lodges within the 240-acre estate grounds, and there are also plans in the works for a new wellness outdoor spa set to open in 2025. While the renovations have only just gotten underway, the signs of what’s to come are very exciting.