Argyll and Bute has so much to offer. With plenty of fantastic restaurants, hotels, scenic attractions, golf, and high-quality products we are truly spoilt for choice. Here are some of the region’s incredible hidden gems…

Riva Hotel

With magnificent sea views and delicious food, Riva boutique hotel in Helensburgh has been designed for maximum relaxation.

The stunning 19th century building comprises of 14 luxurious bedrooms, each bedroom comes with its own vinyl record player and collection of music and boasts high-quality tea and coffee facilities. Notable features include floor to ceiling coral blue coloured tiles within the bathrooms, which are infused with modern designs, a vintage industrial twist, and come with large walk-in showers for extra space.

The Herald:

Guests can relax and feel at home after days out exploring some of the most beautiful sites and exciting activities the west coast of Scotland has to offer, including the world-famous Loch Lomond which is a short drive away. The hotel is also dog-friendly, meaning you will not have to leave your furry four-legged companion behind, and they can enjoy some fun by the seafront or along Helensburgh’s famous esplanade walk.

Dine in style, Riva’s Italian restaurant with Mediterranean influences has a menu full of flavour. The indulgent selection of cocktails and dishes have been carefully curated from recipes providing you with authentic tastes including seafood, pasta, pizza and mouth-watering steak of the day, served with selection of desserts.

Soak up the sun in the Seaview terrace with champagne flowing or a signature cocktail.

Staycation in style with one of Riva’s packages: 

-King Seaview Room, hamper waiting for guests on arrival, themed cocktail experience 

-King Bed, Prosecco on ice, chocolate selection, three themed cocktails for two, three course dinner for two and breakfast included

-King Bed, Prosecco on ice, three course dinner for two and breakfast included

Enhance your stay with a luxury add on:

- Themed cocktail experience: six of your favourite classic cocktails 

-Honeymoon treat: rose petals on the bed, balloons, and handmade luxury chocolates 

-Celebration with Prosecco: Prosecco on Ice and Chocolates

 -Celebration with Champagne: Veuve Clicquot on Ice

To book, or find out more information, visit or call 01436 677796 

W Clyde St. Helensburgh G84 8SQ 


Fynest Fish

ONE of the few positives to come out of lockdown is that it gave many of us a renewed appreciation for our local businesses. For those living in Argyll and Bute, we are lucky to have one of Scotland’s best fishmongers on our doorstep: Fynest Fish. Based in Inveraray, Fynest Fish travel right throughout Argyll offering free, doorstep deliveries on a range of meat, fruit and veg and (of course) fresh seafood.

Owner Robert McCulloch first set up Fynest Fish in 2004, but when the pandemic hit last year he had to modify and adapt his business in order to keep himself and his customers safe.

The Herald:

This involved a whole business restructuring, van modifications, new premises, and a complete overhaul in production. With a lot of work and diversification, Fynest Fish now offers a huge variety of different products, with their main focus on locally sourced produce from high quality Argyll producers.

Yet although they now have a high-end online shop, the team at Fynest Fish understand online shopping is not for everybody and are happy to support longstanding and newer customers. Orders can be placed before 1pm on Mondays for delivery that week, with delivery dates differing depending on where you live.

The Herald:

Wednesday sees delivery to Newton, Leachd, Leanach, Strathlachlan, Otter Ferry, Kilfinan, Melldalloch, Millhouse, Portavadie, Ardlamont, Kames, Tighnabruaich, Ormidale, Colintraive Old Road & Colintraive.

Thursday has delivery for the Glendaruel area: Stronafian, Ardtaraig, Clachaig, Westbay, Glenmorag, Innellan, Toward and the surroundings. Friday is the delivery day for Arrochar, Tarbet, Inveruglas, Inverbeg, Luss, Helensburgh, Rhu, Blairvadach, Garelochhead, Mambeg, Rosneath, Kilcreggan, Cove, Ardpeaton, Portincaple and the surrounding area.

The Herald:

Deliveries are offered on a weekly basis, for no additional charge, with a contact-free system in place. If you wish to return your empty box, Robert will collect it on his rounds before thoroughly disinfecting it and reusing it.

To find out more, visit or email


The Loch Fyne Oyster Bar & Deli

The Loch Fyne Oyster Bar & Deli is located on the A83 in Argyll at the point where the hills meet the sea at the head of the Loch. At just over an hour from Glasgow and two hours from Edinburgh, Loch Fyne is a stunning destination in its own right or the perfect place to stop on a journey through the region.

The Herald:

The guiding principle behind Loch Fyne is to present the best in authentic Scottish seafood, whilst minimising the environmental impact. Founded in the 1970s, the original Loch Fyne Oyster Bar specialises in serving seafood produced on the Loch and in the Smokehouse. Menus are drawn up weekly depending on seasonal availability and include award-winning Loch Fyne Smoked salmon, fresh Loch Fyne Oysters, Hebridean Mussels, Fish & Chips and their legendary Seafood Platter.

Fully refurbished in recent years to a very high standard with spectacular views of Loch Fyne, the light and airy dining areas in the Oyster Bar are perfect for both couples, larger groups and families. It also offers a takeaway service, garden seating and children’s play area.

The Herald:

No visit to Loch Fyne is complete without stopping off at the Deli with an extensive range of produce including fresh oysters, shellfish, salmon from the smokehouse, a superb range of cheeses and delicacies.

Whether looking to stock up on some of the best local and Scottish food and drink or simply a freshly brewed coffee and sandwich, the Deli has something for everyone.

Booking in advance is strongly recommended either by telephone on 01499 600482 or email

Visit the website to see current menus and season opening hours.

The Loch Fyne Oyster Bar & Deli
Clachan, Cairndow, Argyll, PA26 8BL

01499 600482

Instagram: @lochfyneoysters


Loch Melfort Hotel

2021 is the year of the Scotland staycation; an opportunity to take to the Highlands and explore the hidden gems tucked along the Scottish West coast. Nestled privately amongst 17 acres of gardens and Argyll shorelines, Loch Melfort Hotel is a unique country-house retreat, celebrated for its tranquil atmosphere and endless island views.

The Herald:

The hotel’s grounds are situated adjacent to the NTS Arduaine Garden both previously having been part of the same estate. The one-hundred-year-old coastal gardens offer visitors cliff-top views over the islands of Shuna and Luing and the Sound of Jura. With a wide range of annual plants and evergreens, there is always something new to see, regardless of the time of year. The hotel’s Sea-View Lodges come with pretty balconies and decking directly overlooking the grounds and Asknish Bay, treating guests to dreamy landscapes and views across to their resident Highland cows and goats.

As dog owners themselves, Loch Melfort Hotel welcome pets and their owners in nine of their ground floor lodges. With partitioned decking opening directly onto the grounds, it couldn’t be easier for your furry friend to get out and explore the new sniffing spots on offer.

The Herald:

When the summer sun appears, there is nothing better than settling down to soak up the invigorating coastal air and tuck into delicious, fresh seafood. Produce from the sea has been an integral part of the Argyll’s diet for centuries, and this is reflected in the hotel’s flavourful seasonal menu. Freshly caught langoustines, lobster and Islay scallops are sourced with local providers in mind, and there’s no better place to enjoy them than they newly extended outdoor decking space.

The hotel’s upgraded dining areas have been designed with safety and comfort in mind, and guests can enjoy a socially distanced, gourmet experience, whilst admiring sunset views overlooking the isles of the Inner Hebrides. As part of their commitment to the environment, the team have installed a new kitchen garden, meaning diners can enjoy fresh, crunchy vegetables, straight from harvest to plate.

For more information, please visit


The George Hotel

A family run hotel since 1860, generation seven of the Clark family now resides in The George.
The George Hotel has 17 bedrooms and have all been sensitively re-styled in keeping with the building, its history and its architecture, making each one completely unique. 

The hotel has always had an enviable reputation for ambience, friendliness and its cuisine. With its original solid stone flagstoned floors and four roaring log and peat fires, the George is a lively haunt for both local characters and visitors alike with a wide choice of real ales, 100 malt whiskies and an extensive wine list. It deservedly earns its place in the good pub guide and the good beer guide.

The Herald:

The emphasis on the menu is using the very best of local quality, well hung West Highland beef and lamb. Seafood and fish bought from the local fishing port of Tarbert and the famous Loch Fyne salmon. These ingredients are used imaginatively and simply to produce well cooked meals at a fair and reasonable price.

The Cocktail Bar has a unique atmosphere. A traditional old world feel with flagstones, settles, original 1770’s stone walls and an open fire. This award winning bar has a stunning gantry featuring 120 whiskies, 40 gins and all the other alcohols required to purvey to all tastes.

The Herald:
The Hotel boasts a beautiful lochside garden bar with BBQ every Friday, Saturday and Sunday and West Beer on tap as well as a range of cocktails, Edinburgh Gin liquers, wine and champagne.

The George Hotel, Main St East, Inveraray, Argyll, PA32 8TT
01499 302098


The Machrie

Whether you’re just looking to explore the stunning island of Islay, home to some of the world’s finest whiskies, birdlife, seafood and dramatic coastal seascapes, or you’re taking on the challenge of the championship links golf course, The Machrie will be the perfect place to stay.

The hotel boasts 47 beautifully designed rooms, suites and lodges. 18 is the stunning restaurant and bar with panoramic views of the 18th green and fairway to Laggan Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The Terrace and Lounges are perfect to unwind with a local dram or enjoy tea with friends. The Machrie has a fabulous collection of local and international whiskies as well as the Perfect Serve Gins.

The Herald:

Islay’s distilleries are spread across the island and easily accessible from The Machrie; Bowmore, Bruichladdich and Kilchoman can be found in the heart of the island; Bunnahabhain, Ardnahoe and Caol Ila to the north and Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig - just three miles away to the south located next door to each other. Islay offers a great selection of activities – from cycling or kayaking for the more adventurous, to Sea Safari for the curious and much more… relaxing walks along the beach with your dog or exploring the RSPB Nature Reserve – there’s so much to see and do.

The Herald:

Set in the dunes of Islay, Queen of the Hebrides, The Machrie Links is one of the most beautiful locations in world golf. Originally designed in 1891 by Willie Campbell, the course has now been fully modernised by D J Russell, the former European Ryder Cup Vice Captain and PGA tour player. The perfect links terrain is set on unique dunelands bordering on the magnificent Laggan Bay. Exceptionally maintained with stunning Hebridean views of ocean, the peaks of Beinn Bheigeir and the Paps of Jura, it will captivate all levels of golfer and will test every aspect of the game.

The Machrie Hotel & Golf Links, Port Ellen, Isle of Islay PA42 7AN

Tel: 01496 302310     Email:


The Pierhouse Hotel and Seafood Restaurant

The Wee Hotel Company’s Pierhouse Hotel and Seafood Restaurant at Port Appin is eagerly anticipating visitors who want to escape the confines of their homes and enjoy a short break in Scotland.

The Herald:

The hotel is now making plans to ensure its guests have a safe and fulfilling experience with the benefit of new guided tours with local coastal experts, ‘Coastal Connection’, which offers collections direct from outside the hotel at the end of the pier and from Oban harbour.

Private charter full day trips to Tobermory, Mull or Coll will offer families and groups of up to 12 passengers the opportunity to see harbour seals, basking sharks, minke whales, porpoise, otters and dolphins, as well as Glensanda Super Quarry and Duart Castle. Two-hour trips around the island of Lismore are also available.

The Herald:

Tucked away on the shores of Loch Linnhe, The Pierhouse offers breath-taking views to the islands of Lismore and Mull. The small hotel and renowned Scottish seafood restaurant is one of Argyll’s most idyllic and romantic destinations. Now listed in the Michelin Guide for Great Britain and Ireland 2021, The Pierhouse’s menus include the freshest langoustines and mussels harvested from Loch Linnhe and Loch Etive, as well as fine handpicked oysters from the oyster beds of Loch Creran.

On overnight stay The Pierhouse starts from £175 per couple, per night, on a bed and breakfast basis.  


The Royal an Lochan Hotel

The Royal an Lochan Hotel, Tignabruaich is a gem in the heart of the Secret Coast, located two hours from Glasgow. The Hotel has eleven bedrooms, eight with stunning sea views of the Kyles of Bute.

All bedrooms are well appointed, some with huge bathrooms and owners Gill and Greg Robson have transformed the Hotel into a great place to stay from a facilities, food, comfort and customer service perspective.

The Herald:

Moving from Australia three years ago, Gill and Greg have instilled that Aussie welcoming feel into the Hotel. Greg is Australian and Gill is Scottish with years of experience in the Hotel sector across the world.

You can also enjoy the spectacular views of the Kyles of Bute whilst enjoying a hearty breakfast or dining in the restaurant of an evening.

The restaurant menu caters for all tastes and budgets offering langoustines, scallops and steaks as well as fish’n’chips and burgers.

There are a number of large comfortable lounge areas with great views and open fires. The Shinty Bar is a cosy place where you can enjoy a drink and soak up some of the Shinty history that adorns the walls with the historic photos. There are plenty of activities such as walking trails, cycling, boating, scenic drives, Ostel Bay Beach, Portavardie Marina and the ferries to Tarbert and Isle Bute.

The Herald:

If you are only passing by Tighnabruaich for the day, an additional highlight of the hotel is "The Harbour Gallery" showcasing over 160 pieces of original artwork by Stuart Herd and Anne Hewitt located throughout. Why not try the amazing Italian Aroma Barista Coffee that is popular with guests. Tighnabruaich is a great location for your romantic trip for two or your staycation.

Here are a couple recent reviews from guests...

“We had a brilliant relaxing weekend exploring the Cowal peninsula from the Royal. Our room had a spectacular bay window overlooking the sea, and the hotel provided secure storage for our bikes. The breakfasts were superb, especially the kippers. Fantastic paintings on display and overall the hotel is a nice mix of having all mod cons alongside some nice old fashioned eccentricities.”

“It had been a few years since we had visited the Royal an Lochan hotel and in that time ownership had changed a couple of times, so we visited with some anxiety about what to expect. We need not have been concerned because the Australian owners were most welcoming and our room was comfortable with a beautiful view of the Kyles. There are not many sights better than that! The hotel menu was very attractive and the food we chose was cooked and presented to perfection. Our morning breakfasts were excellent, just as we ordered, and our evening meals, with a good choice of wines, were equally very tasty.”