Recently named as the best place to live in Scotland in the 2023 Sunday Times Best Places To Live guide, Dunkeld has plenty going for it. Take just a 90-minute drive from Glasgow or Edinburgh and you can be in this charming, historic Perthshire town – making it not only a great place to live but an ideal location for an overnight trip from the Central Belt.

My partner and I were fortunate enough to test this notion with a stay at the luxurious Dunkeld House Hotel. Located just outside the centre of town, the hotel lies at the end of a long drive. A family of deer munched contentedly in a neighbouring field as we approached – our first indication of an invitation to embrace a slower pace.


With its striking white-washed façade, stunning views across Craigvinean Forest, and commanding position overlooking the mighty River Tay, Dunkeld House instils a tangible sense of calm and relaxation – our main goal for this trip.

After a meticulous refurbishment, the grand venue exudes contemporary charm while retaining a classic country manor aesthetic.


“We have just increased our rooms, now offering 100 rooms after completing our full renovation,” General Manager Shane Naylor explains.

“The key idea behind the refurb was to give it a real modern look but at the same time still retain tradition here and maintain the beautiful original features of the building itself.

“A great deal of time and thought has been put into these rooms to ensure they give guests the feeling of luxury.

HeraldScotland: BIRNAM SUITEBIRNAM SUITE (Image: Dunkeld House Hotel)

“Guests have the option of a more traditional room or, if they prefer modern luxury, there are opportunities to cater to that style also.”

Peak luxury comes in the form of the hotel’s Atholl Suite and Duchess Suite. But with around 15 suites to choose from, all boasting unique luxury – one even has a bed in the shape of a boat, while some have freestanding baths in the room overlooking the river – each one offers statement pieces.

We set up camp in the Hermitage Suite. Described as having ‘soft autumnal tones’ and ‘layers of tactile textiles to encourage a sense of calmness’, we knew we were in for a treat.


Walking into our home for the night, it was clear just how new this room was. From the new carpet smell to the glossy perfect finish on the immaculate surfaces, the attention to detail was evident.

Everything about the room felt grand, from the bed, wardrobes, mirror and even the windows, through to (my personal favourite) the enormous bathroom.


It wasn’t easy to leave our suite but we had somewhere very important to be. The spa facilities at Dunkeld House Hotel were exactly what we hoped they would be. A 17-metre heated indoor swimming pool, steam room, sauna and spa bath Jacuzzi was the perfect cocktail for winding down.

As well as being home to a luxury spa, the Perthshire hotel is arguably more associated with its huge range of outdoor activities. Guests can enjoy clay pigeon shooting, the Land Rover experience, archery, quad biking, fishing and, of course, there are plenty of walks and cycle routes close by.

The hotel’s renovation work also extends to the new restaurant. On a Saturday night the restaurant area was vibrant with families and groups but most of the guests were couples, young and older.


Tucking into our meals with the view of woodlands and the river, relaxing piano music blending in with chatter, it certainly felt like a romantic setting.

The menu isn’t overbearing and offers just enough options to cater to all palettes. We opted for seared scallops and the roast and fried artichoke to start, followed by the Scottish salmon and roast chicken.

Shane also informs me the restaurant is launching its new summer menu on May 1, with a brand new chef adding plenty of colourful new culinary delights.


After dinner we retired to the spacious bar and lounge area. Jazz piano continued to play as we sipped on our cocktails.

By the end of the trip, we had fulfilled our aim and departed Dunkeld House Hotel – though not before devouring a very generous breakfast – feeling brand new, refreshed, revived and ready for the outside world.