The newly relaunched Knipoch House Hotel, in Oban, is the fourth and biggest property in the family-owned Sonas Collection, and also the first outside co-founder Anne Gracie-Gunn’s home turf on the Isle of Skye. On the edge of Loch Feochan, Knipoch has had from a £1 million refurbishment throughout the bedrooms, bathrooms, dining rooms, bars, and lounge to create low-key luxury in comfortable surroundings.


We were coming up from Glasgow and within 15 minutes of our destination when Google Maps recommended a route to avoid the faff of driving through the centre of Oban. Unfortunately, this involved a four-mile trek down a challenging single track road where we narrowly avoided two head-on collisions before returning to the relative opulence of the dual A816. Frankly, any time saved isn’t worth the risk.

The Herald: Knipoch Hotel just outside ObanKnipoch Hotel just outside Oban (Image: free)


Dating back to the 1600s, the hotel retains its historic charm with original fireplaces, stone walls and wood panelling. For centuries it was the private residence of the Craig family, who opened Knipoch as a hotel in 1981. In 1592, Campbell, Thane of Cawdor, was assassinated at the “House of Knipoch in Lorne”, providing an association with Shakespeare’s Macbeth.


Modern comforts include super-king-sized beds along with the amenities and little touches to create what its owners describe as a “homely hotel”. Accommodation ranges from standard double rooms with ensuite walk-in rain shower and luxury toiletries from TEMPLESPA up to the junior suite featuring three front-facing windows along with bath and walk-in shower. Guests may also choose to privately book the outdoor hot tub.


Knipoch offers high-end modern Scottish dining at its restaurants headed by chef Andrew Engledow, who has joined the hotel from his previous position at the Sonas group’s Duisdale House Hotel on Skye’s Sleat. Scallops, mussels, trout and hake from the surrounding waters feature on the menu along with venison, rabbit, veal, beef and pork. There are also vegetarian options.

We are here on opening night and the chef’s team have put together a special menu that kicks off with a crab tian before the main ragu of venison loin, liver and kidney. Mine is perfectly cooked with the liver particularly sumptuous.

The Herald: Knipoch Hotel Deluxe RoomKnipoch Hotel Deluxe Room (Image: free)


There are an array of indoor and outdoor attractions, tours and activities in Oban, which is about a 15-minute drive from the hotel. The Oban Distillery nestled beneath the steep cliff that overlooks the town is one of Scotland’s oldest sources of single malt, while a climb up to the ruins of Dunollie Castle – a former stronghold of Clan MacDougall – is rewarded by stunning views across the bay.

For guests wishing to stay closer to their home away from home, there are walking paths from the Knipoch Hotel into the surrounding woodland. Work is also underway on an outdoor terrace barbecue and dining area that will be in use during spring and summer.

An overnight stay for two with full Scottish breakfast starts from £134.

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