Sunday, April 14, 2024
Sunday, April 14, 2024
HomeNewsHotel Focus: Balmoral Arms, Ballater

Hotel Focus: Balmoral Arms, Ballater

Last year Crerar Hotels transformed the former Deeside Inn in Ballater and renamed it the Balmoral Arms following a £2.2 million refurbishment. And now it is Ballater’s only official five-star AA-rated business having been upgraded from four stars.

I’m not surprised inspectors were impressed with the results of the significant investment because I was too. In fact having also spent a night at a nearby hotel, which is a favourite with the creative set, I thought the Junior suite which I stayed in was just as good, if not slightly more comfortable, not least because it had a spacious and modern bathroom.

The designers have managed to preserve the character of the building whilst completely upgrading the 46 bedrooms and suites, all public spaces including the restaurant.

The accommodation has been upgraded and the property now offers a selection of rooms and suites to suit every kind of traveller from those looking for a luxury staycation to those seeking an upmarket base and for others who will spend more time outside than in.

The hotel offers six impressive suites including four Premium Suites, all named after iconic nearby points of interest, with additional space and luxury touches such as pure British wool bedding, Scottish inspired toiletries from the Highland Soap Company, and sweet treats from Tunnocks.

The suite we stayed in was inspired by the rugged landscape of the Cairngorms, with its dark blue wood panelled walls, and colourful headboards. The designers have made the rooms both comfortable and contemporary, but without losing any of the charm of a Victorian building.

We had coffee in the The Ghillies Bar, named after the Highland attendants. It offers live music, roaring fires and local whiskies and ales combined with hearty traditional Scottish bites. I like the fact there are woollen throws there to put over your laps to keep you cosy!

There is also a classic Scottish brasserie and grill, 1852 – named after the year in which the Balmoral Castle was purchased by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria. The meal we had certainly showcased the best of Scottish ingredients and traditional dishes which give a real taste of the Cairngorms.

One of the areas I loved best was a lovely large lounge with a roaring fire that was topped up by the team to keep it burning merrily away and there it also had plenty of comfortable sofas too.

Manager Joanna Whysall and her colleagues were certainly hospitable and I only wish we had brought our dog, because we noticed a fair few canine guests.

One of the benefits of the Balmoral Arms is that it is situated it the centre of Ballater which is a charming town with lots of small independent shops and a few art galleries. From the restored station which houses Tourist Information to the various walks, there is plenty to keep you occupied without the need to get in the car.

I can see why it is so popular, particularly with visitors from home and abroad. The town and the hotel are well worth a visit

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