Arran is often referred to as ‘Scotland in miniature,’ so a heavily discounted winter break was hard to resist.
Two nights bed and breakfast at the highly-rated Best Western Kinloch Hotel for £99? Shit, we couldn’t sign up fast enough.
The hotel is located in Blackwaterfoot, a tiny village on the opposite end of the island from the main ferry terminal. That it only took 25 minutes to drive there across gorgeous, rugged, mountains and through amazing scenery proves Arran is indeed miniature.
As well as the incredible scenery, Arran boasts a brewery, distillery, golf courses and even a castle – all of which back up that ‘Scotland in miniature’ description. And it’s only a 50 minute ferry journey from Ardrossan on the mainland west coast.
Arriving at the hotel, we were handed keys to what turned out to be a very different room from the one we booked. We were given the ‘Davaar Suite,’ and a lot more space than your average hotel room. I later thanked the woman at reception for the upgrade and she simply said she knew we were coming with our three-month-old baby and that the extra space would make us more comfortable. A lovely touch, and a theme that continued throughout our stay.
The hotel has a lively but safely separate bar attached, as well as a number of gorgeous seating areas off reception for somewhere quieter to relax. A pool and leisure area adds to the offering.
From our suite’s window, the view takes in the small beach nearby and extends across to Campbeltown in Argyll and Bute. It wasn’t the lap of luxury, but more than acceptable for a relaxing stay.
But where the Kinloch really shines is its restaurant. We arrived at midday and were desperate for something to eat. With not much in the local area to explore, we went to the hotel restaurant and given our choice of tables to ensure we and the baby were comfortable.
As for the food, it was nothing short of sensational. So good that we immediately booked a table for dinner that night and the next night to make sure we didn’t miss out. A club sandwich with lentil soup and a steak baguette at lunch were both exceptional – and the portions extravagant.
By the time our dinner reservation came along, we were worried we weren’t hungry enough after that huge lunch. But we made a decent fist of it, sharing a Stornoway black pudding on chorizo mash with poached egg and chilli oil for a starter. It was fucking world class. So much so that the following night, I had it as a starter all to myself. Mains of crispy pork belly and a lamb shank rounded off dinner for the first night, capped with a board of Arran cheeses and a bottle of Franschhoek Cellar South African Pinotage at a great price.
Round two saw me devour the black pudding starter and Mrs G smash a salmon and crayfish terrine. For mains, scampi and a bitching burger had us both fit to burst, while I sampled the Arran 10-year-old and 14-year-old single malts.
Every visit to the restaurant was a pleasure, with staff ensuring we had a spacious booth each time, without us having to ask. And they all paid just the right amount attention to Baby G, quite rightly exclaiming that he is the cutest little gangsta they’d ever seen.
Hats off to the Kinloch Hotel and its excellent staff for being shit hot at their jobs and ensuring that if we ever visit Arran again, we will certainly be back.