Positioned in the distant wilderness of the picturesque Glen Shiel, which lies alongside the route to the Isle of Skye, The Cluanie Inn oozes rustic Scottish charm and character, but with a somewhat distinctive Indian-encouraged twist that shines via with some of the cuisine. The inn forms element of Black Sheep Lodges, a smaller group of boutique accommodations, lodges and dining establishments in Lochaber and Inverness-shire, owned by Mumbai-dependent hospitality firm, Mars Hospitality Group.
Following a lengthy drive, we have been specified a heat welcome by Sara on reception, ahead of remaining revealed to our space personally. Everywhere was pretty homely and welcoming, with seating areas the place you can just sit and go through a e book or delight in a wee dram – just like a standard Scottish inn should really be. We were travelling with our canine for this excursion, so ended up also proven specified spots where 4-legged good friends could be exercised.
We stayed in home 4 – a doggy-pleasant Highland Suite with a picket 4 poster mattress. The décor is very fitting with an outdated entire world allure about it, tartan-esque wallpaper, all historically furnished with antique pottery and ornaments, and with Scottish artworks adorning the partitions.
Tea and coffee facilities and complimentary Highland Spring water are delivered, as is a selection of journals – Countrywide Geographic Traveller, Place Life, Condé Nast Traveller and a tutorial to the very best places to stop by in Skye and Lochalsh.
In the wardrobe there is a safe and sound, and an ironing board and iron, and the in-home telephone inbound links to reception, housekeeping and the obligation supervisor, to the spa at sister hotel The Whispering Pine Lodge, as very well as to the different eating options at every of the Black Sheep Accommodations.
The home windows from the place glimpse out in excess of the hills and on 1 evening we ended up blessed sufficient to location wild deer right outside our window.
The rest room
Our en suite bathroom consisted of a large whirlpool tub, total with jets and colored lights, with a shower above it, as nicely as a basin and WC. Really don’t be alarmed by the water which can be brown in visual appeal – like much of Scotland, the water is derived from catchments dominated by healthy peatlands which are in truth naturally of high quality but do have dissolved organic and natural carbon.
Equipped toiletries are from the Highland Cleaning soap Co. – aloe vera shampoo, entire body wash, conditioner and cleaning soap with a subtle, woody fragrance of wild nettle and heather. Robes and slippers, and a hairdyrer, are also equipped.
Influenced by the rugged lifestyle of Highlanders, The Cluanie Bar & Kitchen area serves mountain-impressed cuisine a menu of American and Scottish classics these kinds of as burgers, ribs and steaks, as nicely as worldwide favourites, specially Indian and pan-Asian options. You can dine in the bar or dining areas – equally give a energetic and informal ambience for travellers and locals alike.
The Chargrilled Broccoli Florets – broccoli marinated with yoghurt and garlic, topped with toasted pine nuts – are a healthy and appetising decision from the starters, even though the Crunchy Lentil Bites served with a coconut mustard seed dip will be certain to satisfy the hungriest of walkers.
My favorite was the Trio of Prawns, Mussels and Calamari – seafood cooked in a chilli coriander broth served with a slice of grilled sourdough.
But look out also for the Cajun Hen Quesadillas – toasted tortillas with Cajun-spiced hen, sweet peppers, crimson onion and Monterey Jack cheese – for an equally enjoyable different.
Mains consist of The Highlander Cheeseburger – chargrilled beef patty topped with cheese and served with fries, a assortment of pizzas these types of as the Out in the Wild pizza (chorizo, Italian sausage, ham, mozzarella and mustard greens) and a selection of global specials.
The Dal Makhani is a typical North Indian gradual-cooked lentil curry that I can highly propose. Alternatively try the Spaghetti Aglio e Olio – spaghetti tossed in garlic, olive oil, chilli flakes and Parmesan, with the selection to incorporate rooster, prawns or salmon.
The personal bar is a pretty location to chill out, serving wines, beers and ciders, not to mention an considerable assortment of whisky.
Free of charge WiFi is accessible at The Cluanie Inn and we uncovered that it worked perfectly through the creating, irrespective of the remote area.
The inn also doubles as a self-services petrol station which I’m confident has been a welcome sight for numerous a traveller frantically stressing about the following possibility to re-gas. And across the street, Black Sheep Hotels’ most current addition is the Landour Bakehouse – a wonderful stop-off for freshly-baked merchandise, some from recipes relationship again to the 1900s. The bakehouse receives its name from the British-period cantonment of Landour, at an elevation of 7,000 feet in the Himalayas, the place Scottish citizens are explained to have when exchanged recipes and significant-altitude baking tips, 1st as a result of conversation but then subsequently in numerous editions of The Landour Cookbook.
The bakehouse is a relaxed and enjoyment cease-off within a sign reads “We do not have WiFi. Converse to each individual other. Fake it’s 1895.” whilst another with an arrow pointing up the street reads “Complaints Section – 100 miles”.
The Cluanie Inn is positioned along the A87 in the Scottish Highlands, on the Moor of A’Chralaig on Glen Shiel, at the western end of Cluanie Loch. Walks are out there from the doorstep of the inn – inside The Cluanie Estate – as well as on nearby hills and Munros which includes, among some others, the seven Munros of the South Glen Shiel Ridge.
A single of the nearest points of interest of be aware is Eilean Donan Castle, which is a 30-minute push away and sits at the confluence of Loch Duich, Loch Prolonged and Loch Alsh. This legendary 13th Century Scottish castle has highlighted in lots of an Instagram feed as perfectly as movies these as Highlander (1986) and James Bond – The Planet is Not More than enough (1999).
Whilst in that area, we also took the possibility to stop by the really village of Plockton and the Kyle of Lochalsh. Plockton enjoys a mild local climate by Scottish requirements, thanks to experiencing east, away from the prevailing winds, and you will even see palm trees increasing there.
Our travel from The Cluanie Inn in the reverse course to our following stop, Whispering Pine Lodge, was also really picturesque with stunning loch views, the bonus of recognizing a lone piper greet a compact tour corporation, and the opportunity for a wonderful woodland wander in Glen Garry pinewoods managed by the Foresty Commission.
Other awesome touches
A welcome platter on arrival with fruit, cookies and the text ‘Welcome To The Inn….” published in chocolate greeted us in our room on arrival.
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Glen Twin or Glen Double rooms commence from £130 per evening.
The Highland Suite commences from £168 for every night.
The best little bit
Although The Cluanie Inn is full of rustic attraction, arguably the most effective issue about it is its remote location. Couple areas in the Uk provide this level of solitude – a one of a kind Scottish wilderness that is around 30 minutes’ generate from any where of be aware, still is surrounded by 21 effortlessly-available Munros. The Glen Shiel valley is a place exactly where you can definitely get absent from it all.
Even however we stay rather shut to the border with Scotland, our 6-7 hour drive to The Cluanie Inn helps make you take pleasure in the vastness of Scotland, specially when you look at that it would acquire one more 4 several hours nonetheless to travel to John O’Groats.
The last verdict
The Cluanie Inn is a welcome stopover for visitors en route to Loch Ness and the Isle of Skye, although also performing as a destination in its personal ideal – not just for walkers interested in Munro-bagging but for friends in search of a distant reprieve from the hustle and bustle of their typical day by day lives.
Disclosure: Our continue to be was courtesy of The Cluanie Inn from Black Sheep Motels.