Atholl Arms Hotel, Dunkeld

One of the many joyous aspects of Scottish tourism is the multitude of historical attractions, sites and places of significance, scattered around the country; of interest to many, accessible to all.

Sitting pretty on the banks of the River Tay, in the Historical Cathedral City of Dunkeld, is the Atholl Arms Hotel, dating back to 1833, a fine example of one of these attractions, in the guise of a perfectly situated 3 star hotel.

An informal and contemporary, open plan lounge and reception, houses some interesting historical artefacts, dating back to 1844, when the then, Princess Royal, visited the hotel to dine and spend the night in what is now known as The Victoria Suite.

Menus and bills dating back to the 19th century are also on display, along with photos of the hotel, looking not too different from today, with its recognisable positioning on the infamous and well-photographed five-arch bridge, into Dunkeld.

The many original features are evident throughout both the public areas and the hotel’s 17 bedrooms; modern facilities accommodated around character attributes; blending seamlessly into modern day expectations.

The hotel is undoubtedly popular with returning guests; it’s homely, welcoming atmosphere is both natural and familiar; extending a unique welcome to guests, both old and new. I spoke to a family of four (plus happy dog), on their fifth visit to the hotel, returning year on year for the familiarity and trusted service the Atholl Arms team dishes up, along with fabulous location and abundance of local activities.

Walkers, anglers, cyclists and anybody else pursuing activities of an outdoor nature, are well catered for here, with nearby cycling routes, river fishing and of course Birnam Hill, a veritable mecca for Shakespeare fans who shall recognise the landmark from Macbeth.

It is commonplace for guests at The Atholl Arms to return for dinner at the end of a day’s exploring and gather in the hotel’s RiverView Restaurant. Not only does it produce wonderful Tay views but multi-award-winning service and dining. Using local produce, vast in its abundance, is commonplace at The Atholl Arms, served up by the restaurant team who are the proud bearers of a Gold Award for Hospitality Excellence. It is not only residents who enjoy the dining experience at the RiverView, food aficionados within  driving distance of the hotel, venture to the new destination restaurant of the area to experience the quality which has also earned the restaurant “Best in the Region for Informal Dining”, at the recent 2014 Scottish Hotel Awards.

With new Head Chef, Ally Bryson, on board, the restaurant looks set to reach even further; he brings with him years of experience, including time served at the fabulous Murrayshall House Hotel in Perthshire, affording him the opportunity to take the reputation of The RiverView to new heights.

An impeccable mix of a vivid history, brought to life; fabulous hospitality; food, stunning in its creativity and local source and a wonderful, conservation village location, contrive to keep The Atholl Arms firmly on the MUST DO map, hopefully, for many years to come.