Cromlix House Hotel, Perthshire

There is something about country houses which primes your relaxation mode. Perhaps the typically vast, open spaces, the sheer beauty of the building or the historical grandeur; whatever it is, stresses vanish, replaced by calm and all is good in the world of a country house retreat.

Cromlix is no different.

Visiting, off the back of over a year of virtual seclusion, Must Visit Scotland’s emergence from UK lockdown, could not have been planned for anywhere better; easing back into the swing of review visits amongst acres of woodland and welcomed to a glorious era of grand country house living.

Carefully curated pieces to the fore, staying at Cromlix is more in line with visiting friends in the country; warm, welcoming, unique, relaxed and with historical artefacts adorning each room; just the right level of personalisation. This is not mass -produced hotel, this is personal and an invite to the history it represents and the location in which is sits.

An arrival tour of the hotel demonstrated the required guidance with regards Covid-19 but this was inobtrusive, as was the signage, placed discretely around the public rooms, in pretty frames, in-keeping with the hotel’s décor.

The Bowes-Lyon Suite beckoned from the top corner of the hotel, where history lives in a collection of three rooms; one of only ten rooms and five suites within the hotel, all named after great Scots, past and present; a nice nod to the owner, Scottish tennis ace, Andy Murray.

Even at full capacity, Cromlix affords itself the opportunity to care for house guests in a personal manner; comfortingly intimate; each area of service from reception to concierge, housekeeping to restaurant and garden; the Cromlix team are superbly adept at exceptionally inobtrusive, warm and highly efficient service levels.

Working within the restraints of the pandemic guidance, the hotel has flexed and pivoted to retain the qualities and efficiencies it is so recognised for, whilst reassuringly negotiating changing rules and regulations.

The suite immediately felt like home; the expansiveness; comfortable; the necessities; luxurious and indulgent. A private sitting room, ready for guests, contained all the trappings of a Victorian parlor, with views to the gardens and a very cleverly disguised TV with the appearance of a gilt-edged mirror. Big tick in my book as TVs have a habit of appearing as an out of place blot on an otherwise perfect, period landscape.

History and country are balanced with avant-garde additions; visually period, yet contemporary, bathroom fittings; luxury and comfort at the fore.

A four-poster in the bedroom, amidst additional grand Victorian pieces; a fascinating armoire which likely holds a few secrets, a lady’s dressing table and ample, yet in-keeping storage; all primed for the sheer luxury of lengthy stays at Cromlix.

How easy it is, to assume a role of a bygone age when surrounded by such pieces and looking out to the gardens and grounds of large oaks beyond, you may well be forgiven for forgetting you are not in 19th century Scotland.

An exploration of the grounds unsurprisingly revealed immaculate tennis courts, a giant chess set, lawn croquet and a putting green; a taste of the wider country pursuits the Perthshire countryside and the Cromlix Estate lends itself to. Many visitors venture here for the fishing, golf, off-road driving and archery, synonymous with the Cromlix name.

The chapel was a surprising find, with beautiful stained glass windows; picture-perfect, romantic and in practical terms, ideal for a destination wedding.

Cromlix chickens provide free-range eggs and an expansive and impressive kitchen garden hints at the fresh produce which awaits in the Chez Roux restaurant, originally served by the late legendary French chef Albert Roux OBE. and now overseen by his son Michel Roux Jr. and run by award-winning executive head chef Darin Campbell.

And at dinner, this was a joy to watch; the chef and his team display their culinary skills within the glass walls of the Cromlix conservatory which houses relaxed and informal dining and an impressive, small but flexible crafted evening menu; changing to suit the day’s fresh, seasonal produce.

The culinary experience at Cromlix is not limited to one location however, with additional dining options dotted around the hotel, not only to satisfy the requirements of hotel guests but additionally catering for events, private and destination dining and afternoon teas.

As events return to normal, Cromlix has some key dates for culinary calendars; not least of all the cookery demonstration and lunch, hosted by Michel Roux Jnr., more details of which can be found here: http://cromlix.com/occasions/events

It would be remiss of me not to make special mention of the chef’s breakfast; I am enthusiastically assured that the full Scottish was amongst the best experienced; with the locally sourced sausages being a highlight. However, I tasted possibly the best Eggs Benedict…ever! This would be my personal recommendation and worth a visit, if only to experience the perfected dish, just once.

Cromlix truly lives up to expectations, on all levels and indeed, excels in terms of beauty, location, service, experience and in short, definitely one for the bucket list.

http://cromlix.com/