Great Places to Stay
- Lodge on Loch Lomond
Travel writer Vivien Devlin and her partner had the opportunity to stay at the Lodge at Luss, on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, enjoying the facilities on offer there. Here are Vivien's views on the hotel which was built in the style of a Scandinavian hunting lodge.
The majestic Loch Lomond, straddling the lowlands and highlands and just a 30 minute journey from Glasgow, has been attracting visitors, artists, poets, walkers, golfing, fishing and boating enthusiasts for generations. It's the perfect destination for a get-away-from-it -all holiday or short break. Loch Lomond Shores visitor centre at Balloch on the southern tip of the loch and the adjoining Trossachs National Park celebrate and preserve the local heritage and environment offering a host of activities for all ages.
The Lodge on Loch Lomond has a pretty special website - simply www.loch-lomond.co.uk. And it makes perfect sense. The Lodge with its own curving sandy bay is at the heart of Loch Lomond with nothing to spoil the view of the mountains and breathtaking landscape all around. The hotel was opened in 1992 by the Colquhoun family (you can't miss the Colquhoun family crest above the gates to the former estates at the side of the Loch Lomond road). Having found the perfect secluded location beside the village of Luss they were extremely careful to ensure that the architecture would be environmentally friendly and took their idea from a typical Scandinavian hunting lodge. The result is a charming two storey building with chalet-style rooms constructed from pine. Ten years on by 2002, this popular destination needed to develop and offer more facilities for increasing numbers of guests. The Munro Lodge, launched in summer 2004, is the result - a superb, stylish lochside property featuring luxury modern bedrooms with balconies, a Spa, swimming pool and hospitality suites. The Munro Lodge was nominated for the best hotel Design in the Scottish Hotels of the Year awards 2005.
Grahams, Corbetts, Munros - and Cuillins
The Lodge on Loch Lomond caters for all kinds of guests - couples, families, leisure, wedding party, business guests and those with special needs - with a choice of traditional and contemporary styled bedrooms. All room types are named after the different heights of Scottish mountains. In the original hotel are the Grahams, standard size double or twin rooms, with a traditional country cottage ambience located in the attic level above the restaurant, with loch views. In the adjoining wing are the more spacious executive Corbetts on shore or upper level all with fabulous private balconies built of Douglas Fir wood. The Scandinavian theme is carried through into every aspect of the interior design with wood panelled walls and ceiling, country pine furniture and even an ensuite sauna. It`s a brilliant concept - such a healthy and therapeutic way to relax the muscles and soothe the mind after an energetic day out and about around Loch Lomond.
The Corbett rooms have king-size beds and are neatly designed with great emphasis on giving as much space as possible with a sofa bed - ideal for families - and open plan bathroom with bath, overhead shower, two basins and sauna. A few observations - the sliding glass partition makes it awkward to get in/out of the high sided bath, poor standard toiletries, insufficient and dim lighting for an interior bathroom with dark wood walls, and despite a sauna and balcony no bathrobes are supplied. Elsewhere, all mod-cons, multi-channel TV, movies on demand, email/internet access. So with all this in your room, who cares about the weather!.
For a special occasion or more space, reserve the Carter Suite with large separate sitting room, double balcony, two TVs, and larger sauna. Why Carter? This was President Carter`s favourite room when he visited for golf championships. Presidents Clinton and Bush Sr. have also stayed at the Lodge on Loch Lomond.
The brand new Munro Lodge features 14 ultra-contemporary bedrooms yet still incorporating the Scandinavian style with beechwood furnishings, all with mini-bars, floor to ceiling windows and private balconies. The open plan design is most attractive, with neat bathroom, wardrobe and dressing area. Lying in bed you can actually look out on to the loch. The latest gadget technology offers LCD flat screen televisions, with movies, and touch sensitive shower water control system. Specially commissioned Scottish tweed bed-throws and fabrics create individual room colour schemes in orange, blue, purple, red and green. Relax in beautiful leather armchairs or sofa and look out at that view.
A family or two couples - or even one couple - might like to check into one of the two 2-bedroom Cuillin Suites with separate living room, two leather sofas, coal effect fire and extra large balcony. The suites also have a huge flat screen TV and superior Linn DVD/CD players (but curiously no CDs or DVDs to borrow so remember to bring your own). Unfortunately the two (small) bedrooms face the back with traffic noise from the main road. They also slam shut and lock behind you when you go next door into the living room so remember to wedge it open or take your room key with you. The ensuite bathroom may have a touch button water system but are poorly designed for practicality. Plastic shower gel containers are placed too high on the wall to reach from the bath (no soap is provided). It's all very minimalist with no shelf for your toiletries. The mini bar, supposed to be for four people, is poorly stocked with just one tiny 18cl bottle each of white and red wine. Even with two of us staying in the suite, we both wanted white wine which was not possible. Room service is a better option - a bottle of wine (75cl) was promptly delivered in a bucket of ice.
The new Lodge also offers a bedroom on the ground floor with parking space directly outside for wheelchair users. However the bathroom is not adapted, has a standard bath with no roll-in shower.
The Amber Spa
The beauty of the Munro Lodge rooms is that guests may change into swimsuits (bathrobes supplied) and simply go downstairs to the Spa. The 16 metre pool is a proper lap pool not a typical kidney shaped leisure pool for kids to splash about in!. Upstairs relax in the jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and laconium. Health and beauty treatments for men and women are available in a couple of small treatment rooms beside the pool. Facilities are rather cramped here with no waiting or relaxation area before and after your session.
At the Lodge, guests are invited to leave their troubles and stress behind. Loch Lomond itself is all about natural fresh air and relaxation while Heavenly on Loch Lomond @ Amber Spa is all about pampering yourself from head to toe. Choose from a range of facials, holistic aromatherapy massage, Hot Stone therapy, reflexology, body wraps and anti cellulite treatments. In addition, manicures, waxing and make up sessions, ideal for the bride to be and wedding party.
Sports and Leisure
For the kids and sporty guests there`s a range of activities on offer nearby which the hotel can arrange - 4x4 landrover driving, rifle shooting, archery, pony trekking, cycling, mountain biking, hill walking and golf. Water sports include sailing, wind surfing, jet skiing and fishing for salmon and trout.
And another attraction is the magnificent Loch Lomond Shores a few miles away at Balloch. This is a state-of-the-art visitor centre, to celebrate the local heritage and environment, with film shows, exhibits, shops, restaurants, and direct access to the Trossachs National Park with ranger trails through the woods.
Dining at Lodge on Loch Lomond
Colquhoun's Bar and Restaurant is a most attractive split level long room stretching the length of the Lodge, with huge picture windows offering a superb view from every table. Head chef David Friel specialises in contemporary Scottish cuisine using quality local produce with seasonal changes. The innovative and very appetising dinner menu may include Loch Fyne smoked salmon with quails egg, Lobster ravioli with creamed leeks, chervil and tomato, or Haggis fritter, champ potatoes and turnip fondant. To follow you might select between wild venison with red cabbage and black pudding, char-grilled Gressingham duck, shitake mushrooms, fondant potato, with malibu and lime sauce or Brochette of Scallops, Monkfish and Prawns with cous cous salad, mussel and saffron nage. Vegetarian dishes too such as Mediterranean Vegetable Ravioli Parmesan Potato Cake, with Basil Butter Sauce. To finish perhaps Raspberry and Almond tart with poached pear, Rhubarb sorbet and crème brulee, or platter of Farmhouse cheese from Arran. You'll certainly eat well at Colquhouns.
Breakfast is served until 10am with a self service buffet, featuring cereals, tinned and fresh fruit, fruit juices, pastries and croissants. The hot plates offer the typical fry up of bacon, sausages, mushrooms, tomatoes, baked beans and scrambled egg. Other breakfast dishes such as omelettes, smoked haddock, fried or poached eggs can be made to order. Continental breakfast only may be served in your room but you must book this by 11pm the night before.
A lounge bar is located on a mezzanine level just above the restaurant, with comfy leather chairs and sofas. Perfect place for a leisurely coffee and snack during the day, evening drinks and a nightcap.
Weddings and Conferences
The Munro Lodge houses a magnificent hospitality suite with flexible sized function suites. Already weddings are proving exceptionally popular. New marriage licensing laws in Scotland mean couples may have a civil wedding anywhere, including on the beach at Luss followed by a reception on the top floor of the Lodge overlooking the loch. For business guests - meetings, away days, seminars and conferences can be arranged for 2 to 150 people. Facilities include plasma screens, 8 PC points and internet access.
I can see why guests return time and again to the Lodge on Loch Lomond. The new Munro Lodge with its pool and spa is stunning and the contemporary, colourful Munro bedrooms with private balconies are brilliantly designed. Across the road in the hotel, the Scandinavian-style Corbett rooms with a balcony directly above the beach offer space and comfort. Relaxing and romantic with good food and fabulous loch views - it's a perfect place to stay while touring the West Highlands.
On 20 January 2005, Neil & Kelly from England wrote ...
This is more than a hotel, it's an experience. We got engaged in the restaurant and the setting and the staff were truly exceptional, we had the perfect time and will definitely be returning to the lodge in the near future!
On 11 March 2005, Alastair &Margaret Johnston from Glasgow wrote ...
Have just spent a couple of nights at the Lodge, this being our 3rd visit. Everything was superb as usual. The staff were so friendly and really helpful, food is marvellous, these are some of the reasons we view the Lodge as our special place. Roll on visit No4.
For more information or to make a reservation see the Lodge on Loch Lomond Web site.
Lodge on Loch Lomond is an easy 45 minute drive from Glasgow or under two hours from Edinburgh. Alternatively, travel by Scotrail from Glasgow to Balloch, which is just 15 minutes away.
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