Great Places to Stay
- Corner House Hotel, Montrose, Angus
Montrose, with its proud 200 feet high steeple and gable-end buildings, is an eye-catching, self-satisfied seaside town, the most northerly in Angus. One time domain of wealthy landowners, sea captains and merchants, this is winter home to the wild pink-foot geese which arrive in their thousands every year from the Arctic. Their plaintive cry as they make their way in skeins over the rooftops across the night sky is one of the town's characteristic sounds.
With its wide stretches of links and dunes, golf courses, lush parkland and classic buildings, Montrose has always been home to more than a few unforgettable characters including the Graham family. There is a monument in the High Street to the brilliant soldier James Graham, the first Marquis of Montrose, who achieved a series of victories in his campaign in Scotland on behalf of King Charles I.
Then there was Lola Montez, an outrageous whip-cracking, cigar-smoking, hot-headed courtesan who won the heart of the German King Ludwig and even caused a revolution in Bavaria. No statue to her on the High Street, though.
Sadly, Lively Lola's not around any more, but there is still plenty of wildlife in Montrose, but that's on the Montrose Basin, the largest inland salt water basin in the UK and home to thousands of birds.
Corner House Hotel
A recommended place to stay is the cosily informal, family run Corner House Hotel dating from1760, located in a prime position on the exceptionally wide High Street. This relaxing, small hotel, with oodles of character, is unpretentious, comfortable and attracts a mixed bag of guests from singles, young and older couples to families. If you want a down-to-earth, welcoming place to stay without the frills, then this is it.
There are 14 en-suite bedrooms in total, each one compact, clean and modern, all with 8-channel television and tea making facilities.
Food is served all day, both in the period-style Windsor Lounge on the ground floor as well as in the formal dining room upstairs. Windsor Lounge meals are well cooked and comforting, prices are reasonable, portions are generous. The high tea menu is particularly robust, including such taste-bud tempters as fresh haddock or scampi with all the trimmings, plus home made scones and preserves, toast, washed down with large pots of tea, all for a mere £7.50 (a price charged by many restaurants just for the fish).
The upstairs dining menu is rather more adventurous. A good choice of starters is available including Japanese Torpedo prawns and deep fried brie with redcurrant jelly, both at £4.25; while you have to be prepared to slacken your stays if you opt for the main course of fillet steak, cooked to your liking, sliced and dressed on a bed of haggis with grilled tomatoes, onion rings, mushrooms and an ace whisky cream sauce - double dare you to top that by finishing with a helping of sticky toffee pudding (£3.25). And why not round off your meal with a speciality coffee? Go for 'Parisienne' if you feel like a good slug of French brandy in your coffee; 'Highland', after all, the 'wee dram' gives you a true taste of home; or 'Calypso', chic and cheeky with coffee liqueur. I feel sure Lola would have given the thumbs up for any of these!
How to Find the Corner House Hotel
It's easy! Just look for the Steeple on the High Street, one of Scotland's tallest - the hotel nestles below it (see the photo at the top of this page). For more information see the Corner House Hotel or e-mail Bookings at the hotel. Prices (in 2006): single room £30 B&B, double £50 B&B.
Gilly Pickup, British Guild of Travel Writers
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