A few weeks ago we headed north, up to Scotland for a dreamy little escape. The location in question? The Grandtully Hotel, part of the Ballintaggart Estate. Nestled in the beautiful Tay Valley just south of the Cairngorms National Park, The Grandtully Hotel is surrounded by waterfalls, river and the best of Scotland’s natural larder. This is a place to escape and indulge. A luxury restaurant with rooms. A place so good that you almost want to keep it a secret so the word doesn’t get out.
Grandtully is only a small village, the sort of place that you most likely wouldn’t ever stumble across in passing. However, definitely a place that needs to be on your radar. The scenery and landscape are truly picturesque. You can’t help but want to take a walk along the River Tay which runs through the centre of the village. Wander as far along the river as the legendary Birnam Oak, one of the UK’s oldest trees. In the village you’ll find the shop of Iain Burnett, an award winning chocolatier who’s clients include Michelin starred chefs Albert Roux and Gordon Ramsay. However the main reason that Grandtully needs to be on your travel wish list is The Grandtully Hotel, a newly transformed rural gem of a place!
Opened in 2018, The Grandtully Hotel is owned by a family team; Andrew, Chris and Rachel Rowley. Their love and passion saw them first open Ballintaggart Farm in 2016, which quickly became a sought after destination for food lovers in Highland Perthshire. With the success of Ballintaggart Farm came the opening of The Grandtully Hotel, which judging from our stay, I think it’s safe to say that this will follow suit. With eight stylish, cosy rooms, this former Victorian hotel has been completely renovated and is set to be an epic foodie haven.
From the moment you arrive at The Grandtully Hotel, you feel wholeheartedly welcomed by the most warm and friendly team. Take a moment to settle into your room and pour yourself a glass of Bruadar Liqueur over ice – you’ll find a bottle alongside a bucket of ice to welcome you to your room. If you aren’t yet familiar with Bruadar, it’s an award winning Single Malt Scotch Whisky Liqueur made by blending Single Malt Scotch Whisky with Scottish honey and sloe berries. This liqueur is so good that it was awarded the title of being the world’s best whisky liqueur at the 2022 world whisky awards.
You’ll find whisky to be a theme at The Grandtully. Downstairs you’ll find ‘Press for Whisky’ bells in the bar and library, a fun and quirky element inspired by Bob Bob Ricard’s ‘Press for Champagne’ bells in London restaurant Soho. Before dinner treat yourself to some delicious cocktails in the vibrant bar. I highly recommend a Bruadar twist on the Charlie Chaplin and the Negroni. Head bartender Jared will knock these up in a flash for you and it’s fascinating to watch them being made. Afterwards take a seat in either the elegant restaurant or at one of the cosy tables in the bar area, where you will be treated to a spectacular menu starring the very best local ingredients such as Isle of Skye langoustines, Loch Fyne oysters, Shetland mussels, Hebridean salmon and Perthshire Lamb. A menu that was clearly a hit with the locals here too.
For pre dinner nibbles we had ham hock croquettes, courgette flower, crispy Shetland mussels with a parsley aioli and Ballintaggart sourdough with whipped butter. For starters we opted for Murthly Estate venison tartare with Perthshire raspberry, tarragon and barley and Isle of Skye langoustines in garlic butter. Followed by Perthshire lamp rump with runner beans, kale and smoked yoghurt and half an Isle of Skye lobster with a Thai butter for our mains plus a side of the confit garlic potato terrine (heaven on a plate) and some broccoli with hazelnuts and dill. Making room in our second stomach, we managed to squeeze in a tarragon sorbet, a gorse parfait with Wester rum, salt baked pineapple and lemon verbena curd and the pièce de résistance – a cake drunk on Bruadar. A faultless meal which left us longing to spend another night here purely to be able to indulge in more of this heavenly food. You know it’s good when it gets a mention in the Michelin guide.
End your evening with a nightcap by the fire pit on the terrace, where you can watch the sun dip below the woodland skyline before retiring to the comfiest of beds. All of the bedrooms have Egyptian cotton sheets, feather and down duvets and luxurious rolltop baths to sink into after an indulgent day.
At breakfast, you’ll find a menu brimming with more local, seasonal produce. From Great Glen venison salami and Clava brie, to Perthshire wild mushrooms on Ballintaggart sourdough with a poached egg to Sunshine Granola with Katy Rodger’s natural yoghurt and Scottish berries. Don’t worry if you can’t make your mind up on just one, you can get a selection of them all. What better way to start the day??
The focus here is very much on good food and drink, served in a wonderfully warm, relaxed environment and The Grandtully ticks all the boxes. If you’d like to book yourself a stay at one of the Highlands’ most sought-after restaurant-with-rooms, The Ballintaggart Farm, or their sister business The Grandtully Hotel, click here. For those who travel with pets, there is also the dog friendly East End Cottage which is just a minute down the road from The Ballintaggart Farm. In the meantime, make sure to sample some Bruadar Whisky liqueur! It’s so versatile that is makes for the perfect drink over ice, it makes exceptional cocktails and a fantastic element to add to your cooking. I’ll share a recipe with you soon! You can pick up a bottle here.
Tip: The Ballintaggart Estate have two fabulous Winter packages for three or five night stays this Christmas and
Address: Ballintaggart Farm, Grandtully, Perthshire, PH9 0PX