Inver Lodge Hotel – the best of Highland hospitality

When I picture my perfect escape, I always conjure up a remote corner of Scotland with beautiful beaches, rugged mountains and blissful isolation. A place where worries drift away, leaving the ‘real world’ far behind. Recently, I found that perfect escape when we spent the weekend at Inver Lodge Hotel in Lochinver.

Day one – Lochinver here we come

After a five hour drive north (spotting golden eagles, red kites and stags en route), we entered a world of calm.

Soaring eagles, majestic stags and mountains

Before check-in at the Inver Lodge Hotel we decided to fill our lungs with clean Highland air.

Stopping at the Stac Pollaidh car park for a potter, we spotted a pair of Golden Eagles soaring high overhead (our second pair of the day). Mr G wandered off to snap photos, while I watched the birds, gliding and swooping until they vanished out of sight.

Soon my attention turned to a patch of warm light sweeping across the slopes of Cùl Beag. The amber hue contrasted beautifully with the mountain’s snow-dusted summit. At that moment in time, there’s nowhere in the world I’d rather have been.

Cùl Beag

Leaving Stac Pollaidh, we continued north towards Lochinver. It doesn’t matter how many times I visit this part of Scotland, the landscape always leaves me awestruck.

Passing Inchnadamph, we saw hundreds of red deer. I’ve never seen so many of them in one place before. Every few seconds we were shouting “over there… and there, and there”.

Red deer stags Inchnadamph

It was raining heavily when we reached Lochinver, so it was time to coorie in our Highland home.

Winding our way uphill to reach the hotel, we were met by a welcoming committee of stags.

Inver Lodge Hotel, Lochinver

Inver Lodge Hotel, Lochinver

In 2019, the family-owned Inver Lodge Hotel parted with its management company and went back to its traditional Scottish roots. Think a warm Highland welcome, relaxing ambiance, roaring log fire and delicious, locally sourced food served in an informal setting. Sounds like heaven doesn’t it?

Janet, the hotel’s General Manager greeted us at check-in with the aforementioned warm Highland welcome. After a good blether, it was time to settle in our room.

Our superior sea view room

The Inver Lodge Hotel has twenty one guest bedrooms, located over two floors. All rooms boast views across Loch Inver. Our room, ‘crochan’ was a superior sea view room on the ground floor.

It was spacious with a large bed, sofa, armchair, coffee table, dressing table, desk and TV unit. The furnishings were traditional, but the decor light, which gave the room a nice airy feel. Tweed curtains added a chic Scottish touch.

Inver Lodge Hotel, Lochinver Inver Lodge Hotel, Lochinver

A large wardrobe, provided loads of storage space – peeping inside I found fluffy robes and slippers waiting for us. I could feel a loaf coming on.

The en suite had a bath and shower cubicle. The complimentary toiletries were by Arran Aromatics – one of my favourites. I’d definitely be indulging in a sumptuous soak or two during our stay.

After unpacking, Mr G nipped to the bar to get us an alcoholic beverage each. Robes and slippers on, we settled on the sofa to chill. Even with it raining cats and dogs outside, we could see the view was stunning.

Inver Lodge Hotel, Lochinver

Oh, to witness a sunset from our comfy vantage point.

And then as if by magic, the rain stopped and the sun appeared, just in time to set.

Simple pleasures.

Inver Lodge Hotel, Lochinver

Dinner at Inver Lodge Hotel, Lochinver

At 7:30pm with glad rags on, we headed to the hotel restaurant for dinner. The Inver Lodge Hotel recently appointed Stuart Blake as their new Head Chef. Glasgow-born Blake, trained under Gordon Ramsay and Marco Pierre White. With such an illustrious background, it’s safe we were looking forward to dinner.

We were seated by the restaurant window, which gave us a view of the lights of Lochinver twinkling below. We ordered drinks and perused the menu. The menu was simple and unpretentious, with plenty of quality Scottish ingredients represented.

For starter Mr G chose home smoked trout, with horseradish potato salad and melba toast. I couldn’t resist twice baked cheese soufflé, topped with Mull cheddar sauce and fresh chives.

Inver Lodge Hotel, Lochinver Inver Lodge Hotel, Lochinver

Mr G loved his starter and went into raptures about the melba toast, deeming it the best thing he had ever tasted. Intrigued, I tried a piece – it was phenomenal and had a lovely olive flavour.

My souffle was heavenly. It was light and full of flavour.

For main, fish lover Mr G had oven roast fillet of hake, clam and muscle chowder and sautéed potatoes. I stuck with the veggie option and had winter vegetable tagliatelle with tomato concasse sauce.

Another two superb courses were devoured.

Inver Lodge Hotel, Lochinver Inver Lodge Hotel, Lochinver

For dessert Mr G went old school with a sticky toffee pudding, while I chose some palate cleansing sorbet – passion fruit and strawberry. One word – amazing.

After dinner we grabbed a Scottish G&T (The Thomson Brothers, Experimental Batch No 9 Highland Gin) from the bar and a cosy seat by the fire.

It was the perfect end to a perfect day.

Inver Lodge Hotel, Lochinver

Breakfast at Inver Lodge Hotel, Lochinver

We woke the next morning, refreshed after a great night’s sleep and looking forward to breakfast, followed by a day spent exploring the local area.

Breakfast was even better than expected.

Between us we feasted on croissants and muffins fresh from the oven, Scottish cheeses, homemade jams, eggs royale (Mr G) and a mini Scottish breakfast (me).

It was a dreich day outside, but eating breakfast with a view of Loch Inver was a real treat, regardless of the weather.

Inver lodge Hotel, Lochinver Inver Lodge Hotel, Lochinver

Day two – Lochinver and beyond

Dressed head to toe in waterproof jackets, trousers, bobble hats and hiking boots, we were ready to explore.

Achmelvich Bay

A short drive from the hotel, our first stop of the day was at one of our favourite beaches in Scotland. We have many, but Achmelvich is that wee bit special. The colours are sublime, come rain or shine.

Achmelvich Bay

We arrived to find Achmelvich was ours and ours alone – bar the ever present seabirds and sheep. Oh, joy.

After running around on the sand, we found a vantage point and watched the sea, calmed by the hypnotic sound of the waves – nature’s Prozac.

Achmelvich Bay Achmelvich Bay

On days when it’s not pouring down and blowing a hoolie, the beach is a lovely place for a dip in the sea, or a wee ramble to see if you can find the Hermit’s Castle hidden nearby.

Achmelvich BayHermit’s Castle, Achmelvich

Clachtoll Beach and broch

Leaving Achmelvich Bay we headed north, stopping briefly at Clachtoll Beach.

More exposed than Achmelvich, Clachtoll was a tad wilder, weather wise. We pose for pretend blowing away photos by the beach, before retreating back to the car.

On a nicer day, we’d have walked along the coast to visit Clachtoll Broch.

It’s an exposed walk, boggy in parts. With the memory of an extremely wet July 2019 visit still fresh in our minds (our shoes and socks have only just dried out), we decided this was not the day for a return visit.

The 2,000-year-old tower would once have stood around 14 metres high. Incredible, when you consider it was dry built, with no mortar to hold it together. Today, the lower level of the outer wall. entrance way, a guard cell, staircase and quern stone still survive.

Clachtoll Broch Clachtoll Broch

Stoer Lighthouse

Further round the coast, we braved a wind and rain lashing to visit Stoer Lighthouse. I love lighthouses, especially when they’re withstanding a battering from wild weather.

Stoer Lighthouse stands on an exposed rocky point known as Stoer Head. Like many of Scotland’s lighthouses it was built by the Stevenson family. It stands 14 metres high (the height of an ancient broch). It’s short by lighthouse standards, but its clifftop perch gives it a much higher elevation.

In high season, a snack van in the car park makes Stoer Head a nice spot to pause for coffee with a view.

A coastal walk also starts at the car park and leads to a sea stack called the Old Man of Stoer. During the summer months, dolphins and whales are often spotted off the coast.

Stoer LighthouseStoer Head

Elevenses at The Jammery

Drookit – it was time to shelter indoors for a while. Fortunately, we were close to a favourite coffee and cake stop of ours.

Scottish travel blog

The Jammery at Culkein is a fab wee shop that sells homemade jams, chutneys, cooking sauces and local arts and crafts. They also serve delicious homemade cakes and a decent cup of coffee.

Dogs aren’t allowed inside the shop, but are welcome in The Barn, which is shabby chic and super cute.

The Jammery, CulkeinThe Jammery, Culkein

Warm, dry and with stomachs full of cake, we left The Jammery with a jar of marmalade and a new table lamp with a Harris Gin bottle base.

A scenic drive and wildlife spotting

Keen to stay dry, we left Culkein and took a scenic drive to the iconic Kylesku bridge, stopping to watch wildlife along the way. We spotted lots more red deer and birds of prey too.

After reaching Kylesku, we turned and headed back towards Lochinver, detouring slightly to see the dramatic ruins of Ardvreck Castle on the shore of Loch Assynt.

Ardvreck Castle

Pies and pottery in Lochinver

Back in Lochinver it was time for a late lunch.

And when in Lochinver a pie is obligatory, because the best pies EVER are sold at Lochinver Larder.

You can eat in, but having the boy with us we had takeaway. Their legendary pies come in many flavours. We both chose steak and ale, with mash, onion gravy and peas.

Perfect pastry, tender steak and fluffy mash – they were fan-bloomin’-tastic.

I let the boy try a little steak. Who could resist those eyes?

Lochinver Larder PieLochinver Larder Pie

Lunch eaten, we wandered up to Highland Stoneware on the edge of the village. The pottery was closed as it only opens on week days out of season, but we were still able to enjoy the quirky artworks dotted around outside.

Highland Stoneware Lochinver Highland Stoneware Lochinver

And we’ll really shake them up when we win the World Cup, cause’ Scotland are the greatest football team 🎶

We’d had a brilliant day out, despite the yucky weather.

Unwinding at Inver Lodge Hotel, Lochinver

Back at the hotel, Mr G wanted to pay the billiard room a visit to wow me with his snooker skills. My knowledge of snooker is zilch, so his showmanship was wasted on me.

Inver Lodge Hotel

Once he’d tired of hitting wee balls with a stick, it was time to don our hotel robes and slippers to spend a lazy night, relaxing in our room with a view.

Mr G settled in front of the TV to watch some Six Nations rugby, while I soaked in a bubble bath with a book.

I do love a hotel room with a bath tub.

Now that’s what I call room service

When hunger set in we ordered room service.

Wowzer – best room service ever. A whole table, complete with a white table cloth and food (soup and sandwiches) covered by silver cloches arrived.

Not only was the presentation streets ahead of any room service I’ve had before, but the food was fantastic too.

I can highly recommend formal dining wearing robes and slippers.

Inver Lodge Hotel, Lochinver Inver Lodge Hotel, Lochinver

Day three – farewell to Inver Lodge Hotel

Day three in Lochinver dawned and it was time for us to head home, but not before tucking into another fantastic breakfast with a view.

This time we had porridge topped with honey – scrumptious.

Inver Lodge Hotel, Lochinver

After breakfast we said our goodbyes to Janet and her wonderful team and left promising to return (and we will, as I’ve booked a stay for the end of July).

Outside, it was dry and bright so we went for a wander round the hotel grounds, then up to the top of the hill it sits on.

What a place. Fantastic food, the warmest of Highland welcomes, a peaceful, cosy haven where you can completely switch off AND it’s surrounded by this …

Inver Lodge Hotel, Lochinver Lochinver Lochinver

Easaidh All-Abilities path, Little Assynt

We had a long drive home ahead of us, but were in no rush to leave this stunning corner of Scotland. Keen to ramble, we decided to stretch our legs on the Leitir Easaidh All-Abilities path, not far from the hotel.

The wheelchair accessible path meanders past two small lochs (loch Leitir Easaidh and Loch na h-Innse Fraoich) and is surrounded by breathtaking scenery. There are a couple of eco loos en route, plus picnic tables and shelters.

Leitir Easaidh All-Abilities path, Little AssyntLeitir Easaidh All-Abilities path, Little Assynt

It’s a beautiful spot for a walk, especially if you enjoy spotting native flora and fauna. We saw frogs, heron, swans, ducks and some red deer tracks but no deer. Heather was abundant, which must make the trail spectacular when it’s in bloom.

To get our heart rates up, we detoured off the path and along a rougher, hill track. It led to a spot with a fantastic view of Loch na h-Innse Fraoich and the formidable looking mountain Quinag.

Leitir Easaidh All-Abilities path, Little Assynt

It was a fitting place to end another fantastic Scottish road trip.

Leitir Easaidh All-Abilities path, Little AssyntLeitir Easaidh All-Abilities path, Little Assynt

We stayed at the Inver Lodge Hotel on a complimentary dinner, bed and breakfast basis, however all opinions are my own.

Until next time…..

19 thoughts on “Inver Lodge Hotel – the best of Highland hospitality

  1. Breathtaking trip, one I’d like to explore on my next trip over. Love the pic of laughing, happy Dug on the beach. He always makes me smile!

  2. Great post, excellent photographs. I wonder when we will all be free to travel again. It is a lovely part of the country but then, what parts aren’t. Glen Coe and Loch Earn are my two favourite parts of the country.

    1. Thank you, glad you enjoyed it. If we all play our part hopefully we’ll be allowed to move around again before too long.

  3. Oh no! – Samantha what could you possibly have against Scotch Broth??? – after all everyone’s granny had their own recipe – ye cannae dunt yer grannies broth! cos she’s yer mammie’s mammy! 🙂

    p.s I think I want to add “Millionare’s Shortbread” to the list! 😉

  4. Dreaming of Scotland as always. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that my trip home likely won’t be happening this year. I’ll just keep reminiscing through your posts.

    1. I hope you can get back once this all blows over. Stay safe. I’ve got a good few trips I haven’t found the time to write up yet, so plenty new posts to come. 😊

  5. I was only thinking this morning – what we need to cheer us up is another post from “The Wee White Dug” – I was even thinking of revisiting some of your past blogs, Sam – and then, as if by telepathic intervention, my wish was ‘Granted’ ! – excuse the pun!!! I thought your comment about Mr G hitting a ball with a stick was particularly amusing! Many thanks for sharing your lovely experiences in a part of Scotland that I haven’t yet visited – though would very much like to in the future! Thank you too for sharing your photos, your thoughts, your sense of humour and, of course, the Wee White Dug! Your blog always makes me smile!

    1. Aww what a lovely comment. Thank you so much. I’m so happy you enjoyed the boy. I’ll be writing about some 2019 trips I never found the time to write up and a couple from earlier this year too, so lots more new material to come. Stay safe. X

  6. This is truly a trip down memory lane. Have camped as a teen at Clachtoll. We climbed Quinag using using our extremities to ascend and a fifth part of our anatomy to descend. Went to all locations you mentioned. This is a rugged and remote area of Scotland. Sam, how cold was the water?! I believe the stick used for billiards is a cue. Thanks for sending this through, I was hoping to get to Scotland this summer but it seems that it will not be possible with the current situation.

    1. It’s an amazing area – one of our favourites. I love the cold so the water didn’t bother me. That was July though. I know it’s a cue, I was being silly. I’ve seen Stephen Hendry play live (he’s Mr G’s hero).😜 Maybe an autumn or winter trip would be best this year.

    1. And you must – Scotland will need tourists more then ever once this pandemic passes. 😊🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

      1. Well said Samantha! – BTW that water looks COLD! and that pie looks yummy!

        I think you should undertake a national search for the best:
        – bacon (or sliced sausage) roll
        – scotch pie
        – bridie
        – haggis (or fish) supper!
        – scotch broth!

        Regards

        – Larry

      2. It was refreshing. 😀 Once I’m free to travel again I’m up for the challenge minus Scotch Broth. 🤮

Leave a Reply