IN support of the ‘Year of Natural Scotland’, Connoisseurs Scotland, Little’s and member properties have worked together to assemble a variety of touring itineraries that allow visitors to discover Scotland’s outstanding natural beauty by day and enjoy the country’s most luxurious accommodations by night.
These itineraries highlight Scotland’s historic landscapes, surprising wildlife, and fine food and drink, plus they provide optional experiences aimed at creating unbeatable vacation memories.
‘Culture, Country & Coast’ is a six-night programme hosted by Hotel du Vin at One Devonshire Gardens in Glasgow, Knockinaam Lodge, a seaside retreat on the southwest tip of the country, and Turnberry Resort, a sophisticated resort known for its world-class golf, spa and outdoor pursuits.
Costs for the trip start at £2,815 ($4,284 US)* per couple with a rental car (a Mercedes E-Class or Jaguar XF) or £4,196 ($6,386 US)* for a fully chauffer-escorted tour.
Additional information can be found at www.luxuryscotland.info; booking this or any of the other tours offered by Connoisseurs Scotland can be completed via e-mail to Little’s using email@example.com.
Little’s will then steer guests through the booking process, whether for a self-drive or chauffeur-driven trip, and confirm all the relevant elements of the itinerary by e-mail.
The adventure begins with arrival in Glasgow and a two-night stay at the Hotel du Vin at One Devonshire Gardens, a luxury boutique hotel set in the city’s fashionable west end. Occupying five townhomes built in 1886, the hotel retains all the original features – from oak-paneled walls and open fireplaces to sweeping staircases and stained-glass windows. This stunning hotel is the perfect starting point for exploration of Glasgow’s artistic side, including the Gallery of Modern Art, the Hunterian Museum, the city’s 12th-century cathedral, the Glasgow Botanic Gardens, and the architecture of native son Charles Rennie Mackintosh. A private tour of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, which is one of Europe’s great civic art collections, is a highlight of this trip; another is a special whisky tasting at the hotel, followed by dinner in its Bistro.
The next stop is Knockinaam Lodge, an inviting country home where Sir Winston Churchill and Dwight D. Eisenhower met during World War II. The 95-mile drive from Glasgow to Scotland’s coast can be completed in a rental car or via a chauffeur-escorted trip coordinated by Little’s Chauffeur Drive.
At the halfway point is Culzean Castle and Country Park, a castle that dates to the 1400s and features walled gardens, forest walks and dramatic views of the Ayrshire coast. A walk at the castle will whet the appetite for more opportunities to get close to nature at Knockinaam, where guests can meander in the hills and forests, stroll along the beach or explore the 30 acres of landscaped grounds.
An optional** experience at this locale is a hosted nature walk with a National Trust Ranger, who takes guests around the Mull of Galloway, Scotland’s southernmost point, and then hosts a seasonal wildlife encounter – looking for bats in the spring and summer, or watching ospreys or the arrival of migrating barnacle geese and whooper swans in the autumn. At the end of the day, all that outdoors time is balanced out with a candlelit dinner in the resort’s Michelin-starred restaurant – followed by some peaceful star-gazing in the clear country sky.
The final stop is at the five-star Turnberry, A Luxury Collection Resort, a playground for outdoors lovers and golfers alike.
After the 43-mile drive from Knockinaam, guests can choose between two optional** experiences. The first is a boat trip around Ailsa Craig, a volcanic plug located nine miles offshore and accessible only by boat; it’s home to approximately 73,000 breeding seabirds – including gannets, guillemots, razorbills, peregrines and puffins. The second is a Chef’s Table in Turnberry’s main kitchen, where guests get to see the resort’s award-winning chef use local ingredients to create his culinary masterpieces.
On the visit’s second day, guests can choose among the resort’s many activities, from off-road driving to archery. There’s even an opportunity to take a golf lesson at this legendary facility or to play a round on its famous Ailsa Course, which has been host to four Open Championships. For those seeking a less active pursuit, the Spa at Turnberry provides a restful sanctuary of treatment rooms, hydrotherapy suites, saunas and a fitness studio.
Though it’s just 56 miles back to Glasgow at trip’s end, guests will feel as though they’ve been light years away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Connoisseurs Scotland’s collection of 30 luxury accommodations also includes three more golf resorts, city-centre properties, country house hotels, exclusive-use properties, Scotland’s only destination health spa (Stobo Castle), the ultimate luxury train (The Royal Scotsman), and the only cruise ship in the world with a Royal Warrant from HM The Queen, The Hebridean Princess.
Seven of the members boast Michelin-starred restaurants, including the only two-starred restaurant in Scotland, which is found at Gleneagles. Information on Connoisseurs Scotland, its member resorts, partners and special offers can be found at www.luxuryscotland.co.uk. In addition, travellers can download the new Luxury Scotland app, which provides news and offers from members, onto their iPhones or Androids.
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