A holiday should feel like an escape from everyday life but checking into a room with the same flatpack furniture you have at home can get in the way of daydreaming. Here is a selection of Scotland’s most stylish places to stay, from bijou cabins to boutique hotels, where architects, interior designers and hospitality experts have created unique interiors you may even want to copy.


Recently completed Ben Damph Lodge on the shores of Loch Torridon was built to replace a log cabin-style house that burned down. The Gray family tasked Curve Architecture to create a house that played tribute to the cabin, used environmentally friendly construction methods, and would allow guests to feel absorbed in the wild and wonderful west coast landscape.

The National:

The resulting house is partly set into the hillside, with each window intentionally offering a different view. It is clad in native larch from the estate and local stone and slate was used in the construction, alongside Nordic eco steel. Heating is provided by solar panels and a ground source heat pump.

Ben Damph is the perfect escape with a group of friends. It sleeps 10 with a double height living area for parties and a large wooden hot tub with incredible views.

FOYERS LODGE, Foyers, Inverness 

High above Loch Ness on the quiet eastern shore road stands handsome Foyers Lodge, once a crumbling Victorian wreck, now lovingly restored and reimagined to create a sumptuous boutique hideaway hotel.

The National:

Each of the eight bedrooms has been individually designed, with deep, jewel-toned walls, dark floral wallpaper, velvet headboards, and luxurious bedding. Around the hotel antique portraits and taxidermy line the walls in a nod to tradition, but the hotel feels fresh and modern.

The National:

Welcoming owners Anna and Phil have provided stacks of maps and guidebooks for planning excursions, and books and board games in the sitting room and upstairs nook for rest and relaxation. It’s an adult-only space, partly for the steep drop to the loch, but mostly I suspect for the peace and quiet.

GLEN DYE CABINS AND COTTAGES, Bridge of Dye, Aberdeenshire 

Glen Dye, the self-styled Home of the Brave, was certainly a brave project when Charlie and Caroline Gladstone took on the family estate with a baby in tow. The Aberdeenshire estate was deep in debt, there was no electricity in the crumbling main house and the other houses dotted over the 15,000 acres were mostly derelict. Against the odds, over the past 30 years a very special camp-style place to stay has been created. Holiday cottages range from spacious renovated farmhouses to a 1950s Airstream trailer, all hidden deep in the woods at Glen Dye.

The National:

Staying at Glen Dye is an invitation to connect with the natural environment: you can climb Clachnaben, cool off with a swim in the River Dye, or explore the woods.

The design at Glen Dye is a family affair, summarised by Charlie Gladstone as: “Caroline does the colours – I buy the crap.” By that he means the fun, eclectic ephemera that decorates all the cabins and cottages, including antique portraits, furniture and children’s toys, modern art, homemade pennants and anything else that catches his eye.

The National:

Our pick is North Lodge, which comes with a private river cabin. Once the caretaker’s house, it was given a Glen Dye makeover in 2018. The house sleeps six and the large living room has velvet couches, eclectic art and a wood burning stove, ideal for a social stay with friends. Along the river is the private cabin, set up for outdoor cooking on a Big Green Egg barbecue, swimming or relaxing in the wood-fired hot tub. Adding to the summer camp feel, make sure to visit The Glen Dye Arms, ‘a BYOB pub’ to meet other guests around the fire.

Glen Dye hosts visiting chef residencies, outdoor events, and this year, a boutique music festival – Taigh.

THE DIPPING LUGGER, Ullapool, Wester Ross 

Standing proudly on the waterfront in Ullapool harbour is The Dipping Lugger, named after a type of traditional sailboat. The former manse house was built in 1789, partially rebuilt by Thomas Telford in 1829 and has long been part of the fabric of the village. Today it’s a five-star restaurant with rooms, listed in the Michelin guide. Guests can stay in the three gorgeous bedrooms, designed by Eve Cullen-Cornesall, and named to reflect the building’s history.

The National:

Each room has been finished to an extremely high standard, with antique furniture, plush wallpaper, and expansive views over Loch Broom. A seven-course dinner menu of the finest local produce, overseen by head chef David Smith, is included in the overnight rate, and available to non-residents too.

THE LENGTHS, Achaphubuil, Fort William 

The Lengths is a recording studio, artists’ retreat, and a very special place to stay. The timber-clad building is unrecognisable from its previous life as Achaphubuil primary school.

The National:

The building was designed by Vic Hallam, using his prefabricated Derwent System, a classic 1950s low-roofed modular construction. When musician Lomond Campbell and designer Susie Brown bought it, the school was long closed with rotting woodwork and classrooms still full of dusty chairs and blackboards, but the pair saw the potential.

Susie says: “When we renovated the school, we were trying to be true to its original form but elevate the design and allow the building to sit more comfortably in the surrounding landscape. The interior is influenced by Japanese design, modernism and the surrounding habitat.

The National:

“The studio is filled with work from Scottish artists, musicians and makers, some of which has been made while in residence here.”

The creative couple offer artists a chance to stay at The Lengths to develop their artistic practice, donating a piece of art in return to inspire future residency artists – as well as guests who book to stay here. Musicians, including Kathryn Joseph and King Creosote, have stayed here to record their albums. The open plan studio apartment is the school’s old kitchen, and the self-catering facilities use some of the original school kitchen features, modernised with poured concrete worktops.

The bed is a king size cleverly tucked into a cosy nook, and the bathroom is inspired by Japanese design, with a deep bath and rain shower. There’s a wood burning stove for chilly evenings.

The Lengths overlooks the narrows between Loch Eil and Loch Linnhe, across the loch from Fort William, and is truly an inspiring spot to spend a few days creating.

THE DUNDONALD, Culross, Dunfermline 

Visiting the former Royal Burgh of Culross is like stepping back in time or into the Outlander film set. Cobbled streets wind around white harled stone cottages, with mustard coloured Culross Palace the main attraction.

The National:

In the heart of the village, you’ll find The Dundonald – a beautifully restored Nineteenth-Century coach house, now transformed into a gorgeous guest house. It’s owned by interior designer Laura Wilson and family, and her impeccable taste and attention to detail make staying here a treat.

Even on a rainy day at The Dundonald, light fills the high-ceilinged rooms, illuminating the intricate corbels and cornicing of this grand old house. Rush flooring softens echoes giving a serene feeling throughout the building.

The art and statement furniture are a harmonious mix of contemporary and vintage pieces.

Comfort and beauty have been prioritised in everything you touch – from the bed linen to the breakfast crockery.

In the main house there are two king size suites with sweeping views across the Firth of Forth. The bedrooms are designed for rest and relaxation with binoculars by the comfy armchairs, books to dip into, and a minibar packed with interesting locally made drinks including beers and ciders from across Fife.

The National:

Next door is a cottage that sleeps up to six. In the elegant ground floor sitting room the scene is set with books, candles, fresh flowers, and curated playlists. There is wifi but avoid the outside world if you can and settle into a slower pace of life. On a warm day sit out at the firepit in the courtyard.

When day-trippers have long gone, head to the local pub The Red Lion to eat, or coorie in with a heavily laden grazing board and a bottle of something delicious from the fridge.

After a peaceful night enjoy a hearty homemade breakfast of artisanal pastries, homemade granola, seasonal produce, and excellent coffee, perhaps before exploring a section of the Fife Coastal Path.

HILL HOUSE, 57 Nord, Ardelve, Ross-Shire 

The National:

The inspiration for Hill House was historic highland shielings, summer retreats found high in the hills. Unlike traditional shielings, this house of larch and glass has been designed to catch as much of the light and scenery as possible. From the windows, or even from the bath, enjoy 180-degree panoramic views of Eilean Donan Castle, Loch Duich and Loch Alsh, and the Kintail mountains.

The National:

Inside the interiors reflect the colours of the landscape and natural materials are used throughout with an aim to blur the lines between the interior and exterior.

A sliding door separates the sleeping and living areas to enhance the flow of the space.

Scandinavian designer lighting and contemporary Scottish textiles are combined with the intention of honouring Norse-Gael heritage in western Scotland.

THE DELL OF ABERNETHY, Nethy Bridge, Inverness-shire 

The Dell of Abernethy is a home from home in the Cairngorms National Park and an ideal base for exploring the area. The Cairngorm mountains, the beaches on the Moray coast and many Speyside distilleries are all within easy reach.

The National:

Around the lush woodland site you’ll find a series of self-catering cottages that sleep from two to nine people, all ideal for rest, play and family time. Each traditional cottage is well equipped with squashy sofas, wood burning stoves and everything you need for a relaxing break.

Skip the shops and fill the fridge with fresh produce from The Dell grocer, including vegetables from the garden, homemade ‘ready meals’, sourdough bread and a delicious selection of tasty local produce.

Polly Cameron’s grandparents bought The Dell in the 1960s and her family have been welcoming guests to this rural haven ever since. Polly and husband Ross look after guests today, and they co-produce the local Insider Festival too.

“In terms of our design ethos,” Polly says, “we are constantly drawing from the landscape around us and trying to recycle as much as possible. We love vintage furniture and have recently engaged with a brilliant traditional upholsterer to breathe new life into our classic collection.

The National:

“We celebrate local artists and have recently filled the Lodge with pieces of art that can be taken home when you leave.

“We make the spaces super-relaxed with the intention of accelerating our guests into holiday mode and making them feel as chilled as possible. Great books, record collections, delicious meals made on site in the fridge, yoga in the tipi, guided meditation walks in the forest, folk sessions.”

Make sure to seek out the zipline, sunken trampoline and slackline in the woods, too: the perfect way to unwind and play.

KABN COMPANY, Ardkinglas Estate, Cairndo

Go off-grid on the shores of Loch Fyne, with a stay in a Kabn Company eco cabin on the lush Ardkinglas Estate. With floor to ceiling windows for the very best views, luxury bedding, solar panel powered rainfall showers and designer furniture – this is no ordinary camping experience.

The National:

The interiors are minimalist, inspired by Japan and Scandinavia. Privacy and peace is guaranteed: there are only two cabins, set far apart, and access is by a private track.

The loch is just steps from your door so warm up by the woodburning stove after a bracing dip, or just drink your coffee with a beautiful view.

The National:

Your stay is carbon-offset and designed to have as little impact on the environment as possible. The biggest impact may be on you!

PORTEOUS’ STUDIO, Grassmarket, Edinburgh 

The calm interior of Porteous’ Studio couldn’t contrast more with the sometimes brash and noisy Grassmarket just beyond the door.

The National:

Designed by architecture and design studio Izat Arundell, this small space was once a blacksmith’s workshop and more recently a garage. It must have taken a leap of faith to believe what this space could become.

The minimal studio is divided into quarters for eating, bathing, living, and sleeping, with a bed that can be hidden by a slatted screen. The natural materials chosen for the design create a calm, zen-like interior that is beautifully warm and tactile, including natural clay plaster walls, velvet limestone tiles with underfloor heating, and bespoke wooden furniture carved from a single East Lothian oak tree.

AINSTER HOUSE, Anstruther 

There is no shortage of self-catering properties in the East Neuk of Fife, but Ainster House in idyllic Anstruther stands out. Here Ross McNally of interior design studio Scarinish has taken a different approach to a seaside home. Instead of whitewash and fishing boats, the house reflects the changing colours of the landscape. Dark stormy grey walls and pale sea neutrals are offset by bleached oak, polished plaster and limestone tiles.

The National:

This three-storey former coach house sleeps eight, with plenty of social space. Bedrooms are calm and minimal for a deep sleep with only the sound of the sea.

Outside a generous outdoor deck is the perfect spot for sitting out with your coffee beside the Dreel River.

THE TAYBANK, Dunkeld, Perthshire 

No list of stylish places to stay could neglect to mention The Taybank in pretty Dunkeld. Scandinavia meets Scotland in the design, with earthy colours, sheepskin rugs, polished wood and dried wildflowers. The bedrooms are a treat: we love the deep round bath with its distant forest view and the armchairs prepped with blankets and books to while away a few hours.

The National:

Local produce is the star of head chef Gemma Dallyn’s menus, alongside vegetables from the hotel’s kitchen garden. In the warmer months enjoy pizza from the riverside kitchen, in winter book the sauna instead.

Breakfast is delivered in a hamper, packed with treats including Aran Bakery croissants, Great Glen venison charcuterie and Isle of Mull cheese, to enjoy wherever you choose. Late check out is standard – the dream.

The National: