The setting at Airds is breathtaking – with views across Loch Linnhe to the mountains of Morven beyond- but aficionados make the journey to this 18th-century former coaching inn in the heart of the Scottish highlands for the food alone.
With a menu drawing on the best the area has to offer – from fish and shellfish caught local waters to Hebridean cheeses and vegetables grown in Oban – it brings together some of the region’s finest produce.
A spot of natural beauty on the West Coast of Scotland in Argyll, Airds is the perfect base for trips to Oban, the Isle of Mull and Glencoe.
The service at Airds is extra special. Whether it’s greeting weary travellers with a welcoming glass of fizz or organising a trip on the ferry to the nearby island of Lismore, nothing is too much trouble.
Two sisters we met in the restaurant have visited every year for 30 years. It’s easy to see why. They’ve thought of everything too – there’s a selection of wellies in every size and waterproofs to borrow by the front door, and even bicycles for residents to take out for a ride.
Most of the 11 bedrooms have views over the loch, and all are smartly styled for the perfect night’s sleep, with crisp Frette linen, heavy bathrobes, comfortable slippers and Bulgari toiletries, along with a welcome decanter of whisky Mac.
If you’d like more independence there’s a handful of converted cottages in the grounds.
Breakfast is a real treat, with huge baskets of breads, cakes, freshly made croissants and jam worth the journey for on its own. There’s the full Scottish breakfast too of course, or fluffy pancakes, served warm from the pan.
They offer so many reasons to visit, the hardest part is leaving. But there’s always next year, and the one after that too.
The Airds Hotel and Restaurant, Port Appin, Argyll, PA38 4DF, Scotland, www.airds-hotel.com