Rocpool Reserve is an excellent city centre boutique hotel located within a short walk of the heart of the City of Inverness, yet with a position above the east bank of the River Ness which offers outstanding views from some rooms across the city to the hills beyond. This "best of both worlds" setting extends to offering a destination cocktail bar which gives a real city buzz and Scotland's first Chez Roux restaurant, offering great dining produced with considerable flair and accompanied by excellent service. You can read our dining review for Rocpool Reserve here.
Rocpool Reserve is housed in a rather unusual building which can be found by following the road uphill to the south for a few hundred yards from Inverness Castle. If approaching from the city centre the car park is on the right just before the hotel, and this gives you your first view of the hotel. The building at first appears to be single storey and small in dimensions, but this is deceptive, and as you enter it begins to open out in a very Tardis-like way, both in ground coverage and in number of storeys. As you enter, you are also immediately struck by the very high standard of design. This is a hotel which has deliberately sets out to be chic and boutique, but without every going over the top. Our final first impression was of the warmth of the reception, typical of the very high standard of service on offer.
The building housing Rocpool Reserve appears to have started life as a guest house, before being extended to become a boutique hotel in more recent times. It was then taken over by Inverlochy Castle Management International (ICMI), who applied to it their expertise in running a collection of very diverse hotels. It was they who teamed up with renowned chef Albert Roux to introduce Scotland's first Chez Roux restaurant here, a concept which works well wherever it has subsequently been introduced, but which particularly suits a chic city hotel like Rocpool Reserve.
The layout of the hotel revolves around a central corridor that runs back from the main entrance, and a second corridor which forms a "T" with the first. To your left on entry is the nicely stylish guest lounge, which comes complete with a wall-mounted TV showing either an aquarium or an open fire. To your right on entry is the dining room, which occupies a number of interlinking areas along the side of the hotel offering the best views out across the River Ness and the city, plus a terrace for al fresco dining when the weather is right. At the far end of the hotel and to the left is "R Bar", a cocktail bar offering a very pleasant split level layout and comfortable seating which doubles as a less formal dining area.
There are eleven en suite guest rooms at Rocpool Reserve. All come with the sort of fixtures, fittings and extras you would normally associate with a really high class hotel, and all come with super king size beds. The hotel's website (see link, above right) has 360° views of all the rooms, so intending guests can see exactly what they are booking. Rooms come in four grades, and for the most part the different grades change with room size rather than equipment levels. Reflecting the hotel's boutique origins, and it sense of humour, the rooms are graded as "hip", "chic", "decadent" and "extra decadent". There are two "extra decadent" rooms. One offers a private balcony with superb views and a hot tub; while the other offers a private terrace with both a hot tub and sauna.
Disabled parking is provided in the car park, and from there a ramp provides access to the terrace. This in turn gives access to the dining room and the rest of the hotel's main floor, and there are disabled facilities. One guest room is suitable for guests with a mobility impairment, though none are fully adapted for wheelchair users.
The fact that Rocpool Reserve is owned by ICMI led us to approach our stay at the hotel with high expectations, and we were not disappointed. Much of what previously made the hotel interesting and quirky has been retained: and this is now coupled with outstanding service from a young and obviously highly motivated team, plus the Chez Roux dining. You can read our dining review for Rocpool Reserve here.