Very occasionally you find yourself staying somewhere that is simply so good that when the time comes to leave, you do so with a genuine sense of regret. Ballathie House is one of those places. From the moment you arrive, every aspect of your stay comes together to give an authentic county house experience in the surroundings of a real country house. The magnificent building and the superb setting combine with excellent service from an impressive team and the result is a visit to remember, for all the right reasons. Plus outstanding food: you can read our dining review for Ballathie House Hotel here.
Ballathie House stands in its own extensive estate on the west bank of the River Tay some eight miles north east of Perth. It can be distantly glimpsed on the far bank of the river from the main Perth to Blairgowrie road and is accessed via minor roads running north east from Stanley, or across the Tay and south west from the Meikleour Beech Hedge.
Ballathie House was built as a country residence in the 1880s and is a fine example of the Scots Baronial Style, with a roofline composed of a series of turrets and gables. Between the wars Ballathie was at the heart of a renowned sporting estate, and in 1972 it was sympathetically converted to become a hotel. Today the main house is home to the hotel's public rooms and to 25 of the guest rooms. A further 16 guest rooms are located in the modern Riverside annexe which stands a hundred yards to the north east and also overlooks the River Tay. The two are linked by a lit path running through the gardens. Guest rooms in the main house are all highly appointed and all simply ooze character. The Riverside rooms are more contemporary in style, and all offer either a balcony or a patio with views over the River Tay. Ballathie House also has a Sporting Lodge offering 12 rooms of 3 Star lodge accommodation.
The public rooms at Ballathie House are all beautifully appointed and wonderfully welcoming. Fires burn in elegant fireplaces throughout the house and there are plenty of little corners in which to curl up, read the newspaper or catch a quiet moment over a cup of coffee. The twin aspect drawing room is elegant, yet cosy, and overlooks the gardens and the river below. This can be linked by double doors to the two parts of the impressive dining room, allowing the whole run of rooms to be opened up on occasion. The bar has a more intimate feel, decorated as it is with wood panelling and an abundance of leather. Here another of Ballathie's impressive fireplaces provides a welcome draw on colder days.
The morning room at Ballathie House can seat up to 18 for meetings or private dining, while the conference room in the Riverside annexe can seat up to 50 in theatre layout. Ballathie's setting and character make it a highly desirable venue for weddings, though these are only accommodated on an exclusive use basis. For larger weddings, a marquee can be erected on the lawn to the south west of the hotel.
Ballathie's sporting heritage remains very much a part of the everyday life of the hotel today. The hotel pays particular attention to the needs of its sporting guests and expert advice is on hand to help you organise your fishing and shooting activities in the area. The depth of the tradition comes through in the attention to detail. A separate entrance is provided for those returning after a day in the field or on the river. The hotel has its own gun room, rod room and drying room, and fish can be frozen so guests can take their catch home with them.
Disabled access to the ground floor of the hotel is good, with full access via ramps to the main entrance, and a disabled toilet. Disabled parking is available immediately outside the main entrance. One suite is available on the ground floor of the main house which has been specially adapted for use by disabled guests.
Ballathie House has long been one of our favourite Scottish hotels and it was heartening to see that it has regained its sense of purpose and direction under General Manager Jody Marshall. This is a hotel that deserves to be really good, and ought to be really good, so it is with great satisfaction that we can report that it is once more achieving its potential. And the food is the best it has ever been: you can read our dining review for Ballathie House Hotel here.