Duchally Country Estate stands on the lower slopes of the Ochil Hills some two miles south of the attractive town of Auchterarder and enjoys wide views north across Strathearn to the mountains beyond. It is reached along a minor road that turns off the A823 Dunfermline road close to the mouth of Glen Eagles which, with Glen Devon, has historically formed one of the main routes through the Ochils. Although the setting has a wonderfully remote "get away from it all" feel, it is only a mile's drive from the A9, giving easy access to Perth and to Stirling. You can read our dining review for Duchally Country Estate here.
Duchally Country Estate is set in 27 acres of parkland. Its focal point is a hotel which provides many of the estate's visitor services, and four star hotel accommodation. In the surrounding landscape are 55 lodges providing luxury self catering accommodation. There are two features of the preceding sentence which though correct can be a little misleading. The first is the reference to "lodges". This can give the wrong impression. The "lodges" at Duchally are actually two and three bedroom houses offering the sort of design, space, and quality of finish that would be hard to find on a modern housing development. Each can accommodate up to six or eight guests and most bedrooms have full en-suite facilities. Great care has obviously been taken to fit the lodges into the estate in a way that produces a pleasing environment and the result is a sense of tranquility that is perfect for anyone wanting to escape the stresses of the real world.
It is also slightly misleading to talk of "self catering". As you would expect with luxury accommodation, the lodges come with an exceptionally high level of fixtures and fittings, and this extends to the well equipped kitchen and to staples such as milk, eggs, bread, butter and jam awaiting you on arrival. But while you certainly can cater for yourself at Duchally (and some guests take advantage of the delivery services of local supermarkets) the quality of the dining available at the hotel, on an eat in or take away basis, probably leads to the kitchens in the lodges being less used than would otherwise be the case. Before leaving the lodges it is worth commenting on the outstanding quality of the housekeeping.
You will begin your stay at Duchally by checking in at reception in the main hotel. This is located in the large central lobby, home to a fine staircase and, on cold days, a welcoming fire. To the rear of the ground floor of the hotel is the 40 seat Monteith Restaurant, offering the ambience of a swish but comfortable bistro. The hotel's lounge bar is found along a short corridor and offers wood panelling, a real fire, and a comfortable and friendly atmosphere. This is home to events such as Duchally's whisky tasting evenings, which can be highly recommended. The hotel also offers 6 four star en-suite guest rooms, with beds in either king-size or twin configuration and offering garden or mountain views.
Duchally Country Estate is also home to a Leisure Centre which offers a heated swimming pool with adjacent children's pool, a Jacuzzi, steam-room and sauna as well as a fully-equipped and air-conditioned gym. Beauty treatments can be made available in guests' own lodges. The Leisure Centre also has a snack bar which serves throughout the day. The surrounding estate offers a variety of walks, while beyond it are all the attractions of Perthshire, including outstanding opportunities for walking, golf and fishing.
Disabled access to the ground floor of the hotel is via a ramp at the front entrance, and much of the ground floor is level. One of the lodges is designed with wheelchair users in mind and is fully accessible.
We approached our visit to Duchally Country Estate without really knowing what to expect from the unusual combination of hotel and high quality self catering accommodation. What we found was an oasis in which the various elements seem to work very well together. The quality of the lodge accommodation is outstanding, and the hotel provides an ideal point of focus. What really adds to the experience is the the exceptionally high quality of service from friendly and professional staff who are obviously proud to work here, and keen to ensure that every aspect of the guest experience is as good as it can possibly be. You can read our dining review for Duchally Country Estate here.