Raemoir House Hotel stands in 11 acres of lawns and parkland surrounded by 3,500 acres of hills and forest just two miles north of Banchory and 15 west of Aberdeen. You catch your first glimpse of the hotel as you climb the third of a mile long drive from the A980, and the sense that you are approaching somewhere rather special is only reinforced as you get to know it better. Some hotels simply exceed expectations at every turn, and Raemoir House is one of those. It is graded as a 3 Star Country House Hotel by the AA and by VisitScotland, but looks, feels and delivers to its customers in a way that is much more like a top end four star hotel. You can read our dining review for Raemoir House Hotel here: in summary it amply justifies its award of 2 AA Rosettes.
Raemoir House looks Georgian, but its origins go back considerably further. Virtually hidden a few yards behind the main hotel is the Ha' Hoose. This was the original laird's residence on the estate and may date back to 1690. The name comes from the style of the building, a "hall house", and it is unusual to find one that is externally so complete.
When the owners came to upgrade the accommodation on the estate in 1817 they left the existing house alone, and built on a new site a few yards in front of it. This house comprised the central portion of what you see today, plus the west wing. The east wing, which nicely balances the building, arrived in 1844, and the third floor with its mansard roof followed a few years later. Raemoir House became a hotel, serving military officers, in 1943, and was at one point referred to as "The Claridges of the North". It was taken over by current owners Neil & Julie Rae in 2010, and they have since embarked on a programme to return the hotel to its former glory.
You enter the hotel through a lobby into the broad corridor that runs the length of the building. One end of this houses a reception desk, and in many ways the corridor sets the scene perfectly. Seats and sideboards add a homely feel, while a series of pictures line the walls. If you move towards the front of the hotel from the reception desk, you find yourself in the old ballroom, now the hotel's restaurant. This is a beautifully proportioned room with curved ends (and doors). The central portion of the hotel's frontage is occupied by the Big Fish Bar, named for its largest resident, a 96lb fish that occupies a case on the wall above the whisky cabinet.
The far end of the corridor forms a comfortable seating area and is dominated by a large fireplace. The front of this east wing of the hotel is occupied by the Drawing Room, a magnificent space whose walls and ceiling are entirely lined with dark wood and which offers groups of comfortable seating, many enjoying fine views. The hotel also has two further rooms, The Georgian Room and the Private Sitting Room, which are popular for functions and events. And talking of events, there is also a marquee at the east end of the hotel, which can accommodate up to 150 people.
There are twenty en suite guest rooms at Raemoir House Hotel. Each room is individually styled, though all are in keeping with the style of the hotel. They come with a range of outlooks and most offer a bath as well as a shower. Fourteen of the rooms are in the main house, while six are in the Ha' Hoose. The one things that all have in common is the sense of tranquility that pervades Raemoir House. The nearest road is a third of a mile down the hill to the south, while to the north the land just rises to the summit of the Hill of Fare. This is the sort of place where the birds can begin to sound loud. Unless, of course, someone is making use of the helipad on the front lawn to arrive or depart, though even then the disturbance is only transient.
Accessibility is limited by the age and design of the buildings, though a designated parking space is available by the front door and a ramp provides access to the ground floor. The only ground floor guest rooms are in the Ha' Hoose, however. This is something the owners are seeking to address.
We were looking forward to our visit to Raemoir House Hotel, and as is clear from this review we were not disappointed. This is one of those places you only leave reluctantly, and look forward to revisiting. You can read our dining review for Raemoir House Hotel here.