Culloden House Hotel stands in extensive parkland grounds in Culloden, less than four miles to the east of the centre of Inverness. This fine Georgian mansion is the setting for a truly exceptional country house hotel. You can read our dining review for Culloden House Hotel here.
Culloden House was built for the Forbes family between 1772 and 1778 and comprises a three storey central block connected by screened walls to flanking two storey wings. A short distance to the north is the garden mansion, close to the estate's walled garden. The main buildings are heavily covered by ivy and the overall impression as you approach is superb.
The structure of the house you see today incorporates a tower house, a typically Scottish form of castle, which has stood here since at least the 1500s. Culloden House is perhaps best known for its association with the Battle of Culloden. This took place on 16 April 1746 two miles to the south east and saw the defeat of the last Jacobite uprising. For several days before the battle Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Jacobite commanders used Culloden Castle – as it then was – as their headquarters.
There are four main public rooms. The impressive dining room, complete with its plaster reliefs and Adam-inspired columns, is to the left rear of the main block. To the right rear is the drawing room. This is a real triumph, with magnificent plaster relief decoration and a remarkably ornate ceiling. The Adams Lounge is a smaller room in which you find the excellent bar and a library. The fourth room, the morning room, is another superbly decorated room used for private dining or functions.
There are 28 en suite guest bedrooms at Culloden House. Thirteen are in the main block. Three more are in the west wing, and seven are in the east wing, while four junior suites and a double are located in the garden mansion, a short distance to the north of the main building. Rooms range in size from classic singles up through superior singles, classic doubles, twins, or triples to superior doubles or twins in the garden mansion or main house, and suites. The most opulent rooms have chandeliers, fireplaces and wooden shutters on the windows. At the time of our visit, half of the bathrooms had been refurbished and the rest, though by no means outdated or shabby, were due to be completed in the near future. At the same time it was planned to reduce the overall number of rooms from 28 to 27. The rooms are all furnished and equipped to a very high standard, and exceptionally comfortable mattresses are used throughout.
Culloden House is increasingly popular as a wedding venue, though always on an exclusive use basis: you will never arrive expecting a quiet weekend break to find you are actually sharing the hotel with a wedding reception and a late night ceilidh. The hotel has a sauna, a croquet lawn and a tennis court, plus two golf practice nets.
Disabled access to any part of the hotel is poor. This is no fault of the hotel's, who have plans in place to allow disabled access to the public areas and some guest rooms. We are told that these have been blocked by those responsible for maintaining the integrity of listed historical buildings such as Culloden House.
We expected a great deal from our visit to Culloden House, and found it to be every bit as good as expected, and in many respects better. The building itself, the public rooms and guest accommodation, the food, the service: is all exactly right. This seems in no small part due to a US-based owner who stays here for a month each year and is keen to invest in making it the best: combined with an established management who share the same objectives and a team of staff, many of whom have been at Culloden House for a considerable time and who all seem keen to ensure guests have an all round experience that is as good as it can possibly be. You can read our dining review for Culloden House Hotel here.