Cringletie House Hotel is a very special place. An impressive "Scots Baronial" mansion built by the noted architect David Bryce in 1861, it succeeds in feeling like an intimate home-away-from-home. And despite its award of the title of the AA's Scottish Hotel of the Year 2013/14, it has a comfortable informality that helps you leave the cares of the outside world behind as you approach. With a wonderful location, lovely people and the sort of fabulous food you'd expect from a restaurant that has been awarded 3 AA Rosettes, this is a hotel you leave with more than a twinge of regret: and a desire to visit again. You can read our dining review for Cringletie House Hotel here.
Cringletie House stands on rising ground on the west side of the valley of the Eddleston Water a little over two miles north of the edge of Peebles, and some 15 miles south of the Edinburgh bypass. This makes it extremely easy to get to, yet as you climb the drive from the A703 you could be forgiven for thinking you have been transported to somewhere truly remote. The main road in the valley below is screened by trees, so the views from the hotel and its 28 acres of gardens and grounds are dominated by the surrounding peaks of the Southern Uplands. The grounds include a stream and a waterfall, a walled garden with a 400 year old yew hedge, and a dovecot used to host romantic dinners for two.
At some point you'll want to stop admiring the building from the outside and find out what lies within. You'll not be disappointed. The quietly sliding glass front door leads through to a grand hallway which, on cold days, is home to a lovely wood fire. The reception area is just off to one side. The public areas are mainly on the first floor and are reached via an imposing staircase or by using the lift. The largest of the first floor rooms is the magnificent Sutherland Restaurant, complete with its superbly painted ceilings, which takes up much of the rear of the house. Occupying part of the south end of the first floor is the cosy bar, while on the east side is the guest lounge.
The hotel also has a ground floor Garden Room and a conservatory, but these tend to come into play primarily for functions. This is as good a place as any to mention that Cringletie House Hotel offers a range of options for weddings and other gatherings. Up to 96 can be seated for a meal in the Sutherland Restaurant, while the hotel can accommodate around 30 on an exclusive use basis. If you want to hold your special occasion somewhere that is at the same time both grand and intimate, as well as being comfortable and welcoming, then Cringletie is most certainly worth a serious look.
As we are talking about the public rooms being on the first floor, this is also a good moment to address an issue which all too often tends to be overlooked, glossed over, or simply deemed too difficult. Disabled access at Cringletie is outstanding, and the hotel should serve as an example of what can be achieved within the constraints of an old listed building if there is sufficient commitment to make it happen. All public areas are accessible; there is a lift between floors; front door access is straightforward; and there are accessible bedrooms with all the facilities an unassisted wheelchair user might need. The accessibility statement on the hotel's website gives additional information, including, for example, details of help for guests with impaired hearing should there be a fire alarm in the night.
Guest accommodation is in 13 en suite rooms and suites, and in the Spa Cottage in the grounds, which offers two double or twin rooms. All the rooms and suites come highly equipped as standard, including free WiFi, iPod docking station, bathrobes, slippers and so on. As you would expect in an old building, the rooms come in a range of individual shapes and sizes. Classic rooms include doubles, twins and superkings; while the Luxury rooms add a seating area into the mix. The junior suites include one with a four-poster, and a king size half tester with a split level superbly equipped bathroom; while the Selkirk Suite offers a lounge, a separate bedroom and a large bathroom with a double ended Jacuzzi whirlpool.
Cringletie House Hotel is in many ways a paradox. It occupies a grand mansion, yet feels intimate and cosy; and it is very conveniently located, yet feels remote and secluded. Perhaps the best way to explore these paradoxes is by coming and staying, and experiencing them for yourself. You can read our dining review for Cringletie House here.