The superb Blackaddie Country House Hotel stands on the east bank of the River Nith on the western edge of the town of Sanquhar, in northern Dumfries and Galloway. Within an easy walk of the town, its location feels much more secluded, helped by views from a number of the public and guest rooms upstream along the river. Sanquhar itself is the nicest of the settlements in Nithsdale and stands some 27 miles north of Dumfries and 32 miles east of Ayr.
This underappreciated part of Scotland has a remoteness that surprises many visitors, and few would guess that Scotland's highest village, Wanlockhead, is only some six miles away as the crow flies, high in the Lowther Hills to the east. The Blackaddie Country House Hotel is becoming increasingly widely known for the exceptionally high standard of its dining, and you can read our dining review for it here.
The hotel was originally built as a rectory, and parts date back to 1540. Over the centuries it has been sympathetically extended on a number of occasions, but the hotel you find today retains the domestic scale that adds so much to its charm and character. The scale also does much to make the building feel so comfortable, from the moment you walk in the door, a feeling ably reinforced by the welcome you receive from an excellent team headed by the hotel's owners Ian and Jane McAndrew.
You enter the hotel through a porch into the main hallway, from which a staircase leads up to most of the guest rooms. To your right is the largest of the public rooms, the restaurant. This beautifully proportioned room has windows on two sides and is where you will enjoy the outstanding dining. But most guests will instead turn left, into the lounge and bar, home on cold days to a welcoming fire. Beyond the lounge is the library, which is full of comfy sofas and books. There is more comfy seating in the conservatory, offering views over part of the garden and along the river, while the final public room is a second dining room, used for breakfast or for functions. Beyond the hotel itself are two acres of beautifully kept gardens, which on a fine day can be enjoyed to the full.
There are six en suite guest bedrooms on the first floor of the main hotel, looking out in various directions, and each is named after a Scottish game bird. Ongoing refurbishment and a reduction in the number of rooms in the hotel from 9 to 6 have produced some lovely rooms, offering in some cases a choice between superking sized beds and twins. The substantially-built superking four-poster in "Grouse" would not look out of place in the Palace at Stirling Castle, except that it is far larger than beds of that era. Attached to the hotel is the River Suite, offering a lounge and separate bedroom, and a small kitchen, allowing it also to be let on a self catering basis if required (as are two further Riverside Cottages): though once you have tasted the hotel's food you are unlikely to be doing much cooking of your own.
The intimate scale of the Blackaddie Country House Hotel means it lends itself to a wide variety of events and functions. Being able to accommodate between 9 and a maximum of 22 guests allows considerable flexibility for exclusive use, with the added draw of the magnificent food. Blackaddie is also able to conduct religious or civil weddings, either in the hotel itself or in the gardens: with a marquee available for larger gatherings than can be accommodated in the hotel itself. The hotel is also ideally located for themed breaks, whether focused on fishing, photography or cooking: and the house lends itself perfectly to its Murder Mystery Nights. An added attraction is the option to arrange your own (or someone else's) Masterchef experience and join Ian as a "Chef For a Day".
Being an old building designed on a domestic scale, disabled access is limited, though has proved possible. The River Suite has ramp access, adapted bathroom and its own parking. Access to the hotel itself involves two steps.
Blackaddie Country House Hotel is somewhere you would unhesitatingly recommend to friends and relatives looking for comfortable atmosphere and accommodation, with a sense of seclusion; for a friendly welcome from an excellent team; and, above all else, for the truly outstanding quality of its dining. This is a hotel that is clearly going places: and now is the perfect time to discover why! You can read our dining review for Blackaddie Country House Hotel here.