Set in the small town of Rothes in Scotland’s Speyside region, the Station Hotel is all about whisky. And that makes sense, as the region of Speyside is also all about whisky. It’s home to more than half of Scotland’s 100 whisky distilleries, including big names like Glenfiddich and Macallan. For those coming to Speyside to explore some of the nearby distilleries—or other Highland fun like hiking, clay shooting, ATVing, and horseback riding—it makes for a great base. Built in 1901, and extensively renovated in 2016, the 14-room Station Hotel strikes the perfect balance between luxurious and laid-back.
My husband and I were in Scotland celebrating a milestone birthday for him, so I’d splurged on the Caperdonich Suite, the hotel’s most luxe room (I peeked into several others). The two-story suite has a king bed, small sitting area with fireplace, and—the showstopper—a deep soaking tub for two on the second-floor balcony overlooking the room. With warm grey tones throughout, plush carpeting, and beautiful brocade curtains covering the floor-to-ceiling windows, the room was certainly worthy of a special occasion.
I also appreciated little touches like the easy-to-access outlets, in-room coffee and tea (complete with shortbread biscuits) and ample storage space. For such a large room, the design had also maximized space. For example, a large shelving unit at the foot of the bed housed a large flat screen TV; when raised, it could be positioned to face any corner or the room, so we could have watched TV from bed or from the chairs in front of the fireplace.
While the room felt modern, it was also unmistakably Scottish, with pastel plaid accents, a complimentary decanter of whisky, and views of the surrounding Highland hills. The hotel does an exceptional job at imparting a sense of place through details big and small, from the massive antique whisky still that stands outside in the parking lot to the names of each of the suites, which commemorate local distillers.
Outside the room, the hotel delivers the same attention to detail and unmistakable Scottish identity. There are three onsite dining areas. At Pagodas, named for the distinctive chimneys that top the local distilleries, guests are served complimentary daily breakfast with choice of entrees such as smoked salmon or a full Scottish breakfast with haggis, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, and eggs. Come dinner time it offers casual fare like fish n’ chips or a Sunday roast beef with all the trimmings. Two more actual options Toots Cafe and the Spirit Safe, both feature gleaming copper bars, leather banquet seating, and a vast selection of local whiskies. Even when we dined elsewhere, my husband and I made a point to come back to the hotel to try a new whisky—and indulge in a decadent stick toffee pudding for dessert.
Throughout our stay, staff were courteous and helpful, whether they were helping to lug our backs up to the second floor (there’s no elevator), calling a taxi to drive us to our next distillery tour, or printing up directions when it was time to leave and head to our next destination. With luxurious rooms, a prime location in the heart of Speyside and a definitive sense of place, the Station Hotel is a whisky-centric hotel that you don’t need to be a whisky connoisseur to love.
If you go: Room rates start at around $150 per night for a double room and include complimentary breakfast, wifi, and free parking. Single rooms are also available. Make your reservation at the hotel website or through an OTA like Expedia or Travelocity.