Fife Arms – The Scottish Highlands, Scotland
In the middle of the rugged and romantic Cairngorms, this hotel takes Highlands tradition and shakes it up. Tartan stands next to neon; tweed is juxtaposed with oriental objets d’art, curios and richly coloured fabrics and wallpaper, and on the walls you’ll find Picasso, Freud and even a water colour by Queen Victoria.
A coaching inn during her reign (Balmoral is a mere toss of the caber away), it is the creation of Swiss art dealers Hauser & Wirth, and is now a world class luxury hotel for people who just don’t do minimalist or tame. The service is faultless and the resident ghillie is on hand to arrange any number of activities in the surrounding countryside. At the Fife Arms, you are in the heart of the some of Britain’s finest scenery – with mountains, moorlands, forests and rivers. Adventure awaits inside and out.
At A Glance
Why We Love It:For it's take on traditional Scottish luxury, the art collection (including Picasso), & the remote beauty of the Cairngorms.
Style:Victorian Style with art at its heart.
Location:Situated within the magnificent Cairngorms National Park, positioned at the heart of the historic village of Braemar.
Rooms:46 rooms & suites
Swimming:Only in the river if you’re brave.
Children:Children are very welcome here.
Accessibility:The Fife Arms offer wheelchair access and disabled facilities.
Open From:All year round.
Price:From £600 per room, per night.
Fabulously individually themed, with exceptionally comfortable beds and lavishly decorated bathrooms, some with freestanding copper baths, a night in any one of the rooms or suites is like stepping into a fantasy world.
The Fife Arms is the social heart of the village, with a pub and a restaurant that are also open to the public, making for very convivial evenings. Look out for the centrepiece in the Flying Stag – Bambi would have loved those wings! The food is as hearty as the setting, with produce locally sourced and much of it cooked over a wood fire. Try the oysters and the Highland beef and bone marrow burger. And we definitely recommend starting the day with the black pudding eggs benedict.
With the Grampian Mountains and the Cairngorms National Park on the doorstep, there is no shortage of things to do. From fishing in the Dee, to a helicopter trip over the landscape, from a private lunch in the Fife Arms’ own remote hut in the middle of the grouse moors to a tour of some local boutique whisky distilleries, the team of ghillies can organise it all. With over 16,000 works of art and antiques here, you can also have a private art tour of the collection. Then maybe follow that up with a cream tea and visit to the Spa.
This is somewhere your children will remember for a long time, and you might never be able to fish them out of the magical playroom… Outside, the Cairngorms National Park is the biggest playground imaginable on one of the Fife Arms’ family friendly adventures. Learn to map read, discover the inhabitants of the surrounding landscape, and find treasure around the hotel or out on the moors.
The hotel has only been open a year and is already establishing a focus on sustainability. Everything within the hotel is as locally sourced as possible, from their food and staff to their tartan. The owners are really focused on supporting the local community and have established a social and environmental foundation to help with local projects. There are no plastic items provided for guests and any kitchen plastic is re-used or recycled.
They have planted 140,000 trees along the river in a projected called “pearls in peril” in order to repopulate the freshwater mussels. For their outdoor events they use re-usable bottles, recyclable plates, cups, and bamboo wood cutlery.
The wild and empty Highlands of northwest Scotland is home to some of Britain’s most savagely beautiful scenery. From the mountains to the sea there are dramatic and ever changing views that take your breath away. Stand still long enough and you could see wonderful inhabitants from golden eagles soaring above, to majestic red deer stags silhouetted against a Munro, dolphins off the coast or otters playing in a mountain stream.
This is where to come for a fix of the big outdoors and family adventures – hiking, mountain biking, climbing, orienteering, watersports, riding and golf, all for beginners to experts – everything’s here. The Highland way of life has been fashioned by a turbulent history, but nowhere will you receive a warmer welcome. Ancient traditions are observed and celebrated throughout, and rest assured that locally sourced produce features on many menus. At its heart is the village of Braemar, home of the Highland Games. Surrounded by mountains and glens, this is one of our favourite places to stay for our Highland forays. There’s a thriving arts and music scene, boutique shops and galleries, and of course, some great places to eat.
Braemar, The Scottish Highlands
Situated within the magnificent Cairngorms National Park, positioned at the heart of the historic village of Braemar.