Scottish Rural Luxury at The Grandtully Hotel, Perthshire

Friday 15 February 2019
Review post in collaboration with The Grandtully Hotel

Highland hospitality combines with style and luxury at the boutique Grandtully Hotel in rural Perthshire, near Pitlochry. Design, decor and attention to detail throughout the 8 bedroom hotel is fantastic, customer service second to none and the food and drink in both restaurant and bar absolutely top notch. A wonderful addition to the Ballintaggart Farm cookschool and restaurant with rooms portfolio, The Grandtully Hotel provides fantastic value and will surely earn a place as one of the best Scottish hotels.

It's becoming a bit of a habit (that I don't want to break!) for myself and my friend Kirsteen to abandon our children and husbands and set off on a new year girlie road trip. January 2017 saw us heading to Ballintaggart Farm for a cookery masterclass while at the start of 2018 we both enjoyed an Eden Mill gin blending experience at Rusacks St Andrews. For 2019 we were delighted to be invited back by Ballintaggart to experience the new addition to their Highland Perthshire portfolio. The Grandtully Hotel by Ballintaggart. A newly transformed (opened September 2018) eight bedroom hotel with restaurant, bar, outdoor terrace and private dining room. 

Recalling our previous stay at Ballintaggart Farm we had high expectations for the hotel. They were all met - and some. There is definite kerb appeal from the outset with stacked firewood, slate picnic benches, stylish branded canopies and a geometric herb garden. As we stepped inside my Tunnock's Teacake suitcase received a warm welcome in the reception which doubles up as a stylish shop selling bottles from the Grandtully wine list plus some wonderful foodie treats - cheese, charcuterie, rapeseed oil, olives, chutney and even Ballintaggart's own homemade granola. Before heading up to our room we were given a brief tour of the restaurant, library and bar (The Tully) so we had our bearings. The design, decor and attention to detail through the hotel is fantastic. Quirky, colourful and fun without being twee or kitsch. A perfect mix of modern and traditional. Whilst the building has undergone considerable refurbishment to transform it from rundown hostel to boutique hotel, thankfully the baby hasn't been thrown out with the bathwater. Some lovely original features remain including a fantastic curved door in the dining room. A lovely touch throughout were work in progress photos of the Grandtully's 'pheonix from the flames' rebirth.

We stayed in twin room seven at the back of the hotel (which can also be a king). Each room is individually designed with it's own colour palette, features and views. One equipped with record player and record collection, another a four poster bed and one even has a rooftop terrace. All have gorgeous bathrooms with roll top baths, drench showers and stunning wall and floor tiles. With a double aspect our room was full of light but thick woollen curtains and wooden shutters made sure we weren't woken at sunrise. Brightly upholstered headboards on super comfy beds with crisp cotton sheets aided the perfect night's sleep. All needs were catered for with everything from hot water bottles to luxury whisky toiletries. The tea and cafetiere coffee making facilities even included a flask of fresh milk. Hotel hairdryers are top of my Room 101 list, thankfully not the one at Grandtully.

We couldn't decide whether to go coffee or alcohol when we headed back downstairs to The Tully bar so we had both but managed to restrain ourselves from the tempting array of homebakes. An interesting and eclectic drinks, cocktail and wine menu. I started with a 'Whole lotta Rossa' described as an uplifting afternoon pick me up. The serenity and calmness of this drink juxtapose nicely with the AC/DC song it is named after. Cocchi Rosa, Hayman’s gin, lemon, sugar, orange, soda. I then joined Kirsteen on the house white wine which is a 2017 Catarrato, Ciello from Sicily. Not something either of us had come across before, rather yellow in colour but very quaffable, available on tap and great value at £22/litre. 

The same food menu is available in both the bar and the restaurant comprising of bites, small plates, large plates, sides, specials and puddings. There's also a kids menu designed by pupils of Grandtully Primary School. To get the full experience we ate in the dining room and kicked off with bites of spiced crispy potato skins (£1), perello gordal olives (£2) and a salt cod fritter with dulse aioli (£2). These were followed by starters of salt and pepper squid with a hot and sour sauce (£7) and smoked salmon, caper, shallot, parsley and sourdough (£8). Wonderful tastes and textures presented simply and unpretentiously, equally suited for bar or restaurant dining.

Moving to mains I swithered between the plat du jour of flat iron steak, pickles, garden salad, salsa verde (£10) or Isle of Skye scallop, garlic, lemon thyme, venison salami (£9). In a moment of indecisiveness - or perhaps sheer greed - I ordered both. Lets just call it surf and turf. Kirsteen went for the Grierson's organic beef burger, Applewood smoked cheddar, beetroot ketchup, caramelised onions (£12) with a side of fries (£3). We retired to the library for a wonderful cheeseboard to share (£8) whilst sat on mustard and turquoise sofas looking at tropical wallpaper adorned with monkeys and birds. 
The provenance and seasonality really shone through in all the dishes that we ate and the price point across the board gave fantastic value. It was great to catch up, albeit individually, with our hosts Chris and Rachel Rowley who were playing tag team between their kids, Ballintaggart, Grandtully and a new cat. A Negroni nightcap and it was time for bed with a Spacemask (a rather intriguing self-heating eye mask)

Despite still being stuffed from the previous evening we weren't going to miss out on a cooked breakfast. We skipped the porridge and granola and went straight for the full Scottish (Sutherland sausage, Stornoway black pudding, bacon, tomato, tattie scone, poached egg) and the daily special (Stornoway black pudding hash, fried egg, kale). An ideal start to the day in the bright daffodil adorned dining room before bidding farewell and heading our for a quick explore of the surrounding Gradtully and Strathtay villages. Those with the time an inclination to explore the area further can make use of a series of six postcards with personal recomendations. Each covers half day or day trips in the surrounding area providing ideas of where to eat, shop, stroll, hike, picnic, explore and generally sup up the scenery along the way. Such a great idea and also supporting lots of other local businesses. I'm only sorry I didn't wheel my suitcase up the hill for a photo opportnity with the retrotastic Tunnocks sign at Strathtay Village Store.

Throughout our stay at The Grandtully all the staff were fantastically friendly, knowledgeable and genuinely passionate about their role and always willing to go the extra mile. The whole experience was wonderful from start to finish. The design, decor and attention to detail through the hotel is fantastic, customer service second to none and the food and drink absolutely top notch. A wonderful addition to the Ballintaggart Farm cookschool and restaurant with rooms portfolio. Well done Chris, Rachel and team. Scottish rural luxury at its finest.

Need further convincing? 
(it's only by reading these reviews that I realised it's pronounced Grantly!)

For February and March 2019 The Grandtully Hotel have a midweek £80 B&B offer.
Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night in all rooms, subject to availability. 
Guests must make a reservation for dinner to receive the discounted rate.

Disclosure: This is not a paid post. We ate and stayed as guests of The Grandtully Hotel by Ballintaggart. Drinks were at our own expense. 

As always, all views expressed are my own. 

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