Cameron House Resort Loch Lomond Review: McLaren 720S Scotland Tour
Ever since reading The Adventures of Tintin "The Black Island" I have wanted to visit Loch Lomond. As fans of Tintin will know Loch Lomond is the whisky brand favoured by Captain Haddock.
This famous lake has stayed with me since, but little did I know that it also boasted an incomparable hotel. I kid you not, this should be on everyone's bucket list, Cameron House Resort on Loch Lomond is utterly fabulous.
We drove up in the McLaren 720S from the south of England and made the journey in eight hours. All part of a week-long tour of Scotland and the best whisky distilleries. The scenery as we drew closer to Cameron House was breathtaking, everything you have heard about the magnificence of the Highlands and more.
This 5-star 19th-century baronial mansion sits on the southern tip of Loch Lomond, a 24-mile freshwater lake with legendary landscapes that offers the warmest welcome and service to all lucky enough to stay there. And it is just 30 minutes from Glasgow airport.
Our arrival in the McLaren 720S was discreet, we kept the throttle down... as a smiling tartan-clad concierge greeted us genially and whisked our bags away.
The entrance hall is grand and imposing with Marquina marble flooring, oak panelling, glittering crystal chandeliers and cosy lounges on either side for guests to take tea. Reception welcomed us with open arms and plumped us in snug leather armchairs at the reception desk. We were offered drinks and then speedily shown to our respective rooms.
My suite in Auld House overlooked the lake, comprising a large airy double bedroom with an open-plan living room, an en-suite bathroom and a walk-in closet. The decor is tartan boudoir meets Scottish mansion. Imagine soft tartan carpets, a plush gold velvet chaise longue, and taupe wallpaper outlined with gold woodwork and leather sofas, capped by glinting chandeliers. The decor was influenced by the celebrated Glasgow designers at Timorous Beasties.
The hotel amenities are expansive, there is not only an 18-metre pool but a complete indoor waterpark for all the family, with a spa, jacuzzi, hot tub, bubble pool and all the massage and beauty treatments you could want. Including two pools plus a massive two-floor circular slide for the kids, when the adults aren’t hogging it.
Not to mention they possess a seaplane. You can tour the lake and the landscapes from the air. There is nothing like taking off and landing in a seaplane in such glorious and beautiful surroundings. It is quite a unique experience. I'm a sucker for a seaplane anyway, but a seaplane in Scotland tops everything. Fly over the glens, mountains and lochs like Indiana Jones. Their Explorer flight covers 110 miles of sumptuous Scotland.
If you get bored easily you can try falconry, pony trekking, cycling (they hire bikes), clay pigeon shooting, 4X4 off-road adventures, Segway safaris and anything else you can think of.
Plus Cameron House has its own Boat House and Marina, offering jet ski tours, private cruises on a luxury yacht, speed boat trips, water skiing, paddle boarding, canoeing, and fishing. You name it, they have it. They have enough jet skis to stage a regatta and indeed do each year.
Maybe this is overkill, but they also have two utterly extravagant golf courses, The Carrick, a championship 18-hole course and the 9-hole Wee Demon. And the Clubhouse Restaurant provides traditional Scottish cuisine in an informal ambience. All set on the loch amongst an area of such incredible natural beauty that I could have spent months photographing every detail.
Cameron House is also weatherproof so if it rains you can spoil yourself at The Cameron Club and Spa with a hydro and thermal spa, sauna, gym plus an infinity pool on the roof. Plus there is a proper cinema in the hotel, with 29 plush red velvet seats, a giant screen and a cinema kiosk with all the sweets and popcorn you can eat.
The Great Scots Bar is out of this world. Over 300 amazing aged single malt and blended whiskies from every corner of Scotland reside in individual dark wood cabinets lining the walls. A tall oak ladder is even needed to reach all the bottles! The bar is shaped like the prow of a boat, redolent in gleaming steel!
Savour the indulgent luxury atmosphere in a fine leather armchair by the fire while tasting the finest whiskies available. Portraits of famous Scots line the wall, many of whom have stayed there. The tartan bedecked bar staff are connoisseurs and will take you on a virtual tour of Scottish distilleries you will not soon forget, though your memory the next morning may be a little fuzzy.
Fine wines and an impressive selection of cocktails are also available for those whose life experience has not yet taught them that whisky is the finest tipple in the world.
Delight your senses further by downloading and reading the Cameron House whisky menu here.
Take afternoon tea of scones with velvety clotted cream and jam in the Lobby Bar, have breakfast, lunch or dinner at The Tavern in the Cameron Leisure Club for a relaxed sports vibe, but always finish the evening at The Great Scots Bar.
Dining options include the fine dining Tamburrini & Wishart Restaurant which offers seasonal three-course lunch and five-course tasting menus. Each course is paired with a wine or whisky chosen by the Sommelier. Then there's the Cameron Grill, The Boat House and The Clubhouse.
My dinner that evening started with the hand-dived Orkney scallops in Tosazu butter and golden Oscietra caviar; soft, flavoursome and exquisitely cooked, followed by a whole Scottish lobster in Thermidor sauce that was the epitome, nay quintessence of lobster; unbelievably tender, rich and buttery. Presumably, it had been loitering too close to the shore in Loch Lomond that morning, it was so fresh. For dessert, I plumped for the salted caramel tart with Valrhona chocolate ganache, caramel cream and Loch Lomond 12 whisky ice cream.
My colleague David commenced with the chicken and ham terrine with pickled mustard seeds and smoked almonds, then tucked into the dry-aged ribeye steak with Pierre Koffman fries, mushrooms, and cracked vine tomatoes in a bearnaise sauce. His final course was the Cameron pink lady apple tart tatin with Tahitian vanilla ice cream.
The wine pairing was cleverly chosen, David had a Dominio De Pingus Psi 2019 with his steak and I had a Chablis 1er Cru Vau-Ligneau, Domaine De La Motte 2019 with my scallops, then the Cloudy Bay Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc 2016 with the lobster.
Our dining experience was first class, an unforgettable meal in a divine setting. They also have a wide selection of gluten-free and vegan dishes.
We capped the evening off in the Great Scots Bar with a couple of amazing aged whiskies recommend by the expert bar staff. A dram of Glenmorangie Nectar d'Or 12 years and a cheeky little Loch Lomond Inchmoan 12 years. The perfect end to a wonderful day.
As usual, I took breakfast in my luxurious suite, as I'm a cantankerous old sod in the morning, gazing out over the loch as the sun rose over the mountains, pushing the shadows across the water. And the hotel pastries were hot, creamy, flaky and sumptuous.
Fully refreshed we then took a speed boat trip around the loch's islands, including Inchmurrin, admiring all the mist-strewn islets, coves and inlets. The broadcaster Kirsty Young and her husband own Inchconnachan Island on the loch, which is currently occupied by a court of wallabies! Fiona Gore, Countess of Arran, introduced them to the island in the 1940s.
During our stay, we were thoroughly spoiled by Lynn, Victoria, Iona and Sophie. The service throughout from the reception to the bar, restaurant and hotel staff was excellent; humorous, friendly, attentive and most importantly, kind. A genuine warm Scottish welcome.
Cameron House is sublime all year round as the scenery is even more dramatic in winter and they offer fantastic Christmas and Hogmanay celebrations and festivities. Absolutely the place to go to celebrate winter in style. It is, without a doubt, the most exclusive place in Scotland to spend the summer, so I would recommend booking well in advance.
Cameron House Resort is the apotheosis of a luxury Scottish hotel, not only one of the best hotels in the UK but one of the best places to stay in the world. The hotel, the location and the service are absolutely exceptional and one of the finest resorts we have ever visited. And that's before you get into the whisky.
An elegant hotel for all the family, a dirty weekend or adventure sports with friends. The location on Loch Lomond is one of my favourite luxury holiday destinations of all time. A phenomenal Scottish Manor located in an area of outstanding beauty, fusing refined luxury with every possible amenity.
Cameron House Resort receives International Excellence Magazine's highest recommendation. I wonder if they do a discount for residents that stay for a month? I'm not sure my waistline or liver could take it, though pack in enough water-skiing, mountain hiking, windsurfing and spa visits and they just might.
Cameron House Hotel Scotland