A COUNTRY ESCAPE TO THE FIFE ARMS

Some time ago I discovered that the Fife Arms in Braemar, Scotland was to be renovated. From trips to this area as a child, and more recently as a North of Scotland resident, I remember this grand building sitting proud in the centre of the town, and so to hear that it was due to be reinstated was very exciting.

With media coverage in leading titles such as Tatler, Financial Times and Town and Country Magazine stating that this hotel is set to rival the likes of Soho Farmhouse I couldn’t wait to visit the iconic landmark which sits almost on our doorstep. So, on a very cold and frosty Friday evening during February we escaped the city and headed 90 minutes into the Cairngorms to experience the Fife Arms for ourselves.

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A reception complete with original features, a gallery of paintings and drawings, a roaring fire and a host of friendly staff makes it hard not to instantly feel at home when arriving at this hotel.

As soon as we checked in and made our way to our room on the second floor, passing by the series of works of art that have been carefully selected by the owners who are world renowned art dealers, I knew that this was somewhere very different from our other country escapes.

We’re lucky enough to have stayed in a number of countryside hotels and houses but the Fife Arms has something special about it. The time, effort and energy that has gone into making this location in the heart of the Highlands memorable comes through at every corner, whether you’re sitting down to eat locally sourced produce at breakfast, listening to live fiddlers in the pub or gazing at the artwork which has been gathered from places near and far. It really is like no where I’ve ever been before.

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We were staying for just one night and so wanted to make sure that we made the most of our trip. After quickly unpacking in our room which was named ‘Travel Literature’ and designed using inspiration from others’ adventures in the Highlands, we headed downstairs to Elsa’s Bar.

Situated in a quiet corner in the hotel and dressed in pink, this is the perfect spot to enjoy a champagne cocktail ahead of dinner. We spent just under an hour in the bar, which is inspired by Elsa Schiaparelli and her designs, sipping our drinks and chatting to the barman before wandering through to the Clunie Dining Room.

Complete with an indoor wood fire, the Clunie Dining Room boasts a menu of seasonal and local produce which almost has a smokey taste thanks to how its been cooked on the stove. I opted for the langoustine with shaved cauliflower and celeriac puree as a starter, roasted celeriac with toasted walnuts and apple for a main course and of course dessert which was a trio of miniature cakes.

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A little tired from a long week at work we were about to head to bed but when we realised that there was a live Scottish band in the Stag - a traditional pub within the hotel - we couldn’t resist a quick nightcap.

Just before midnight my head hit the pillow and I headed off to the land of nod in one of the biggest, and most comfortable beds, I’ve ever slept in.

The next morning we woke up quite early, excited to start another day at The Fife Arms. We wandered along to breakfast which is served in the dining room and tucked into the table of treats. From muesli, fruit and yoghurt to freshly baked bread, croissants and cheeses there was so much to choose from, not to mention a separate menu of warm dishes including poached eggs, salmon and Scottish drop scones.

We were heading off on our ski trip to Austria the next day and given we hadn’t packed we decided to drive back to Aberdeen around lunch, leaving time to squeeze in a walk around Braemar and a quick cup of tea before we hit the road.

Although only brief our stay at the Fife Arms was one of the most memorable trips we’ve had yet. If you’re looking for a country escape in an idyllic part of Scotland where you’ll be looked after this is the place.

Thank you to the Fife Arms for sponsoring this post and hosting us as guests.