Located just twenty minutes from Edinburgh City centre and nestled in a thousand acres of beautiful countryside is the charming Dalmahoy House and Country Club. The estate was previously owned by the Douglas family, renowned as one of the most powerful families in Scotland. In 1920 it was then leased to Crammond Golf Club, subsequently becoming the Dalmahoy Golf Club after being famously designed by golf course architect, James Baird. In 2016, Dalmahoy became a fully independent hotel and set out to provide the best of Scottish hospitality in a beautiful historic setting. We were recently invited along to try out their new Date and Dine offer, a package designed to provide an indulgent stay for time-starved couples who are looking to relax and reconnect. The package not only includes an overnight stay in one of their luxurious rooms but also a bottle of champagne on arrival and a pampering gift from the Rituals Collection. In addition to this, guests are invited to The Pentland Restaurant for an indulgent three-course dinner, a full Scottish breakfast and access to the hotels adjoining Country Club.
Living in Edinburgh for so many years it’s somewhat difficult to believe why I had never visited before, especially as its so close to the city. Travelling along its snaking driveway, it was almost as if the city was a million miles away, giving way to trees, rolling fields and an expanse of green. Walking into the hotel’s reception area cast in carved wood, you could instantly see some of the period features of this historic building that makes it so unique. We were residing in one of the hotel’s Manor House Deluxe rooms located on the second floor of the main house. The room called Lady Mary’s Room is aptly named after Lady Mary Douglas (1646-1677) who is one of the many characters from Dalmahoy’s rich history. Also known as the White Lady, her ghost is rumoured to calmly wander the corridors of the main house to this day. On entering the room her portrait hangs proudly above the four-poster bed, but thankfully this is the only place she appeared during our stay.
The room itself is beautifully decorated, combining modern aesthetics whilst still respecting the property’s historic past. Embellished with warming hues of yellows, greens, blues and neutrals it is perfectly contrasted with dark antique furnishings such as the impressive four-poster bed. In addition to this, there is a desk area, a sitting area, and a cabinet housing a sizeable flat-screen TV with coffee/tea facilities and a small fridge underneath. Large sash windows framed in swathes of golden material provide glimpses of the rolling countryside and golf course outside. The fully tiled bathroom in neutral shades was impressive in size and included a bathtub, rainfall shower and sink area. It even has an ornamental fireplace and artwork, making you feel as if you are washing in some kind of castle.
As previously mentioned, included in the Date & Dine package is a three-course dinner located on the ground floor of the hotel. In a long galley-styled room The Pentland restaurant carries on that historic style with rows of sash windows draped in thick red curtains and tartan-backed seating. The surroundings were pleasant but for some reason, it lacked that cosy ambience I was craving, nothing that a little scattering of candles and some background music would have achieved. Although the menu isn’t extensive there are still a few nice choices concerning fresh Scottish produce to choose from. Our very friendly waitress took us through each of the dishes and helped us select the perfect accompanying wine.
For starters, we opted for the Glenkinchie Cured Salmon with blini, caviar & crème fraiche and a meat-filled Game Terrine accompanied by chestnut purée, hazelnut, redcurrant, nasturtium & apple blossom. These were both tasty, well-balanced and quite substantial for a starter. For mains, we selected Grilled Sirloin Steak with blushed plum tomato & sautéd wild mushrooms and Braised Daube Of Beef with creamed potato and a red wine jus. Unfortunately, there were no steak sauce options on the menu which resulted in the dish becoming rather dry, however, our waitress resolved this by offering some peppercorn sauce. Last but not least we chose a dessert of light Chocolate Mousse accompanied by moist pistachio cake, drizzles of black cherry gel & scattered honeycomb. My favourite had to be the Apple Tart Tatin with soft sweet slices of fruit atop a sticky crisp pastry and delectably drizzled in calvados cream.
The hotel does have other areas to dine and enjoy an evening tipple, such as The Douglas Lounge, The James Braid Bar and The Cocktail Bar. Being quite satisfied with our meal and wine, we decided to retire back to our room to sip on more champagne and enjoy the cosy ambience on what was quite a chilly night in Scotland. Despite the hotel being particularly busy, the room was lovely and quiet and along with the use of our relaxing ritual products and comfortable bed, we were able to enjoy and fantastic night’s sleep. It was such a pleasure to wake up to the sound of birds as the pink hue of the morning sun cast its glow across the countryside.
Perhaps enjoying the comforts of our accommodation a little too much, we decided to opt for breakfast in our room. This could also be enjoyed in a buffet-style setting in The Pentland restaurant. We opted for a selection of pastries, toast, poached eggs and a vegetarian breakfast. After an initial confusion with our order, the breakfast was delivered to our room on time with the hot food remaining warm, tasty and fulfilling. Due to time constraints, we were unable to visit the hotel’s leisure facilities which included an indoor heated swimming pool, gym, sauna, outdoor tennis courts and many yoga and fitness classes. If this is not your thing walks are abundant around the hotel estate where you can take in the fresh air and imagine the history that took place there.
Being so close to the city centre yet situated in a secluded and tranquil area, I can understand completely why this hotel is a popular choice for couples. The advantageous location is perfect for guests who are craving to get away from it all but do not want to stray too far. The Date and Dine package combine everything you need for a perfect stay, with an array of dining options and luxury touches included in the price. Although the hotel is impressive with its history, unique features and extensive estate, several areas around the hotel appear somewhat tired and dated. I can only imagine that this will get better with time and the luxurious style and comfort we experienced in our room will continue throughout the property. One of the best assets of this hotel though was the staff, who throughout our stay remained friendly, informative and a great example of true Scottish hospitality. So if you are looking for a change of scenery, longing for a little TLC or just want to escape the daily grind, look no further than the Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club.
Blu Blazer Guy Rating:
Location – 4/5
Customer Service – 4/5
Accommodation – 3.5/5
Cleanliness – 3.5/5
Food and Drink – 3.5/5
The Date and Dine Package is from £339 Per Room Per Night.
PR Stay (all views are my own).