For those seeking to escape the bustle and clamour of daily life, few locations appeal to the senses quite as much as the Highlands of Scotland. Rugged scenery, clean air, morning mists rising from the sea—such fairytale elements can enchant the hardest of hearts.
A hidden Scottish gem
For the last few years, Glenapp Castle, a 21-bedroom luxurious PoB and Relais & Chateaux hotel, tucked away on the breath-taking Ayrshire coast, has been earning rave reviews. Designed by legendary architect David Bryce, a leading exponent of the Scottish Baronial style, the castle was built in 1870 with Gothic and Renaissance influences. The resulting towers and crenellations, alongside distinctive sandstone battlements and all set, of course, within a typically breathtaking landscape, create a storybook setting.
Five minutes from the former fishing village of Ballantrae, Glenapp boasts panoramic views across the Irish Sea. The famous Ailsa Craig Island, the Isle Arran and the Mull of Kintyre can all be seen and discovered from the castle.
Glenapp is also known for being the home of The Endeavour, the most opulent penthouse castle apartment in the whole of Scotland, as evidenced by Elite Traveler US’s inclusion in the world’s one hundred best suites. The Endeavour provides more than 4,500 sq ft of accommodation, boasts four bedrooms and five bathrooms and comes with a personal butler, private chef and sauna, beauty/treatment room, media room, library and games room, bespoke kitchen and lounge and dining room.
Current owner of Glenapp, Paul Szkiler, has re-energised the castle’s product offering since taking over in 2015. Piece by piece, what has always been a beautiful destination has added a series of enticing features and packages. The Woodland Wellness package, for example, invites guests to choose from over seventy unique and different activities from the hotel activity programme. Ranging from wild swimming, axe-throwing, archery, cookery lessons, forest bathing, yoga, and coasteering, there truly is something for everyone. A peaceful night’s sleep can be assured by immersion in the heavenly scents of Connock London’s Kukui Oil and a personalised message from Amanda Connock, owner of Connock London, renowned British fragrance brand.
Sea and sky
Those seeking a more sedate and contemplative break may opt for the stargazing experience, which provides the opportunity to view some of the clearest and darkest skies in Europe. Evenings viewing the Milky Way and possibly even the Northern Lights can be followed by luxurious dinners and fireside nightcaps.
One of the most popular packages is the Hebridean Sea Safari experience, involving a seaborn adventure aboard the Glenapp Castle boat and glamping on the remote island of Jura. Connoisseurs of single malt whiskey will of course be familiar with the island for its well-known distillery. From there, guests can then explore the Scottish Isles in true style.
The success of the Hebridean Sea Safari has led the Glenapp team to launch a brand-new bespoke experience, targeted specifically at courting couples, newlyweds and honeymooners marketed as ‘The Ultimate Romantic Adventure.’ Anyone looking for a unique destination to propose to their loved one or simply for the ultimate romantic break will find all the necessary boxes ticked by mixing adventure with luxury.
Offering the chance to experience the romance of the rugged Scottish coastline, remote islands, coastal castles and wildlife, while staying two nights in one of the Castle’s opulent Master Sea View Suites, couples will discover why Glenapp Castle was described as one of the most romantic hotels in the UK by Harper’s Bazaar. Included in the package are a complimentary bottle of Andre Roger champagne on arrival, candlelit three-course dinners served with canapes, coffee and handmade petit fours and a full table-served Scottish breakfast each morning. This is then followed by two nights of luxury glamping under the stars on the Island of Jura, which is home to an Atlantic seal colony. While on the island, couples will enjoy their very own personal butler and private chef to cater for them on a fully inclusive basis.
Meanwhile, Glenapp’s experienced skipper will navigate them through the Scottish Hebrides as they island-hop during the day, offering the opportunity to enjoy spectacular local wildlife. From basking sharks, dolphins and puffins to seals and minke whales, this is truly a bucket-list experience.
Camping like royalty
Dining on the Ultimate Romantic Adventure promises to be a luxury experience like no other, during which couples can feast on lobster, oysters, indulgent racks of lamb and mackerel. Afterwards, the long evenings of the far Northern hemisphere promise ample opportunity to cosy up beside an open fire with a dram of whisky whilst watching the sunset—perfect for a surprise proposal! Finally, couples can retreat to their African game-style tent and fall asleep to the sound of the waves in luxurious double beds with cosy tartan rugs.
The package can be expertly tailored around each couple’s interests and desires to ensure they see the very best of Scotland, visiting unreachable islands and of course, planning those all-important romantic surprises.
HOW: The Hebridean Sea Safari starts from £15,950 for two people per person. Prices are based on a 4-night / 5-day adventure, with two nights at Glenapp Castle with dinner, bed and breakfast in a superior bedroom suite, including transfers to/from Girvan harbour. When ‘at Sea,’ it is fully inclusive of all refreshments, snacks, lunches, breakfasts and gourmet dinners with quality wines, beers and soft drinks. For more information on activities or requests, contact www.glenappcastle.com / 01465 831212.