More than a Whisky Hotel – A review of the cool Craigellachie – The Craigellachie Hotel can be romantic, it’s super dog friendly but it feels cool. Not in that cold uber trendy way, but welcoming and indulgent. Kate Moss, Noel Gallagher and Sadie Frost have partied here, and you can see why. If you want to book a night away with your partner, this is a cool hang out to escape from it all and feel young again. *Contains affiliate links
Rooms – Craigellachie Whisky Hotel
My favourite room in the house is Room 4 with its four poster bed, toiletries by The White Stuff, and soft furnishings by Johnston’s of Elgin. A complimentary decanter of the hotel’s own Copper Dog whisky blend sets the tone. We’re talking comfortable and restful rooms, with a selection of quality coffee table books about Scotland. Dogs are very welcome, and dog paintings by Hugo Guinness drive the message home.
Food – Copper Dog Restaurant
Whilst the restaurant has an easy going country pub vibe, the Executive Chef is the former Head Chef of London’s hugely prestigious Le Caprice. Expect quality local produce and starters such as hand dived Orkney scallops and potted crab from Lossiemouth. Mains included Speyside sirloin or ribeye, truffled lobster macaroni and BBQ spiced chicken. Desserts had a homely classic vibe such as Treacle Tart and Coffee Dog Panna Cotta.
Vegetarian and vegan options were strong too. I eat meat but opted for the baked aubergine with spiced chickpea salsa and coconut yogurt, and went for the Vegan Burrito at breakfast. Imaginative, tasty vege options for all.
We accompanied our meal with some whisky cocktails (we were in Speyside after all). I went for the Sour Dog (whisky, lemon, syrup, egg white and Angostura bitters) and Mr Husband tried an Apple Dog ( whisky and Granny Smith apple juice). Of course, order a beer, prosecco or coke if you’d prefer – whisky isn’t compulsory!
Live folk music at weekends adds to the atmosphere. Dogs, of course, are super welcome. Copper Dog works really well for couples, pals and families alike.
Breakfast is usually served in a wonderfully calming Breakfast Room. It was closed during the Covid pandemic (with breakfast served in the Copper Dog restaurant). This pale blue room is also popular for intimate wedding breakfasts.
The Quaich Bar – far more than a whisky hotel
I loved hanging out (child free) at the Quaich bar. – it took twenty years off me! In many high end hotels the clientele are usually older than me, here it was a mix of all ages with a refreshing injection of young faces too. The Craigellachie‘s sumptuous green velvet and red leather bar feels like an exclusive London club, a very escapist retreat. A host of local gins, prosecco and cocktails are available, so there’s no pressure to try whisky, but wow, what a place to sample something new.
The Quaich Bar is home to around 300 whiskies, the staff are really knowledgeable and genuinely helpful. They assisted Mr Husband select a dram, and I opted for another whisky cocktail (when in Rome). Such a great hang out destination- catch up, chat, drink and chill.
Location & Things to Do
The Craigellachie is situated in the heart of Speyside, and sits on the Speyside Way, so visitors can cycle or walk here. Section 3 of the Speyside Way runs from Fochabers to Craigellachie (13 miles distance), and Section 4 runs from Craigellachie to Ballindalloch (12 miles).
The afternoon we arrived we drove to the nearby Macallan Experience, which is so cutting edge it looks like a distillery has dropped into Morayshire from outer space. It’s such a curvaceous, curious and unexpected architectural gem to find in the Moray countryside. Tours and tastings are available but it’s possible to simply drop by for a drink, which is what we did. It’s only a short taxi ride from the Craigellachie but the non-alcoholic drinks are some of the best I’ve seen and tasted (such as the Macallan Spritz – macerated dates and sultanas, angostura and soda top) so if you are the designated driver all’s good. I opted for an Apple Shrub whisky cocktail.
There are more local distilleries available nearby than you can shake a stick at, but it’s worth highlighting that Cardhu, Benriach and Glenlivet have shiny and new Visitor Centres. Keith is home to the uber cute Strathisla Distillery with its pagoda chimneys, and Glenfiddich is just five miles away.
Non-whisky attractions include Knockando Wool Mill, but for a thorough guide to Morayshire attractions, castles, walks and places to eat click here.
From the outside you wouldn’t necessarily guess of the relaxed glamour and good food within the Craigellachie. It’s a great couples escape, and we saw a few boys’ weekends as well, so it’s spot on for whisky lovers but far more than a whisky hotel. For prices and availability click here.