I walked into the stout, red stone building overlooking Brodick Bay and set down my bags with a thankful sigh. It had been a long day of travel involving countless drives, flights, and ferries, and I’d finally made it to my first stop: Brodick on the Isle of Arran. More specifically, I’d arrived at The Douglas Hotel, which would be my home for three nights thanks to arrangements from Visit Arran. Sorry, I meant the next two nights; delays on U.S. Airways shaved off a full day from my trip and I lost a night from my stay in Brodick.
I looked around the small, cozy lobby with its dark wood floor and thought about how The Douglas Hotel had just re-opened this season. Later I’d hear that the building had been an eyesore for a long time before this re-opening. Not so, now. No expense appears to have been spared as the place is decked out with black leather furniture and luxe furnishings while the attractive red stone of the exterior forms exposed short walls in the interior. I headed up to my Executive room on the second floor and noticed that everything is very clean and tidy, attributes often lacking in some of Scotland’s older accommodations.
Pushing through a soundproof door, I found my room to be the only one on this side of the building. Light poured through small windows to brighten a large room with a nice, tall ceiling. I had a great view of Brodick Bay and the Goatfell beyond. The first thing I noticed was the massive king-size bed with the folded towels and bathrobe. A full-length mirror and desk with flatscreen TV mounted over it opposed the bed, while off to the side stood a second table, plush chair, and large wardrobe. A nice touch was a piece of furniture – foreign to me – that held personal items like wedding rings, wallets, and phones. Chocolate brown, earthy yellow, and teal the color of Brodick Bay accented the neutral walls.
The bathroom is nearly as large as the main room. Beautiful slate floor and tiled walls add an air of cleanliness, and clean is really what I’m shooting for in the bathroom. A powerful shower and tub sit in the corner, and, while I think it’s time hotels retire tubs, if there’s any place I go for a soak it’s here. The sheer size of the bathroom and the placement of the toilet next to the window take away from the privacy, but I’m not complaining. The bathroom is gorgeous.
Beyond the luxurious rooms in a boutique atmosphere, The Douglas Hotel also offers some seriously good food in their bistro and bar. I enjoyed a healthy pot of local mussels and some Arran Ale for dinner in their bistro one night and a chicken and chorizo wrap in the bar on another one. Best of all, the bar here is the nicest in the heart of Brodick. I liked being able to order a dram at the bar, sip it while night fell over the water, and return to my room with the remainder.
I slept like a rock and couldn’t believe how quiet my room was despite a lively bistro and bar downstairs. The cold breakfast spread was remarkable with rare sights like figs, pomegranates, and gooseberries surrounding melons and pineapple. The traditional Scottish breakfast I ordered on my first morning was artfully prepared and pretty good, though it seemed like it had sat under a heat lamp a bit too long.
I loved The Douglas Hotel. With comfortable, top quality furnishings and design, supreme attention to detail, and a perfect location just a stone’s throw from the ferry terminal, The Douglas Hotel will be on the top of my list when I return to Arran. I find that I do best when the first and last stops of my trip tend to the luxury side of things. I wasn’t disappointed with how this trip began.
Disclosure: Visit Arran and The Douglas Hotel provided me with complimentary bed & breakfast.