Chancing Upon Stately Knockendarroch Hotel

by Keith Savage · 1 comment


Knockendarroch House, Pitlochry, Scotland

When last I met Struan Lothian he was running the beautiful Torrdarach House perched above Pitlochry’s main street. He and his family had come to Pitlochry from the fantastic Kylesku Hotel in Sutherland to share their gifts as hosts and proprietors further south, and I was intrigued when I learned he had moved to another establishment within Pitlochry, Knockendarroch Hotel and Restaurant.

Pitlochry is graced with more excellent accommodations than your average Scottish town. It’s a pretty place along the River Tummel, situated on the main route into the northern highlands and amidst Perthshire‘s natural glories. Given that the train runs through here on the way to Inverness and firmly ensconces Pitlochry on the tourist trail, it’s no surprise that this town in particular has become a hotbed of escalating accommodation quality. That’s a tough scenario for proprietors but an exciting one for visitors, and so I came to Pitlochry last November to see what Struan had to offer at his new keep.

I chanced upon Knockendarroch at the end of a long travel day in early November. The building is a stately edifice from the 1880s and has long been one of Pitlochry’s finest houses. It was built for an Aberdonian lawyer who kept it until the late 1920s, at which time it passed to various owners — notably the Pitlochry Theatre Company — over the ensuing decades. Knockendarroch was a hotel before Struan took it over, but in his hands the hotel has garnered heaps of awards from TripAdvisor, Sawday’s, AA, Scotland the Best, and many others.

Knockendarroch stands on a slight hill above Pitlochry on a street with several other accommodations. The warm glow from inside the hotel drew me across the chipped stone lot and through the entryway where I was greeted warmly by the hotel staff. Knockendarroch is a small hotel with a fine restaurant, and that means it operates slightly differently from a B&B. It’s a shade more formal and private, and while I met and chatted with Struan due to our old acquaintance that wouldn’t be typical.

Knockendarroch’s interior is well-lit with upscale furnishings, wide windows in the common areas, and utter cleanliness. After putting away my things I wandered down to the sitting room where a cabinet of single malts glowed enticingly. Logs crackled in the welcome fireplace and other guests browsed the small library or read the paper in a number of comfy chairs and sofas. I’ve learned not to underestimate common areas. Some B&Bs only have rooms and small areas off-limits outside of breakfast, and when you’re traveling with others you run into the problem of where to gather in the evenings. A common area like Knockendarroch’s, so beautifully appointed and with good wifi, is a luxury indeed. You can order light lunches and drinks in the lounge, and it’s the beginning and ending of your dining experience should you make the wise choice to eat at Knockendarroch (the subject of a future post).

I dined in Knockendarroch’s restaurant before retiring to my spacious room overlooking Pitlochry. I had just arrived to Scotland this day and had little expectation of a good night’s sleep no matter the quality of the furnishings. Then I sat on the bed and nearly passed out. I shook off the falling stupor and set up my laptop on the convenient bedside desk before admiring the view and heading for a much-needed shower. Free of the travel grime I relaxed in one of the low-slung chairs with a whisky I’d procured from Aberfeldy distillery earlier in the day.

Knockendarroch presents a luxurious feel, striking a chord between the classic and the modern. Soft lighting, comfortable seating and sleeping, and spotless accommodations add up to a wonderful stay. Struan and his crew provide extra special touches like the stuffed owl on the bed, and you can even have flowers, Prosecco, Champagne, and macarons delivered to your room for those special occasions.

My sleep was fitful but it was jetlag and no fault of the luxurious bed. I returned to the dining room and treated myself to a fortifying Scottish breakfast presented with the same impeccable attention to detail as dinner.

My stay at Knockendarroch Hotel lasted only a night, but it was long enough to verify my suspicions that Struan can make any place into an unforgettable stay. Knockendarroch’s service was excellent every step of the way and I can wholeheartedly recommend the hotel, especially if staying at a B&B is not your preference. Whether you’re just passing through Pitlochry, plan on making the town your base, or happen to be celebrating a special occasion, Knockendarroch fits the bill.

Disclosure: I received a discounted rate for my stay at Knockendarroch Hotel. All thoughts and opinions expressed here, as always, are my own.


Neil and Jenny WhitakerNo Gravatar July 20, 2017 at 7:21 AM

We love this little gem.

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