Cameron House on Loch Lomond
Boasting all manner of enticing attractions, including a 27-hole golf course, luxury spa, and leisure centre, the hotel’s greatest asset is undoubtedly its stunning location: on the banks of Loch Lomond and within the Trossachs National Park, but nevertheless a short distance from Glasgow.
Ages of children
- Linda Macdonald, Destination expert
You can’t fault the setting: 100 forested acres on the shores of Scotland’s second most famous loch, with popular climb Ben Lomond to the north. It’s far enough off the busy A82 for peace, but only a 30 minute drive from Glasgow and five minutes by car from Balloch train station.
From the outside it’s a bit of architectural porridge – a handsome Victorian Baronial sandstone pile with modern ersatz-Victorian bedroom wing and a less successful Seventies-style leisure centre carbuncle to one side. But once inside it’s boutique meets Brigadoon. All is richly, darkly, quietly dramatic, with oversized hanging lanterns, big blazing fires and plenty of leather, damask and muted modern tartan.
The hotel’s Carrick Spa and golf club (with shop) is inconveniently 20 minutes’ walk away (a shuttle service is provided). But there’s a leisure centre at the hotel with pools, waterslides, gym, fitness classes and a snooker room. Other attractions include a falconry walk, mountain biking, rib boats and best of all, a fantastic seaplane trip operating from a pontoon directly in front of the hotel. Sadly, the service does not always live up to five-star standards.
Staff could not have been more friendly, but can be woefully inefficient – a glass of wine ordered at dinner did not turn up and breakfast was chaotic: fifteen minutes to order, the food (barely warm) eventually arrived when hope was all but gone and toast was never achieved. However, the old-school concierge team are terrific and should be immediately put in charge of training the rest of the staff.
- Fitness centre
- Golf course
- Kids club
- Room service
- Steam room/hammam
- Tennis court
Spacious ‘Classic’ rooms are dramatically furnished with wing-back chairs, oversized velvet headboards and plenty of tartan. Suites feature stand-alone baths in some bedrooms; some have balconies. Fresh milk and bottled water are provided and a safe, ironing board and iron, hairdryer and coffee and tea-making equipment. Bathrooms have heated floors, baths and monsoon showers, with locally-made Arran Aromatics toiletries.
There are four restaurants: two in the hotel (Michelin-starred Martin Wishart at Loch Lomond – the hotel’s destination restaurant, and the Cameron Grill); The Boat House at the marina – a stylish Ralph Lauren goes to Maine-look restaurant and bar serving high-street chain restaurant style food at high-end prices – a cheese and bacon burger is £16); and the Claret Jug at The Carrick for pub-style dining. Highlights at the Cameron Grill include Ayrshire 28-day aged steaks and a salmon bar of cured and smoked fish.
The Great Scots bar, with it’s warm lighting, leather chairs and windows overlooking the loch and Ben Lomond is an appealing place to down a drink or two at any time of day. Breakfast is an uninspiring continental and cooked buffet with a few items, like eggs Benedict or pancakes with maple syrup, cooked to order.
Value for money
Double rooms from £159 in low season; and from £229 in high. Breakfast included. Free Wi-Fi.