Andy Cooper heads north of the border to enjoy a luxurious tour of some special Scottish coastal hotels by the shoreline.

With over 6,000 miles bordering the sea, Scotland is a coast-lover’s paradise. You could visit for ten years and still have plenty more to take in. And the travel and accommodation options are plentiful too. From wild camping in splendid isolation to five-star stays at some of the world’s most iconic destinations, the country has it all.

So, where to start? Well, perhaps some tips for luxurious hotels on the east, north and western coasts, plus an island stay and a city break close to the shore might be of interest. Having just returned from a fabulous week’s stay in Scotland, allow me to present five of my favourites:

The Pierhouse, Port Appin, Argyll

Tucked away on the shores of Loch Linnhe looking out to the islands of Lismore and Mull, this small hotel and renowned Scottish seafood restaurant is one of Argyll’s most idyllic and romantic destinations.

Port Appin, The Pierhouse’s neighbouring seaside village was recently named one of the best places to live in the UK so it is no wonder the hotel and restaurant welcomes visitors from all over the world.

Having flown into Glasgow Airport earlier on via the quick flight from Bristol, the drive out to Port Appin served as a wonderful introduction to the majesty of the Scottish landscape. It really isn’t long before you are out of the city and winding your way down the side of lochs and marvelling at the mountains rising up above you.

The last stretch of the road to Port Appin was a challenge for me keeping my eyes on the road as my partner gasped at the beauty of the scenery. We arrived to a crisp, blue outlook, the sky reflecting off the still waters of the quaint harbour just outside the Pierhouse.

The warmest of welcomes was offered by the team as we were ushered in for a cuppa and a slice of cake in the oh-so-cute residents’ lounge. Relaxation seems to come fitted as standard here.

Food and drink are an integral part of the philosophy and experience at The Pierhouse, with menus showcasing local producing and celebrating the west of Scotland. That was certainly our experience when we sat ourselves down in the bay window of the dining room, drank in the views and availed ourselves of a wonderful meal with the finest of wines.

Suitably replete, we wound our way back to our beautifully-appointed bedroom via a wee dram at the welcoming bar, with a log burner crackling adjacent to us. What. A. Spot.

WHILE YOU’RE IN THE AREA Take in the Glencoe National Nature Reserve… known equally for its awe-inspiring views and sorrowful past – it is a place of history, wildlife, adventure and myth. A trust has cared for Glencoe since 1935, working to preserve and promote one of Scotland’s most iconic natural landscapes. Drink in the landscape, the storied tales of clans who made its name and see the magnificence of the wildlife all around you.

The Three Chimneys, Isle of Skye

The Three Chimneys at Colbost has established itself as a multi-award-winning destination dining experience for more than 30 years. The iconic restaurant with rooms situated in a classic crofter’s cottage has become one of Scotland’s leading destination dining experiences.

And I now know why. Wow, what a delight staying in the beautiful suites at The Three Chimneys was before even dining. Everything is uber-cool, understated chic, with the magnificence of your room the perfect complement to the stunning views over the mountains outside.

After a long drive – I hadn’t appreciated just how large the Isle of Skye is – what we needed was an efficient, friendly welcome and a place to kick back, relax and enjoy perfect hospitality. We got that ten times over and felt truly spoiled ahead of dinner.

The remoteness of The Three Chimneys is part of its charm…it feels like you have achieved something special in even finding it. But when you do then you won’t want to leave.

And when we walked into the dining room to find it packed – even on a weekday night – it was clear this is a place of pilgrimage for those who enjoy excellence when dining. Head chef Scott Davies and his team deserve all the plaudits coming their way and more. Our tasting menu was a classy combination of tastes and textures, binding in the use of local ingredients in elegant and exquisite fashion.

And if our visit wasn’t memorable enough, at breakfast I experienced single malt whisky with my porridge for the first time…and wondered why I haven’t been doing this more regularly! Magical and magnificent all round.

WHILE YOU’RE IN THE AREA Take a tour of the Talisker Distillery…it’s one of the most famous names in whisky and here’s your chance to see where the magic happens. Deespite the remoteness of the location on Skye, there is nothing ‘backwoods’ about the distillery visitor centre. It’s a stunning, modern operation which has visitors flocking from all the world to see the history of this iconic brand, try a tasting or two and even taking home your own personalised bottle.

Kylesku Hotel, Sutherland

If you want to get just about as far north as it’s possible to be and experience total luxury in stunning surroundings into the bargain, then it’s hard not to argue that all roads lead to the Kylesku Hotel.

And what roads they are. This part of the world has to have some of the most isolated and yet stunning highways in this country and it’s easy to see why the routes around here form part of the world famous NC500.

Kylesku Hotel is one of the most historic hotels in the Highlands dating back to at least 1883 when it was a coaching inn and much-loved stopover for generations of Highland travellers.

It truly sits in isolated splendour in one of the most magnificent settings I have experienced in a hotel. To open the curtains in the morning and witness the sun rising over the mountains falling down to the shores of the sea lochs was a totally memorable experience.

Staff at the hotel were warm and friendly, adding to the specialness of our stay. We dined on some of the finest lobster it has been my pleasure to experience, accompanied by a crisp Chablis as we watched the sun set over those aforementioned mountains from the wide-angle windowed restaurant.

There’s a lovely shop selling local crafts just outside the hotel where keepsakes of your stay can be bought…an essential reminder of your magical stay. We took the opportunity of being so far north to head for nearby Durness, a beautiful beach sitting virtually on the top of the country and a wonderful place to experience the raw power of nature as the waves crash in.

WHILE YOU’RE IN THE AREA Visit Corrieshalloch Gorge…walk across the suspension bridge as the River Droma rushes through a mile-long slot gorge below. This mile-long canyon, through which the River Droma rushes, takes its name from the Gaelic for ‘ugly hollow’. But that’s as far from the truth as can be – Corrieshalloch is one of the most spectacular gorges of its type in Britain and from the Victorian suspension bridge you can gaze down over a series of crashing waterfalls.

Glenmorangie House, Fearn by Tain

I knew there was something different about Glenmorangie House when the first thing I witnessed on arrival was a 20-feet high metal giraffe standing at the entrance. Now, that might seem quirky at first sight, but it has a meaning and a context which becomes all too clear when you step inside.

You see, the orange giraffe is the symbol of Glenmorangie whisky and so the presence of the ‘guardsman’ at this beautiful coastal hotel owned by the brand is but the first in a series of links with the world famous dram.

Just a few miles from the distillery where the whiskies are produced is this boutique Highland hotel which is a sensory playground where guests can immerse themselves in the delicious and wonderful world of Glenmorangie.

Nestled on the rugged Moray Firth coast, this delightful nine-bedroom hotel offers a spectacular Scottish retreat. With an emphasis on warm hospitality, guests can enjoy AA Rosette Awarded dining in a dinner party style, designed to create a lively, convivial atmosphere.

We were told by our hostess on arrival that we were to treat Glenmorangie as if it was our own house and relax and enjoy ourselves while we were looked after. This was particularly true in our case as we happened to be the only guests there that night. Normally, guests are asked to mingle communally for dinner and breakfast, which I am sure would be very easy when the only topic of conversation on everyone’s lips would be the delightful difference which is Glenmorangie House.

From the colourful and quirky interiors to the amazing welcome and service laid on by the team to the fabulous food served to us for dinner on our own bespoke menu, we had an utterly memorable time. And you rely must round your evening off by sipping on one of the expressions of the ubiquitous whisky whilst sitting by the fireside…wonderful warmth in in a glass in peaceful, perfect surroundings.

WHILE YOU’RE IN THE AREA Take the Highland Pictish Trail…the most visible legacy of the Picts and the period when they inhabited these parts are the enigmatic carved stones which you can see either still standing in the Highland landscape or else in local museums and heritage centres. As you tour the Highland Pictish Trail and see the different stones along the route, you learn a great deal more about Pictish life and culture in the Highlands.

Ness Walk, Inverness

Any hotel which offers you a glass of champagne on arrival has started off on the right foot…and the staff at Ness Walk just keep delivering when it comes to service and treating their guests brilliantly.

There is an understated elegance to the place which makes it a pleasure to stay. Nothing is too much trouble and quality is stitched through everything the hotel does.

Nestled on the leafy banks of the river, this idyllic five-star retreat allows you to experience a secluded atmosphere in the heart of the vibrant city centre.

Originally a 19th century house, this lovingly restored listed building still retains many of its period features. But this is unified with an extension demonstrating modern design and architecture, providing a flawless balance between past and present.

Our room was a beautiful, large space and, once more, there were sweet treats and a welcome note awaiting us when we checked in. It was a good job we didn’t indulge too much because it meant we still had room for dinner in the hotel’s fantastic Torrish Restaurant. This offers silver service fine dining at its very best, all started off with a cocktail in the busy, dynamic bar. A wonderful experience all round.

Inverness might officially be a coastal city, but it has the feel of a town – busy enough to cater for visitors and locals and yet small enough to be enjoyed on foot, particularly when ambling along the beautiful River Ness, where the world seems to slow down as you enjoy the architecture along the banks and the sights and sounds of the water.

WHILE YOU’RE IN THE AREA Visit Loch Ness. You can’t be a first-timer in Inverness and not make your way to the famous hiding place of ‘Nessie’! Believe in the legend of the submerged monster or not, what is not open to debate is the spectacular vastness of this long stretch of wafer and the beauty all around. Yes, some of the visitor attractions dotted along the lake may score high on the cheesy factor but if that’s not your thing then just avoid them and walk a stretch or two of the shore – its quite simply breath taking. For more information on holidays in Scotland, go to

The NC500

The North Highlands has become one of the most iconic destinations in Scotland because of the NC500.

Bringing together a route of just over 500 miles of stunning coastal scenery, the North Cost 500 naturally follows the main roads along the coastal edges of the North Highlands of Scotland, taking in the regions of Wester Ross, Sutherland, Caithness, Easter Ross, the Black Isle and Inverness-Shire.

The route begins and ends in Inverness, the capital of the Scottish Highlands. The NC500 was launched only five years ago, yet in that time, it has reached a global audience of over 11.2 billion and is ranked by many independent sources as the best road trip on the planet.

Feeling inspired to visit the Scottish shores? Check out our feature on the lesser known gems of Scotland.