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Review of The Dulaig, Highlands, Scotland

Reviews
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Posted by Simon Wilson at 12:01 on Wednesday 16 May 2012

Simon Wilson visits The Dulaig, a luxurious but friendly B&B in Grantown-on-Spey, near Cairngorm.

>> For contact details and to check availability, see our full listing of: The Dulaig

Ducks on the pond in The Dulaig's beautiful gardens. Photo: The DulaigDucks on the pond in The Dulaig's beautiful gardens. Photo: The DulaigThe accommodation
There are only three rooms so the Dulaig is never too crowded. I stayed in a lovely, large, light-filled room called Shapland, with windows on two sides, some splendid antique furniture, very comfortable furnishings, and all the facilities you would expect – including an en suite shower room. The large shower was great, with body-jets to soothe away hikers’ aches and pains. But if you particularly like a soak in a bath tub, go for one of the other rooms – Taylor or Benson. I had a quick peek at them, and they were just as nice. Guests also have use of a beautiful lounge, which opens onto extensive gardens, complete with terraces, views of the Cairngorms, summer house, and pond.

The lovely and light Shapland bedroom. Photo: The DulaigThe lovely and light Shapland bedroom. Photo: The DulaigThe Dulaig’s website claims that their guests often reckon the beds are the most comfortable they’ve ever slept in. I approached this claim with healthy scepticism – right up until the moment I lay down on one of them. Maybe I was exhausted from a brisk eight-mile stroll along the Spey, or maybe the cut-glass decanter of complimentary sherry on the sideboard had taken its course. Either way, the bed really was rather special and I slept uncommonly soundly. The peaceful surroundings – on the edge of town, down a longish drive with no road nearby – no doubt helped.

The food
For breakfast, I kept things local – and sampled smoked trout from the Strathspey Spey with scrambled eggs from the Dulaig’s resident chickens. Both trout and eggs were first-rate, and I devoutly wished I could have stayed another night to sample the full cooked-breakfast option. There was also a very full range of fruits, cereals, cheeses, and breads – including a home-made soda bread baked by the owner, Carol, with a little Speyside whisky for a deliciously distinctive taste.

What makes The Dulaig green
The Dulaig has been awarded a Gold rating for its  all-round Environmental Management by awarded bythe Green Tourism Business Schemeand since receiving the award photovoltaic solar panels have also been installed. and several other energy saving features. What makes it special is that the owners have clearly worked hard to turn the extensive garden into a wildlife haven. I spent fifteen minutes sitting out of the terrace, and enjoyed watching ducks, pheasants, woodpeckers and red squirrels, as well as the large number of resident hens who supply the breakfast table. 

The activities
The Dulaig is situated between Aviemore and Inverness, and close to Cairngorm. So it’s a good bet as a base or a stop-off for exploring the Highlands, whether your main interest is hiking, biking, fishing on the Spey, doing the local whisky trail, or even skiing. The Dulaig’s owners, Gordon and Carol, are experienced hikers and climbers and sailors who know the north of Scotland well. I found them extremely knowledgeable about local options for climbs, hikes and other activities. They were also full of suggestions for options further afield throughout the Highlands and islands, and all the tips of theirs that I followed up all worked out very well.

Why is staying at The Dulaig a greener holiday?
The Dulaig has been awarded a Gold rating for its  all-round Environmental Management by awarded bythe Green Tourism Business Schemeand since receiving the award photovoltaic solar panels have also been installed. and several other energy saving features. What makes it special is that the owners have clearly worked hard to turn the extensive garden into a wildlife haven. I spent fifteen minutes sitting out of the terrace, and enjoyed watching ducks, pheasants, woodpeckers and red squirrels, as well as the large number of resident hens who supply the breakfast table.

Getting there
Grantown-on-Spey is about 14 miles from Aviemore railway station (on the main line from central Scotland to Inverness and the north); the bus (number 34) takes a little over half an hour. The Dulaig itself is on the edge of town, about five minutes walk from where the bus stops.The relaxing drawing room at The Dulaig. Photo: The DulaigThe relaxing drawing room at The Dulaig. Photo: The Dulaig 

Top Tips
Grantown has a good range of excellent-looking restaurants, but I was in the mood for something hearty and filling and lively. Carol and Gordon pointed me in the direction of The Craig, a bar five minutes’ walk away in the centre of Grantown for which the word “cosy” was invented. If you like friendly customers, banter with a genuinely welcoming landlord and an enormous range of tasty pies (and Speyside single malts) then The Craig is the place for you.

Verdict
This is a luxury B&B with a lovely garden in a stunning, peaceful location. The owners clearly care passionately about what they are doing, and evidence of attention to detail is everywhere – from complimentary scones and jam on arrival (homemade scones, homecooked jam) to the carefully selected arts and crafts furniture in each room. Very friendly, very restful.

Grantown-on-Spey from viewpoint walk. Photo: The DulaigGrantown-on-Spey from viewpoint walk. Photo: The Dulaig>> For contact details and to check availability, see our full listing of: The Dulaig

>> See all our Green places to stay in Scotland

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Blogs posts categorised as 'Reviews' have been written with the support of one or more of the following: accommodation owner, activity provider, operator, equipment supplier, tourist board, protected landscape authority or other destination-focussed authority. The reviewer retains full editorial control of the work, which has been written in the reviewer's own words based on their experience of the accommodation, activity, equipment or destination.

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