Focus on Scotland

GleneaglesWhen it comes to destinations with powerful appeal, Scotland has it all: rich culture, history, natural beauty, and, for meeting professionals, hospitality standards that virtually guarantee a crowd-pleasing event. These venues, from a site visit in April, suggest the range of offerings for upscale and luxury groups.

Name: Stirling Castle
Location: an hour from both Edinburgh and Glasgow
What Groups Can Expect: An imposing, impressive site for atmospheric events in the heart of Braveheart country. The sixteenth-century castle, voted Britain’s #1 Top Heritage Attraction by Which?, includes Scotland’s largest medieval banqueting hall for up to 300. Groups enjoy exclusive use of the castle in the evenings, when dramatic lighting adds a sense of fairytale magic. Additional Great Hall Vaults available for meetings of up to 50 during the day, with delicious catered meals prepared onsite.
Personal Favorites: The allegorical unicorn tapestries in the restored Palace.
Best Moment: walking through the stone arches into the cobblestone courtyard
Contact: Jayne Hinds, Corporate Events Sales Manager

Hotel-du-VinName: Hotel du Vin at One Devonshire Gardens
Location: Glasgow
What Groups Can Expect: Boutique hospitality with just 49 rooms and suites, all named for wines and individually dressed to the nines. A wine cellar, with its 600-bottle collection and the whisky snug, with 300 bottles, plus a signature cigar shack outdoors, distills the finer things in life.
Personal Favorites: The baronial atmosphere of wood paneling and soaring stained glass windows in each of the five joined row houses.
Best Moment: The surprising juxtaposition of preserved Victorian architectural detail and designer guest rooms.
Contact Info: Nan Li, Business Development Manager

cameron-houseName: Cameron House on Loch Lomond
Location: Loch Lomond, Dunbartonshire
What Groups Can Expect: Handsome, authentically Scottish ambience, complete with pseudo game trophies on the walls. Four restaurants brimming with character. Loads of family-friendly amenities, plus options like seaplane and boat rides, golf, spa treatments. Helpful, warm staff that make a stay in the country pleasant, not pretentious.
Personal Favorites: The spa’s rooftop infinity hot tub overlooking untamed lakeside terrain.
Best Moment: A champagne boat ride on the resort’s yacht, a nice treat for groups.
Contact Info: Tracy Solly, Director of Sales

inverlochyName: Inverlochy Castle Hotel
Location: The foothills of Ben Nevis, in Fort William, Inverness-shire
What Groups Can Expect: Incredible views of the lake and mountains; 17 individually designed bedrooms with private baths befitting a Relais & Chateaux property; and a formal Michelin-starred restaurant.
Personal Favorites: The Queen’s Suite, with its gracious sitting area by the window, four-poster bed, and large, view-filled, split-level bath.
Best Moment: One amazing dessert, whose description of “lightly whipped cinnamon brulee with carmelized bananas and a banana and yoghurt ice cream” didn’t nearly do it justice.
Contact Info: Joanne Mannis, Sales Manager

urquhart2Name: Urquhart Castle
Location: On the banks of Loch Ness, 13 miles southwest of Inverness
What Groups Can Expect: Today, imposing ruins overlooking Loch Ness, but a medieval stronghold in its heyday. The popular tourist attraction has a new visitor’s center that hosts events for 80 diners or receptions for 150, an auditorium for seminars or presentations, plus possibilities for evening cocktails at the castle itself.
Personal Favorites: The interesting eight-minute film giving a historical perspective
Best Moment: First sight of the castle and Loch Ness
Contact Info: Jayne Hinds, Corp. Events Sales Mgr.

GlencoeVisitorCentreName: Glencoe Visitor Centre
Location: 18 miles south of Fort William, just east of Glencoe village
What Groups Can Expect: An informative, scenic stop, currently with a bit of cinematic glam, thanks to the James Bond buzz of “Skyfall.” Loads of beautiful walking paths, an extensive gift shop, interactive displays, and plenty of Glencoe history. Enough meeting space to entertain 50 theater style, and a café and gift shop to keep them happy.
Personal Favorites: The stark scenery that leads you in to the Visitor Centre…mysterious and breathtaking!
Best Moment: The gift shop’s cache of clan information and the chance to take a picture beside a lifesize image of James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5.
Contact Info: Carol Ross, National Hospitality Manager

Culloden-HouseName: Culloden House
Location: Culloden, Inverness
What Groups Can Expect: A Georgian-style country manor surrounded by 40 acres of woodland and tranquil gardens. Parts of the house date back to its sixteenth-century Jacobean castle roots, but the majority dates back to 1788, and include a long legacy of hospitality that remains to this day. A relaxed atmosphere fostered by genuinely friendly staff. Numerous thank you cards on the mirror in the entranceway tell the story of happy guests and down-to-earth hospitality.
Personal Favorites: The tranquil four-acre walled garden adjacent to the hotel
Best Moment: Coming home from a long day of business to afternoon tea with scones by the fire, in the sunny and oh-so-comfy sitting room.
Contact Info: Stephen Davies, UK Operations Director

NewDrumossieHotelName: New Drumossie Hotel
Location: Inverness
What Groups Can Expect: Sophistication without formality, able to host events for up to 350 guests. Comfortable lounge areas and ample conference space, efficiently laid out.
Personal Favorites: The Drumossie Suite’s floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides with views to the parkland and woodlands
Best Moment: Hospitality that felt genuine and included a lovely parting gift: a chance to literally bag some Scottish goodies, like Scotland’s top-selling soft drink, Irn-Bru, and haggis-and-pepper-flavored potato chips, to fuel the trip home.
Contact Info: Ivan Franssen, Managing Director

Achnagairn-HouseName: Achnagairn House
Location: Kirkhill, Inverness-shire
What Groups Can Expect: Old-world character for events, but with a modern twist. Twenty-four guest rooms, all individually decorated and thoroughly—even lovingly—redesigned with modern fixtures, minimalist decor, and unique touches.
Personal Favorites: The grand ballroom’s rich atmosphere. High ceilings and a choir loft of sorts with additional seating that has a sense of intimacy and warmth despite its soaring ceiling height.
Best Moment: The pipe and drum corp welcome on the front lawn, making for a memorable arrival
Contact Info: Marina Huggett, Business Development Manager

ciangorns2Name: Cairngorms National Park
Location: in the heart of the Scottish highlands
What Groups Can Expect: The UK’s largest national park and packed with incredible beauty and recreational options to entertain groups. The long list of recreational options includes canoeing, wildlife tours on the lake, Segway tours, ropes courses, mountain biking, reindeer feeding, foraging instruction, and winter sports in season.
Personal Favorites: The sense of isolation amidst tremendous beauty, but with a clear invitation to recreate.
Best Moment: Visiting Britain’s only reindeer herd.

Macdonald-Aviemore-Resort2Name: Macdonald Aviemore Resort
Location: Aviemore, Inverness-shire
What Groups Can Expect: A complex of 3- and 4-star hotels plus full conference center with exhibition hall. A total of 400 accommodations and contemporary hospitality, all perfectly situated in the heart of Cairngorms National Park, amid ancient Caledonian pine forests and abundant wildlife.
Personal Favorites: Highland hospitality with the host of family-friendly amenities (massive gift shop, luxury spa, 3-D theater, children’s play area, 18-hole golf), that make it attractive for incentive groups that include kids.
Best Moment: A warm cup of tea on arrival and a satisfying buffet lunch, beautifully presented, after a morning of Highland activity.
Contact Info: Jess Atkinson, Business Development Manager

GleneaglesName: The Gleneagles Hotel
Location: Perthshire, an hour’s drive from the airports of Edinburgh and Glasgow
What Groups Can Expect: A venue prestigious enough to host the G8 Summit of world leaders in 2005 and the 40th Ryder Cup Matches in 2014. Rooms in the Braid House are the most recently renovated and feature contemporary decor, gas fireplaces, patios, and touch-of-a-button room technology, including a sound system . This is hospitality playing its A-game—maybe better.
Personal Favorites: Too many to list, but the slate of Scottish activities, from gundogs to falconry to offroad 4X4 driving (to say nothing of golf), merits superlatives.
Best Moment: The falconry demonstration, allowing groups to get up-close and personal with a bird of prey.
Contact Info: Val Eglinton, Head of Sales

balm_meetings3Name: Balmoral Hotel
Location: The heart of Edinburgh
What Groups Can Expect: The gold standard of hospitality and 188 rooms brimming with polished sophistication—and a touch of James Bond–style whimsy. City views, elegant ballrooms with natural light and castle views, a sense of history, and a location that’s at the heart of everything at 1 Princes Street.
Personal Favorites: The prompt, polite, and genuine service that resonates long after your stay is over.
Best Moment: Dinner with views of a night-lit Edinburgh castle
Contact Info: Frances Maurer, Sales Manager

royalyachtName: The Royal Yacht Britannia
Location: Ocean Terminal, Leith, Edinburgh
What Groups Can Expect: The Queen’s floating royal residence for over 40 years, with a decor that still harks back to its mid-century days. Now, a stellar event venue and museum in one.
Personal Favorites: The long table for corporate events, surrounded by artifacts from around the world, for occasions that surely must feel like an affair of state.
Best Moment: Walls lined with photos of the royals on holiday, whilst being served champagne and canapés.
Contact Info: Emily Shields, Senior Event Sales Manager

Susan Campbell

Susan Campbell

Susan Campbell is the Editor of Elite Meetings magazine. During her 20-plus years in publishing, she’s written extensively on destinations and luxury hospitality experiences for leisure travelers and the meetings industry alike.

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