I’ve stayed in A LOT of hotels, guest houses, and hostels. So asking me to choose favourites is a big ask. However, I have a few that (for one reason or another) really stand out and one of them in Scotland is Loch Melfort Hotel. Tucked away on the West coast of Argyll, I feel like this country house is one of Scotland’s best kept hotel secrets. Let’s me show you why …
This article has links to the rooms I’ve stayed in and loved, which I may make commission from. Regardless, the post is an honest review of all hotel features.
A hidden hotel just south of Oban
I’m going to start with the obvious. The views. Oh the views! Loch Melfort is tucked peacefully underneath Arduaine Point, their views stretching across Asknish Bay and all the way across to Mull and the Inner Hebrides.
Their outdoor terrace provides the perfect setting for daytime coffees, lazy lunches, and sunset tipples. On a dry day, it’s a peaceful retreat from which to sit back and take in the 17 acres of gardens, whilst a drizzly day (not unheard of in Scotland) is best spent snuggled up next to their fire or relaxing in their Sea-View lodges.
Oban restaurant with a strong vegan-friendly angle
Whilst many locations offer one or two options that are/can be veganised, Loch Melfort offers a full vegan menu (they also do gluten-free & dairy-free menus too). In fact, they cater to us so well that they’re featured in the Uk’s first Vegan Food Trail.
What I really love about their food is that the Chef has clearly made an effort to step away from the usual veg curry and fallafel options and get really creative for the vegans.
My go-to starter is always their puy lentil salad, and their vegan wild mushroom ristto is my absolute evening favourite. They recently added vegan ‘scallops’ to the menu, and I’ve been told the sauce they come in is (quote) “So good you want to drink it.” To top it off, their team have firmly acknowledged that a fruit bowl is a sad trigger for the vegan community, and their pudding options include a vanilla panna cotta and a vegan cheese board!
Loch Melfort – A hotel in Oban with a sea view to die for
The original Loch Melfort Hotel building houses garden-view rooms that are perfect for those on a budget (alongside a beautiful suite with a terrace looking out across the sea). however, we always opt to stay in their spacious Sea-View Lodges.
These are set out across two floors: the top floor with balconies and the bottom with extended decking and dog-friendly facilities. On a pleasant day, the decking is a lovely place to sit with a glass of wine and stare out across the islands.
Another room sell for me? The huge beds! The beds in the Sea-View Lodges are enormous and so comfortable that I can never resist an arrival nap. We’ve learned from experience that they book up fast (leave it closer to a couple of months in advance and chances are you’ll miss out).
Things to do at Loch Melfort Hotel
The hotel is only a 30-minute drive south of Oban, so it’s easy to zip up the coast and explore the large town and all its attractions.
However, half the beauty of visiting LMH is its remote setting and relaxing feel. I’m quite content taking little walks down to the pebbly beach (I was even brave enough to take part in a spot of wild swimming once) and the sunsets from the pier are just wonderful.
The grounds are also home to a number of animals: 3 Highland cows, 2 naughty goats, and 1 curious rescue dog. The cows have become a photo focal point for the hotel, and their meal times are always announced by impatient moos. The goats are forever on the hunt for a leafy snack, and it’s not uncommon to spot them jumping up onto the tress and across the fences for a tasty opportunity. Bracken (the white goat) is particularly affectionate and has always been receptive to a head, face, or tummy scratch.
For something a little more unusual, head right out to the end of the pier to see if you can spot the man in the bathtub.
Accommodation next to Arduiane Gardens
As well as goats, beaches and sea-bound statues, Loch Melfort Hotel sits on the grounds of Arduaine Estate, which is also home to the colorful Arduaine Gardens. The National Trust-maintained space boasts flora and foliage from across the globe, encouraged by the warm climate from the Atlantic drift. It’s worth putting aside a good hour or so to explore and enjoy these gardens properly, and be sure to keep an eye out for the sloping track that takes you up to the pretty viewpoint.
PLEASE NOTE: The gardens are currently closed for Spring 2022 for essential maintenance work. Please check their website for the latest news.
Travelling around the Highlands? You’ll find more Scottish accommodation ideas on my North Coast 500 itinerary blog.