Airds Hotel – Port Appin, Highlands, Scotland

The Full Flavor of Scottish Hospitality amid, Highland Beauty

Scotland wasn’t united with England until 1707, and it has proudly held on to its individualistic character. It was also around that time that this large white-stucco inn on the filigree coastline of Argyll first started welcoming ferryboat passengers on their way to the Isle whiskies merits a mention, too. Eric’s wife, of Lismore and others, plying them with Betty, is one of Scotland’s premier chefs and haggis, whisky, and a warm fire. Fast-forward to today’s gracious welcome by The Airds’ amiable host, Eric Allen, occasionally caught in full Highland evening dress, who guaran­tees an excellent stay at his family-owned and-run inn.

The Airds has garnered count­less accolades for its vista-rich location on the wildly beautiful Loch Linnhe, as well as its service, furnishings, and especially its kitchen and prodigious cellar, whose wine list runs fifty pages long. The impressive selec­tion of Scotch single-malt and blended she has taught her talented son, Graeme, well. The Airds could be known solely as a top-notch foodie shrine if not for the panoply of day trips this area of the northern Highlands offers.

The castle town of Inverary (the ancient capital of Argyll) is one of Scotland’s most handsome—and twice as inviting with the nearby 90-acre lush Crarae Gardens thrown in. This is also the area for Scotland’s best lunch: stop in at the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar (Clachan Farm in Caimdow), whose famous blue-ribbon oysters are so fresh they’ve never known ice. But save room for dinner—always at 8:00—the event of the day back at The Airds.

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