Celebrating a traditional Scottish Hogmanay at the totally superb Kingsmills Hotel, perfectly situated in the heart of the Scottish Highlands within a short distance of some of the greatest scenic wonders of the world, and only a 15 minute walk from Inverness city centre, is an experience of a lifetime that you will never forget! So amazing an experience that we have been spending Hogmanay here since December 2006, and are returning on 29th December this year! What makes it so unforgettable? The Kingsmills is an absolutely beautiful hotel, spotlessly clean and tastefully decorated, and extremely comfortable. The lounge area and reception has extremely comfy sofas decorated with traditional Scottish patterns, and the king size beds on the second floor are the cosiest we have ever slept in anywhere! There is also a very lovely (and spotlessly clean!) swimming pool and spa where you can enjoy an extremely pleasant, relaxing afternoon. The hotel also has the most delightful gardens with beautiful evergreen glades- a very pleasant place to walk, or even to enjoy a New Year's Day Segway safari! The location cannot be faulted- Inverness is the perfect base to explore the Highlands, offering easy access to Loch Ness and the Great Glen as well as the spectacularly wild western regions of Lochaber, Lochalsh and Wester Ross, which we greatly enjoyed touring around this time, and the hotel is easily accessible from the A82 and A9- roads along which most magnificent journeys will start! The hotel is also no more than 15 minutes walk from the Eastgate shopping centre and rail station in central Inverness.
Essential to any Hogmanay break at a hotel in the Highlands is good traditional Scottish entertainment, and nowhere is this, in my view, better than at the Kingsmills. The quality of the Scottish music on offer is second to none: the music for the ceilidh on December 30th was provided by the highly acclaimed Rhythm n Reel, who are an extremely talented set of musicians who entertained us greatly that evening and made for an exceptionally lively and enjoyable night! I would love to see such talented musicians return to the hotel! The Hogmanay gala dinner was accompanied by an extremely talented lone piper, which created a lively, unforgettable and unmistakably Highland atmosphere, and the after-dinner ceilidh band and DJ created a fantastic party atmosphere and had us all dancing to all of our favourite tunes- a perfect mix of traditional Scottish and contemporary styles, including a disco with many of our favourite Scottish pop tunes! January 1st saw the return of the amazing Inverness fiddler Bruce MacGregor and friends, who made sure the evening went out with a bang with lively ceilidh tunes and Gaelic song, not to mention some very lively Strip the Willow dances! It is fantastic that such amazing musicians perform at the Kingsmills each year, and is what makes it so special! It must also be testament to the quality and reputation of the hotel locally. Other fun entertainment included the hilarious staff pantomime on New Year's Day, a very enjoyable New Year's Day quiz and an energetic Segway safari throughout the hotel's beautiful wooded gardens!
A great Scottish Hogmanay also needs great Scottish food, home made using local ingredients. The Kingsmills table d'hote menus, and the hearty breakfasts and irresistible venison sausages on New Year's Day brunch, ticked these two boxes without a doubt, and the Hogmanay gala dinner is the best meal I have ever eaten anywhere in the world, by far! Never have I seen local ingredients prepared with such passion and creativity, to create the most sumptuous 5 course menu I have ever tasted! The chef at the Kingsmills certainly knows how to cook the most sublime fillet of Highland beef; juicy, tender and bursting with flavours! The trio of desserts was also a marvellous creation; a great sweet treat. Then came the sublime midnight haggis to welcome in the new year, beautifully cooked and served with traditional neeps and tatties. The creativity of the chef and his team must also be highlighted here: the chocolate tart with malteser ice-cream on December 30th was a masterful and highly original combination, and the malteser ice-cream is such an original recipe, and the best ice-cream I have ever tasted! The kitchen staff were even so kind as to make me a malteser ice-cream milkshake one night, which tasted absolutely delicious, and was an extremely kind gesture as it did not feature on any menu! The kitchen staff here are clearly extremely accommodating and know just how to put a smile on their diners' faces! I must also praise the chef for his amazing kids' meals; the kids chicken nuggets are homemade, with hand-cut skinny fries, and are served in such a charming way with chips in their own little basket, and taste absolutely delicious! So nice to see that they care for younger visitors and making it special for them too.
This awesome experience could never have been possible without the commitment of the delightful staff at the Kingsmills! They all worked so hard to make our Hogmanay such an unforgettable experience, and the manager, Craig, and his assistant Sandra are such incredibly friendly, welcoming people. They have put so much effort into making this Hogmanay so special- and made us feel so welcome in their magnificent hotel. Other staff members that went out of our way to help us were Bill, the genial elderly man at reception who greets you each morning like a long lost friend and is a mine of information on the scenic wonders of the area, and also Anupam and Evelyn in the restaurant, who always had time for a friendly chat and were always extremely accommodating when we wanted dishes prepared slightly differently, and even offered to get us items that were not on the menu, such as malteser ice-cream milkshakes: nothing was ever too much trouble for them! All the staff at the Kingsmills are a huge asset to the hotel and treat their guests so well; we are always made to feel like we are part of one big happy family here at Kingsmills!
Thank you so much to everyone at Kingsmills for an amazing and unforgettable Hogmanay, we will be returning on 29th December 2014 for more Highland Hogmanay fun without a doubt! If anyone wants an extremely friendly Highland hotel with exceptional quality, traditional food, super cosy rooms and great Scottish entertainment, they should look no further than the Kingsmills Hotel!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- conservatory a la carte restaurant and also Inglis table d' hote restaurant ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Kingsmills Hotel Inverness, Scotland