If ever you want to experience what provincial hotels were like in the 1960s/70s, look no further. We spent a night here as a big family group. We chose this hotel on the basis of the location (very convenient for sassenachs returning from the Isles as the ferry docks at Oban at 10pm - it's a particularly tiring drive south at that time of night) and the fact that they flexibly accommodated us - 3 kids and dog in one room, a family of 5 in another, two doubles, one single, and all on the same floor. It wasn't particularly cheap - our group of five plus dog was nearly £200 including breakfast - but the rooms were clean, quiet - if a little cramped - and the beds were comfortable and breakfast was good. But what really made an impression was the decor. Every stretch of wall space was hung with some ornament or other; some of the collections were a truly impressive example of the Victorian mania for collecting, and I suspect dated from that era. Paintings of landscapes and collections of taxidermy - stag heads on wall as well as birds and otters in glass cases - abounded. There was a multi cultural thing going on too - 'eclectic' barely does it justice - with Russian icons hung next to Hindu sequins-embroidered elephants, photos of Concorde, and shelves of immaculately polished silver all vying for attention. Chinoiserie of various kinds - a blue and white rabbit sat next to a very large butter dish and copious jars and vases - decorated the deep windowsills in the landings and in the hallway a cowrie shell chandelier hovering near a bamboo birdcage delighted the children. I was particularly struck with the original servants' bell board in front of the reception desk. It bookended a historical spectrum with the radio/intercom (pictured) in the bedroom. Forget wifi - here was how life was really lived when people were directly looked after by people, rather than through the medium of machines. On which subject, the service was friendly and welcoming. 'The bar stays open depending how many people are in it,' was the cheerful answer to our enquiry about how late we could get a drink. Breakfast was served by efficient local ladies of a certain age liveried in brown polyester dresses with cream aprons. A favourite on the menu among our group was 'the Big Yin' - cooked breakfast with all the trimmings. The dining room with its mahogany sideboards groaning under yet more polished silver, flower stands, bevelled overmantels, dark brown artex ceiling, and glass lamps hanging down 2 feet from the high ceiling would not have looked out of place on the set of a Henry James adaptation. And if the swirly carpets gave you a 70s timewarp headache, just lift your gaze to the views from the huge bay sash windows across Loch Etive across to Ben Lora: timeless and breathtaking, even in the heavy rain.
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- Also Known As:
- Falls Of Lora Connel, Scotland - Oban
- Falls Of Lora Hotel Connel