Cameron House is special. This stately hotel just outside the small town of Balloch, a 30 minute drive from Glasgow, is situated on the banks of Loch Lomond; offering a spectacular and dramatic landscape that has the capacity to instantly relax you.
Cameron House looks like a redeveloped Gothic Castle, which has rather unfortunately lost some of its character through the extended wings and modern almost Center Parc like cottages. In fact I would describe Cameron House as an up market Centre Parcs in an extraordinary location – something for the whole family, couples or friends looking for a relaxing “staycation” without having to travel too far.
My husband and I were looking for just that, and during the festive Winter season Cameron House is the perfect destination to snuggle up under a blanket and sip mulled wine or Scotch with the backdrop of Britain’s largest inland stretch of water. Scottish designer Gavin Crawford has mixed contemporary with traditional styles. Dark dramatic interiors, red leathers, tartans and rich velvets create a warm and charming ambience; and this was the perfect backdrop for the festive decorations and mood in the air.
What I loved about Cameron House is that there is variety and plenty of things to do: from taking a seaplane over the Loch, capturing the beauty of the Loch from a rooftop infinity pool, indulging in an incredible massage, having afternoon tea in the drawing room and going for a swim in the leisure centre. If there is one thing I would recommend: it is taking a trip on the Celtic Warrior boat, with a glass of champagne and really immersing yourself into the beauty of the Loch. The vistas are truly breath taking and the captain will be sure to explain the history of the Loch and the islands you will pass.
The highlight of Cameron House was the eight course vegetarian tasting menu at its Michelin star restaurant: Martin Wishart. This was perhaps one of my husband’s favourite tasting menus of all time. The broccoli ravioli in yellow pepper and coconut sauce, and the wild mushroom spelt risotto were particularly distinct and memorable. The service at Martin Wishart is outstanding, and falls nothing short of what you would expect at a Michelin star restaurant. Unfortunately, this 5 star service and finesse does not quite transcend across the whole hotel.
Cameron House has four restaurants to choose from and offers food at The Great Scott’s Bar. There are very few hotels in Britain that offer this much choice within one resort. After Martin Wishart, the Boat House was my favourite – more for the casual, fresh airy atmosphere that provided a change of scene from the deep earthy colours of the rest of the resort. For vegetarians the choice in each restaurant is limited to a few Italian options. This is OK if you are staying at the hotel for two days, however I do think if you are here for four days or more there is only so much pasta, risotto or pizza you can eat. Cameron House does have self-catering cottages that might be ideal for vegetarians who may want the option to cook their own food and yet still have access to the restaurants on offer within the hotel.
My husband and I left Cameron House on Christmas Eve. As we were leaving bagpipes were playing, large families were checking in, children were engaged in endless Christmas activities organised by the staff at Cameron House and mulled wine was being served in the mysterious reception which was lit by large lanterns. As we took one last look at the mesmerising loch, a part of me wished we could have spent Christmas at Cameron House.
Cameron House, Loch Lomond, Alexandria, G83 8QZ, +44871 222 4681
Martin Wishart Eight Course Vegetarian Tasting Menu
Baby Leeks and Avocado – Tosazu Dressing & Crème Fraiche
Broccoli Ravioli – Yellow Pepper & Coconut Sauce
Gratin of Violet Artichokes – Smoked Egg Yolk
CEP Mushroom Velouté – Chestnut Puree
Hand-rolled Black Olive Gnochhetti – Courgette & Pine Nuts
Emmental Soufflé – Soubise Spinach
Spelt Grain Risotto – Wild Mushrooms
Valrhona Manjari Chocolate – Blackcurrant & Knockraich Farm Crème Fraiche