On another of our winter visits to Scandinavian Village in Aviemore, we decided to leave the kids at their grannies and head down a day early for a stay at The Cairngorm Hotel. Storm Arwen was just beginning to hit the northeast and we were in two minds if we should travel or not, but we first went to Inverness which seemed unaffected before heading south to Aviemore along the A9 motorway... there was some snow on the roads but the wind hadn't reached Aviemore at this time.
We pulled into the Cairngorm Hotel Aviemore car park on Grampian Road at around 3.30 pm with the snow slowly falling around us, it was really picturesque and the hotel is an architecturally great looking building.
It was a little early for checking in so we walked up the main street and investigated the many nice shops... coinciding with Black Friday there were a lot of good deals on offer... we also grabbed some room munchies from Tesco!
On our many visits to Aviemore we have eaten at the Cairngorm Hotel and loved the food, so this time it was a bit of a treat to be able to stay the night and have some much-needed husband and wife alone time.
The hotel has earned its reputation as Aviemore's premier independent hotel and has so much more life and character than the soulless chain establishment hotels in and around Aviemore. There are no airs or graces here, it's just a fun, down to earth friendly hotel with normal salt of the earth people, comfortable rooms, a great lively bar (with frequent live entertainment) and fantastic food. They are definitely purveyors of the famous Scottish Highland hospitality.
The decor as you enter is quirky and fun as you pass a suit of armour (which was wearing a germ facemask earlier in the year), and the walls are adorned with swords, artwork and deer antlers, tartan walls and carpets definitely give it a supremely Scottish feel.
We received a warm and friendly welcome from the receptionist as we entered the building, check-in was fast and painless. There was no booking required for supper and she asked if we would like to book breakfast in the morning - a resounding yes! There was free wifi available and no charge for the car park. We received our key to room 125 which had just been freshly cleaned as an anti covid measure.
Heading up the large square staircase to the near of the reception to the first floor, the Scottish theme continues with a large stuffed bird and other curios as you climb further.
Snug Double Guest Room
We had booked a "Snug Double Guest Room" which was perfect for us. Although called a "snug" room, it was about the same size as a normal travel inn/travel lodge type room but had much more character with the high ceilings, roof mouldings, curtains and fancy bed.
The room had a great view out towards the railway station in central Aviemore and it was fun just looking out to the snow from our warm cosy room. There were many poor souls catching the buses outside, we felt lucky to be relaxing in our comfortable accommodation. Located in the Cairngorms National Park, the Cairngorm Mountains themselves were visible from the room and really adds to the magic of the hotel.
Our room was immaculately clean, including the ensuite bathroom, with no signs of hair or dirt anywhere, it was perfect.
Other rooms at Cairngorm Hotel
There are a variety of other rooms available on the first and second floor:
- Double/Twin Guest Room
- King Guest Room
- King Superior Guest Room
After relaxing for an hour or so, we decided to head down for some food at about 6 pm.
I always feel weird calling the evening meal "Dinner" as in my area of Scotland that is the name for your noon meal, it doesn't sound right to me calling the evening meal "Dinner", "Tea" or "Teatime" is the norm for me!
"Dinner" at the Cairngorm Hotel is fantastic, we have tried many meals here over the years including the amazing Haggis Bon Bons, Haggis Neeps and tatties, and the Haggis Lasange! You might be seeing a pattern here, but my favourite meal is their own "Infamous" burger which is nearly always my first choice for my main. There is truly something for everyone on this menu, I've had the goats cheese salad in the past and it was delicious.
I of course ordered the burger, with extra cheese (blue cheese option is great too!), and my wife opted for the Haggis Neeps and Tatties. The meals were great as usual and we were absolutely stappit!
Back to the room
After a great meal we headed back to our room, the soundproofing in the rooms actually wasn't that good, with audible voices heard from the adjacent room, and maybe the dining room downstairs... but I felt this actually added to the feel of the hotel and made it feel alive and happy especially in these Covid times, it felt nice to hear people in the other rooms.
By 10 pm the sound had died down and we had a great sleep with the snow outside gently patting at the windows.
This was our first Cairngorm Hotel breakfast, and a loud abrupt Glaswegian woman took our order... I wouldn't like to mess with her, but she was fun in her own way if a little intimidating!
We had a full cooked breakfast each, and while it may not be as good as the main evening meals (reconstituted eggs) it was a functional breakfast and set us up for the day ahead. Haggis was included, which was something new for me at breakfast, and a tattie scone which I had never had before. Toast, butter and marmalade were also provided as part of the breakfast.
I grabbed a quick shower back in the room, which came with branded complimentary soap and shampoo/body wash.
We checked out at about 10.30 am, and again it was a completely simple process with the friendly staff.
Is there free parking?
Yes, the car park is free if you are staying or eating at the hotel.
Is the Cairngorm Hotel accessible?
Yes, there is wheelchair access on offer, and there are reduced mobility rooms available.
Are pets allowed?
Arrangements can be made if you call in advance.
Can you book a table at the restaurant?
Tables are on a first come first serve basis, but they have good capacity so it's likely you will get a table even if you can't book. They did take our booking for breakfast. Try for the tower table in the corner of the dining room for a more intimate/special experience.
We had a brilliant one night, meal and breakfast at the Cairngorm Hotel Aviemore and from our stay, as a couple, we can highly recommend it, I'm sure it would be great for kids too in their family rooms and their menu will suit the fussiest of tastes. Our kids love it there and gobble up the chicken goujons in particular which are real chicken and not the cheap formed nugget type chicken. A soup and sandwich deal at lunchtime is also fantastic, see my broccoli soup with turkey and cranberry sandwich below.
If you are getting the train to Aviemore the train station is directly across from the hotel, so you will not have far to go and will not need a taxi or bus. Its ideal central location is near many great shops, restaurants and bars.
The hotel would make a great base for the famous whisky trail, hill walking, winter sports, or just checking out the many outdoor activities in and around Aviemore such as the nearby Rothiemurchus Estate... or just do what we did and relax and fill your face with good food!
Bookings and availability are on their website which also has the lowest price available.
Here are some nearby places of interest:
- Things to do at Loch Morlich
- The Green Loch
- Go Karting Aviemore
- Highland Wildlife Park
- Ruthven Barracks
- Quad Bikes Aviemore
- Scandinavian Village
- Spey Valley Shopping
- Treezone Aviemore
All information was correct at the time of writing, please check things like entry costs and opening times before you arrive.
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