Words by Anjana Gosai
Scotland is world-renowned for serving up dramatic scenery and the very best wild nature has to offer. Located precisely where the Scottish Lowlands and Highlands meet, Loch Lomond is one the nation’s true gems and a destination equally popular with visitors seeking adventure, relaxation or bonhomie wandering.
For those keen to enjoy sumptuous views of Scotland’s largest loch amidst style and comfort, Cameron House, based on the southern banks, delivers luxury and heritage in equal measure. It’s no wonder that Barack Obama checked into the hotel when attending the COP26 summit in 2021.
A little over half-an-hour’s drive from Glasgow, the five-star Cameron House has been a favored escape for the city’s well-heeled for many years. The magnificent baronial mansion sits right on the bonnie banks of the loch and is surrounded by 400 acres of countryside.
The main 17th century building had an extensive refurbishment after a fire in 2017 and has now been meticulously-restored retaining much of the original features along with a new Lobby Bar, a remodelled Leisure Club, Tavern Bar and library with lush interior touches from Glaswegian design studio Timorous Beasties .
The hotel’s iconic seaplane, one of the first things you see as you arrive, offers an ever-present visual reminder of the spirit of adventure embraced by Cameron House, which boasts an extensive list of activities on the loch, land and, indeed, the sky.
Be it a honeymoon, couple’s escape or family getaway, there’s a whole host of action-packed experiences and calmer pursuits to be explored. As this is Scotland, there’s an array of wet weather activities to get stuck into as well, ensuring a rainy day can’t spoil your plans.
Cameron House is home to 276 rooms including 28 suites to suit varied needs; however, all are equipped with luxurious amenities. Decor is classic Scottish with touches of contemporary chic. The Auld House, in the restored 17th century mansion, features 14 stunning suites including the two-floor Cameron suite and the one-of-a-kind Tower Suite located within the original tower of the hotel, complete with a spiral staircase from the bedroom that leads to a separate lounge space with magnificent views over the loch.
We stayed in one of the hotel’s Classic family rooms – an ideal base for anyone traveling with kids, who will simply love the cozy bunk bed area with its own flat screen TV. Adorable mini bathrobes, slippers and coloring sets are also provided for little ones, which are thoughtful additions.
food and drink
With all the vigorous pursuits on offer at Cameron House, having a regular refueling strategy is essential. Fortunately, the hotel has some fantastic culinary options with six restaurants and five bars to choose from.
The Cameron Grill offers the very best locally-sourced produce from grass-fed Scottish beef, to whole lobster to hand-dived scallops. Tuck into three-tiered afternoon teas in one of the cozy couches in the Art Deco inspired Lobby Bar. Delightful kids’ afternoon teas are also available here.
Parents will be pleased to hear that there are children’s menus available for various age groups, with dishes such as fish goujons, macaroni cheese or a 3oz fillet steak with fries on offer. On the edge of the loch, the Boat House Restaurant is the perfect setting to enjoy a frutti di mare pizza or battered codling and chips, as you soak up the scenery.
If you fancy an evening of fine dining, the recently-opened Tamburrini and Wishart has a five-course tasting menu that changes every fortnight and includes contemporary twists on Scottish fare. The restaurant just received three highly coveted AA rosettes and is a must for a special occasion.
For those who enjoy a wee dram, make a beeline for The Great Scots’ Bar, which serves more than 300 varieties of the country’s most famous tipple, amid portraits of some truly great Scots from Sean Connery to Rod Stewart.
Cameron House’s award-winning spa is located at the Cameron Club, which is three miles up the road from the main property. One of the hotel’s affable concierges whizzed me across to the spa for an afternoon of wellness and relaxation. Here, you’ll find a rooftop infinity pool offering views of Ben Lomond.
There’s an indoor hydrotherapy pool, a 20-metre tranquillity pool plus thermal experiences – including a sauna, Hammam, a body warming caldarium and infrared sauna. There are 17 treatment rooms, including a couple’s room, mud chamber and relaxation suite. I can confirm that treatments are professionally executed using Espa and Carita products.
Golfers are in for a treat as the Cameron Club is also home to The Carrick – an 18-hole Championship golf course. We thoroughly enjoyed an hour-long family golf lesson with PGA professional Robbie King, who helped us perfect our swing and grip.
Those keen to learn more about the unique geology and history of Loch Lomond, formed after glacial erosion at the end of the last Ice Age, should book a speedboat tour. Our knowledgeable guide took us out for a fact-filled afternoon including a look at Inchconnachan – the island where a colony of wallabies roam wild.
The activities don’t end there. There really is something for everyone from a soaring trip over the loch on the aforementioned sea plane to jet-skiing, falconry experiences and Segway safaris.
If the weather isn’t playing ball, there is plenty to do indoors and the Cameron Leisure Club is a highlight. Alongside an 18-metre swimming pool sits an epic family pool complete with an exhilarating waterslide that left my kids happily exhausted. A well-equipped gym with a range of fitness classes is also available for guests to use at their leisure.
Indoor entertainment is taken care of at the newly-opened 29 seat cinema, which features a program of new releases, classics and family favourites. We had a choice of Mel Gibson’s classic Braveheart or the recently-released Thor: Love and Thunder.
Children are also welcome in the Tavern Bar, which houses a pool table, pinball machine, darts board, table football plus large screens showing sports.
In a nutshell
Cameron House offers contemporary luxury with Scotland heritage at its centre. Service is seamless and unstuffy and the sheer range of activities on offer sets this property separately, ensuring it remains the ultimate base from which to enjoy spectacular scenery and nature of Loch Lomond.
Prices start from £430 per night for a Classic bedroom on a bed and breakfast basis, interconnecting rooms are available on request. Family suites start from £580 per night on a bed and breakfast basis.
getting there: Cameron House can be easily reached by regular flights from London Gatwick, London Luton and Stanstead to Glasgow in under one and a half hours, followed by a chauffeur transfer in under 30 minutes. The train journey time between London and Glasgow is under four and a half hours.
Address: Loch Lomond, West Dunbartonshire, G83 8QZ
phone: 01389 312 210