Visit & Review: Links House at Royal Dornoch

pr stay // All thoughts and opinions are, of course, my own. 

One of the most memorable and outstanding overnight stays I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing this year, was at the lovely Links House at Royal Dornoch. Located in Dornoch, this five star luxury hotel offers the perfect spot for staying overnight when exploring the east coast of northern Scotland, or if you’re planning a visit to nearby distilleries like Brora, Clynelish, Glenmorangie, Balblair and Dalmore. It’s an excellent team and if you have the budget they can assist with arranging a variety of experiences as well.

The Journey North

We were picked up in Edinburgh by the lovely Chris from Scotland Concierge, who I cannot recommend enough if you have the need for private chauffeuring, tours or other experiences. We drove up North and made little stops along the way. Once we were near to Dornoch we stopped for some snacks and a wee dram – which was definitely a great way to warm up in the chilling cold.

Before arriving at the hotel we visited the Highland Shooting Centre where we got to try clay pigeon shooting as well as rifle target practice. It was my first time shooting clay pigeons and managed to get myself a bruise across half my way from the recoil of the gun, but had a really fun time learning. The Highland Shooting Centre offers loads of different shooting activities so if you are looking to spend a couple of hours doing an activity with friends or family, why not check it out. Our instructor, and the owner of the centre, Marcus was brilliant. Making sure everything was safe and that everyone had a good time whilst really teaching us about the skill of shooting. We also enjoyed a lovely lunch here, consisting of lunch and sausage rolls which was so nice and cosy.

The Room

When we arrived at the hotel it was already dark, and I had the absolute pleasure of staying in the Penthouse Suite at the top floor. I really appreciate experiencing a hotel where it seems every little details has been through through and where the team is excellent. The Links House really lived up to its five stars.

The Penthouse Suite has a kitchen and dining area, balcony, living room, bedroom and ensuite bathroom featuring both a bath and shower. The underfloor heating in the bathroom was lovely in the early morning because I left my window open to get some of the lovely fresh winter air into the room as I sleep better when it’s colder around me. The bath was more than large enough for me and it was such a treat to enjoy a warm morning bath before breakfast – is there anything worse than a nice warm bath, but the water only covers half of you?

The interior design of the hotel and restaurant has a Scottish vibe, which is portrayed in a luxurious and inviting way.

Cheese & Whisky Tasting

Before dinner we took a seat in the library, one of the public rooms in the building where a whisky tasting with cheese pairing waited. The whiskies were presented by the Carnegie Whisky Cellars who has a lovely whisky shop in Dornoch. The cheese was from Highland Fine Cheeses and these pairings had also been enhanced by jams and chutneys created in-house by Links House. All the pairings were super and the stand out of the evening for me was Scallywag with Morangie Brie and a fig jam! It really brought out fig-y tones in the whisky that I’ve never experience before.

The Dinner at the Mara Restaurant

The restaurant at Links House is called Mara and I was so impressed by the food. And any restaurant that includes homemade warm bread gets a bonus star in my book as well. The scallops and venison was truly outstanding, but each dish felt wonderfully planned flavour wise. Nothing disappointed and I really appreciated how interesting the wines were as well. They stood out on their own and I rarely find that the wines are a highlight in restaurants, although they might be well paired with the food and taste good, they don’t tend to have anything that sparks my curiosity in the same way as I experienced at Mara.

Our dinner was enhanced by falconer Andy from Dunrobin Castle who had brought a flying friend to say hello. He offers Hawk Walks and Falconry Displays so don’t miss this if you are around. Dunrobin Castle looks beautiful and I’d love to visit it one day.

And of course, next time I’m visiting Links House and Restaurant Mara I’ll have to try the afternoon tea as well!

The Breakfast

Do I judge restaurants and hotels by their ability to cook eggs for breakfast? Absolutely I do, but there was no need to be worried as my omelet was super tasty and had such a lovely creamy texture. One of my biggest hotel “icks” is ordering an omelet or scrambled eggs and getting dry and flavourless eggs. Perhaps I’m just spoiled from growing up with a dad who mad amazing scrambled eggs on the weekends, but I do find it tends to be a really good tell or indicator for the experience in general.

The breakfast was served in the Mara restaurant and there was also things such as pastries, porridge, toast and other varieties of eggs to choose from. I was thinking of trying the full Scottish breakfast but was still feeling a bit full from the evening before.

✦ Want to read more hotel reviews?

✦ Or more of my travels?

Check out my Instagram @swedishwhiskygirl or @scandinavianabroad to see even more photos and follow along on future adventures.

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