Reviewed by Gemma Gough
A beautiful drive through the Perthshire countryside brought us to the Four Seasons Hotel, right beside Loch Earn. As we arrived, the sun was just setting over the Loch, a stunning sight indeed. The building itself looked well kept, with a decent sized car park.
Check in was quick, friendly and efficient and given that my husband and I had brought our two children aged 5 and 3, we were pleased to hear we would be staying in one of the detached chalets in the hotel grounds. Rather than go all the way round the front of the hotel to get to the chalet, we were shown a shortcut through the building which we were very grateful for as the weather was wild outside.
The chalets are set on a very steep hill behind the hotel and there is space to park a car beside each one. Our youngest child found the hill quite tricky to walk up due to how steep it was and there were a few areas that looked a little dangerous due to the steepness of the hill so we were sure to keep hold of her hand at all times.
Our chalet was very warm and cosy for our arrival and we were thankful for this due to the cold weather outside. The décor was quite dated and could perhaps do with some modernising but nevertheless the chalet was very well appointed with everything we could possibly need. There was homemade shortbread for us and lollipops for the children, which we thought was a lovely touch. We had two bedrooms, a double and a cosy little room for the children with bunk beds which they loved. My daughter especially enjoyed the little dressing table in the children’s room. The bunk bed wasn’t particularly high but we did notice that there was no safety rail on it so we had to be a bit careful. The bathroom was nicely decorated with a shower over bath and plenty of towels and toiletries. Another nice touch was the rubber duck for the children to play with at bath time. There was plenty of guest information in the chalet, with everything from emergency procedures to local information. The chalet was spotlessly clean with beautiful views over the loch. We noticed that some of the chalets are ‘dog friendly’ allowing people to bring their dogs away with them. The owners are clearly animal lovers and we did meet their own dog at one point. A full range of pet concierge services are available too.
There are 12 guest bedrooms within the main hotel building, these look quite contemporary and very comfortable. There is also a self catering apartment available.
The hotel has a couple of dining options – The Tarken Bistro and the Meall Reamhar restaurant. The latter offers a fine dining experience whereas the bistro is a more informal choice. We ate at Meall Reamhar which we found to be beautifully decorated with some interesting contemporary artworks on the walls and once again beautiful views over the Loch. We were warmly welcomed in to the restaurant and shown to a comfy seat in the lounge area where we made our menu choices. The menu wasn’t overly extensive but had something to suit every taste including a vegetarian section. There was an extensive wine list too but I just had the one glass with my meal. The cost was £38 for the full 4 course menu or £28 for 2 courses. We were pleased that there was a children’s menu too and despite our children being fussy eaters they certainly didn’t go hungry. We were seated at our table and served an amuse bouche of a lovely pork and apple terrine. I opted for scallops to start which were delicious and the highlight of my meal and my husband went for mushroom risotto which he thoroughly enjoyed. We then had a demitasse of kiwi sorbet and soup, we all enjoyed this including the children. On to the main course, I went for guinea fowl and my husband had seabass. Again, both meals were excellent. The presentation was beautiful and the portions were just the right size. The children enjoyed ice cream for desert while I had a Clementine cake with a very interesting tarragon custard and my husband had sticky ginger sponge with salted caramel sauce and lemongrass ice cream. We finished our meal with a coffee back in the lounge and were presented with a beautiful plate of petit fours.
We were a little concerned about taking the children to a fine dining restaurant but the atmosphere was very relaxed and it really didn’t matter that they used the wrong cutlery for most of their meal! There was plenty of reading material in the lounge and we were happy to find a copy of The Beano which helped keep my son amused for a little while.
There are plenty of areas in the hotel to kick back and relax and I was pleased to see that these are all ‘mobile free’. The owners are keen for their guests to enjoy peace and quiet during their stay.
We had a very comfortable night in our chalet, the beds were warm and comfortable and it was good that the children had a separate bedroom so we were able to relax and watch TV for a while after they had gone to sleep.
Breakfast is served between 8.30 and 10am in the Meall Reamhar restaurant. There were lots of choice of cereals, fruit, pastries and all sorts of jams and spreads. The children were very happy to see chocolate spread for their toast. My husband had the porridge which was cooked in the traditional Scottish way, just how he likes it. We both had a cooked breakfast of eggs, sausage, bacon, tattie scone and tomato. It was freshly cooked and well presented and set us up nicely for the day. The sausages were so delicious we picked some up from the local butcher in Comrie on the way home.
We had a lovely stay at The Four Seasons and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to friends and indeed we hope to be able to go back one day ourselves. The local area is beautiful and worth exploring further and had the weather been better we would have spent a bit more time around the loch itself.
Rates for chalet accommodation:
£87 per person per night for dinner, bed and breakfast
£54 per person per night for bed and breakfast
Children under 3 stay free of charge, ages 3-11 are charged at half bed and breakfast rate
For more information or to make a booking visit www.thefourseasonshotel.co.uk or call 01764 685333.