It was somewhat reassuring that on a rare night away from home without the kids that the Waterside Hotel in Inverness felt just like . . . home.
Situated to the south of the city centre on the banks of the River Ness, the hotel is a short 20-minute walk from the train station - a welcome stretch of the legs following a four-hour journey from Edinburgh.
We arrived late in the afternoon and were met by welcoming staff who led us out of the main hotel area into an adjoining building.
Up two short flights of stairs and we were in our ‘superior double’ bedroom. We were immediately drawn to the spectacular, sweeping views along the Ness as we nodded in approval at the offering.
A king-sized bed sat in the middle of the room, which also featured a wall-mounted flatscreen television, tea and coffee-making facilities and an en-suite bathroom with walk-in shower.
We were there to unwind so that’s what we did - little more was accomplished during the first few hours than enjoying the luxury of the room.
Having perused the menu, we decided to dine in the hotel’s own restaurant. We were seated next to the window and even though darkness had fallen by this point, the river outside – given a festive illumination by dozens of fairy lights – presented a more than pleasant backdrop.
For starters we had the Duck, Pork and Pistachio Terrine and the Goats Cheese and Roasted Beetroot Salad. I had The Waterside’s own Beef Lasagne for my main course, while my wife opted for a salmon special. Dessert saw us tuck into Vanilla Bean Pannacotta and Ice Cream.
The food was excellent, the servings generous and the staff welcoming and attentive.
After a brilliant meal, we retired to the comfort of the bar. The hotel advises on its website that it hosts a “vibrant” atmosphere at weekends, but with the exception of a wedding party rightly enjoying themselves, the atmosphere was generally peaceful.
In the morning, we were back in the restaurant, tucking into a superb breakfast. A buffet provided cereals, fruit, toast and juice, with a full cooked breakfast available to order. We did just that and were left full of energy for the day ahead.
As we checked out a short time later, our only disappointment was that we couldn’t stay for longer.