Secret tunnels and a ghostly White Lady, Dalmahoy Hotel is never dull – Liam Rudden
THE drive through the lush greenery of the winding approach to the Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club takes just long enough to banish thoughts of city life from your mind – an escape to the country, just minutes’ drive from Edinburgh’s daily hustle and bustle.
Famously the one-time home of the Douglas family, Dalmahoy’s main house was originally the residence of, perhaps not surprisingly, the Dalmahoys, who lived there from 1265 until the mid-1700s.
Despite its stately appearance, check in proves a very relaxed, friendly affair as the staff at reception give directions to The Talisker Suite, my home for the evening - each suite is named after a different whisky.
Built on differing levels, there’s the old wing and the new wing, the walk to the suite at the furthest part of the hotel proves an exercise in orienteering but the journey is worth it.
Along the way panels reveal the history of the building and then there is the oasis of calm that is the Sensory Garden.
As for the newly refurbished rooms, they are luxurious yet homely, spacious, bright and thoughtfully laid out.
The super-comfortable beds guarantee a great night’s sleep.
Not that you’ll be spending much time in your room with so many things to do.
Choose from the spa, the swimming pool, nature trails and not one, but two 18-hole golf courses.
In the Pentland Restaurant, under the gaze of many of the building’ previous inhabitants, enjoy breakfast, afternoon tea, and dinner.
Dalmahoy prides itself on being a family-friendly hotel and has just introduced a family afternoon tea after trials over the Easter holidays proved a huge success.
Exploring the surroundings is all part of the fun. Steeped in history, Mary Queen of Scots is reputed to have stayed here in 1568 and, looking at the rich wooden panelled walls and plush decor, it’s hard to imagine the house as a World War II Prisoner of War Camp.
If adventure is your thing, you might want to search the grounds for the fabled secret tunnel which, legend has it, runs all the way to Edinburgh Castle.
Owned by James Douglas from 1750, the house and its grounds remained in the Douglas family until 1920 when it was leased to Cramond, now Dalmahoy Gold Club and has been a fully independent hotel since 2016.
Having recently undergone a three-month modernisation, part of a two-year major upgrade, the 215-bedroom hotel (including seven suites) also offers a regular shuttle bus service to and from Edinburgh Park Station, making it easily accessible by train or tram.
However, one word of warning, as you wander back to your room from the cocktail bar of an evening, watch out for Lady Mary Douglas, the ghostly White Lady. She may have died in 1677 but still wanders the corridors.
For more information or to book a room, visit www.dalmahoyhotelandcountryclub.co.uk