Cameron House, Loch Lomond
These days, young aristocrats spend most of their time stumbling around Mahiki with their maracas hanging out. But there’s nothing like a title to make one feel special. Cameron House, that famous five star haunt on the bonny banks of Loch Lomond, are offering the faintly bizarre chance to be part of the nobility with their Laird and Lady of the Loch package. For two nights, you’ll have your own personal MacJeeves, who will bring unlimited room service to your Whisky Suite, escort you to a variety of indulgent activities and generally polish your sporran ’til it shines. You also have the option to be called laird and lady for the duration of your stay – if you like that kind of thing.
Absurd nomenclature aside, all the ingredients for a diverting weekend of outlandish tartan-themed adventure are here. A jaunt across the loch on a seaplane and a trip on the cream-leather upholstered speedboat Celtic Warrior, with a private island picnic, await. You’ll dine on Michelin-starred cuisine from Martin Wishart’s restaurant. Outdoor pursuits beckon in the form of Graeme the Falconry man, who will take you on a ‘hawk walk’ around the grounds, followed by a ravenous bird who loves the (dead) chicks. If you’re starting to feel dizzy with all the plaid and butler service, though, I highly recommend the treatments in the glorious Carrick Spa, two miles up the road, which boasts an infinity pool, overlooking majestic countryside.
But that’s all very well, I hear you say, but I’m not actually a laird and I’m not Scottish – I’m from Big Bend, Indiana. Doesnae matter, hen. The package boasts the intriguing addition of skilful genealogist Sheila Duffy, whose eagle eye for census records can trace your potentially Scottish ancestors back to the 1800s.
You can add on a trip to royally-warranted kilt makers Kinloch Anderson in Edinburgh, who offer a one-hour consultation to create a personalised tartan for you, whether you’re Scottish or not. All that, and you get a piper and an amusingly named ‘Kilt Lifter’ cocktail when you arrive at the hotel. So even if you’re from Azerbaijan, after this you’ll probably be feeling more Caledonian than Molly Weir let loose in the Tunnock’s factory.
But it’s not all water off a Burberry-clad duck’s back. Like gaudy wallpaper in a porn film, dismal reality occasionally creeps in to put you off. Cameron House is owned by De Vere, and despite the efforts of the charming staff, it suffers from a degree of homogenised chain-hotelitis. There were occasional bouts of avoidable carelessness, like soggy toast and a shower knob that came off in my hand (calm down at the back. Ed). It’s also a hot venue for weddings for the entire West of Scotland, so don’t be surprised to see wee Aunty Margaret stumbling about with her Dorothy Perkins fascinator askew.
But even in a laird’s life a little rain must fall, and this package is still an action packed, fun weekend to tell the folks back home about. You’ll probably come away with a kilt, a liver full of fine single malt and an air of grand self-importance. Believe me, from now on, nobody calls me Mrs. I’m a Laydee – right, pal? LUCY SWEET