Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Cameron House: A Scottish Resort Experience

Yesterday I mentioned that since our Scottish road trip was our baby moon, we decided to splurge on a gourmet 7 course dinner at The Three Chimneys. We also decided to splurge on our second half of the vacation in terms of our accommodations. 
Since we wanted our time in Loch Lomond to be spent in luxury, we set our sights on the Cameron House Resort and Spa. We were sold when we saw that the resort offered several self-catering options. 

One of the things that Jonathan and I dislike about vacation is having to eat out constantly. He’s health conscious and I have a sensitive tummy so we prefer to prepare our own meals when we can. Plus, we are both major homebodies, so prefer to spend most of our nights in our PJs with a home-cooked meal while watching Reality TV. 

Booking self-catering accommodation seemed like a no-brainer for this part of the trip. Unfortunately, when I called to book a 1-bedroom villa at Cameron House, I was told that they don’t allow check in on Mondays. However, for 10 additional pounds a night, we could stay in a 2 bedroom apartment at the nearby Carrick Mansion House which is where the resort’s golf course and spa was located. 
I read up on it and found that it was a more intimate part of the resort complete with walking trails and a 5 star spa, so we went ahead and booked our 2 bedroom apartment for 3 nights. After a scenic but grueling 6 hour drive from the Isle of Skye, we arrived to our little home to find that it was enormous:  2 bedrooms, 2 ½ bathrooms, and a huge open living/dining/kitchen area with a balcony overlooking the golf course. 

We were spoiled for space, which in Europe, is a pretty rare thing. It was so nice to be able to stretch out on a full length couch (the likes of which won’t fit into our teeny living room) and take a coma-esque pregnancy nap. 
If we’d had the same horrible weather in Loch Lomond that we had on the Isle of Skye, I’m not sure I would have minded and would have been perfectly content to read on the couch the whole time. As it was, the weather was absolutely picture perfect, so we spent a great deal of time exploring the grounds of the resort, both the Cameron and Carrick campuses. 

Both areas have their own gym and restaurants, and Cameron house also has a family friendly sea-food restaurant and well as a Michelin Star eatery.  We cooked in our own kitchen for most of our meals, but did binge on McDonald’s for lunch one day and made dinner reservations at The Boat House (family friendly place) for our final night. 
We weren’t too impressed with The Boat House, but we’ve heard that the steaks at Cameron Grill are seriously yummy. I wish we would have made reservations there instead. 

Another splurge on this leg of vacation was getting myself a prenatal massage. I didn’t even realize how sore my upper back and shoulders were until mid-massage. The knots she was working out were mega-painful, but I felt so much better afterwards. 
post massage relaxation room:)
It’s been a week now, and I’m already jonesing for another massage. My birthday is next week so maybe I will splurge again… 

The resort had tons of amenities and activities to offer the active family. Usually I’d have been really gung-ho about a gym and rooftop hot tub with a lake view, but on this trip I was more about the leisurely strolls and afternoon naps. We did look around and see that the resort offers boat rides, sea plane rides, and bike rentals. 
I think we’ll surely take a trip back next Spring or Summer when we will hopefully be able to take advantage of more activities.   

Another main reason for us going the self-catering route was because we figured this type of travel will be easier with a baby in tow. It’s so nice to have your own space and not have to go into a restaurant for 3 meals a day. Plus, this particular resort is so large that it has a crèche (day care) so that Jonathan and I could golf/hike/cycle/spa and know that our little guy was being well cared for. 

It was definitely less cramped and stressful than staying in a hotel room, so I think our vacations for the foreseeable future will all be self-catering. We really enjoy staying at Jonathan’s parents’ condo in Orange beach for the same reason, and one of my favorite vacations ever was renting a house in Hawaii with my family. Having a kitchen and common living area just makes for a much more relaxing and communal time. 
Family vacay at rented house in Costa Rica!
I’m already looking ahead to next Spring and thinking we may rent a villa in Portugal /France/Spain and have some family come and stay with us. It just seems like the best option for travelling and vacationing with a wee one is to create a 'home away from home' environment, dontcha think? Any other thoughts or tips on optimal travel conditions with a baby?

1 comment:

  1. First things first: prenatal massages are no splurge! I consider them a medical supplement, just like prenatal vitamins. Take one a week for best results :)

    Secondly, I totally agree about self-catering and home rentals. I don't like hotels to begin with plus the only time Mira has ever gotten sick was the one time we stayed in a hotel. For your next summer rental...just family or can friends come visit too ;)