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Sevendays

Sunday Mail, November 11, 2012

IDYLLIC… View from the water at Lodge on Loch Lomond

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MESMERISING… The national park has a lot to offer with its spectacular scenery

By raj gill

LUXURY… Loch Lomond Arms has had a £3million make-over

G

one are the days when all it took to book a holiday was a wee trip down to the travel agents. I, for one, am completely bamboozled with all the different websites and apps offering seemingly limitless holiday information.

For our October half-term break, instead of trawling through the multitude of available sources for booking a holiday overseas, I decided to save myself all the hassle and book a staycation. It turned out to be the best decision ever – all it took was one visit to the Love Loch Lomond website and we were booked up for four nights away. The site is very straightforward and user-friendly, especially for a technophobe like me. I managed to book our accommodation and all our activities, and could view them all on the handy itinerary, which kept me right and ensured I didn’t double book. Hubby and the children (Karam, nine and Jeevan, seven) were in for a treat. First stop was the Loch Lomond Arms Hotel, which has undergone a £3million refurbishment over two years. We were looking forward to seeing the improvements. It’s a quaint little hotel situated in the picturesque village of Luss, a 40-minute drive from Glasgow. The best thing about staycations is that we can take our car, which is a blessing when travelling with children as you can pack for every eventuality and don’t have to lug masses of luggage around. The hotel staff gave us a very warm welcome and engaged with both the children so we got off to a good start. We were allocated the Lomond suite with superking four-poster bed and a lovely fireplace. The colours of the Scottish landscape were reflected in the decor of the room, as is the country’s rich textile legacy with soft tweeds and tartans present throughout. The thing I loved best was the walk-in wardrobe, large enough to wheel the suitcase into and split into two so the children had one half and we took the other. Perfect! Dinner was at the hotel’s restaurant. The bar is quite busy – it’s where most of the locals congregate –and the restaurant was equally busy, mostly with other guests. However, we had a lovely meal and the children were well catered for. Our favourite dish was the pan-fried fillet of hake, which is served with apples, toasted almonds, rosemary fried potatoes and celeriac, courtesy of head chef Peter Wilson. The locally sourced food is served with a modern and stylish twist. Next day, we headed out to Loch Lomond Shores and a visit to the sea life centre. It’s

Beauty and the feast

Breathtaking views, scrumptious meals and exciting activities make Loch Lomond perfectfor a family getaway very interesting but, in our estimation, not really worth the money (£43.80 for a family of four), there’s just not enough to see and do. One more night at the Loch Lomond Arms and then it was time to check out. Luckily, we were only going round the corner to Lodge on Loch Lomond. The children were very excited as the Lodge has a swimming pool and they spent the majority of their day there. We were booked into the Cuillin suite, perfect for a family of four. The suite has two bedrooms and a lounge with dining area. It has double balconies with floor-to-ceiling windows, and the most stunning views, probably the most beautiful views we have experienced in a UK hotel. For dinner, we had a short walk to the hotel’s restaurant, Colquhouns, which is housed in the main building. The restaurant

has spectacular panoramic views of the loch. After a day at the pool, the children were famished. The restaurant serves traditional Scottish fare, yet we were surprised there wasn’t much seafood on the menu – they only have salmon and the Lodge classic deep-fried haddock. It’s a very busy restaurant, so booking in advance is always advised. On the last day of our half-term break, we headed out to The Cruin, which offers Lochside dining. Mostly used for weddings and private events, it’s always best to call ahead to ensure they are open to the public. Head chef Jamie Wilkie cooked up a lovely traditional Scottish meal – the highlight was his home baked apple pies, too delicious for words and a perfect way to round off our relaxing family getaway.

Factfile ● You can book accommodation and activities around Loch Lomond at www.lovelochlomond.com ● The Loch Lomond Arms Hotel: Two nights B&B for £100 (double) or £70 (single). Offer available to December 20, 2012, www. lochlomondarmshotel.com ● Lodge on Loch Lomond: Two nights B&B in the Cuillin suite £298, www.loch-lomond.co.uk ● The Cruin: Set lunch £20 per person, www.thecruin.com

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