Braemar, Highlands, Scotland
The Fife Arms
Dating back to 1856, The Fife Arms is a beloved landmark in the village of Braemar, home of the Highland Games. Under its new owners, Iwan and Manuela Wirth (yes that Wirth, of Hauser & Wirth Gallery), the hotel has been given a meticulous craft restoration and museum-worthy walls, reviving the splendour of the former coaching inn and once again establishing it as a hotel for the Highlands, touting many of the collectors' personal pieces for your enjoyment. The Fife Arms brings together Scottish heritage, craftsmanship and culture with world-class contemporary art and a strong sense of community. Designer Russell Sage brought in over 14,000 historic objects, artwork and artefacts that have been collected over three years to tell a few of the many bewitching stories of Braemar. The suites and bedrooms are individually designed - each one a homage to place, person or event, think "The German Emperor", "Astronomy" inspired by John Von Lamont, and "Allan Ramsey". A perfect excuse to go for a visual schooling in history and art, washed down with Scottish scones and a whiskey tasting. You might even catch the Queen strolling near Braemar.Check availability
- The Fife Arms offers 46 sumptuous bedrooms, all uniquely furnishings and decorated. Rooms are divided into historical categories "Victoriana Suites", Royal Suites", "Scottish Culture", "Nature & Poetry", "Croft Arms".. each meticulously designed and consulted by historians for accuracy, to story-tell the rich Scottish history dating back the past several centuries. Your stay is an incredible one from back in time, finished with modern workings.
- A quaint fireplace that yields a roaring fire with a piano player in background and a whiskey in hand, a pub that’s been the local living room for as long as the locals can remember, an armoury, a watercolour created by Queen Victoria herself or the woody scent that drifts along the corridors.
- In-room amenities: iPod dock, flatscreen TV, in-room safe, minibar with Scottish treats, coffee / tea making facilities, complimentary newspaper daily
- The Family Room is a treasure trove of fun for children of all ages. With board games, books and table football plus a play kitchen, DVD player and Xbox with an array of different games
Art at the Fife Arms
The Art is completely sensational - as the owners are also the co-founders of acclaimed global gallery, Hauser & Wirth, Iwan and Manuela Wirth. There's more than 14,000 pieces on site, including sculptures, antiques and specially commissioned artworks, like the ceiling fresco's by Chinese artist Zhang Enli against the Fife Arms own tartan design and a stunning Picasso. The inspiration, and instagrams, are endless.
What makes the hotel so special
- The local craftsmanship you can admire around every corner.
- There is an original Picasso and a Lucian Freud on the walls, and a watercolor by Queen Victoria herself.
Eat & Drink
- The Fife Arms showcases the finest seasonal produce for which Scotland is world-famous. From fresh seafood and game to local whiskies and spirits, most of the ingredients are sourced from local suppliers, gamekeepers and farmers.
- Traditionally the heart of the village, The Flying Stag is the hotel’s public bar they acquired. Frequented by residents and visitors alike, the public bar offers classic Scottish dishes, real ales, live entertainment and a selection of over 180 whiskies, with none other than the Flying Stag, a true beauty. There's a tiny room, wrapped in nature art and tartan, off to the back corner, excellent for a pre or post cocktail.
- The Clunie Dining Room where the art of wood-fire cooking comes to life, and The Drawing Room, with walls covered in Scottish art and antiques
- Elsa’s Bar brings a little Art Deco glamour to the mix, inspired by the signature style of fashion icon Elsa Schiaparelli who frequently visited.
- A waterproof jacket, like a trench coat, is your best friend. We'd recommend Wellies too, although they have some on site to borrow if you forget.
- Rooms from £ 419 / day, well-worth it.
Worth getting out of bed for
- There are 40 Munros accessible from Braemar, from Ben MacDui to Beinn Bhareac, offering a wealth of hill walking. The network of local paths and tracks are suitable for all abilities. This is also the perfect opportunity to experience the wonderful native flora and fauna of Upper Deeside. Ask the Ghillie team for recommended walks or maps.
- From whisky distilleries to winter sports and the annual Royal Highland Games, Braemar has plenty of local attractions to keep you busy during your stay, if you even choose to leave the splendour of the property. The onsite Whiskey Master has stories to make you forget your nose, while there's a local whisky distillery called ‘Royal Lochnagar’ at Crathie by Balmoral Castle.
- The Braemar Gathering takes place annually on the first weekend in September and welcomes thousands of visitors. It’s the only Highland Games with a Royal Patron, HM Queen Elizabeth II, who attends every year to see the best of the best toss the caber, battle it out in tug o’ war or perform the traditional Highland fling.
- The River Dee is one of the most famous salmon rivers in the world and it runs just past the hotel. The hotel works with its Wild Resources team headed up by Ben Carter to offer guests the chance to fish in this exceptional location. The Salmon season starts early February and runs until the end of September. Sea trout is available during the summer months but Rainbow trout is available all year.
- Go back in time to see how people of the past lived and worked in the remote glens surrounding the hotel. Guided by the experts at Braemar Highland Experience, you’ll explore the ruins of a remote village and learn about the lives of its inhabitants.
How to get there
- It's not easy, but the best places never are - we suggest to go by car. A 2 hour drive from Edinburgh. It's a beautiful drive if you can plan for daytime travels.
- Nearest Airports: Dundee Airport 1 1/2h drive, Aberdeen Airport 1 1/4h drive and Edinburgh, 2h
- By train: The Caledonian Sleeper is the overnight train service running between Scotland and London, departing from Euston.
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