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Dowans House, Speyside

Dowans Hotel

Perched high above the River Spey, the Dowans Hotel presents a stylish, contemporary retreat housed in a traditional Scottish manor complete with turrets. This is in the heart of the prime Speyside whisky production area, so if the wind is blowing in the right direction guests are treated to the distinct smell in the air. The Dowans’ interior is plush and elegant, and perfectly appointed for indulging in gin or whisky tastings in The Still, the hotel’s own whisky library. Guests have a choice of dining in one of two restaurants, which offer casual and fine dining menus. Each of the 16 rooms is individually styled but beautifully furnished, and the hotel’s connection with the various local distilleries is evident throughout.

Our rating: First Class

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Rooms

Each of the 16 rooms at the Dowans Hotel is a slightly different size and layout, but each has been tastefully styled with contemporary furnishings which are nevertheless in-keeping with the history of the property. Each en suite room is named after a different whisky, and there are various pictures or artefacts from local distilleries dotted around. Two rooms are housed within turrets, so have an additional circular day bed in the turret space. Every room has a coffee machine, a TV and free Wi-Fi and executive club and junior suite rooms get a complimentary whisky on arrival.

Location

The Dowans Hotel is located a 15 minute walk from Aberlour, a small but industrious town on the edge of the River Spey. There are around 50 distilleries within a 30 minute drive from the property. In addition, Aberlour also houses the original Walkers shortbread factory. Aviemore, in the north of the Cairngorms National Park, is around a 50 minute drive away.

Food and drink

The hotel has two restaurants, the more informal option, 57, has excellent seasonal dishes ranging from local Scottish cuisine to pizza and midweek offers a ‘market menu’ with more intricate dishes. Spé is the fine dining restaurant, open on Friday and Saturday evenings only and offers delicious tasting menus. The hotel also has a well-stocked bar and The Still, a whisky library.

Facilities and activities

The hotel can arrange wildlife stalking opportunities, as well as fly fishing on the River Spey with a local ghillie, on the Ballindalloch Estate beats. The fishing season runs between early March and the end of September. Gin or whisky tastings can also be arranged.

Our opinion

This is a beautiful hotel, particularly for those who love their whisky.

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    Alternative places to stay nearby

    Where possible, we like to offer a range of accommodation for each stop of your trip, chosen by our specialists as some of their favourite places to stay. To help you make the right choice, we give each property a rating based on its facilities and service, but we also look for hotels with distinct character or a location that can’t be bettered.

    • The Station Hotel, Rothes, Speyside

      The Station Hotel

      First Class

      Situated in central Speyside’s whisky production area, The Station Hotel combines the building’s historical features with attractive contemporary decor, with a noticeable whisky theme throughout.