With Paddy moving down south last year, our staycations have been few and far between. It’s been difficult to coordinate any time away amongst his visits home and my odd weekend in the Midlands, so our love of visiting nice hotels and escaping for a weekend has been less indulged over the past 12 months. In a change to our usual programming, we actually managed to fit in a night away on Paddy’s most recent visit home and took my lovely new car for a trip up to Perth.
The building itself is beautiful, and the grounds even more so. We were lucky in that we visited during a surprisingly Spring-like weekend so got to see the hills bathed in sunlight, which is a far cry from the Scottish weather at the moment. After checking in around 4pm we had a quick wander around the grounds to soak up some of that crisp Scottish air and have a bit of a nosey at what was going on.
The main car park was full when we arrived and it was clear that the Murrayshall is a favourite for many visitors. We ended up parking round at the back of the hotel, which would appear to be where the clubhouse for the golf course is, and as we walked back to the main door we could see just how busy it was inside.
The bed was lovely and cosy, but I was a bit disappointed to see that it was made up of two single mattresses, which is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. It didn’t impact on the great sleep I had, but I do think it would have been a show of real attention to detail, especially in such a beautiful room. That aside, it was still perfectly comfortable!
We started our meal with a couple of drinks and I was very excited to see Edinburgh Gin’s raspberry gin liqueur on the menu. I’m not a big drinker these days, but I am very partial to a good gin and tonic! For starters, I decided on the crispy pork with an apple and cider compote whilst Paddy opted to try the Great Glen charcuterie with venison, bresaola, salami and chorizo alongside a radish and artichoke salad. The charcuterie was quite a big portion for a starter and would probably be more suited as a sharing dish – which we were advised of before we ordered – but as always we were feeling hungry and decided on one dish each regardless. The crispy pork was a real highlight of the meal and is something I would love to have again, the breadcrumbs were deliciously light and complemented the pork and apple perfectly.
I was torn when it came to choosing a main, but in the end, I went for the Goosnargh duck breast with cabbage, honey, pomegranate and potato rosti, which was a very good choice. Duck can often be quite a tough meat, but this was deliciously tender and flavoursome. I even enjoyed the cabbage – which is a sentence I never thought I’d say! Paddy had his classic choice of the cheeseburger which, again, was delicious. I’ve been off burgers for the past year or so but even I loved this, as it was packed full of flavour and cooked perfectly. The chips were a winner for us, too.
By this point, we were pretty stuffed, but I rarely say no to dessert, and at the last minute Paddy decided he’d have one too. He chose the Creme Brulee, but unfortunately, this had a really strong almond flavour that hadn’t been mentioned on the menu, which just didn’t work for us as it was very synthetic. Luckily, I was feeling generous, and I let Paddy share some of my dessert instead. I opted for the white chocolate mousse which was served with bitter chocolate tart, hazelnut crumble and praline ice cream. It was just as divine as it sounds! The mousse was beautifully light but well flavoured, and the bitter chocolate tart accompaniment helped cut through the sweetness to stop the white chocolate being sickly or overpowering. I’d definitely eat that again.
After dinner, we rolled round to the neighbouring Lynedoch Lounge cocktail bar, where we enjoyed another drink in front of a roaring fire. The lounge was delightfully cosy, with plush navy velvet sofas that I would have quite happily taken home if I could.
I think the only thing Murrayshall is missing is leisure facilities, which probably isn’t the easiest thing to add when working with a building of this stature. Being in Scotland, you always need to consider rainy day activities, which is where I think Murrayshall was lacking a bit. Personally, I’m not a fan of golf, and I think I would struggle to fill a whole weekend there if the weather wasn’t at its best. Although looking at the afternoon tea offering, I could be wrong there!
In true Four in a Bed style, I think the ultimate test of the quality of a hotel is whether I’d go back again, and in the case of Murrayshall I definitely would. It made for a lovely little night away with excellent food in beautiful surroundings.