The Fife Arms Hotel is a luxurious aesthetic hotel, situated in the scenic village of Braemar, Scotland. It is a true artistic exhibition, one that makes art enthusiasts explore it for hours at a time, while also being an incredibly welcoming retreat that houses the very best in boutique luxury. The High Victoriana design perfectly blends with modern luxury, giving guests an unforgettable experience. With its plethora of suites and rooms serving as the perfect backgrounds for any occasion, the hotel is truly in a league of its own.
١. The History of The Fife Arms
The Fife Arms Hotel is a Braemar landmark built in the 19th century. It is a Category B-listed building. Since its inception, it has worked towards putting Braemar on the map. Queen Victoria’s visits and her eventual purchase of Balmoral only further established it as a place worth checking out.
The hotel’s plans were laid out by reputed architect Alexander Marshall Mackenzie, who remodelled the original building. Mackenzie was famous in Scotland and only became more popular after his royal patronage. As such, this hotel was yet another feather in his cap, with his work eventually becoming the ultra-luxurious landmark it is today.
٢. A Garden of Masterpieces
At the Fife Arms Hotel, guests can see the prevalence of art in and around the place. It is not just mere art pieces put together for people to admire, but also the artsy aesthetic and vibe it exudes. The works of all kinds of artists, from Picasso and Bruegel to Freud and Charles, are on display. Indeed, there is a strong case to be made for skipping the National Gallery entirely if you are able to see this hotel’s collection.
There are other kinds of artwork that draw the attention of guests. From the red deer in the dining room to the mobile of flying snipe in the stairwell, the versatility in the collection is admirable. The life-size waxwork of Queen Victoria settled in a wingchair in the library is a standout piece. The theme is not a minimalistic one, instead being a choreographer exhibition that compiles the very best work from across multiple art styles. A final highlight is the Artist’s Studio room – a charming concept complete with a box bed, brushes, and pots that leaves much to the imagination.
٣. Culinary Experiences
The Fife Arms aims to showcase Scotland’s best culinary practices. The range of seafood, whiskies, and spirits are all prepared from ingredients sourced from local suppliers, gamekeepers and farmers. The exquisite meals are then served at multiple restaurants that add new dimensions to the meaning of fine dining.
The Clunie Dining Room is a nod to the Clunie River, which runs past the hotel. It offers wood-fire cooking and seasonal Scottish produce in a striking room painted by Guillermo Kuitca. For a dining experience surrounded by art, Drawing Room is the place to be. If you are in a seafood mood, there is no better place than the Fish Shop in Ballater, the hotel’s sister property that serves freshly caught, ethically sourced seafood from Scotland and the British Isles.
There are plenty of bars at the Fife Arms, each serving up their own speciality in drinks. The public Flying Stag is the venue for classic Scottish dishes, real ales, and live entertainment. The Cellar is for wine-lovers who want to take their time tasting, while Bertie’s Bar is a treasure trove of phenomenal whiskeys. For cocktails, one can visit Elsa’s for a pre-dinner aperitif or a post-dinner nightcap.
٤. Best time to visit
Scotland is a land of beauty and opportunity, making it a place worth visiting at virtually any given time. However, for those planning a trip or holiday to the country and picking the Fife Arms, the best time to visit is ideally spring (late March to May) or fall (September to November). Temperatures are warmer by spring, but be prepared for snow in the mountains of the Highlands and the Cairngorms.
The hotel’s Wild Wellness, Wild Swimming, and Wild Sketching experiences are at their best during spring and fall, which comes with great weather. Should you arrive during the aforementioned time, you can thoroughly enjoy your hikes, picnics, and other outdoor activities, before retreating to one of the Fife Arms’ many lavish suites.
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