Fiona Duncan's review of The RoxburgheAnd so, into the car and straight from last week’s Talbot Hotel in Malton to this week’s, The Roxburghe in the Scottish Borders. Which, the moment we walk in, gratifyingly illustrates the point I made last Sunday: that (where possible) privately owned estate hotels are best run by their owners, with appropriate help, rather than by more remote hotel management companies. The Roxburghe, which is run by general manager Duncan Evans for the Duke of Roxburghe, shows all those personal touches the Talbot lacked.
It also makes for the ideal sporting hotel. Golf on a championship course, fly fishing, clay-pigeon shooting, both with renowned experts, and horse riding are all no more than a stroll away at discounted prices. For those wanting to fish on a great river, some of the best salmon fishing in Britain is possible on two prime beats of the Tweed, and two on the Teviot. My husband, Andrew, and son, Fergus, had both the ambition, long held, and – now – the opportunity. The swings from hope to despair, as they were told first that fishing was off due to too much rainfall, then on again, then off, then – unbridled joy – on again, were, for a calm and rational companion (me) exhausting to behold. The greatest compliment I can pay to The Roxburghe is that even during the bad times, when it seemed our visit was in vain, both agreed that the hotel’s charms alone easily made the long journey worthwhile.
Read about the history of the house, which stands in wooded grounds bordering the Teviot, and it’s hard to believe that anywhere could have burned down and been rebuilt quite so many times, but the current incarnation is a typically solid Scottish Victorian house scented by wood smoke and whisky. There are generous open fires, tartan carpets, tables piled with books, family photographs and portraits, and enough space for everyone to have a comfy seat in which to relax. The drawing room, in particular, owes nothing to the hotel industry and everything to a combination of its owners, the Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe, and a particularly sensitive designer, Cindy Leveson.
The bedrooms, some designed by the Duchess, are just right too, in classic country house style. Fergus, a twentysomething city boy, loved his, though it was hardly trendy – no one says no to character, and this place has character in spades. As for our four poster room: the bliss of a fire crackling in a large grate (logs were in the basket, coal delivered on request) while we changed for dinner, made it the most memorable of many lovely bedrooms I have had the luck to stay in this year. Nothing is perfect, though: the beds could do with upgrading; and my one criticism of the hotel’s overall decoration (and that of the friends I took upstairs to see my room) concerns the oddly bleak arrangement of furniture on the wide and correspondingly bleak first-floor landing.
There were copious sandwiches for tea, kippers for breakfast, books by P G Wodehouse, 14 types of gin, even more of whisky, and knowledgeable, kind staff. Dinner in the comfortable dining room was unpretentious and satisfying. When it was time to leave, I had to be forcibly removed.Read more
The Northern EchoI HAVE a confession to make. Despite spending the majority of my life in the North-East of England, I have only recently discovered the wonders of the Scottish Borders. Previously, my experience of Scotland was limited to city breaks in Edinburgh and camping trips in the Highlands.
However, earlier this month, I set this right and headed across the border with my mum, Alice.
Our destination was the Roxburghe Hotel and Golf Course, an aristocratic retreat near the market town of Kelso. A labour of love by the Duke of Roxburghe, the 22-bedroom hotel boasts a championship golf course and an impressive range of sporting pursuits.
Our journey, along the scenic A696 and A68 from Newcastle, was filled with excited chatter about the delights awaiting us. Our anticipation grew as we drove along the tree-lined driveway and caught our first glimpse of the Roxburghe Hotel.
Inside proved equally impressive, with magnificent carved fireplaces, rich tartan carpets, and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, packed full of historic volumes. Yet, despite all this grandeur, the hotel radiates warmth and comfort.Read more
27 March 2014The phrase “get away from it all” is often overused in travel journalism, but at The Roxburghe Hotel, you really do feel like you’ve left everything behind once you enter the grounds of this most spectacular of country estates.
Nestled in a perfect position for fishing and shooting in a breathtakingly beautiful corner of the Scottish Borders, the hotel combines old world charm with 21st Century sensibilities in a most pleasing of way.
The imposing building is awash with open fires, comfortable sofas and curios to peruse. Despite being a grand old residence, and the property of a Duke, you feel instantly at home in this unpretentious and relaxed atmosphere.
An incredibly knowledgeable and friendly staff operate “at arms length”, always there when you need them, but allowing you to feel like you have “the run of the house” when you are enjoying the property. Read more
Read the article