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10 Restaurants with Rooms in the UK (Part 2) - The Three Chimneys – Colbost Isle of Skye & 21212 – Edinburgh

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The Three Chimneys – Colbost Isle of Skye

The Three Chimneys is worth the two-hour trip from Inverness – the nearest airport – for the location alone. Ringed by heather – covered mountains and flanked by a glassy loch; it’s the kind of Caledonian idyll Victorian artists used to risk worsening their consumption for. The farmhouse-like dining room is as romantic as any Burns ode.

Description: The Three Chimneys – Colbost isle of skye

The Three Chimneys – Colbost isle of skye

The food is phenomenal. Locally sourced dishes were the restaurant’s USP long before any TV chef started talking about food miles. “Our menus have always had to make the most of what’s around us,” chef Michael Smith tells me. “It’s more economical for Glasgow suppliers to ship ingredients to New York than to send them up here”

 

From top: the restaurant; room-service Champagne; cheese selection

With this in mind, I opt for the Seven Courses of Skye tasting menu, which begins with langoustines lifted from the loch I see ripping beyond the window and ends with a marmalade soufflé infused with Drambuie syrup. In between come Colbost crab risotto. Sconser scallops. Loch Harport oysters and Lochalsh venison, each beautifully presented, innovative and flavoursome. It’s surely only a matter of time before Smith’s cooking receives the Michelin star it deserves.

Description: Fine Cuisine at The Three Chimneys, Isle of Skye

Fine Cuisine at The Three Chimneys, Isle of Skye

The six suites in the adjacent House Over-By are at the functional end of the style spectrum, and homely in the sense that they feel like the guest bedroom of a very fashionable, wealthy friend. Everything is pleasant and comfortable without being too off-puttingly cool. The X-factor here is provided by loch views through every window and, of course, the food.

Colbost, Dunvegan, Isle of Skye (01470 511258; www.threechimneys.co.uk). Doubles from $450 B&B. Dinner about $180 for two without wine. Seven Courses of Skye menu $130

21212 – Edinburgh

As a place to stay there can be no faulting 21212. Chef Paul Kitching’s glamorous Edinburgh restaurant with rooms, situated in a Grade I-listed townhouse on the Royal Terrace, wows you with style from the second you open the front door. The high-ceilinged Georgian chambers on the ground floor may have retained their original cornicing, windows and decorative flourishes, but they have been complemented by a 21st-century design theme of primary-coloured discs – seen everywhere from the plant pot beside the entrance to the screen in front of the open kitchen. There are also butterfly-print carpets and metallic wallpaper.

The four bedrooms are breathtaking. My enormous, top-floor room combines serenity – white walls, garden views and skylights – with a cutting-edge feel that comes from its statement bed (with a photograph of a Scottish landscape, printed on a screen divided into blind-like slats, as a backdrop). Renaissance art-print lampshade and mirrored walls.

Description: One of the four bedrooms

One of the four bedrooms

The food is equally glitzy. Kitching earned the restaurant a Michelin star within months of opening, and his visually stunning cuisine is a riot of flavours and textures. “Aye, we do throw the kitchen sink at it.” Kitching tells me, “It’s an expression of my complex personally. And though at its heart it’s classical French cookery. I’d like to think we’ve reinvented it a bit. It’s the culinary equivalent of Salvador Dali – he started out as a classical painter.

Description: Smoked salmon with “winter warming flavours”, including broken lemon-tart crust

Smoked salmon with “winter warming flavours”, including broken lemon-tart crust, at 21212

Everything on the five-course menu comes with a bewildering list of ingredients (including – in the case of my beef main – sausage, bacon, gammon, ham, haggis, chestnuts and cranberries), and each dish looks so good you feel churlish eating it. But as the restaurant is filled with a trendy local crowd, many of whom are clearly eager to impress their dates, the panache-filled platefuls hit the spot perfectly.

3 Royal Terrance, Edinburgh (0845 22 21212; www.21212restaurant.co.uk). Doubles from $265 B&B. Five-course dinner menu $105 per person

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