In the Highlands of Scotland there is an old fort next to the famous Loch Ness. Located in the town of Fort Augustus is The Highland Club. The club was originally a fort in 1715 and then taken over by monks in the mid to late 1800s. Today it is used as a holiday retreat for vacationers wishing to stay right by the deep waters of Loch Ness. Pieces of the old fort can still be recognized as you take a tour through the grounds. Corners of the star shaped fort jut out into the parking lot and grounds while the more recently built abbey church stands in stark contrast against the blue sky.
Getting To The Club
Getting to the southern part of Loch Ness and ultimately the club is a breeze. The most convenient and obvious way would be to rent a car and drive. You’ll have no trouble if you choose this route. The signs leading into the area are clear and the abbey fort is easily found and accessible. There was plenty of parking while we were around and you won’t have to walk far to get to the front building.
We chose to rely on public transit to get us to our destination. After a wonderful stay in the quiet and quaint town of Nairn, Scotland we headed for Fort Augustus. We hopped on a train that runs straight into Inverness. From there, however, your options are more limited. There’s no train that runs down past the abbey, but there is a bus station just outside the train station in Inverness. Bus tickets are about 15 GBP per person and it’s a pleasant sixty minute ride along the shore of the lake. The bus stop for Fort Augustus is only about a five minute walk from the abbey.
Checking Into The Highland Club
Checking in to your room at the the club is a breeze … once you know where to go. We got directions on how to check in through a message on Airbnb that lead us a little astray. Our directions had us going through a door with a code (that didn’t work). We were found by a groundskeeper that was happy to point us in the right direction.
The actual check-in was great. We were greeted by Charles who was manning the office at the front. He was all too happy to show us around the grounds with a tour before showing us our room. We were told of all the amenities and rules, given our checkout time, and shown where to drop off our keys.
The room we stayed in is called the Scriptorium. The rooms are privately owned and can be booked on The Highland Club website or through other services if the owner chooses. We booked our room through AirBnB.
The bedroom with plenty of light through the stained glass windows.
The room had a small kitchen equipped with a stove, oven, microwave, refrigerator, washer/dryer, and dishwasher. The space was beautiful and very clean. There is a housekeeping service, but they only come after your stay. You’re responsible for the general upkeep of your apartment while in attendance. Not a big deal, but our garbage was starting to get full by the end of our trip.
Our sitting area directly under the bedroom. The three windows mirror the configuration of those in the bedroom and let in plenty of light.
A fully equipped kitchen.
The lounge was a great place to sit and relax or play some billiards or board games. There is free wifi in the Lounge so if you’re not interested in playing games bring your laptop, get comfy on the couch, and check your email. However, going on your laptop should be one of the last things on your mind from all that’s available at the club.
The Pool, Sauna, and Steam Room
This is the heart of the property. Or at least it was the centerpiece for me. The nice thing about this place is that the time slots are booked in advance by your room. You write down your desired time in the log book and then you get the place all to yourself.
The pool is heated, there are huge windows to show you the countryside, there’s a steam room, and a sauna. Do you need anything else in a room? I didn’t think so. The heated indoor pool is wonderful place to swim and relax especially since the room itself is in such a tranquil area.
After swimming in the pool be sure to step into the steam room and sauna for some more rejuvenation.
The Boathouse Restaurant
After playing billiards in the lounge, swimming in the pool, and relaxing in the sauna you may find that you’ve built up an appetite. No worries, just head on over to the Boathouse Restaurant where you can enjoy a delicious Mediterranean meal while taking in the beautiful views of the famous Loch Ness.
In addition to some great turkish cuisine you’ll find some traditional Scottish platters and a wide variety of drinks and desserts. Everything was freshly prepared and brought out in a timely manner by an attentive wait staff. The employees were friendly and were sure to check that our food was perfectly prepared.
There is so much more to this amazing Abbey than just the lounge, pool, sauna and steam room…I know, hard to imagine.
Once you’ve been refreshed by the pool or relaxed in the sauna maybe you’ll enjoy a game of life-size lawn chess in the Cloister Garden, lawn croquet on the grounds, or table tennis in the halls.
The Abbey also has a gym and spa. The gym is available for guests at anytime, but to book your spa appointment at the Abbatia Beauty Spa on the property, call 01320 366357 or email [email protected]
Let’s not forget the kids. There is even a playground on the property for those traveling with children or who wish to be a kid again themselves.
For a complete list of amenities and activities be sure to visit The Highland Club page.
The ambiance is one of the best parts of booking a stay with The Highland Club. The area is world famous and steeped in history. Being an old fort and then an abbey the property has an awesome vibe. The hallways are large and airy. The building is host to amazing stained glass windows, well furnished common areas, and ornate halls. You can still catch glimpses of the old star fort in the walls as you walk around the beautiful grounds.
The club isn’t the only part that makes the atmosphere great. The old building is situated right at the southern point of the famous lake. The grounds offer stunning views of the lake and surrounding countryside. You can start your search for Nessie standing among the yellow flowers looking over smooth water in the early morning or on a boat cruise from a local tour operator.
We had a comfortable stay in our rented apartment at The Highland Club. Though there are many different rooms we feel that you’re experience with the property won’t change much. There’s plenty to see and do in the area. The town is close and quiet. You’ll find all of the services that you expect including a wide variety of restaurants and takeaways.
This old fort is a must.
We booked our stay at The Highland Club through AirBnB. This review is an editorial opinion of The Nomadic Lifestyle.