Inn of the Year 2016!
Something keeps bringing us back to the Tay and Tummel valleys, having stayed over in Pitlochry, Dunkeld, Bankfoot and Aberfeldy numerous times over the last few years.
We first visited the Old Mill Inn in 2013, just after it had changed hands, and by 2014 it had already been voted Inn of the year at the Scottish Hotel Awards. It was a regional winner in 2015 and in 2016 it was Scottish Inn of the year again. 3 awards in 3 years for a new business tells its own story.
We returned just before Christmas on a surprisingly sunny day to spend a night in one of their deluxe rooms (£159 - £179 per night B&B). The water wheel was turning but was looking a bit frosty!
We checked in at the bar and were given a comprehensive rundown on all the info we needed for our stay while being led to our room upstairs. The Old Mill Inn is a lot bigger than you'd think - there's an extension built onto the back and we were staying in one of the rooms on the top floor at attic level.
Despite the room shape it was surprisingly spacious with a super-king sized bed with Egyptian cotton sheets, a mirrored desk, couch, another table with a choice of chairs, a TV (No Travel or Food channels but it did have Film Four!), free WiFi, iPod dock (pre-Lightning cable) and an iron and ironing board.
The other obvious feature was a Nespresso machine and shortbread. There was also a hairdryer under here and a large bottles of still and sparkling water, glasses and kettle with Tetley tea in the cabinet beneath the TV.
Being on the top floor at the back afforded us a view of the nearest Corbett: Ben Vrackie, which is walkable from the Old Mill Inn. See Walk Highlands for details.
The en-suite bathroom was really modern with under-floor heating, a walk-in shower and most probably the deepest bath we've ever seen! The shower had a fixed rainshower head above and a moveable shower head, and there were Highland soap company products (Wild nettle & heather) liquid soap, body wash, shampoo and bubble bath.
Before going downstairs for dinner Mrs Foodie made sure to make use of the bath for a relaxing soak!
(Dinner post coming soon!)
We slept soundly on the massive bed. The following morning we headed to the restaurant area at the back where buffet items had been set on a single table consisting of cereals, yogurt, fruit, cheese, ham, bread (with a toaster) and preserves.
From the menu I opted for the Full Scottish Breakfast with free-range local eggs (fried here), local bacon, Robertson’s of Ayrshire pork sausage, Stornoway black pudding, a slice of grilled tomato & mushrooms. The Old Mill have got it spot on when it comes to a fry-up, serving up a non-greasy portion of quality produce - and 2 sausages and 3 rashers of bacon get a thumbs up too!
The Mrs chose the large fluffy blueberry pancakes which are served with a helping of maple syrup. Other breakfast options included eggs Benedict, smoked salmon & eggs, porridge and French toast.
The Old Mill Inn is a fabulous place to stay and well-deserving of its title of the best inn in Scotland (5/5 on Tripadvisor too)! Check in and out was a breeze, the room was well-equipped and comfortable, dinner was excellent (check back in a few days for a review of this too), breakfast was also brilliant and staff were great throughout. They also sell local beer!
We really don't have any complaints with our stay other than that the stairwell to the top floor was freezing cold (but you were only in it for a few seconds) and there was no lift but staff did kindly help us with our bags (we were both suckers for the sales in Hawkshead and Mountain Warehouse!).
If you want to make your stay a bit more special, you can add things onto your booking such as: late check out (1pm rather than 10:30am) for £20; Chocolates from £15; Flowers from £35; Prosecco £25.50; or a bottle of Veuve Cliquot Champagne for £59.95.
Note: The Old Mill Inn has a two-night minimum policy when booking at weekends but occasionally single nights are available.
Pitlochry is a lovely wee town with picturesque Victorian buildings and plenty of nearby woods and walks. Although it's a small town anytime we've been (regardless of season) there's always been a buzz around the main road due to the influx of backpackers and walkers. It's certainly not a place reserved for old folk, there's plenty of stuff to see/do, eg. there's a choice of great cafes, restaurants and deli/off-licenses, the Heather Gems jewellery showroom, nearby hill walking, the salmon ladder and dam, theatre, Enchanted forest (every Autumn), a golf course, 2 distilleries (Edradour and Blair Athol) within walking distance and a brewery at the fabulous Moulin Inn.
We travelled by train from Glasgow Queen St to Pitlochry station, it only takes 1 hour 32 on the fastest train and tickets can be had for as little as £5(!) each way. Use the "best fares found" option on the right hand side of the Scotrail website once you've done a search to find the cheap fares! From the station the inn is a mere 5 minutes on foot just off the main road (Athol Road) on Mill Lane. Buses from Glasgow and Edinburgh to Inverness stop even closer!
+ Cosy spacious room with large comfy bed
+ A seriously deep bath. Ideal for those who love a good soak
+ Just off main road but quiet inside
+ Late check-out available
+ Nespresso machine in room
+ Good breakfast choices with local produce
+ Pitlochry is one of our favourite towns in Scotland
+ Handy for both train and bus transport
- Stairwell to room freezing and no lift access
The Old Mill Inn, Mill Lane, Pitlochry, PH16 5BH
01796 474 020
Disclaimer: We received a complimentary stay but Fred vouches for the honesty of his hoomins, even though they keep leaving him with the cat sitter (well he keeps dishing out the Dreamies meow).