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Cluny Bank Hotel

North East

69 St. Leonards Road, Forres, Moray. IV36 2DW.

Tel: +44 1309 674 304

http://www.clunybankhotel.co.uk

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Our review

Forres is a surprising burgh and we reckon it has a very high quality of life indeed: for a small town it has an eye-opening number of beautiful buildings. Its main park, and all of the floral displays, are of championship standard. The air is fresh and pure, there are miles of beaches in the area (from certain places dolphins can frequently be seen playing in the Moray Firth) and the reputation of local food produce is second to none. There is history and heritage galore – not to forget the Scotch Whisky and the castle trails to enjoy.

Along a tree-lined avenue of interesting and imposing houses – some very charming indeed – the architecturally detailed Cluny Bank Hotel sits on the side of a slope overlooking woodland. This lovely old house now includes a welcoming restaurant and rooms featuring a range of comfortable accommodation: certain rooms have recently been redesigned with great care and we liked, for example, the new-look Davies room with its hints of Charles Rennie Mackintosh lilac and crushed velvet designer sofa. There is a ground floor room with its own front door to the garden, too, amongst the choices. Free wi-fi throughout.

A smart little bar lounge is the ideal spot for a pre-dinner drink - sample a local whisky or gin, perhaps - and a perusal of the greatly enticing menu. Local produce is at the heart of this and the integrity of the ingredients is top rank, nothing less. Chef Lloyd Kenny has a talent in taste revelation and his award-winning food has absolutely and deservedly put the hotel’s comfy yet unassuming Franklin’s Restaurant on the map. Local game, meat and fish are highlights; flavours are well-balanced and tantalizing; at desert time Lloyd will come to your table and have a chat about what is on the go and what Sir or Madam would prefer. It is delightful cabaret and always followed by further deliciousness from the kitchen.

In recent years, the owners have continually enhanced the property and this rolling programme means some rooms are ahead of others design-wise, so do phone to have a chat first to ensure that you are most suitably accommodated.

 UPDATED: 29TH AUGUST 2014

 

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