Glenapp Castle ~ Press Reviews
CONDÉ NAST TRAVELLER (March 2002)
'STONE ROSES' by Sophie Pither
'The five star Glenapp is a newcomer to the castle-hotel scene, having opened in April 2000, and is quietly positioning itself among the best castle accommodation in Scotland. It is now part of the Relais & Châteaux group.
I arrived during a mid-September blizzard and Fay and Graham Cowan welcomed me into the draught free cosiness, a gesture they extend to all guests, emphasising straight away that this grand construction of grey-stone turrets and towers is their home.
Fay, whose family bought Glenapp in 1994 and own three other hotels nearby, grew up in the hotel business, and with husband Graham, a former vet, has spent the past six years transforming the dilapidated castle into a 17-bedroom luxury hotel.
Restricting the number of rooms has ensured that each one is vast, 11 with their own fires (albeit with gas flames). No corners chopped off for bathrooms here; instead, entire rooms have been converted to house Victorian free-standing baths, with views over 30 acres of well kept gardens, and a sweet smelling walled garden.
The ambience in this former seat of the Earl of Inchcape is sophisticated but relaxed: large sofas: open fires: expensive rugs: original Austrian tiger-striped oak panelling; highly polished antique clocks and barometers; oil paintings and huge windows with heavy curtains. It is more country house than castle - built in 1870, there are no relics, or historic tales of battles or kings.
However, as Graham insists ' We are much more than just a beautiful building.' It is a significant point. Many castle hotels rely solely on their impressive architecture to attract guests, and don't do service justice. But not here. Add to that the knowledge that you will never be invaded by a coachload of afternoon tea-seekers - casual visitors are not admitted - and Glenapp Castle is a highly desirable place to stay.