Carskiey, a private estate rental, including the Mull of Kintyre, lies on the west coast of Scotland and comprises of Carskiey House, Shore Cottage and The Artist's Studio.
How would you describe Highland Lodge in a nutshell?
Highland Lodge is a design-led country estate and the first in Scotland to have that focus. So you won’t find any tartan or stags heads, but rather a simplistic, somewhat Scandi-influenced aesthetic within an old building on the edge of Aberfeldy. We’ve gone for high-end interiors and a non-bling design — we like to say that Highland Lodge is extremely luxurious and comfortable without being ostentatious.
What was the inspiration and story behind Highland Lodge?
My wife, Susie White, is an architect and designer, having spent many years working in high-end architectural practices in New York and San Francisco. We now have a small building company in Perthshire that specialises in renovating old and listed buildings, so we came to the project with experience.
We had been on the lookout for a large property to renovate and convert into high-end, exclusive accommodation for some time and were passing Aberfeldy on a regular basis doing building work in a nearby village. When we first saw the property, we were attracted to it because of its location — set across 5.5 acres in an elevated position and with fantastic views, all while being within walking distance to the town.
Many places in Scotland are an hour to the closest pub and guests have to get into their cars to go anywhere. But at Highland Lodge, you can stay an entire weekend and never get into your car, with lovely coffee shops, bookstores and pubs all just a short walk away. It’s also within walking distance of Dewar’s Whiskey Distillery and several nationally-known walks, including the waterfall trail that leads to the Birks of Aberfeldy.
How would you describe the atmosphere and what it’s like staying at Highland Lodge?
A lot of guests who stay at Highland Lodge come back to us and say how much their expectations were exceeded and comment on the soul of the property. So I think it’s something you really have to experience yourself.
For many guests, their favourite part of the house is the central staircase and hallway, which is painted in an off-black colour and has a moody, warm Highland feel, especially when the fireplace is going. As you move away from the main hallway, there’s a big contrast, with large windows that offer sweeping landscape views and lots of light. We have directional lighting throughout the property that adds to the atmosphere, as it picks up details such as the wood panelling on the walls.
I think it’s also important to mention that we are in the final stages of applying for the Green Tourism Award and creating a sustainable property is at the heart of what we do. Aside from reducing our energy consumption, recycling and providing electric car charging stations, we’ve also planted the grounds with native trees and shrubs to attract wildlife. Outside of the stone walls, we’ve left nature to re-wild the space and it’s now providing habitat for deer, pheasants, owls and a variety of other local birdlife.
Is Highland Lodge suitable for families with children?
Yes, we designed Highland Lodge so that it was suitable for everyone, including multi-generational families with kids. It’s a very robust house and we have a little library/playroom for children off the cinema room, as well as cots onsite for babies.
But it’s also ideal for corporate groups or friends wanting to get away for the weekend to have a craic together with great food and wine. We also do small, intimate weddings and are in the process of renovating a separate cottage (which will sleep eight) and creating a flower meadow where larger weddings will be hosted.