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Where to stay in Speyside, Scotland 2024

Moray Speyside is a beautiful area in Scotland that sits on river valleys and secluded glens. It’s the largest and most famous of the country’s whisky regions, home to over half of Scotland’s distilleries. The area produces some of the country’s most loved malt whiskies.

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If you’re going to Scotland for the whisky, there’s no better place to base yourself than near the distilleries. It makes it a lot easier to get around, and convenient if you need to get a taxi back after one too many!

It’s best to do some research on which Speyside distilleries you want to visit. Choose accomodation within walking distance or a short bus or taxi ride away. For example, the popular Mash Tun is just up the road from the Aberlour Distillery.

If you can’t stay near a distillery, the best place to stay in Moray Speyside will be somewhere that has an amazing selection of whiskies behind the bar. The Craigellachie Hotel has a vast selection and even their own house blended malt scotch. 

Best hotels in Speyside: top picks

What’s the Speyside Malt Whisky Trail?

Created in the 1980s, the malt whisky trail features 7 working distilleries, a cooperage and a historic distillery all based in the lush green hills of Speyside. It was created to encourage visitors to the area, and can be completed in any order you like. The distilleries on the trail are all fairly close together, but are best enjoyed by spending a few days in the area. This ensures you can fully enjoy each stop. If you’re heading to the Speyside region, it’s like you’ll be hitting up at least a couple of the distilleries on the trail.  

  • Aberlour is a picturesque town located on the banks of the River Spey. It’s a popular spot for fishing and has several whisky distilleries in the surrounding area. There are a variety of accommodations available, ranging from small B&Bs to luxury hotels.
  • Craigellachie is a quaint village situated at the heart of the Speyside region. It’s home to the Craigellachie Bridge, which is a popular tourist attraction. The village has several accommodation options, including traditional B&Bs and boutique hotels.
  • Dufftown is a small town that’s often referred to as the “malt whisky capital of the world”. It’s home to several famous whisky distilleries. There are several hotels, B&Bs, and self-catering accommodations in the town. It’s a convenient place to stay for whisky enthusiasts.
  • Elgin is a bustling town located on the coast of the Moray Firth. It’s known for its beautiful architecture, including the medieval cathedral and the historic Elgin Museum. There are several hotels and B&Bs in the town, as well as self-catering accommodations.
  • Forres is a charming town located on the outskirts of the Cairngorms National Park. It has a rich history, and there are several ancient sites in the surrounding area. This includes the Brodie Castle and the Findhorn Bay Nature Reserve. There are several accommodation options in the town, including hotels, B&Bs, and self-catering accommodations.
  • Grantown-on-Spey is a small town located in the Cairngorms National Park. It’s a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with several hiking and cycling trails in the area. There are several hotels, B&Bs, and self-catering accommodations in the town, making it a great base for exploring the national park.

What are the best hotels to stay in Speyside, Scotland?

Choosing the right place to stay in Speyside can greatly impact your overall experience. Depending on your interests and budget, there are different types of accommodations that may suit you. We will explore the various options available and highlight popular places to stay in the area.   There’s a whole host of wonderful places to stay while you enjoy the Speyside region, from luxury hotels, to inns to campsites. Here are our top suggestions.

1. The Mash Tun

Broomfield Sq, Aberlour AB38 9QP

Price: ££

Hotel rating: 9A pub in Aberlour, The Mash Tun may seem unassuming at first with its simple wooden tables and pub food. However, it’s the only place in the world that holds the exclusive Glenfarclas Family Cask Collection – a group of rare whiskies from 1952 – 2001. It has five whiskey-themed rooms that can be booked.

The rooms are snug, with iron bedsteads, sheepskin rugs, and whisky memorabilia.   The Mash Tun’s prime location makes it an ideal base for fishing excursions, walks along the Speyside Way, and exploring the Malt Whisky Trail. Aberlour, the home of The Mash Tun, houses its own distillery and is also famous for Walkers Shortbread.

Their pub downstairs serves delicious fresh, seasonal produce sourced from the local area. Expect traditional Scottish delights such as smoked salmon and Aberdeen Angus steak. 

2. The Craigellachie Hotel

Victoria Street, Craigellachie, AB38 9SR

Price: ££

Hotel rating: 8.3

Stars: 4This charming 26 room inn is in the heart of Speyside, with a view of the Macallan distillery from its windows. It’s often considered to be the center of Speyside action, with friendly staff. The hotel even has their own blended malt scotch to enjoy. Every room at The Craigellachie Hotel has its own unique style, offering a blend of elegance and modernity.

For outdoor enthusiasts, a plethora of activities awaits. You can enjoy clay pigeon shooting, quad biking and invigorating hikes. Sporting Scotland and the House of Mulben offer opportunities for fishing and hunting, organised with the help of local ghillies.

The interiors of the hotel reflect the surrounding Scottish landscape and heritage, complemented by plaids and tweeds. The four-poster beds, adorned with Egyptian cotton linen, beckon guests to a night of restful slumber. Thoughtful touches include complimentary Walkers shortbread, baked just a little over a mile away, and a decanter filled with delightful Speyside whisky.

For dinner, indulge in the inviting atmosphere of the Copper Dog bar and restaurant. Continue your evening in the cosy Quaich bar, where attentive bar staff are eager to guide you towards a whisky that suits your preferences. As morning arrives, indulge in a delicious breakfast featuring options like smoked salmon, or a full Speyside breakfast.

3. The Dowans Hotel

Aberlour, Aberlour, AB38 9LS

Price: ££

Hotel rating: 9.2

This grand Victorian lodge in Aberlour has been fully restored and given a contemporary interior. With 16 bedrooms offering fantastic views, it’s easy to see why it’s a top choice when deciding where to stay in Speyside.   Whether you desire a cosy single room or an elegantly styled king, each accommodation provides tea and coffee making facilities, a flat-screen TV, and an en-suite bathroom. Enjoy dinner at their a la carte restaurant, ’57’, which welcomes both guests and non-residents alike. Here, they use locally sourced, seasonal, and sustainable ingredients.   The Dowans Hotel boasts two exceptional bars, each reflecting the spirit of the Highlands. The Still, a renowned whisky bar, houses an impressive collection of over five hundred single malt whiskies. MBar celebrates the thriving micro-brewery culture in the surrounding area, featuring a selection of beers from esteemed local breweries.   Whether you seek relaxation amidst breathtaking scenery, an exploration of the famous ‘Whisky Trail’, invigorating mountain walks, or exhilarating fishing experiences on the Spey, Dowans Hote is an excellent choice.

4. Craigellachie Lodge

Edward Avenue, Craigellachie, AB38 9ST, United Kingdom

Price: £
Hotel rating: 9.6

If you want to opt for a B&B, Craigellachie Lodge is a great pick. The rooms are spacious, with nice decor that combines the style of a boutique hotel with the homely atmosphere of a guest house. With 5 luxurious guest rooms on offer, this one books up fast.  

Dating back to 1860, the Victorian mansion is perched upon a hill, offering a captivating view of the Spey Valley from its two-acre grounds. Their bar boasts a carefully curated selection of whiskies, local beers, ciders, gins, and other spirits.  

The lodge is a short stroll away from renowned whisky bars, restaurants, the Speyside Way Trail and the historic Telford Bridge. With half of Scotland’s whisky distilleries in close proximity, the lodge serves as the perfect base for whisky enthusiasts.

5. Cardhu Country House

Knockando, Aberlour, AB38 7RY

Price: ££
Hotel rating: 9.7

Cardhu Country House is a lovely rural retreat in the center of Speyside, near the Cardhu distillery.

As a luxurious bed and breakfast, Cardhu Country House offers an exclusive rural getaway in the heart of Speyside Whisky Country. Positioned at the epicenter of the Whisky Trail, it serves as the perfect base for whisky enthusiasts.

The house is conveniently situated only a mile away from the renowned River Spey, famous for its exceptional salmon fishing.   The six spacious bedrooms have contemporary en-suite bathrooms. The public rooms exude coziness with their welcoming open fires, creating a perfect ambiance for relaxation.

6. Blervie House

Blervie House Rafford, Forres, IV36 2RU

Price: £££
Hotel rating: 9.2
Stars: 5

Overlooking the Moray Firth, Blervie House graces Scotland’s coast with an ideal base for exploring the surroundings.

Blervie House is nestled within its sprawling 272-acre estate. Forty-five acres are dedicated to enchanting gardens, while the remainder is enveloped in serene woodlands.

Within the grand house, twelve guest bedrooms await, each adorned with the finest touches. Egyptian high-count cotton sheets and Hungarian goose-down duvets grace the beds. Ten of the bedrooms boast en-suite bathrooms, adding convenience and comfort to the stay.

Five distinct common areas cater to every mood, including a billiard room and a tranquil reading room.   The atmospheric dining room sets the stage for traditional breakfasts, and evening meals can also be arranged.

Which Speyside Distilleries Should We Visit?

One of the must-see distilleries is The Macallan, known for its world-renowned single malt whiskies. With a history dating back to 1824, The Macallan offers tours and tastings so you can learn about the intricate process of whisky production.    Another notable distillery is Glenfiddich, one of the few family-owned distilleries left in Scotland. You can explore the distillery’s vast warehouses and enjoy a tasting of their award-winning whiskies.   Balvenie is yet another distillery that should be on the list. They offer a chance to witness the entire whisky-making process from malting to bottling.   Other notable distilleries include Aberlour, Glenlivet, and Glenfarclas, each offering its unique character and flavor profiles. 

Where to stay in Speyside, Scotland FAQ

What is the difference between Speyside and Highland?

Speyside is the area that surrounds the River Spey in the north east of Scotland. The Highland region is the largest area in Scotland, that includes nearly all that’s North of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

What is special about Speyside?

Speyside produces some of the best whiskies in Scotland, and even the world. They are known for their fruity taste, with apple, pear, honey, vanilla and spice notes popular in the region.

What is the capital of Speyside?

Dufftown is the capital of Speyside.

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