Discover Royal Deeside
Set in the Victorian village of Ballater, the Balmoral Arms is just two streets away from the River Dee, surrounded by boutique shops and cafes. Pack your walking boots, for there are countless stunning hikes to be enjoyed in these parts, including the picturesque Loch Muick, the Lochnager Munro and trails within the Cairngorms National Park (maps and guides are provided in rooms).
Outdoor pursuits, such as winter skiing (Glenshee Ski Centre is a short drive away), fishing, archery and stalking are plentiful and the Ballater Golf Club is but a stroll away. Wildlife enthusiasts can spot red squirrels, black grouse, capercaillies, wildcats, golden eagles and more.
But of course, a visit to the Royals’ summer residence is a key part of a peak season stay in Ballater; the Castle can be reached in a little over 10 minutes by car, with the option of a detour past the more diminutive Knock Castle en route.
This property is part of the Crerar Hotels group, which offer luxurious accommodations across Scotland and have been offering exceptional service since 1902. Guests can experience the wild and inspiring landscapes, an abundance of wildlife, outdoor adventures and local produce with properties stretching from Loch Fyne and Oban, across to Mull up to Glencoe, Nairn and down to Ballater.
Read our review of the Crerar Lock Fyne Hotel & Spa here
After days exploring the Cairngorms, you can cosy up in one of the Ballater Arms’ bedrooms and suites, all with organic bath products provided by the Highland Soap Company and locally sourced goodies. Soft tones, with touches of tweed, country-chic patterned headboards and wood panelling create a soothing, all-Scottish backdrop for your break.
The premium category of guest rooms comprises the River Dee, Loch Muick, Balmoral and Birkhall suites; these come equipped with Nespresso coffee machines, a dram and shortbread in the room and nods to their local namesakes.
The Lochnagar and Crathie junior suites also benefit from Nespresso machines, alongside Tunnocks treats and pure wool bedding for some Scottish hygge. Book a bedroom from the Feature Room category for a roll-top bath, or a Coorie Double on the top floor for rooftop views across the village. Those planning to spend most of the time out and about may prefer one of the wallet-friendly (but still supremely comfortable) Cosy Doubles, or Classic Rooms with twin, double or king beds available.
Our Suite During Our Stay Was The Balmoral Suite.
During our stay we were hosted in the best suite in the hotel, the Balmoral Suite. This gorgeous suite offers plenty of space to spread out and faces the front offering a cute view overlooking the church.
The bathroom comes with an indulgent roll top bath, a separate walk in shower and amenities by the Highland Soap Company.
We were left a beautiful selection of chocolates by the Braemar Chocolate Shop and they were so good, we made a detour via the shop on the way home to stock up on more.
There was a Nespresso machine too and plenty of tea options and biscuits too.