Cameron House review: action-packed Loch Lomond hotel near Glasgow with falconry, speedboats and a seaplane

Cameron House Hotel on Loch Lomond

The 17th-century Cameron House Hotel, rising dramatically from forests and mountains on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond, feels worlds away from the hustle and bustle of Glasgow — or so it seems. In reality, this action-packed five-star resort is just a 30-minute drive away from Scotland’s second city.

That means within an hour of stepping off one of the daily Emirates flights from Dubai, you can dive right in to a myriad of activities – from flying falcons to spotting otters in their natural habitat and soaring over the rugged West Coast whisky isles in the UK’s only seaplane.

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The hotel offers plenty of opportunities to slow down and sprawl out too, with a large swimming pool on-site and an extensive hydro spa (complimentary for guests) just a short shuttle ride away.

At Cameron House, luxury meets adventure, blending the beauty of Scotland with an array of exhilarating experiences. Whether you’re an adrenaline seeker, a wannabe William Wallace, or just looking to unwind surrounded by nature, it’s a resort that has something for everyone.

Middle East Traveller checked in to a Loch View Studio Suite at Cameron House for a weekend of Highland hiking, hunting with hawks and boat rides across the 24-mile Loch Lomond.

The Hotel

Steeped in centuries of history, Cameron House stands on the site of a humble 14th-century stone keep that evolved over hundreds of years into the grand residence of Tobias Smollett, a novelist hailed by George Orwell as Scotland’s finest.

Famous figures including Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Anthony Eden and Empress Eugenie of the House of Bonaparte all stayed here during the building’s years as a private residence – with music legends U2, Cher and Take That among those booking a bed in more recent years while playing gigs in nearby Glasgow.

The Smolletts are long gone – as are the grizzly bears, bison, and Tibetan yak that once roamed the grounds thanks to the family’s love of animals – but a deep sense of history remains.

Sketches and photographs showing the building’s centuries-long transformation line cosy, tartan-carpeted corridors that run between the main building and newer extensions accommodating some of the hotel’s rooms, restaurants and fitness facilities.

The building has withstood the test of time – remaining firmly planted on the lochside through two World Wars, the reigns of 11 monarchs and all of the UK’s 57 prime ministeres – but now on its 200th anniversary year there’s a fresh breeze blowing through Cameron House.

With a new Resort Director at the helm, the property is placing a sharp focus on its culinary offering, with tantalising hints of new restaurants on the horizon.

The Arrival

After a quick car journey from Glasgow and a turn-off onto the Cameron House driveway, the hotel comes into view amid towering spruce trees and manicured lawns.

The building – directly opposite the atmospheric Loch Lomond – is strikingly close to the water’s edge, meaning rooms offer largely unobscured views over the water and surrounding hills (although you might be able to glimpse a few trees depending on the season).

Park up on the hotel’s elevated circular driveway and let the kilted doormen take care of your car, then ascend the grand entrance steps past gothic stained glass windows into an elegant, wood-panelled lobby that’s full of tartan touches.

Roaring fireplaces, dark leather chairs and lighting features hanging from low ceilings evoke the cosy feeling of being in a private home rather than a hotel — a welcome respite from the notoriously chilly Scottish weather outside.

An intimate bar space tucked just off the lobby offers generous views through tall windows over grounds that feature a marina and nine-hole golf course, as well as comfortable curved fabric sofas you can sink into while enjoying the hotel’s signature selection of whiskies.

In the library next door, where afternoon tea is served, intricate hand-printed wallpaper with leaves and blooms picked out in gold is lit warmly by rows of chandeliers, giving a classic appeal to the space.

The Room

The hotel has 208 rooms, with 14 in the 17th-century Auld Hoose building and the rest in a series of wings that extend off the lobby. All offer views of either the resort grounds or Loch Lomond, and some have balconies perched on top of turrets with outdoor dining tables for breakfast with a side of the Highlands hills.

Newer rooms benefit from large open-plan living areas, while the original ones – all suites – are cosier with dark, stylish interiors drawing from a palette of purples, greys and reds. In the Loch View Studio Suite, an armchair in the steeply arched window cove is the perfect nook for an afternoon spent reading while looking out over the water.

Local touches are plentiful, including bespoke art from the Glasgow-based design studio Timorous Beasties, plus luxurious cashmere throws from the fine woollen brand Johnstons of Elgin. If you’re staying in a suite and don’t want to spend any time unpacking before hitting the activities, the staff can take care of that for you too.

The Service

Service shines throughout, but particularly at the hotel’s restaurants and grand entrance where staff without airs blend hospitable warmth with a hint of local charm.

At the Cameron Grill restaurant, the eccentric manager Marco is the life and soul of the dining room, even jumping up to the microphone to croon out a song with the live jazz duo as the night nears its end.

The tartan-clad doormen are known for going above and beyond, handing out teddies to children and once even coaxing in a Highland Cow for an American guest who dreamed of nothing more than seeing one of the famously fluffy beasts during his Scottish trip.

The Restaurants and Bars

Cameron House has long been a date-night destination for city dwellers seeking top cuisine within easy driving distance of Glasgow, and a renewed focus on restaurants means several new options are soon set to join the menu — from Asian-inspired pop-ups to Italian deli counters and more.

For now, Cameron Grill – an intimate, sophisticated steakhouse with bronze leather furniture and white tablecloths – is the best spot for dinner, with a well-priced table d’hôte menu that offers two courses for £65 and the option to add on pudding for another £10.

Creatively plated starters include a refreshing garden pea panna cotta with a crunch of crispy shallots and fluffy potato croquettes, while the beautifully cooked Aberdeenshire Lamb Rump from the main courses is the clear star of the show.

For vegetarians, the grilled cauliflower in a pool of flavourful coconut laksa is the must-order, as are the exceptional triple cooked chips with truffle and parmesan — the £6 surcharge is more than worth it.

After dinner, head for the Great Scots Bar where more than 300 whiskies are served by a team of cask connoisseurs, and amber-lit lockers with name plaques safeguard partially enjoyed bottles for returning guests (you can claim your own for 20 times the price of a single shot).

Afternoon tea at the library is a delightful celebration of choux, cremeux and Veuve Clicquot, with one inventive blend from the wide-ranging menu evoking the flavours of a Highland malt, and another infusing the sweetness of apple, kiwi, cranberry and coconut with tart sour cherry.

The Activities

There’s plenty to do, with the hotel’s expansive grounds playing host to dozens of activities in the air, on water and on land – from archery to clay pigeon shooting and bike hire – plus an on-site marina and nine-hole golf course known as The Wee Demon.

Head out in a Land Rover Defender to explore more than 400 acres of stunning Scottish countryside – or take it easy at the hydro spa’s bubbling outdoor pool overlooking the rugged Highlands before exploring the thermal suite’s saunas, steam rooms and ice showers.

Golfers can play the 18-hole Carrick course – which has hosted the Ladies’ Scottish Open, the PGA Cup, and the Europro Tour – while 17 spa treatment rooms offer ESPA enzyme facials and treatments that enable the body to access a parasympathetic “state of allowing”.

Transfers to the club and spa run every hour and take a few minutes, but if you prefer to stay put at the main hotel building there’s a well-sized swimming pool complete with a flume and waterslides for kids (although we definitely went down a few times).

In the evenings, strut through the red velvet curtains of the plush in-house cinema and plump down into a sumptuous armchair for complimentary screenings of the latest films, with a retro box office dishing up buttery popcorn and other sweet treats.

During our visit, the latest blockbusters were on show as well as several classics from the Golden Age of Hollywood — but if your favourite flick isn’t scheduled, it’s possible to book out the entire space for the ultimate movie night.

Why Stay?

Cameron House effortlessly blends traditional Highlands charm with breathtaking views of Loch Lomond and an extensive range of activities that guarantee entertainment at every turn.

Just 30 minutes from Glasgow, this five-star hotel offers the perfect escape to the country without a long trek into the wilderness — it’s a quintessentially Scottish experience within easy reach.

The Essentials

  • Rates: Classic Rooms start at £340 per night, including daily breakfast for two at the Cameron Grill
  • Phone number: +44 1389 312210
  • Website:
  • Address: Cameron House, Loch Lomond, Alexandria G83 8QZ, United Kingdom