The castle itself dates back to 1863, and as you would expect, offers period elegance; Queen Victoria spent a week at Inverlochy Castle in 1873 and is reported to have said 'I never saw a lovelier or more romantic spot'. Nature has certainly done its bit here, for the castle is located just outside of Fort William in the Nevis Range mountains (home to Ben Nevis of course) and accordingly there are breathtaking views in every direction.
With the hotel and nature both pitching in, the restaurant must step up and do its share of the lifting, and it has for some time risen to this challenge gaining and holding on to through chef changes a Michelin star. Despite that accolade, the current head chef, Phil Carnegie, is not we think a name widely known, though perhaps it will be known more so in the future because what Phil and his team are cooking up at Inverlochy is absolutely superb.
A few other things to know however before jumping in to the food. First of all, the restaurant requires gentlemen to wear a jacket and tie, something seen at The Ritz in London but no other restaurant that I can immediately think of in the UK. Second, the wine list is, let's say 'expensive' and leave it at that. Third, service is excellent throughout our stay but star of the show that night was the sommelier, William, who was charming for free while pairing affordable wines by the glass that made for excellent matches.
With Inverlochy setting its stall as being one of the best hotels in the UK, and even perhaps the world, there really is no choice to deliver food of the highest standards to your guests. On the strength of the meal we ate, he showed he's fully up to the challenge and with Philip reasonably new to the Head Chef position at the castle, we wouldn't be surprised if going forward, the food just keeps getting better.
Inverlochy Castle is open for lunch and dinner to non residents also, so if you're staying in the popular Fort William area, this is worth considering if you wish to treat yourself. It's not cheap, but it is the best and the roll call of ingredients, rabbit, lobster, caviar, quail, foie gras, turbot at least provide a nod to where your money has gone. But in the hands of a great kitchen, as it is here, the end result is a little piece of magic. After a holiday, you soon forget much that took place, remembering only the absolute highlights, and as such, we'll always remember we had a great time and a great meal at Inverlochy.
Visit Inverlochy Castle website
Previously I visited Glenapp Castle, SW Scotland
Next stop: Ackergill Tower
Location map for Inverlochy Castle