STONEFIELD CASTLE - KINTYRE PENINSULA: FADED GLORY
Stonefield Castle is actually a large house and a good example of Scottish Baronial architecture. Also known as Barmore House, it was originally owned by the MacAlasdair family. The head of the family served as the Constable of Tarbert Castle. Duty to neglect of duty and for allowing Tarbert Castle to fall into ruin – he lost both properties. Stonefield was acquired by Charles Campbell. He employed architects William Henry Playfair and William Notman to extend and remodel the house to its current form in 1837. Many of the original features still remain on the ground floor. The hotel was once even recommended by Condé Nast and a faded sign still testifies to this past achievement. Faded starts to be a theme when you see the sign and step inside. The reception area is a small dark corner before you enter the first grand room. When it was first built, it must have been simply stunning. There are several beautiful rooms, a great ‘hunting lodge’ type of bar and a huge dinning room. The dinning room is bland, but it gives you a wide panorama view of Loch Fyne which is a stone’s throw away.
My room was up a decaying staircase and past a few pieces of antique furniture. My room was ok. It has an ok bed, tea/coffee making facilities, a TV and closet. It also had a small stereo system. It was tastefully decorated and looked over a rear door and the start of a garden on the side facing away from the loch. The bathroom was a long, narrow affair that was at least modern and the towels were good. The only bad thing is that the shower had sort of a half length shower wall and this meant that there was always water across the floor making it slippery. I had to keep towels on the floor the whole time.
Staying at the hotel had some good points. Inside you have a lot of staff that are European students and who were polite enough. I enjoyed a few cold beers and some whisky sampling as I browsed though the house. There is a library room, complete with hundreds of book to have a read of. There were plenty of rooms to sit in and enjoy a good read and the ambiance. The hotel is very quiet and peaceful.
Outside in the grounds is the real plus of the property. The gradual paved drive between the front door and the main road is ½ a mile long. So running a mile is easy to figure out. There are walking paths across the grounds and around Loch Fyne. I really enjoyed my runs and walks over the several days I stayed at Stonefield.
The only downsides are that the hotel is a little worn and the breakfast times. You don’t pay a fortune to stay here in the standard rooms and the setting of the hotel increases the value of your stay to compensate. Breakfast times, however, are not geared for business travellers like me. They used to serve breakfast at 7am, which is ok. They have changed this and even covered over the earlier times on the door card you can leave for breakfast in your room. They do not start until 8am. Given that a full Scottish Breakfast is included, it’s a bit strange to have moved the times back and still try and attract business customers.
Overall, this is a very interesting hotel and grounds. I used it as a base to both work and explore the Kintyre Peninsula. It is quiet, affords people who like the outdoors a great experience and it is peaceful. You have 60 acres or woodlands on the estate alone to explore. I had a good night’s sleep every night after a nice walk and run.
I never ate dinner here, but you can pay a supplement and get a dinner package. I have to say the menu and the food looked nice. The dinning room scenery is incredible.
• 32 bedrooms with TV, tea/coffee facilities, en-suite and a good closet
• Good restaurant with panoramic views of Loch Fyne
• 60 acres of woodlands and trials
• Historic bar with over 50 single malt whiskies
• Full Scottish Breakfast included, dinner packages can be added
• Gardens with many plants collected in the Himalayas by Sir Joseph Hooker
• Tarbert Golf Club (9 holes) is nearby
• Business conference facilities for 2-60 delegates