The Fife Arms review, a luxury stay in the Cairngorms, Scotland

UK Hotels
  • 46 rooms
  • Double rooms from £250
  • Themed around the history of Scotland: Royal suites, Victorian suites, nature and poetry, croft rooms etc.
  • 4 family suites and you can also ask for connected roooms, which is what we had
  • Family Room is a treasure trove of fun for children of all ages. With board games, books and table football plus a play kitchen, DVD player and Xbox with an array of different games.
  • They can arrange a program of activities outside of the hotel too
  • A formal restaurant, a pub, a bar for drinks in the evening
  • Afternoon tea in the lounges
  • A small spa which is really mostly treatment rooms
  • The nearest airports are Aberdeen (1 hour 15 minutes), Dundee (1 hour 25 minutes), Edinburgh (2 hours) and Inverness (1 hour 55 minutes).
  • Part of the experience is the drive through Scotland to get there so do take your time
  • You could also take the Caledonian train from London .


The Fife Arms is quite a formidable hotel.  It brings together international and contemporary art along with Scottish craftsmanship and culture and world-class service. 

The Fife Arms is a formidable hotel in the natural Cairngorms park.

Location: 4/5

The Cairngorms is another one of Scotland’s beautiful areas. After our stay in the Highlands at Lundies House, we were glad to come back to that part where we had stayed at the sister hotel, KillieHuntly.

There are lots of walks to do and there is also a ski station not far away. And if you are a Royal family fan, you can go check their Scottish retreat, in Balmoral which is not far.

The Fife Arms is a Victorian coaching inn situated within the magnificent Cairngorms.  The hotel is at the heart of the historic village of Braemar

It’s now been reinvented as a luxury hotel with a plethora of art and antique pieces (16,000!) by its owners, Swiss gallerists Hauser & Wirth.  By the way, you can check one of their galeries/museum in Bruton when you check in at the Newt

The hotel doesn’t have grounds per se but the village is small so you are very quickly out in the countryside.

A unique vibrant, rich and Scottish atmosphere with fabulous art masterpieces

Style: 5/5

As soon as you walk in, you look in amazement at the richness of fabrics, texture, art pieces, memorabilia.  You come across chambermaids dressed in lovely green and blue attire, the concierge and reception ladies, dressed in tartans in greens and mustard, all welcoming you with the warmth of their Scottish accent.  They are clearly very proud of working here.

It’s hard to describe the style of the rooms. They are styled either in a Victorian, Scottish, Royal or croft style. Have a look at the pictures.  Mademoiselle found them a bit spooky, due to all the antique pieces in them, I found them very interesting. I’m not sure that the room mood, full of rich and dark colours and very busy furnishing, would work as well in the summer but it certainly does in winter. 

You will also spend a significant amount of time going round the hotel to view the various masterpieces.  They give you a little booklet which lists the main ones but also arrange a tour regularly. Just ask reception.

It is really quite special to dine in a room where a Brueghel stands, to go next door to admire a Picasso above a sofa, or to contemplate Queen Victoria’s own talent in a beautiful pastel of a stag head.  

On your way to the spa, you’ll find a Louise Bourgois massive spider sculpture in the courtyard.  And there is more and more…

The spa at the Fife Arms

Spa: 3/5

The spa has a more subdued look, which is fitting as you are coming there to relax.  There is no sauna or steam but a few treatment rooms (of course with a piece of art in them) where great massages are offered.  They use a special blend of oils from the Scottish countryside.

The Fife Arms is very family-friendly

Family- friendly: 5/5

During our stay, we saw families with teenagers, with babies, with school age children, with toddlers..  The hotel can accommodate a rolling bed or cots or suggest interconnecting rooms, which is what we had. 

Kids can play in the Family room, lounge on the colourful cushions to challenge each other on the X box, pick up one of the children’s books or use the variety of toys in the room.

The hotel can arrange a variety of activities: walking, fishing, going skiing, etc..   

We decided to go on a hike to the nearby mountain.  On our way out, one of the ladies from the hotel stopped us and advised us to go a certain way and to take walking sticks.  This was such good advice as the trek ended up being very hilly and very snowy.  I often stumbled deep to my knees.  But we did it and after 3 and a half hours, we were so happy with ourselves and with the warm afternoon tea awaiting us by the fire in the opulent lounge.

A decent food offering

Food: 3/5

Foodwise, it’s similarly very friendly: the pub is a buzzing location for the village with all welcome, the dining restaurant, while more formal, also has a kids menu and you can always order room service.

What we preferred was afternoon tea by the fire in the lounges. So cosy!

Fife Arms review.  Our weekend away at The Fife Arms in the Cairngorms a luxury hotel in Scotland and the perfect mix of relaxing and adventuring!!

The Fife Arms review – our verdict

Overall: 5/5

The staff makes the hotel particularly welcoming.  You could be intimidated by all this art on display and by the grandeur of some of the furniture and decor but everyone is just friendly, helpful, ready to have a chat, generous with their advice.  We were made to feel very welcome even when we clearly looked like Londoners stupidly going out for that trek without the right equipment!

The decor, the art, the range of activities they can organise for you, the beauty of the Scottish countryside make it a very special place and we would happily return. 

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