Discover A Gorgeous Scottish Getaway In Fairytale Surrounds With Riverside Views

If you’ve been on a Scottish staycation recently, you’re not alone. Indeed, many of us are drawn in by the impressive coastlines, rolling hills and pretty cobbled cities. For a luxe romantic end to your holiday? Head straight to Maryculter House Hotel in Aberdeenshire.

This was the final leg of my Highland fling, having already made friends with the shaggy-haired cows and (nearly) seeing Nessie. But, on lower ground, a mere 15 minutes from Aberdeen city centre and not much more from the airport, lies a tranquil escape in five acres of woodland, cuddling the banks of the River Dee. 

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If you're looking for Aberdeen hotels, you've come to the right place. 

Maryculter House is more than just a hotel, it’s an important part of Scotland’s history. Our advice? Tap into the team's wealth of knowledge, as you'll be taken on a fascinating journey through time, from 1227 and the Knights Templar until today (there’s even a link with the Titanic). Period features flood the entire space, with sympathetic restorations and cunning nods to the surrounding area. But don’t let that make you think modernity has taken a back seat, as sustainability is at the core of what Maryculter House is all about, including charging points for electric vehicles, in-room recycling and wildlife initiatives.

Checking in was seamless (shout out to Louise), and afterwards, we made our way through the building, taking in astonishing medieval architecture, grand paintings and classy tartan-clad interiors. As the door swung open into our junior suite (around £165 per night), we were honestly left speechless at the view. From the bed, not only can you see the idyllic winding stream to your left but also an original stone circle straight ahead where rabbits delightfully pranced away. It really was jaw-droppingly beautiful. And peaceful too, the only noise we could hear were sheep bleating and a faint whistling wind in the distance.

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Good news pup parents, Maryculter House Hotel is dog friendly.

We opted for a romantic getaway package (prices start at £245) which included Insta-worthy heart balloons, a chilled bottle of prosecco, hand-dipped chocolate strawberries and a red rose. A great deal if you ask us, especially as you get dinner and breakfast thrown in. There was also a handwritten note on a sketched illustration of the hotel, which I actually took home with me as a memento.

The room itself was spacious and exceptionally clean, plus the cloud-like, crisp linen and blackout curtains ensured an amazing night’s kip. Everything was a love letter to the local neighbourhood, from the blue tartan curtains and bronze deer lamps (that gave me Skyfall kinda vibes) to the earthy tones that adorned the apartment. We loved the rich wooden furniture and velvet textures too. The cherry on top? The Molton Brown toiletries decanted into cute pots.

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The Maryculter House Hotel menu? Let's just say you're in for a treat.

The in-house restaurant Poachers is well-known for its delicious locally sourced fare. You can pick a table in the charming, stone-walled alcove next to the window, surrounded by antlers and angling paraphernalia, like rods or fishing flies. Our host, Pamela, was an encyclopedia of information, from her own recommendations to cocktail pairings. This nicely led us into the first round of drinks: the Knights Bramble (£9) was a refreshing blend of local gin, lemon and crème de mure, topped with a booze-soaked blackberry (the boss' fave quaff, I'll have you know). Given that the Wimbledon finals happened that day, my beau opted for a booze free but Pimms-esque Very Berry (£5), a fitting tipple, I think you’ll agree.

The seared Orkney scallops were an ideal mix of delicate shellfish and powerful, buttery chorizo. My date didn't want this to end and polished it all off: put it this way, there were constant mutterings of approval. The Scottish buffalo mozzarella, minus the ham to make it veggie, was a dainty dish featuring pillowy cheese and sharp peaches drizzled in tangy balsamic vinegar. Let's talk mains: the spiced cauliflower and 8oz Aberdeenshire ribeye steak ‘n’ chips. The former was a flavour-packed sensation, part fiery and part charred, lying on a medley of perfectly cooked curried vegetables. Some may need the crème fraiche raita to cool down, but the heat hit the mark for me. Carnivores, make a beeline for the beef, as the slab comes well-rested and cooked to your taste, plus the peppercorn sauce delighted on all levels. Don’t forget about the root veggies and crispy yet fluffy triple-cooked chips as well, they brought the whole dish together.

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Grab a nifty cocktail in a truly unique setting.

It doesn’t get more indulgent than the desserts at Maryculter House Hotel and we wolfed down the moist sticky toffee pudding, drenched in butterscotch, and Castleton strawberries, decorated like a crown with French meringue. As the saying goes, when in Rome, so we ended our evening with a whisky flight (£13). After a deep dive into close-by distilleries with Pamela, we were advised to try a Royal Lochnagar and Fettercairn. Partnered with dark chocolate and salted nuts to bring out the contrast of sweet 'n' bitter, not forgetting a pipette of water to take the edge off, this experience channelled my inner Ron Swanson and was definitely a highlight (even if my hairs did stand on end with every sip).

We were then escorted to the Great Hall, and boy, what a spectacular space it was. Think traditional beams, exposed brickwork, huge chandeliers, colossal roaring fireplaces, stag busts and Paisley-topped tables, coupled with gold-gilded frames depicting the stunning countryside. Unfortunately, the ghosts Jennifer and James were feeling shy on our visit, but I hope to meet them next time around.

Bet you thought we forgot about brekkie? Well, you’re gonna lap them up, as both the veggie and meaty full Scottish arrived with all the trimmings. My favourites were the vegetarian haggis and tattie scone, while my other half couldn’t get enough of the herby sausage paired with black pudding. If we're being super fussy, the poached egg was a little hard for my date's liking, but that's not a biggie. To walk it off, we’d suggest strolling across the ruins at St Mary's Church or birdwatching along the waterside trails.

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There’s so much more I could say, but nothing will do Maryculter House Hotel justice. We loved the personal touches, comfy rooms and extraordinary scenescapes, plus there are loads of packages to try, from weddings and afternoon tea to rounds at the nearby Peterculter Golf Course. Sounds like the fairway to heaven.

  💰 The damage: Packages start at £245 based on two people sharing.

  📍  The location: South Deeside Road, Maryculter, Aberdeen, AB12 5GB.

  👌 Perfect for: Swish anniversary celebrations.

 ⭐ Need to know: Ask about the expansive whisky collection. You won't regret it.


Discover more Scottish staycation inspo on our dedicated guide here and get the good stuff sent to your inbox with DesignMyNight's monthly UK newsletter.