Having spotted an advertisement for cheap winter breaks, four women from CRM's family descended on the Golf View Hotel in Nairn, part of the Crerar group of hotels, for two nights' of relaxation and pampering. For us there were three main attractions - the hotel's position right on the coast overlooking the Moray Firth, its spa and treatment centre and the excellent value. Being an old, traditional Victorian seaside hotel, we weren't quite sure what to expect in relation to the rooms and the quality of the food. We needn't have worried - the rooms were spacious and comfortable and the food was excellent.
The views from the hotel and along the extensive promenade were stunning, particularly early morning and at dusk.
On the dinner, bed and breakfast package we had access to the full breakfast menu and on each evening we were offered the restaurant's six-course taster menu (priced at £32.99). Given that the whole 2-night package was £89 for dinner, bed and breakfast this was remarkable value. Each evening, the menu was completely different. An excellent formula, it offered a canapé, a choice of two starters, a small soup, a choice of two main dishes, a choice of two desserts and finished with a small taster of cheese and coffee and tablet (a Scottish sweet a little like fudge but more 'melt in the mouth'). Dishes were inventive and very tasty. Portions were small – just perfect, given the number of courses! The wine list was international with a good range of wines in the £15 to £25 range and, for those feeling flush, some interesting, more expensive options.
The service was first-rate. All the staff were extremely friendly, professional, attentive and efficient.
Our menu for the first evening was:
Goats cheese vol au vent
Quenelle of Scottish salmon
Noisette of lamb with roasted garlic cloves and rosemary
Breast of chicken wrapped in Parma ham, pan roasted with chorizo and button mushrooms
Vanilla poached pear with homemade ice cream
Cranachan with homemade shortbread
Taster of Dunsyre Blue and red grapes
Cafetière of freshly ground coffee and tablet
To make up for the rich eating, we made good use of the spa with gym, swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna and steam room, in a carefully designed glass-fronted annexe overlooking the sea. Sadly, the treatment centre was almost fully booked so only one of us had the opportunity to try the expert massage specialist!
A gem of a find in a part of the country that warrants further exploration with extensive coastal walks and cycling opportunities, interesting villages and places of interest, including several whisky distilleries within spitting distance, being close to Scotland's Malt Whisky Trail. We made a visit to the picturesque village of Findhorn and dropped in to the Findhorn Community, an interesting and successful example of a spiritual community dedicated to eco-living which has stood the test of time - it is celebrating its 50th year and is still expanding.