Over the last few years, I have been fortunate enough to do a lot of travelling, seeing incredible sights from around the world.

But I never found the time to explore one beauty that is right on my doorstep, the Scottish Highlands.

That was until my recent stay at the newly refurbished, The Fife Arms.

The Fife Arms is located in Braemar, Aberdeenshire, which is fairly tricky to get to.

Driving from Manchester will take you roughly five and a half hours, which is not ideal for a weekend break, and the nearest airport and railway station are about one hour and a half from the hotel. We chose to drive but took some pit stops along the way, turning the trip into a mini-tour of Scotland.

When you first roll up to The Fife Arms, you may not think much from first glance – a disconcerting feeling after such a long journey.

The former Victorian coaching inn’s exterior is not its strongest angle, but as they say, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’.

Braemar itself certainly has far more to it than what initially meets the eye. The small and quiet village is steeped in history and is best known for its Highland Games Gathering. But back to the hotel.

Once you step inside any initial misgivings you may have experienced will be immediately allayed as you are confronted by the flawless design of the interiors.

The Fife Arms, Braemar, Scotland
The Fife Arms, Braemar, Scotland

While they wouldn’t divulge exact figures, it is clear that those in charge of The Fife’s refurbishment had a ‘spare no expense’ approach.

It appears that every inch of the hotel has been meticulously designed for both form and function.

On your journey from the lavish reception area to your luxurious room, everywhere you look will be a feast for the eyes.

All 46 of its guestrooms and suites are individually decorated and named after a local figure, place, event or theme.

These are broken up into categories such as, ‘Scottish Culture’ and ‘Nature & Poetry’.

We stayed in a ‘Scottish Culture’ room of particularly high quality.

The Fife Arms, Braemar, Scotland
The Fife Arms, Braemar, Scotland

Dubbed ‘The Explorer’, its design was inspired by James Bruce, a Scottish traveller and travel writer who spent time in North Africa and Ethiopia where he traced the origins of the Blue Nile. Surrounding our enormous, comfy bed was trinkets and artefacts intended to represent the types of things Bruce both saw and brought back from his journeys.

We couldn’t have been happier with our room.

The exotic decor created a unique and inviting atmosphere that nicely juxtaposed the local scenery.

Our ensuite bathroom, while more typical in its design, still had the luxurious quality you expect from hotels of this calibre.

Aesthetics, aside it was filled with all the essential trappings you may find yourself needing, such as: wifi, bluetooth stereo, plug/USB outlets and a TV that had a great selection of recent films. But The Fife’s joys don’t just stop in your room. Whether you’re there for a few days or plan a long stay, the hotel has you covered for entertainment.

The Fife Arms, Braemar, Scotland
The Fife Arms, Braemar, Scotland

There is no need to stay cooped up in your room - no matter how delightful it is.

There are many different function rooms, reading nooks and lounge areas (all with The Fife’s customary high design) to keep you and your party busy.

The main event though is its three restaurants and bars: The Flying Stag, Elsa’s and The Clunie Dining Room. Elsa’s is a cocktail bar inspired by fashion designer, Elsa Schiaparelli who was a regular visitor to Braemar. We enjoyed a few nice drinks there before our meal, but struggled to be swept up in its art deco vibes.

The night we stayed the small room’s atmosphere felt more like a waiting area than a trendy bar.

After our drinks, we headed to The Fife’s restaurant, The Clunie Dining Room - named after the river which flows next to the hotel.

The room itself is typically exquisite.

Like lots of the hotel’s rooms, the design has been taken on by an individual artist who’d been given free rein.

Argentinian Guillermo Kuitca handled The Clunie Dining Room and produced perhaps the hotels most arresting artwork with his distinctive cuboid style.

The most important aspect though is, of course, the food.

With menus created by Head Chef Magnus Burstedt, The Clunie Dining Room showcases the art of wood-fired cooking.

I had some mouth-watering and tender venison that proved to be as grand as the room it was served in.

For lunch the next day we got to try The Flying Stag.

The Fife Arms, Braemar, Scotland
The Fife Arms, Braemar, Scotland

The Flying Stag is the hotel’s public bar and is a favourite of both locals and guests.

It has a selection of Scottish dishes, real ales, live entertainment and a selection of over 180 whiskies.

We enjoyed some simple bangers and mash that made a fitting closer for our decadent trip.

There’s of course even more to do in the local area.

The hotel is just 15 minutes from Braemar Castle and 8.9 miles from Glenshee Ski Centre.

We got to go on an enjoyable mini-tour of the highlands courtesy of Braemar Highland Experience and had a great time.

We only had time for a short excursion, but our guide Katy Fennema was a great and enthusiastic host.

While the distance may put some people off, we found The Fife Arms certainly worth the trip thanks to its delicious food, great service and stunning interior design.

Whether you’re after a romantic weekend away, a business retreat or simply an escape from city life, The Fife Arms is for you.

The facts

Rooms at The Fife Arms are priced from £250/night (inc VAT and breakfast) and suites are from £795. Visit The Fife Arms website for more.