“O the summer time has come
And trees are sweetly blooming
And wild mountain thyme
Grows around the purple heather.
Will you go, lassie, go?”
The Wild Mountain Thyme, Francis McPeake
It is commonly accepted that the best time to see heather bloom in Scotland is towards the end of August and start of September, as the traditional folk song about love among the heather, quotes.
A personal voyage West through a seasonally beautiful purple and green landscape, nearing the end of the Summer in Scotland; North West this time and North by North-West to be precise; where I would fall in love once again with a rugged beauty; where else could I be bound, but for Pool House.
With roots firmly set in maritime history, Pool House, blissfully set on the periphery of Scotland’s western bounds, sits comfortably on the banks of Loch Ewe, commanding unbeatable views over the sea to Skye. Headquarters to the Royal Navy, who, historically, operated North Atlantic convoys from the property, Pool House also acted as base, during the Second World War for Lord Rowallan.
The naval connections are sympathetically reflected in the interior where my expectations were satisfied, seeing the period pieces restored and comfortably at home, paying homage to seafaring heritage at Pool House and the distant destinations visited by naval vessels historically based at the house.
Pool House doesn’t follow the route taken more typically by hotels within this exclusive category; the decor and styling is uniquely different and highly original, relevant to its personal story through the ages. Suites and rooms are individually stylised, defined by characteristics of far-flung countries, with imported furnishings; individual pieces which only abundant space and impeccable taste allow; complemented by luxurious finishing touches and thoughtful additions.
A family concern, the Harrisons inherently manage the blend of warm, friendly, informal; whilst maintaining a service, second to none and standards of a truly superior establishment; just perfectly and rarely experienced to such faultless levels.
Comforting, traditional elements remain; drinks in the drawing room at 7pm prior to dinner, with a relatively small gathering of guests, at around 8pm in North by North-West, Pool House’s aptly named, fine-dining restaurant. No surprises that the food is exceptional; typically locally sourced (the chef’s herb and vegetable garden sits at the entrance and offers up some fantastically organic aromas)and prepared, where possible, in line with guest preferences. A formal yet hugely comfortable experience, where diners are united in their enjoyment of watching a west coast sunset over the Atlantic; stunning, breathtaking and awe-inspiring; nature’s own live show.
With an all-encompassing high standard, to select one facet which stands out is genuinely impossible, however, I would like to remember Pool House for the outstanding atmosphere created by the host family; welcoming and genial; an attribute which I personally believe and strive to prove is at the heart of Scotland and her people.
It is apparent from the outset that the family’s love of what they do is second only to their love of the building itself; hearts and souls have laboured collectively to restore Pool House, reflecting the family’s absolute dedication and commitment to the building they also call home.