By Cynthia Graham
Located high on a cliff overlooking the water of the Firth of Clyde with an enchanting old Roman viaduct entryway you will find Culzean Castle, home to the Eisenhower Hotel. The castle is surrounded by over 600 acres of wonderful things to see and places to explore, ensuring that, if you are looking for that special yet unusual romantic getaway location, this will be hard to beat.
The Eisenhower Hotel at Culzean Castle offers six unique guest rooms and is considered one of the most exclusive places to stay in Scotland. During the day, the castle serves as a museum with visitors coming and going to enjoy the magnificent structure and the area around it. At night, though, the breathtaking views, exotic animals (in the deer park), and romantic beach and cliff walks are all yours to explore.
The hotel really did start off as a castle, with its original stone tower built to defend the area in the 1300s. Centuries later, David Kennedy, the 10th Earl of Cassillis, decided to modernize the castle to create d the “ultimate bachelor pad” in which to entertain his friends, and so commissioned the buildings you see today, which were completed in 1792. It turned out to be quite an elegant bachelor pad!
US President Eisenhower stayed here before, during and after his presidency, hence its name, along with that of one of the hotel’s most elegant accommodations, the Eisenhower Suite. The choice of name came about in honor of Eisenhower’s role as Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Western Europe during WWII.
The six exclusive guest rooms are all located on the top floor of the castle, well away from the daytime visitors. No worries getting there, as a dedicated 1920s elevator will whisk you to your room.
The hotel also offers afternoon tea on arrival along with meals for an additional charge. For an authentic Scottish experience, the hotel can also arrange a whisky tasting for guests through a local distillery (be sure to contact the hotel directly for this as well as dining options).
A little side note: be sure to check out the entrance to the viaduct that leads to the castle. It starts at what looks like an old ruined Roman arch but was in fact designed by architect Robert Adam in the 18th century to create a very dramatic entranceway. And yes, from here you will have spectacular photo opportunities of the castle and the grounds, with the classic arch definitely adding to that bachelor pad charm.
In addition to the sleeping rooms, you will find a grand circular Drawing Room and an elegant private Dining Room for hotel guests. There are also acres of property to explore, including the deer park, a swan pond, a walled garden, and an adventure cove.
Any stay here must include taking a walk through the castle’s many elaborately decorated rooms. Visit at your own pace or take a guided tour, offered twice a day. For added fun, there are Lego figures hidden throughout the castle for those young and old to search out. Some are hard to find on your own, but if you are having difficulties you might try looking in the chandelier (or ask your guide!).
The property is rich in history, and the elegantly appointed rooms set in a beautiful location makes the Eisenhower Hotel at Culzean Castle an outstanding exclusive getaway destination in Scotland.
The Eisenhower Hotel is approximately a 50-mile drive from Glasgow and just 12 miles from the town of Ayr. The castle is only open to tourists from March to October. Be sure to check their website for opening times, prices and other information.
To learn more about the hotel, visit their website at www.culzean-eisenhower.com
Contributor Cynthia Graham is currently on a nine-month, 10-country tour across Europe. Her award winning blog is ranked in the top 1,000 travel blogs (currently # 221). Find her on Twitter at @lovetravelingto; Facebook: www.facebook.com/bluebagnomads; and on her blog: www.bluebagnomads.com.