Perched on the banks of the salmon-rich River Spey, 40 minutes from Aviemore and around an hour's drive from Aberdeen airport, The Craigellachie Hotel is the perfect base for a weekend in Strathspey – a 26-room luxury bolthole that dates back to 1893. The hotel was originally built to capitalise on the popularity of Speyside, following the building of the railway in the late 1800s.


A £3m refurbishment in 2015, at the hands of Piers Adam (the owner of London cocktail club Mahiki), and a string of rock and roll patrons including Kate Moss and Noel Gallagher, has put this sprawling manor back on the radar for design-conscious travellers – with velvet Chesterfield sofas, log-burning stoves and squashy four-poster beds giving it the feel of a modern gentleman's club.


One of its highlights is the well-stocked Quaich bar with more than 900 whiskies; ask the attentive staff and they'll give you a wonderfully boozy intro to some of the finest malts from the region, or whip up a modern twist on a classic negroni.

A cosy, country pub in the basement adds to the getaway appeal - part of a fruitful partnership with Copper Dog, a palatable and modern blended-malt whisky with a fruity and honey taste (think of it as the entry-level whisky you wish existed in your early 20s).


Despite its remote location and patchy mobile phone reception, the crowd here is a lot younger than you'd think so get ready to see a lot of Soho urbanites who hike in Hunter wellies and like their country retreats to come with all the trappings: Michelin-worthy pub grub, The White Company bed sheets and avocado on toast breakfasts.


A visit to neighbouring Elgin, half an hour's drive away, offers the chance to see cashmere being manufactured at the world-famous Johnstons of Elgin Mill. It's a surprisingly moving insight into an industry that has remained largely unchanged for the past 200 years; fine wool is dyed, teased, carded, spun and finished by hand by a workforce of local craftsmen, with an attention to detail afforded to so few modern products.

As well as homespun tartan knits, the mill also produces Burberry's trademark check scarves and Hermes blankets, so any fashion fan worth their Givenchy Antigona handbag will find plenty to gawp at on a two-hour tour (call ahead and book to avoid disappointment). It's a crime not to invest in at least one cosy Johnstons cashmere jumper before you leave – they cost from £75 upwards, but the mill regularly holds seasonal 'fill a bin bag' sales where you can get scarves from as little as £5 (sadly the designer products can't be snapped up here). Bring a half-packed suitcase and fill your boots. Visit

Double rooms from £160 per night including breakfast;

Liz Connor