A perfect highland hotel retreat nestled amidst the rugged splendor of the Scottish Highlands, the Pierhouse Hotel and Restaurant stands as a beacon of gastronomic delight on the tranquil banks of Loch Linnhe. Recently awarded the accolade of Scottish Restaurant of the Year at the Hotels of the Year Scotland Awards 2023–24, this charming eatery showcases the culinary expertise of head chef Michael Leathley. 


Using the finest locally sourced seafood and produce, Leathley has created a must-visit venue in a setting of stunning natural beauty. Visitors arrive at the quaint blue and white Pierhouse Hotel at the end of a single-track road, originally the old Ferryman’s station.

The Pierhouse is a small boutique hotel with just twelve rooms. What it lacks in capacity it makes up for in ambition and the majestic endless views out over the loch. The ferry just across from the hotel goes back and forth to the tiny island of Lismore. Many of the hotel’s staff rely on it for transport to and from work. Wild swimmers enjoy jumping in the loch, weather permitting.

There are views across to the island of Mull, the mountains of Morven, and the Ardnamurchan peninsula from the Pierhouse Hotel. You can even see out to the small island of Shuna, home of the hotel’s venison supply. The weather can obscure the mountains when it’s stormy, but they emerge from the mist later in the day in spectacular fashion. 

The Pierhouse Hotel

A short walk away from the Pierhouse Hotel is the stunning Stalker Castle — worthy of any scene in Game of Thrones. Scotland is filled with many Instagrammable locations, and the restaurant itself is the beating heart of the hotel with its fresh quirky interior and dreamy view out over the ever-changing loch. The decor is very New England and the hotel is stuffed with nautical-themed paintings, photographs, and ornaments. 

The food is locally sourced where possible and the langoustines are fished right out of the loch in front of the hotel. The menu features all things seafood. Fried oysters, scallops in pastry, Lobster Thermidor, mussels, fresh langoustines, and Cullen skink (a creamy smoked fish soup,) are all on offer. The Appin red deer from nearby Shuna Island also features. A favorite dish with foodies is the Arbroath Smokie cheese soufflé. The menu is a love letter to Scotland’s larder with the freshest seafood and meats complemented by seasonal vegetables and herbs from local farms and artisanal producers.

The Pierhouse

The Pierhouse Hotel is a part of the Wee Hotel Company founded by renowned hotelier Gordon Campbell Gray in 2019. After an international career in hospitality, Gordon has returned to his roots to pursue the winning combination of fantastic food and some of Scotland’s most beautiful destinations. 

The sister of the Pierhouse Hotel is the fabulous Three Chimneys Hotel on Skye, also part of Gordon’s portfolio. A sense of connection to the land and sea permeates every aspect of the Pierhouse experience. In this haven of tranquillity and culinary excellence, time seems to stand still, leaving wonderful highland memories long after the cheeseboard has been demolished.

Leathley recalls that when he came for his interview it was held outside in the sunshine with some oysters and a glass of white wine. This helped to seal the deal. He has really embraced his new Scottish life and has created something really special here. The restaurant is extremely popular and gets regular walk-ins even though it is at the end of a two-mile single-track road. 

“It’s a real honor to have picked up this year’s top ‘National Restaurant of the Year’ award and help put our wee corner of Argyll on the UK’s foodie map,” Chef Leathley says. “We work really closely with a network of the region’s best local producers and suppliers, including the freshest langoustines, mussels harvested from Loch Linnhe and Loch Etive, as well as fine handpicked oysters from the oyster beds of Loch Creran, just 10 minutes from the hotel.”

A new food-related activity at the Pierhouse Hotel is a very special experience – a whispering cow walk. Jane Isaacson has created a new outdoor experience on Achinreir Farm up in Barcaldine in Argyll. The whispering cow walk allows visitors to take part in something wholly unique. Participants follow Jane as she talks and walks around the farm among her fold of beautiful Highland cattle.

The iconic Highland cows dotted around the fields, gaze with mild curiosity. Milking these cows by hand gives an artisanal touch and Jane turns it into creamy Highland Fold Ice Cream. Their milk has an especially high fat content so no additional cream is required for the process. The flavors of the ice cream are created from berries grown and plants foraged on the farm. Unusual flavors like meadowsweet, honeyberry, and even acorn ice cream are available here. On the guided walk you will see stunning views and learn more about the farm’s biodiversity. This Scottish cuisine is as exceptional as the stunning lochs and landscape that source it. 

B&B at The Pierhouse Hotel starts from $250 per room, per night (through the end of October 2024), based on two people sharing. To make a booking, visit www.pierhousehotel.co.uk. Whispering Highland Cow Walks costs $20 per person and are timed to happen when the cattle are relaxed and resting. Booking is essential. Contact info@highland-fold.co.uk.