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The Jaeger Journal lists Achnagairn in the top spot in their pick of “5 of the Best UK Wedding Venues” May 2016
The Telegraph features Achnagairn in “Cost conscious couples and the rise of the Thursday wedding”, April 2016
Wedding Venues and Services Magazine features Achnagairn Castle in ‘Best Wedding Venues for Romance‘, April 2016
Achnagairn Castle is named ‘Best Wedding Venue in the UK’ by the prestigious Harper’s Bazaar Magazine, November 2015
I recently went to the opening of their beautiful new lodges. All I can say is “wow”! Their company motto is “Escape The Ordinary”, and boy, do they live up to that promise.Katie Wood, The Sunday Post (excerpt)
Katie Wood, The Sunday Post, 21st January 2014
"Perfect Manors offer the solution to a family holiday conundrum. You know the situation — you want to go away with a group of family or friends, but you don’t want to be scattered over countless hotel rooms. You want all your home comforts — but in an environment that’s a bit more . . . special. And that’s where luxury lodges come in…"
I recently went to the opening of their beautiful new lodges. All I can say is “wow”! Their company motto is “Escape The Ordinary”, and boy, do they live up to that promise.
Located in the heart of the stunning Inverness-shire countryside, their lodges are set in the grounds of Achnagairn Estate Manor House, a superb 1812 house with 24 sumptuous bedrooms.
It also has a wood-panelled ballroom, which has to be one of the UK’s most amazing wedding venues. Interestingly (and unusually) the lodges are available to hire as a whole lodge OR room by room for bed and breakfast. They comfortably accommodate 10-12 guests so if you want a whole lodge, not a problem, but they are equally adaptable if you just want a short stay close to Inverness…
All of the holiday lodges are large homes that have been renovated to the highest standard, individually themed and designed by co-owner Gillian Lacey-Solymar, who worked for 15 years as Consumer Affairs Correspondent for the BBC.
Highland Life Magazine, Cover Story, March 2015
Once upon a time there was an unloved stately pile near Beauly. Yes, it had been beautiful, but its mojo was well and truly lost. Then its saviours arrived: Mike and Gillian Lacey-Solymar.
Breathing new life into the faded glory of Achnagairn Castle was never going to be easy, but this quirky, fun-loving pair have transformed it into something exceptional…
James Ellis & Annabelle Thorpe, The Times, 9th November 2013
"If you’re looking to do a huge Christmas party for family and friends this manor house, part of which dates back to the 17th century, is a perfect choice. Set outside the tiny hamlet of Beauly, 10 miles from Inverness, it has 24 bedrooms that are individually styled: think four-poster beds, marble baths and heavy wooden furniture. Best of all is the great hall, with a magnificent stone fireplace and minstrels’ gallery, ideal for a dinner-dance. The grounds are home to four further lodges sleeping 10 or 12 people each that can be hired individually or alongside the main house. There are professional kitchens if you wish to cook yourself – or you can hire a local chef to…"
If you’re looking to do a huge Christmas party for family and friends this manor house, part of which dates back to the 17th century, is a perfect choice. Set outside the tiny hamlet of Beauly, 10 miles from Inverness, it has 24 bedrooms that are individually styled: think four-poster beds, marble baths and heavy wooden furniture. Best of all is the great hall, with a magnificent stone fireplace and minstrels’ gallery, ideal for a dinner-dance. The grounds are home to four further lodges sleeping 10 or 12 people each that can be hired individually or alongside the main house. There are professional kitchens if you wish to cook yourself – or you can hire a local chef to do it for you.
Shane Watson, The Times, 25th April 2015
"We all remember what a mini-break is: Friday to Sunday in a country hotel in a romantic setting, possibly with a spa. Sounds nice in theory but we haven’t actually been on one since some time before the children, the dogs, and the mortgage. It just doesn’t work with our lives. It’s too much of a faff, you have to book months in advance, we can’t afford it. We really can’t afford it. What we want, what we need, is the superfast broadband equivalent of the mini-break — which is, of course, the micro-break. Shorter than a mini-break (just one night) and, for reasons I will explain, better value all round..."
If you fancy living the life of a Scottish laird for a short break, head to Inverness, the gateway to the Highlands. Here you can tramp around the shores or sail on the waters of Loch Ness or take in the ruined Urquhart Castle before enjoying some fabulous country food at the Dores Inn (thedoresinn.co.uk), a rustic pub right on the lake’s shore. Back in town, there’s the 19th-century Inverness Castle overlooking the River Ness and modern European cuisine at Rocpool Restaurant (rocpoolrestaurant.com) in a contemporary building, encased by glass on two sides, also on the river. For your one night stay at Achnagairn Castle just outside the village of Beauly, a wedding and events venue cum boutique hotel with rooms shared between an old manor house and private cottages on a wooded estate.
Alastair Munro, The Scotsman, 4th March 2013
“By the time the development is complete, the Achnagairn estate will have had over £7 million spent on it, making it one of the most significant new entrants to the hospitality sector in the Highlands. “We intend Achnagairn to be one of the preeminent venues in Scotland. Not only does it boast one of the most beautiful ballrooms in the UK, but its gorgeous grounds, close proximity to Inverness, and now, 70 luxury bedrooms, make it unique.” Regional director of VisitScotland, Scott Armstrong said: “We warmly welcome news of the proposed investment at Achnagairn Castle. Tourism is essential to the wider Highlands economy and strategic, sustainable investment in high quality developments, such as Achnagairn, is vital in helping to position the region as a ‘must visit’ destination well into the future...”
What’s wonderful is how every century, Achnagairn House makes its mark. The current mansion was built in 1812, its stunning ballroom added in 1912 and now we are adding these beautiful new lodges.Jim Lawson, The Daily Record (excerpt)
Jim Lawson, The Daily Record, 5th March 2013
"An upmarket ghost village in the Highlands which fell victim to the property slump is to be brought back to life…
Gillian and Michael Lacey-Solymar have added the houses to their portfolio of luxury venues, which includes five-star wedding and conference centre Achnagairn House, Cortes House in Aberdeenshire and a five-star villa in Antigua…
We are thrilled to breathe new life into this development and add these new properties to our portfolio. They triple our capacity from 24 bedrooms to over 70..."
Profile: Lucy and Mike
Can you organise the perfect Highland Wedding when you’re based on the other side of the Irish sea? Lucy Barnett and Mike Hurley did, and it turned out brilliantly.
Emma Wells, The Sunday Times, 8th February 2009
The Lacey-Solymars paid £370,000 for Cortes House, a Regency property in Rathen, Aberdeenshire, after spotting it as a “bargain” in Home on June 30, 2002. Yet Gillian, 45, a BBC journalist, and her husband, Mike, also 45, who works in the City, were convinced they were getting a terrific deal. “We were smitten,” says Gillian, who is based in north London. “At the time, it cost as much as a one-bedroom flat in Hamp-stead. And for Mike, as soon as he saw it, it became a passionate love affair.”
The transformation of the house, which dates from 1810, required vision. “Structurally, it was okay, but inside it was hideous,” Gillian says. Set in five acres of grounds, the B-listed building was divided into five flats, with 1970s stud-wall partitions and false ceilings that obscured the original structure and period details: a fantastic cupola, trompe l’oeil detailing, ceiling roses and panelling with watered-silk inlay. The couple spent £250,000 on renovations and £100,000 on decorating; the 10-bedroom house was ready for use by the end of 2004…
“The creative process has been incredibly positive,” Gillian says. In fact, she and her husband liked the manor so much, they have since bought and restored another one – the Edwardian Achnagairn House, in Inverness.